Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars
Illustration for article titled Land of the Rising Easter Sun-Day: Nissan Leopard Ultima Turbo

I love a Japanese Luxo Barge, and this is one with the power to back up the sleek looks. The Nissan Leopard range was introduced in 1980 to compete in the upper medium class. The model featured here is an “F31" series Leopard, which was introduced in 1986. As you can guess from the name, it shared a platform with the R31 Skyline (and the Cefiro).

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Illustration for article titled Land of the Rising Easter Sun-Day: Nissan Leopard Ultima Turbo

This is the post 1988 facelift version, with a somewhat smoother front end and tail lights. But the pre-88 models really didn’t look all that different. But as a post-88 model, it benefited from receiving the V30 Turbo engine, a 3.0l V6, producing a healthy 255PS.

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Illustration for article titled Land of the Rising Easter Sun-Day: Nissan Leopard Ultima Turbo

The car also featured the “DUET-SS Supersonic Suspension”. This features a sonar module under the front bumper that scanned the road surface and adjusted the suspension accordingly. The driver could also choose between “Auto”, “Soft”, “Medium” and “Hard” settings. All pretty fancy stuff for 1988.

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Illustration for article titled Land of the Rising Easter Sun-Day: Nissan Leopard Ultima Turbo

The car wasn’t a huge success against its main rivals like the Toyota Soarer, Mazda Cosmo or the Honda Legend. It was exported in relatively small numbers (about 5000) to the US and sold there as the Infiniti M30. About half of these were chopped into convertibles by ASC.

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Illustration for article titled Land of the Rising Easter Sun-Day: Nissan Leopard Ultima Turbo

The F31 ended production in 1992. The original F30 Leopards were sold as both sedans and coupes, the F31 was available in coupe form only. But as the personal luxury coupe fell out of fashion, Nissan offered the following models as sedans only.

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Illustration for article titled Land of the Rising Easter Sun-Day: Nissan Leopard Ultima Turbo

In 1999, the Leopard name was discontinued due to declining sales and a downturn in the Japanese economy. The closely related Cima, Gloria and Cedric models all continued on and spawned various Infinity models for the US market.

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