Kabuki! Turbo! Questionable chassis rigidity! Nissan Cedric for '84.

Among the automotive casualties of the Malaise Era, the four-door hardtop is probably one of the least mourned. Born with the ’55 Buicks and Oldsmobiles and died with the ’78 Chrysler fullsizers, the idea of a B-pillar bereft saloon (and occasional wagon) made family cars measurably cooler, but as the Naderites were all too eager to point out, also made rollovers and side impact collisions considerably more dicey for the occupants. As a result, such cars disappeared once and for all…in this hemisphere.

Japan, meanwhile, was chock full of people who said hai to these high-style sedans, so many, in fact, that the true four-door hardtop (as opposed to a normal sedan with proper B-pillars hidden behind frameless door glass, e.g. the Acura Vigor) lasted into the early ‘90s before safety concerns finally thrust a katana into the segment’s chest. Like the new-for-’84 Y30 series Cedric (and its nearasdammit identical twin sister, the Gloria), most of Nihon’s four-door hardtops were rear-drive and available with turbocharged engines and manual transmissions (though not necessarily both at once). Jealous? You needn’t be; under NHTSA regulations, you can import any car that’s 25 or more years old without having to modify it to meet U.S. safety and emissions regs. So if my math is correct, one could bring in a Cedric like the one in the commercial. Or, if you wanna roll like a serious gaijin yakuza, a Cedric Turbo Brougham VIP. Begin typing “Japanese car exporters” into your favorite search engine…now.

9 Comments

  1. Yes, the marketing companies are correct. We all want cars that extol the virtues of “avant-garde” or “bizarre” theater.

  2. If there’s something I love about living in Canada, it’s our 15-year import laws. We can get the midship amusement of a Honda Beat, with little to no problems. Oh, as a Canadian, I also love Smarties, especially in the bite-sized packaging. It’s like a shot glass of candy.
    But, I would gladly take a turboed fastback hardtop sedan.

    1. Yuck, Smarties! My step dad loves the damn things, I personally don’t get it. But then again I’ve had people tell me the same thing about Neccos and Peeps.

      1. Smarties? Yecch. Remember Christmastime as a kid, and how you coveted one of those bigass “candy canes” that were actually clear tubes with a plastic hook/cap, filled with a seemingly bottomless supply of red-and-green M&M’s?
        Only your miserable coal-deserving ass actually conned the gods into finally getting one. And upon breaking the tube open, you realized they weren’t M&M’s but some lousy knockoff that tasted like drops of melted brown crayon coated in dried-up Pepto Bismol. And at that moment you realized Santa was a dirty old bastard?
        Yeah. There’s your “Canada Smarties” for ya.
        Fear not my Canadian friends, for I love you all, as they send me syrup, maple cookies and 1/64 scale Ford Granadas, but can keep your damn Smarties. Besides, American Smarties can be sold for street value when you crush them into powder in a bag.

  3. Something about those boxy ’80s Japanese cars just doesn’t do it for me. There are exceptions, of course, but they’re mostly restricted to AE86s, MKII and III Supras, and A60 Celicas. In general, the ’80s was a decade that sucked for cars, IMO.

    1. The 80’s really did suck for most all cars. Even many of the dream cars of that time seem kinda lame by comparison to older and new rides. The 70’s were worse at least.

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