Big things with little cars

Actually, the full name of this car is (taking a deep breath): Nissan Cedric 4-Door Hardtop 280E Brougham.

Nissan introduced Japan’s first four-door hardtop in the 230 Cedric and Gloria lines in August 1972, complementing the two-door hardtops introduced the previous April. Like the two-door models, the new four-doors were true pillarless hardtops, standing about 0.8 inches (20mm) lower than the sedans. Compared to the sedans, the four-door hardtops were 5–10% more expensive and sacrificed a bit of headroom and more than a bit of torsional rigidity, but they were stylish and, for the moment, unique. They would prove highly influential.

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Four-door Hardtops were kind of a big deal in Japan from the 70s through to the 90s. All the major brands offered a large, luxurious car of this configuration in these years to appeal to the affluent private buyer.

But why did people flock to that style of sedan? Style was undoubtedly a factor, but I suspect that another consideration was that a substantial percentage of large Japanese cars like the Crown and Cedric (which were not cheap or cheap to own) went to government and commercial fleets. The mere fact that hardtops were more expensive than four-door sedans was anathema to the typical fleet buyer.

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Driving a big hardtop, therefore, immediately signified that you were a well-heeled private buyer, not a taxi driver, and a four-door hardtop allowed you to do that without sacrificing too much of your and your passengers’ convenience in the process. Judging by the proliferation of these cars, many Japanese buyers apparently considered that a useful compromise.

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This model is a Diapet in 1/40 scale - and all done up in the glorious Japanese Police livery. Diapet models were always a little bit above the respective Tomica models - and so this one has all the features of a Premium Diecast of the era. Plenty of plastic “Chrome”, opening doors and hoods. Chrome engine detail - and look, even a Chrome steering wheel!

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And once again, this is one seriously heavy piece. No plastic base here - this thing is solid. And then there’s that fantastic suspension. You will have to roll one on a desk for yourself to experience it - but it’s a very smooth ride for a 1/43 scale car!

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So there you go - another glorious model of another glorious Nissan Cedric. Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone.

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