Pop quiz! how big is the biggest engine that was available in a JDM production car? Give up?
The answer: well a pretty good guess would be 6.3L for the 1966 Prince Royal.
This umm…exclusive…limo was powered by a JDM 388 cubic inch pushrod V8, engineered by Prince for the Japanese royal family.
It was designed and built prior to the 1966 takeover of Prince by Nissan, and so the 6.1m long behemoth was unveiled at the 1966 Tokyo Show as a “Nissan Prince Royal”. The wheelbase was a looong 3.8m, which gave the rear seat passengers heaps of legroom, but there would be rather less so if the middle-row jump seats were unfolded.
However, the only way to have a go in a Prince Royal may be to marry into the Japanese royal family. It’s not known how much grunt the 388cu bent eight puts out, but we do know that the transmission was a bought-in 3spd auto from GM and that it weighed 3220kg (the whole car that is, not the transmission).
We also don’t know if this V8 was bespoke or if it was based on the Y40 4.0L OHV V8 from the 1966 Nissan President, but the Prince Royal was developed and built before Nissan took over Prince in 1966, so it’s possible that the two V8s are not related. But if they were…..the President’s 4.0L was rated at 180hp at 4800rpm and 231ft/lbs of torque at a lazy 2800rpm, and if we extrapolate the President V8’s power and torque figures from 4.0L to 6.3L and you get a nice, round 280hp estimated.
Actually the President is an interesting car in its own right. Nissan’s VIP limo, it retailed for Y3mil in 1966, which is 25% more than the high-priced Toyota 2000GT would be a few years later. To give it some perspective, Y3mil that a President would have cost to buy, would have bought three 6-cylinder Cedric luxury sedans in 1966. Can’t imagine what the Prince Royal would have cost to make…
Nowadays the royal family is rocking a custom-built V12 Toyota Century, but remarkably the Prince Royal saw faithful service from 1966 until 2006.