From 1959 until 2004, the Nissan Gloria was made. When you get out of your car and someone says, “Hey, what’s that?” it’s always a nice moment. It could mean that person doesn’t know much about cars or that you have good taste in cars. It could also mean that person is trying to get your attention so they can rob you (but probably not). If you own a Nissan Gloria, this has probably happened to you in the last few days or even hours.
It’s not enough for car fans to know a lot about just one thing. Someone can’t be a JDM guy just because they drive a car made in Japan. But if they know what they’re talking about, the Nissan Gloria should make them open their eyes and feel “warm and fuzzy” inside.
Don’t give up if you’ve never heard of the Gloria. It was never sold in the US, and few have been brought in from other countries. But this Japanese saloon with rear-wheel drive goes back a long way in Nissan’s history and is a great base for aftermarket JDM goodies. From 1959 to 2004, the Gloria was being made.
What we want is what we can’t get.
A different name for the Nissan Gloria was the Nissan Cedric. And the same reason you probably haven’t heard of these names is why we couldn’t get R34 GT-Rs in the US for so long. Now, you can technically bring an R34 into the US and change it so that it meets the FMVSS rules for US roads.
But unlike the GT-R, fans didn’t wait on the other side of the world to import the Gloria when the time came. That is, if they were brought in at all, it was because they had to. For example, a Japanese family moving to the US may have owned a Gloria and wanted to bring it with them.
Since the Gloria wasn’t a popular model, this kind of thing didn’t bring many of them to North America.
But several decades after the “golden age” of JDM, any rear-wheel-drive Japanese car that can be changed is fair game for enthusiasts, and the Gloria is all of those things.
In All Its Glory, the Nissan Gloria
In 1958, the Prince Motor Company began making a version of the Prince Skyline that was more upscale. It was made of different metal and was meant to be comfortable. This was the Gloria from the BLSIP.
After it was shown at the All Japan Automobile Show in 1958, the company decided to put it on the market the next year. It looks very American, with smooth lines, big chrome pieces, and a big presence on the road. In fact, the first production of Gloria was given as a wedding gift to Prince Akihito, the Crowned Prince of Japan.
It had an inline-4 engine with 80 hp that was made by Prince. A few years later, the BLSIP-3 version of the Gloria, which came out in the early 1960s, had 93 hp.
By the 1990s, the Skyline and Gloria had gone in completely different directions. The Skyline became part of the name of one of the most famous sports cars in the world, and the other became a low-end luxury sedan that no one outside of Japan seemed to care about.
But in the early 1990s, the Gloria’s design was way ahead of its time. It got more doors and had a Jaguar-style body better than Jaguar did. Don’t ever assume that the Japanese can’t make something that will last for a long time.
And speaking of designs that never get old, the Nissan Fuga, which became the Infiniti M series sedans, took the place of the Gloria when production of the Gloria came to an end. And the Infiniti M45 sedan is one of the baddest, most powerful sedans of the 2000s.
The performance of the Nissan Gloria was great.
In the early 1990s, Nissan sold the Gloria with different versions of the VG30 V6 and the VG20 2.0-liter V6. Automatic transmissions with either 5 or 4 speeds were paired with these engines. No manual, sadly.
When it was at its best in the 1990s, the Gloria had 226 hp. This put it above both the MR-2 from 1992 and the Acura Integra, two very famous sports cars.
The VG30 motor series was used in the Nissan 300ZX, which did have a manual transmission. Since the V6 in the Gloria was mounted lengthwise, it doesn’t take much work to switch it out.
In the early 1990s, the saloon version gave drifters a longer wheelbase and more space in the back to carry race tyres to the track. Or, you could drive your Gloria on the street and turn it into a VIP sedan with window curtains, champagne compartments, and leather-padded floormats. Just a thought.
Even if you don’t like the Gloria, it is an important part of Japanese car history. In the late 1960s, the Nissan Skyline badge was put on the first Hakosuka GT-R because of this car.
First generation BLSI
The Prince Automobile Manufacturers, which used to be called Fuji Precision Industry, showed a more luxurious version of their Prince Skyline at the All Japan Automobile Show in October 1958.
This was after the Tokyo Motor Show and the Skyline 1900 exhibitions. In February 1959, the 1.9 L GB-30 OHV 4-cylinder engine with 80 hp (81 PS) was put into the BLSIP Gloria.
The Gloria had a style feature on the front bumper called “Dagmar bumpers,” which was based on popular looks in North America. “PRINCE” was written in gold letters on the grille. The side trim was like the Skyline’s, but the painted strip with a chrome frame ended at the back door instead of the back of the car.
The other side of the painted part is the same colour as the car, and inside this part is a badge that says “Princess Gloria.” Inside, the dashboard of the Gloria was the same as that of the Skyline, but it came with a clock and a radio. At the time, the radio was different because it had two speakers. The seats were the same, but they were made of a soft cloth. There was a fold-down armrest on the back seat.
S40 of the second generation
Later in 1962, Prince brought out “S40” Gloria, which was part of the second generation. It was the first Prince with six cylinders. It also came with an updated straight-four engine, the 1.9 L G-2, which had 94 hp (70 kW). In June of 1963, the G-7, the first mass-produced Japanese SOHC six-cylinder engine, was put into the new Gloria Super 6, model S41.
The Gloria 6 Estate and a commercial delivery van called the “Gloria 6 Wagon” both had the same engine. With its new SOHC head, this new engine makes 106 hp SAE (79 kW) at 5,400 rpm. The Gloria has an independent front suspension and a de Dion tube in the back.
A prototype of the second-generation Gloria looked a lot like the Chevrolet Corvair and the Hino Contessa, but the final version looked nothing like the prototype.
The production Gloria looks a bit like the 1959 Buick LeSabre, Invicta, and Electra. This is clear from the car’s strong character/beltline, the way the windscreen and back window wrap around the car, and the way the roof extends over the back window. This Gloria was also sold abroad. In April 1965, for example, it went on sale in Finland.
A30 of the third generation
In April 1967, the body was changed, and all Prince cars were now called Nissan (but the A30 Gloria was officially registered as “Prince” to the Government). The former Prince company, which is now part of Nissan, was asked to design the Nissan Prince Royal, which the Imperial Household would use. They did this by making a special version of the Gloria that looked like the previous Prince Royal.
This generation’s design (especially the stacked headlights) seems to have been influenced by Cadillacs and Pontiacs from the time, while the side looks like a Ford Galaxy from the same time. Some of the car’s looks came from the Nissan Prince Royal, which was made just for the Emperor of Japan. The Super Deluxe, the Super 6, and the Van Deluxe all had a 6-cylinder engine.
The Standard and the Van Standard, on the other hand, had a 4-cylinder engine. In the end, the Super Deluxe GL was the most expensive model. Because the Gloria and Cedric were put together to save money on production, the Prince Gloria’s De Dion axle was changed to a solid rear axle with leaf springs.
The fourth one 230
With this generation, which started in February 1971, the Cedric and Gloria were basically the same car, though the Gloria was a bit fancier. The bonnet ornament is a stylized version of a Japanese paper crane (Orizuru). The bonnet, radiator grille, taillights, and wheel covers are the main things that are different. This generation of Nissan cars had the same “coke bottle” look as other Nissan cars from the 1970s. The front of the car looks like the Mercury Marquis from 1967 to 1968 in some ways.
Fifth generation 330
This generation of the Gloria and the Cedric are basically the same car, with only small changes to the way they look. The Gloria now has halogen headlights and comes with a 2-door and 4-door hardtop, as well as a 4-door sedan. Due to pollution laws, the small L20 six-cylinder engine no longer has its two carburetors. The 2.6 L engine is being replaced by a 2.8 L version of the same engine. The H20 four-cylinder engine with overhead valves was kept in the 4-door sedan used as a taxi. It usually ran on LPG fuel.
The 2000GL-E and the 2000SGL-E came out in October 1975. The “E” in their names stood for fuel injection, which was part of the Nissan NAPS emission control technology package.