|I can already hear the muffled guffaws and the not so subtle outright raucous laughter as I put pen to paper – or more correctly finger to keyboard – to write about this 1965 Nissan Cedric. Even in 1960 they were regarded as something of a joke. The main complaint was not about the car. Its that name that all-and-sundry Aussies got a giggle from.
It's not the only Nissan to have suffered from what we shall call Negative Naming Syndrome. The Datsun/Nissan Fairlady suffered the same fate. Who would buy a sports car called a Fairlady? Indeed, imagine saying to your mate, this is `my' Fairlady! The Fairlady was the precursor to the now famed Z-Cars starting with the 240Z right up to today's 370 Z Roadster. These were great cars that did not suffer from NNS.
Just what is NNS? Well, when a car company produces a good car but it fails to sell in volume because of its name, that is NNS. Nissan have quite a record in this field in Australia. It was not that long ago the Japanese maker dumped the much-loved Pulsar moniker and called it's replacement the Tiida. Just look what happened to sales, even though the Tiida is a good thing.
Where the Fairlady and Tiida failed, good old Cedric succeeded. It had a high-profile band named after it. The Nissan Cedrics were unfortunately formed well after the Cedric was consigned to Australian automotive history, so the car could not cash in on the popularity of the band consisting of Louisa Anton and Dannielle Gaha on Roy and HG's Club Buggery.
Despite all of this negativity it was with some surprise and delight we discovered this lone Nissan Cedric at the last Macleans Bridge Classic Car meeting south of Brisbane on Mothers Day, 2010. There I've said it: Classic car and Nissan Cedric in the one sentence!
I did look a little out of place in the shadow of the Aston Martin display. The Cedric first hit the streets in 1960 just as fins were in the last death throes. This was a bland period in automotive design which gave us the first Ford Falcon and the EJ Holden. Even the formerly exciting Chev Bel Air became squared off and about as exciting as watching paint dry.
So, the Cedric was in good company. Cedric's main job was to compete against Toyota's Crown in the luxury large car segment. This was Nissan's first large car and its first to feature a monocoque body. The first cars were part of the 30 series and from 1962 – 65 the 31 Series – including our featured car - was built between 1962 - 65.
This car was restored by owners Alan and Ruth Bent after it was found in Victoria and shipped to Queensland in 2008. It has a long wheelbase giving the vehicle wider rear doors and a more spacious back seat area. The car had only had two previous owners and had traveled just 54,000 miles before the 2009 restoration. Being a DeLuxe model it runs the Nissan `H' Series 1883 cc OHV engine which has a cast iron block and twin Hitachi carburettors. It is a rear wheel drive car with a four speed column shift. The engine produces 71 kw of power at 6000 rpm and 139 Nm of torque at 4000 rpm. Top speed was a respectable 140 km/h.
Underpinning the car is a front suspension of double wishbones at the front and rear leaf springs while stopping power is provided by drums all-around. While the car's name led to some derision, the vehicle itself was an honest performer whose design took some cues from US cars of the period – particularly around the twin headlamps with a small `eyebrow' similar to some Ford and Rambler cars. The rear end is decidedly British. The Nissan Cedric was not considered fashionable in the 1960s nor is it today. And that alone makes this car important as a beautifully restored version of a rare beast – an early model post-war Japanese large car. So the words `classic' and `Cedric' are indeed worthy of being in the same sentence for dear old Ced.