Big things with little cars

Welcome to today’s Edition of the Rising Sun-Day, where I look at TLV’s rendition of one of the last great Japanese Land Yachts - the C231 Nissan Laurel.

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The third generation appeared in January 1977. For the first time, the C230 was available in either saloon and hardtop coupé form, but also as a hardtop saloon without B-posts. Buyers could choose between a 1.8-litre four, a 2.0-litre inline-six (carburetted or fuel-injected, a first for the Laurel), and a 2.6l inline-six.

The car here is the 2.o litre “six” - with the fuel injection, so not quite the top of the line model. The C231 appeared in the autumn of 1978 as a mild facelift, marked visually by squared instead of round double headlights. “Comfort was prioritized over handling and agility”, Wikipedia notes. And if you have ever driven one of these or a similar one, you know this is quite the understatement.

A German spec C231 Saloon
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Outside of Japan, buyers were attracted to the Laurel for its overall reliability, low price, and ample equipment. But a Japanese Luxury sedan was still seen as an oddity, and that slightly Americanized design didn’t help much in the European market.

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In 1980, the C231 was replaced by the “C31" Laurel, which looked at lot more like an Opel Senator than anything from the USA. But it still took a few more years a lot of marketing effort before Japanese luxury sedans were taken seriously in Export markets. I think Toyota and their Lexus brand were the ones to change that,

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TLV have done a fine job with this one, and I really can’t fault it with anything much at all, But I would really love to see one of those rather quirky 4-Door Hardtop versions in their line-up, like this pre-facelift version. Yup, make mine brown.

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