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.