For those of you reading from other parts of the world, today is President’s Day here in the USA. All hail the the greatest influences on our beloved nation’s history: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and the three day weekend.
What better time could there possibly be to talk about the Nissan President? The “Prezzy,” as it is sometimes called, is Nissan’s top of the line, over the top, top banana luxury sedan model. Nissan debuted it in 1965 to compete with those bastards at Toyota, who had unveiled a V8 version of the Crown a year earlier (that would later become the Century). Nissan priced the President at nearly double what the Toyota cost, when most commoners could barely even afford a three-wheeled Daihatsu, so the only people to buy these ultra-VIP cars were actual VIPs: heads of state, corporate execs, the royal family, and the occasional yakuza boss.
The first generation, chassis code 150, came with a 3.0L straight six in base trim, but no Prime Minister or crime lord wishing to command the full respect of his underlings would be caught dead without the 4.0L V8. In 1973, the first redesign, saw a the body extended and a pointy upright grille installed, the V8 upgraded to a 4.4L unit, and the chassis code changed to 250.
For the next nine years, the only major revision was the addition of mandatory smog equipment, a second clock, and that sign of the changing times, an AM/FM stereo with cassette deck. Welcome to the eighties!
In 1982, Nissan gave it a thorough revamp, with new interior sheetmetal, while upgrading the rear suspension from leaf springs to a four-link, yet the chassis code remained the same.
Then nothing significant happened.
The true second generation finally arrived in 1990, a genuinely complete redesign that, unfortunately, ended up looking exactly like an elongated Infiniti Q45. From then on, the look of the President has always resembled its lesser cousin, which is why the old school ones are much, much cooler.
UPDATE: The pointy grille treatment came in 1973, not 1982 as we originally said. Thanks to Ed from Ratdat, master of all things Datsun, for the correction!