Most English-language automotive histories will tell you that the four-door hardtop became extinct in the late seventies, a victim of American safety regulations. That may have been true in the U.S., but Japan’s love affair with hardtops continued well into the nineties, including some models you probably didn’t know you knew. In this installment of Ate Up With Motor, we present a brief survey of the Japanese four-door hardtop.
EARLY JDM HARDTOPS
It would be a mistake to characterize the pillarless hardtop as a purely American phenomenon, but it’s certainly true that U.S. buyers embraced hardtops far earlier and to a much greater extent than other markets. As we discussed in our article on the pioneering Buick Roadmaster Riviera, hardtops began their U.S.-market proliferation in the early fifties and by the mid-sixties had become ubiquitous, with nearly every American-made car line offering at least one hardtop body style.
Although other auto-producing nations dabbled in pillarless bodies, hardtops were a tough sell in most non-U.S. markets. A quick comparison of population and per capita income figures makes clear why: Particularly in the fifties and sixties, other automotive markets were not only significantly smaller than the U.S., but also had far fewer buyers with the financial wherewithal to prioritize style over practicality.
Considering all that, what’s remarkable about the Japanese hardtop craze was not that it got off to a slow start — in 1965, when Japan introduced its first homegrown hardtop, total annual Japanese passenger car production was about one-tenth that of the U.S. — but the extent to which it took off and the fact that it endured long after the U.S. had moved on.
Predictably, Japan’s first native hardtop came from Toyota, which had the largest single share of the domestic market. The RT50 Toyopet Corona hardtop, launched in July 1965, was a two-door hardtop version of Toyota’s bread-and-butter T40 Corona, priced ¥112,000 (about $320, roughly 18%) above the Corona Deluxe sedan. The hardtop was positioned as a sporty model, bolstered by the availability of a more powerful 1600S with an extra 20 PS (15 kW) and, from the summer of 1967, the homologation-oriented 1600GT (RT55).
Despite its higher price, the hardtop caught the wave of Japan’s growing prosperity; domestic passenger car production doubled between 1965 and 1967 and had nearly doubled again by 1969. The Corona hardtop was popular enough that Toyota followed it with two-door hardtop versions of the bigger Corona Mark II and Crown, both launched in late 1968.
Second-place Nissan lagged a little behind, not adding its first two-door hardtop (in the C30 Laurel series) until mid-1970, about seven months after Mitsubishi’s Colt Galant hardtop and nine months after the rare FWD Mazda Luce Rotary Coupé. Nonetheless, Nissan was not to be outdone, soon rolling out not only hardtop versions of the Laurel, but also of the 610 Bluebird U, the C10 Skyline, the 230 Cedric and Gloria, and the new 710 Violet.
Honda added its first hardtop, a pillarless version of its diminutive Z minicar, in November 1972. Subaru joined the party the following June with a hardtop version of the first-generation Leone. The smaller manufacturers didn’t embrace the hardtop idiom to the same extent as did Toyota and Nissan — after the demise of the Z, it would be some time before Honda offered another hardtop model — but most automakers offered at least at least one pillarless model. By the late seventies, Toyota offered hardtops in nearly all its passenger car lines except the humble Tercel and Starlet.
TWO OR FOUR DOORS
Nissan introduced Japan’s first four-door hardtop in the 230 Cedric and Gloria lines in August 1972, complementing the two-door hardtops introduced the previous April. Like the two-door models, the new four-doors were true pillarless hardtops, standing about 0.8 inches (20mm) lower than the sedans. Compared to the sedans, the four-door hardtops were 5–10% more expensive and sacrificed a bit of headroom (and more than a bit of torsional rigidity), but they were stylish and, for the moment, unique. They would prove highly influential.
The arrival of Nissan’s big four-door hardtops seems to have caught Toyota off-guard; a comparable version of the Toyota Crown wasn’t introduced until the debut of the S90 series in late 1974. Unlike the Cedric and Gloria, the new Crown body style was a four-door “pillared hardtop,” an idea Ford had introduced for its full-size LTD line back in 1971. The Crown four-door hardtop stood about an inch (25 mm) lower than the four-door sedan, used frameless door glass, and had a unique B-pillar treatment.
Whether pillarless or not, both of these cars were very popular with Japanese buyers in this class, so the four-door hardtop body style continued into the subsequent 330 Cedric/Gloria, launched in June 1975. Toyo Kogyo followed suit in late 1977 with the new edition of the Mazda Luce (a.k.a. 929) that included a four-door pillared hardtop with a roof treatment very similar to that of the S90 Crown.
It’s notable that the new Mazda Luce four-door hardtop actually replaced the previous hardtop coupe. Similarly, the 430 Cedric and Gloria, launched in June 1979, retained their four-door hardtops, but abandoned their two-door bodies. Toyota’s two-door Crown hardtop would survive for one more generation, finally expiring in 1983, but the two-door hardtop version of the Mark II (a.k.a. Toyota Cressida) expired in February 1979, a year and a half before the end of the X30 generation.
Big two-door Japanese hardtops did not so much expire as switch to an emerging class of large personal luxury cars like the Mazda Cosmo, Nissan Leopard, and Toyota Soarer, and even some of those would offer four-door versions. Four-door hardtops, meanwhile, were becoming a mainstay of most large Japanese car lines and would remain so for the next two decades.
Never having lived in Japan, we have no special insight into the unique preferences of that market, but we will hazard a theory abut why big four-door hardtops became so popular there. Style was undoubtedly a factor, but we suspect that another consideration was that a substantial percentage of large Japanese cars like the Crown and Cedric (which were not cheap or cheap to own) went to government and commercial fleets. The mere fact that hardtops were more expensive than four-door sedans was anathema to the typical fleet buyer — whose stinginess, we presume, transcends mere cultural boundaries to become something approaching a universal constant.
Driving a big hardtop, therefore, immediately signified that you were a well-heeled private buyer, not a taxi driver, and a four-door hardtop allowed you to do that without sacrificing too much of your and your passengers’ convenience in the process. Judging by the proliferation of these cars, many Japanese buyers apparently considered that a useful compromise.
By the early eighties, Japan’s growing affluence had opened the four-door hardtop floodgates. First up were four-door hardtop versions of the second-tier luxury cars. Nissan added a pillarless four-door hardtop version of the new C230 Laurel in early 1977 and continued that body style for the C31 series in November 1980, simultaneously dropping the two-door hardtop models.
Around the same time, Toyota introduced pillared four-door hardtop versions of the Mark II and its Toyota Chaser sibling. Mitsubishi got into the act three years later with a pillared four-door hardtop version of the Galant Sigma and Nissan added a four-door hardtop Skyline in 1985.
It was inevitable that the trend would continue to filter downward into the cheaper price classes, which, frankly, needed the help. Japan’s biggest and smallest cars, if not necessarily attractive to Western eyes, at least had some memorable eccentricities; by contrast, most middle-class Japanese sedans of the era had about as much aesthetic distinction as an empty cassette case. Hardtop body styles provided some welcome relief from the stylistic doldrums.
Nissan had actually taken the first step in this direction back in 1979 with the addition of a four-door hardtop to the popular new 910 Bluebird line, but while that body style continued into the U11 generation in late 1983, other automakers were slow to follow suit — even Toyota, which was perhaps preoccupied with the expensive conversion of its C- and D-segment sedans to front-wheel drive.
TOYOTA CARINA ED
Finally, in September 1985, Toyota redressed that shortcoming by introducing its first pillarless four-door hardtop, based not on the big Crown or Mark II/Chaser/Cresta, but on the middle-class Toyota Carina. The new Carina ED — for “Exciting and Dressy,” said the press kit — shared its platform with the recently introduced FWD Carina and Corona sedans and the new T160 Celica, launched at the same time. Despite that structural commonality, the Carina ED shared neither sheet metal nor dashboard with the anonymous-looking Carina or Corona sedans and stood more than 2 inches (55mm) lower. It was also at least 110 lb (50 kg) heavier, probably due at least in part to the structural reinforcement necessitated by the pillarless roof.
Toyota made much of the Carina ED’s coupe-like styling, and in be-spoilered G-Limited form, it looked quite sporty. (We assume it drove much like a contemporary Celica, since it shared the same chassis and most of the same engines.) However, it seems that the main appeal was not sportiness per se, but simply that the ED was considerably more stylish than the stolid four-door sedan for very little more money. The biggest sacrifice was headroom, which was 2.8 inches (70 mm) less than in the sedan.
Although the Corona and Carina shared the same platform, Toyota hedged its bets by introducing the four-door hardtop only in the Carina line; the related FWD Corona got a two-door notchback coupe instead. The trepidation was unwarranted because the Carina ED was a hit, comfortably exceeding Toyota’s sales projections, while the Corona coupe appears to have been a flop.
The Carina ED was followed by a host of other moderately priced four-door hardtops: a pillared hardtop edition of the Toyota Vista (a twin of the V20 Camry) in late 1986; Nissan’s U12 Bluebird in September 1987; a V-6 Camry hardtop, the Camry Prominent, in August 1988; and the Mazda Persona (a hardtop version of the GD Capella) and Eunos 300 that October.
The second-generation (T180) Carina ED arrived in September 1989, now accompanied by a Corona version, the Corona EXiV (pronounced “ecksiv,” according to Toyota, for “Extra Impressive”), replacing the short-lived two-door coupe. Honda, which had largely abstained since the demise of the Z hardtop in the seventies, also entered the fray in 1989 with four-door hardtop editions of the new DA Integra and the five-cylinder CB Accord Inspire and Vigor.
PILLARS OF THE INDUSTRY
As far as we’ve been able to determine, the T180 Carina ED and Corona EXiV were the last new pillarless four-door hardtops to be launched in Japan. While the popularity of the style had not diminished, achieving it while maintaining an acceptable level of structural rigidity — to say nothing of collision protection — had never been easy and was getting harder as safety regulations became more stringent. As a result, a growing number of these cars were now pillared hardtops.
When that type first appeared in the mid-seventies, automakers had applied the term “hardtop” to almost any four-door with a roof treatment different from the standard four-door sedan’s. By the late eighties, the pillared hardtop had become a clearly defined body style with several distinct characteristics:
- Frameless door glass
- Narrow B-pillars partially or fully concealed behind the side glass
- For four-door models, a low, coupe-like roofline, usually with “faster” sail panels and often (though definitely not always) with a four-light rather than six- or eight-light side profile.
All of the new hardtops introduced from 1990 on followed this format, including the Mazda Sentia (which replaced the Luce as Mazda’s flagship in May 1991), the Honda Ascot Innova (another spin-off of the CB Accord), the Toyota Corolla Ceres and Sprinter Marino (four-door hardtop versions of the E100 Corolla/Sprinter), the Nissan Presea (based on the compact Sunny), and the Galant-based Mitsubishi Emeraude. The Mazda Lantis coupe introduced in September 1993 (sold as the 323F in some export markets) had all the characteristics of the type, but Mazda didn’t describe it as a hardtop.
During the same period, the pillared hardtop gradually displaced the remaining pillarless models. Nissan’s big Cedric and Gloria hardtops went from pillarless to pillared with the arrival of the Y32 generation in June 1991. The U13 Bluebird hardtop (now called Bluebird ARX) did the same in September and the Laurel followed suit with the C34 in January 1993. Toyota switched to a pillared configuration for the T200 Carina ED and Corona EXiV that October. (Toyota’s bigger Mark II/Chaser and Crown had always been pillared.)
THE END OF THE ROAD
The four-door hardtop, pillared or otherwise, slowly faded out in the nineties. Some of the offerings hadn’t done well: the Mazda Persona/Eunos 300 was a commercial failure, as was the Mitsubishi Emeraude. The Corolla Ceres and Sprinter Marino, which would seem to have had great potential, apparently didn’t meet sales expectations, although both models lingered for three years after the rest of the E100 Corolla/Sprinter line had been replaced. By 2001, most Japanese four-door hardtops would be gone or replaced by conventional four-door sedans.
There were several reasons for the decline. One was a shift in tastes from sedans and coupes to SUVs. Another was the growing popularity in Japan of European luxury cars and the emergence of Japanese-made cars made to compete with the Europeans, most of which were conventional four-door sedans. (It’s noteworthy that high-end JDM cars of this period, like the Toyota Mark II and Nissan Laurel, were usually hardtops while export-oriented models like the Toyota Celsior/Lexus LS400 and Infiniti Q45 were not.) Beyond that, the four-door hardtop style may also have become a little old hat. The idiom was more than 20 years old, after all, and the demise of the pillarless models — combined with the growing ubiquity of the pillared style — made it less special than it once was.
It probably wouldn’t be impossible to create new pillarless four-door hardtops, as evidenced by the continued existence of compact MPVs with sliding doors on each side (e.g., the Ford B-Max). However, achieving that style while complying with current roof crush and side impact standards would no doubt be expensive, so any future pillarless four-doors are likely to be high-end luxury cars rather than mid-price models like the original Toyota Carina ED.
There’s no particular reason the pillared four-door hardtop couldn’t make a comeback either, but barring a major turnaround in the Japanese economy, it’s unlikely to happen in Japan any time soon. The Japanese industry is currently struggling to stay competitive in the face of limited development funds, unfavorable exchange rates, and a shaky domestic market that seems primarily interested in the tax savings offered by hybrids and kei cars. Since the pillared hardtop body style didn’t make much impression on the U.S. market (most of the four-door hardtops marketed in North America weren’t even identified as such), there’s little incentive for a revival in the near future.
For the time being, Japan’s four-door hardtops remain something of a curiosity. Four-doors of any stripe seldom seem to attract the same kind of fan loyalty two-doors do, and the limited exports mean that many of these cars are quite obscure. Nonetheless, they are intriguing — particularly the pillarless models — as unusual variations on otherwise familiar themes.
The author would like to extend special thanks to Don Andreina and Scott McPherson for their assistance with this article (and the use of Scott’s photos) and Igor Smagin for the use of his photos of the Carina ED.
If you’re viewing this article page by page, see the next page for the (lengthy) bibliography.
NOTES ON SOURCES
Our sources for this article included “A Brief History of the F31 Leopard/Infiniti M30,” F31Club, n.d., www.f31club. com, accessed 21 May 2014; Don Andreina, “Automotive History: Nissan Cedric – When the Pupil Becomes a Master,” Curbside Classic, 5 May 2014, www.curbsideclassic. com/ automotive-histories/ curbside-classic-nissan-cedric- when-the-pupil-becomes-a-master/, last accessed 31 December 2014, and emails to the author, 13 December and 16 December 2014 and 1 January 2015; Tony Assenza, “Toyota Camry V-6,” Car and Driver Vol. 34, No.1 (July 1988): 95–101; the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide, Encyclopedia of American Cars: Over 65 Years of Automotive History (Lincolnwood, IL: Publications International, 1996); Patrick Bedard, “Acura Integra GS,” Car and Driver Vol. 35, No. 2 (August 1989): 63–68, “Mazda 929,” Car and Driver Vol. 33, No. 9 (March 1988): 97–102, and “Mazda 929,” Car and Driver Vol. 37, No. 8 (February 1992): 55–59; John Bolster, “‘Not a bad ol’ nail,'” Autosport 24 August 1978: 32; David Cass, “Everyday Classic ~ Mitsubishi Colt Galant GTO,” NZ Classic Car December 1997: 42–47; “Cedric/Gloria 230 (Nissan),” Nissan Cedric/Gloria Handbook, 15 February 2000, members3.jcom.home. ne.jp/ 230hb/ 230toha/ 230toha.htm, accessed 31 December 2014; “[Cedric/Gloria 230 Type (1971 – 1975)],” Old Car Library ~ Deluxe, 19 December 2010, qsya.blog136.fc2. com/blog-entry-55.html, accessed 24 November 2017;Mike Covello, ed., Standard Catalog of Imported Cars 1946–2002, Second Edition (Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2001); Michael A. Cusumano, The Japanese Automobile Industry: Technology & Management at Toyota & Nissan (Cambridge, MA: The Harvard University Press, 1985); Ford Motor Company, “’71 Ford” [brochure 5203-8/70], August 1970; Fuji Heavy Industries, “American Face: Subaru Leone Grand Am” [advertisement, c. 1978]; “Impreza Hardtop Sedan” [brochure, c. November 1992]; and “New Subaru Leone” [JDM advertisement, c. 1978]; Tony Grey, “Ford LTD Brougham,” Road Test June 1971, reprinted in Ford Galaxie & LTD Gold Portfolio 1960–1976, ed. R.M. Clarke (Cobham, England: Brooklands Books Ltd., ca. 2003): 118–123; Guide to the Motor Industry of Japan 1990 (Tokyo: Japan Motor Industrial Federation, Inc., 1990); Honda Motor Co., Ltd., “Ascot/Accord, Accord Inspire/Vigor (Fact Book),” 13 September 1989; [“Elegant Style and Comfort in New Hardtop Ascot Innova”], [Japanese press release], 3 March 1992; [“Fully Redesigned Sporty Formal Honda Integra Full Model Change; equipped with the world’s first normally aspirated engine to achieve 100 horsepower per liter”], [Japanese press release], 19 April 1989; [“Honda Accord/Vigor Series Full Model Change: Four-Door Accord and New Upper-Level Ascot; Four-Door Hardtop Accord Inspire and Compact Vigor”], [Japanese press release], 13 September 1989; [“Inspire and Saber 20G Type Adds New Limited Grade”], [Japanese press release], 24 October 1997; [“Inspire/Sabre Minor Model Change Released”], [Japanese press release], 8 November 1996; “Inspire • Saber Press Information 1995.2.23 (Fact Book),” 23 February 1995; [“Inspire/Saber series adds 3.2L V6 engine in new top-of-the-line 32V grade”], [Japanese press release], 6 July 1995; [“Integra 4-door Hardtop Full Model Change”], [Japanese press release], 22 July 1993; “Integra Model History ”; [“Integra Series Minor Model Change Featuring High-Performance Integra Type R”], [Japanese press release], 24 August 1995; “Model Archive: Integra ”; [“New Honda Z Hardtop on Sale”], [Japanese press release], 20 November 1972; [“New Inspire/Saber Launched”], [Japanese press release] 23 February 1995; and [“New 3-Number, Wide-Body, 2.0L and 2.5L Inspire and Vigor Launched”], [Japanese press release], 29 January 1992; HoTWire, “Rare Car: Mazda R130,” Retro Scene Mag, 4 September 2008, retroscenemag. com/ post/ Rare-Car-Mazda-R180.aspx, accessed 7 October 2011; Yasushi Ishiwatari, “Nissan Cefiro,” Car and Driver Vol. 34, No. 9 (March 1989): 31; Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Inc., The Japanese Motor Industry 2013, and The Japanese Motor Industry 2014; Jikayōsha [Private Car] All Album: Buyer’s Guide 1987 Cars, Spring ’87 Edition, February 1987; Yutaka Katayama and Yoshihiko Matsuo, Fairlady Z Story, Datsun SP/SR & Z (Tokyo: Miki Press, 1999); Masaki Kitabayashi, “Cedric/Gloria 330 Reference Page,” 2011, www.eonet. ne.jp/~kitabaya/ index.html, accessed 31 December 2014; Kuruma_Maniacs, Old Car Catalog Collection (web edition), (www.wald-licht.com/~oldcar/); L’Editrice Dell’Automobile LEA, World Cars 1973 (Bronxville, NY: Herald Books, 1973); World Cars 1979 (Pelham, NY: Herald Books, 1979), and World Cars 1985 (Pelham, NY: Herald Books, 1985); Brian Long, RX-7: Mazda’s Rotary Engine Sports Car Rev. 2nd Edition (Dorchester, England: Veloce Publishing Ltd., 2004); Tom McCahill, “Tom McCahill Tests the World’s Most Popular Car,” Mechanix Illustrated February 1965, reprinted in R.M. Clarke, ed., Impala and SS Muscle Portfolio 1958–1972 (Cobham, England: Brooklands Books Ltd., ca. 1996): 80–81; [“Mazda: Eunos 300 (1st, 1.8L-NA, FF/4AT, MA8PE Type) 1800 DOHC type-A”], greeco channel, n.d., greeco-channel. com/ car/ mazda/ eunos_300-3/, accessed 14 December 2014; [“Mazda: Eunos 300 (1st, 2.0L-NA, FF/4AT, MAEPE Type) 2000 DOHC type-B”], greeco channel, n.d., greeco-channel. com/ car/ mazda/ eunos_300/, accessed 14 December 2014; [“Mazda: Lantis (1st, 1.8L-NA, FF/5MT, CBA8P Type) Coupe type-G”], greeco channel, n.d., greeco-channel. com/ car/ mazda/ lantis-5/, accessed 14 December 2014; [“Mazda: Lantis (1st, 2.0L-NA, FF/4AT, CB8EP Type) Coupe type-R”], greeco channel, n.d., greeco-channel. com/ car/ mazda/ lantis-3/, accessed 14 December 2014; [“Mazda: Lantis (1st, 2.0L-NA, FF/5MT, CB8EP Type) Coupe type-R”], greeco channel, n.d., greeco-channel. com/ car/ mazda/ lantis-4/, accessed 14 December 2014; [“Mazda: Lantis (1st, 1.8L-NA, FF/5MT, CBA8P Type) Sedan type-G”], greeco channel, n.d., greeco-channel. com/ car/ mazda/ lantis-8/, accessed 14 December 2014; [“Mazda: Lantis (1st, 2.0L-NA, FF/5MT, CBA8P Type) Sedan type-R”], greeco channel, n.d., greeco-channel. com/ car/ mazda/ lantis/, accessed 14 December 2014; Mazda Motor Corporation, “Capella CG/Sedan” [brochure MKK01D8707D], July 1987; “Great Cars of Mazda: Luce Edition,” n.d., www.mazda. com, accessed 10 October 2011; “History: 1920~1979,” n.d, www.mazda. com, accessed 26 December 2014; “Lantis 4door Sedan • 4door Coupe” [brochure, c. 1993]; “Persona” [brochure, c. October 1988]; and “New Sentia” [brochure, c. May 1991]; “Mazda 1987 Capella (GD type),” Old Car Catalog Collection (web edition), 17 October 2011, www.wald-licht. com/~oldcar/ 87_m_capella_01.html, accessed 27 November 2014; “Mazda 1988 Persona (MA8P/MAEP type),” Old Car Catalog Collection (web edition), 5 July 2013, www.wald-licht. com/~oldcar/ 88_m_persona_01.html, accessed 27 November 2014; “Mazda 929 Generation 2,” Unique Cars and Parts, n.d., www.uniquecarsandparts. com.au, accessed 26 December 2014; [“Mazda Persona”], Goo-Net Car Portal Site, n.d., www.goo-net. com/ catalog/ MAZDA/ PERSONA/, accessed 28 November 2014; [“Mazda: Persona (1st, 1.8L-NA, FF/4AT, MA8P type) B”], greeco channel, n.d., greeco-channel. com/ car/ mazda/ persona-3/, accessed 28 November 2014; [“Mazda: Persona (1st, 1.8L-NA, FF/5MT, MA8P type) B”], greeco channel, n.d., greeco-channel. com/ car/ mazda/ persona-4/, accessed 28 November 2014; [“Mazda: Persona (1st, 2.0L-NA, FF/4AT, MAEP type) B”], greeco channel, n.d., greeco-channel. com/ car/ mazda/persona-2/, accessed 28 November 2014; [“Mazda: Persona (1st, 2.0L-NA, FF/5MT, MAEP type) B”], greeco channel, n.d., greeco-channel. com/ car/ mazda/ persona/, accessed 28 November 2014; [“Mazda: Sentia (1st, 3.0L-NA, FR/4AT, HDEP type) 30 Type-J”], greeco channel, n.d., greeco-channel. com/ car/ mazda/ sentia-2/, accessed 14 December 2014; John McLellan, Bodies Beautiful: A history of car styling and craftsmanship (Devon, England: David & Charles (Holdings) Ltd., 1975); Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, “Brilliant 4Door Hardtop: Emeraude” [brochure, c. October 1992]; “Colt Galant AIIGS,” History of Products, 2003, www.mitsubishi-motors. com, accessed 25 December 2014; “Gallant Coupe: New FTO 1400/1600: Try & Try” [advertisement, c. 1971]; “Galant GTO R73-X (1972)” [catalog excerpt, c. 1985]; and “Galant Σ Hardtop” [brochure 3028801], October 1984; [“Mitsubishi 1992 Emeraude (TNXW/TRXW Type)”], Old Car Catalog Collection (web edition), 17 January 2014, www.wald-licht. com/~oldcar/9 2_m_emeraude_01.html, accessed 16 December 2014; New car price guide, 5 November 1993, Car and Driver Japan Edition 10 December 1993: 220–230; [“1998 All Driving Album”], Driver No. 785 (June 1998); [“Nissan Bluebird January 1989 Model”], Goo-net Car Portal Site, n.d., www.goo-net. com/ car/ NISSAN/ BLUEBIRD.html, accessed 16 February 2015; Nissan Motor Corporation, “Cedric 4Door Sedan • 4Door Hardtop • 2Door Hardtop” [brochure, c. 1972]; “Cedric: Four Door Hardtop, Four Door Sedan, Two Door Hardtop” [brochure, c. June 1975]; “Cima: The Big Gloria (Nissan Gloria Cima)” [brochure, c. January 1988]; “Laurel Hardtop” [brochure c. 1972]; “Laurel” [brochure], January 1993; “Laurel: Since 1968” [brochure, c. 1989]; Nissan Museum, “Bluebird: Eighth,” “Cefiro: First A31 Type 1988.9~1994.8,” and “Laurel,” n.d., www.nissan.co. jp, accessed 14 December 2014 to 16 February 2015; “Nissan Bluebird” [brochure 3101AMM], October 1983; “Nissan Bluebird SSS” [brochure, c. September 1987]; “Nissan Bluebird SSS/ARX” [brochure C1220 1071AKM], September 1991; “Nissan Cedric” [brochure, c. May 1980]; “Nissan Cedric” [brochure, c. June 1983]; Nissan Design Newsletter Vol. 11, n.d., www.nissan. com.sg, accessed 18 February 2015; Nissan Heritage Collection, “Bluebird,” “Cedric/Gloria,” “Laurel,” “No. 049: Laurel 1800 Deluxe B (1968: C30),” “No. 066: Cedric 4-door Sedan 2000GL (1972: 230),” “No. 072: Bluebird U 1600GL (1975: 610),” “No. 089: Laurel 4-door H/T 2000SGL-E (1980: KHC230),” “No. 086: Datsun Bluebird 1800SSS (1979 : KP910),” “No. 138: Laurel 4-door Sedan Grand Extra (1985 : HJC32),” “No. 177: Violet H/T 1600SSS-E,” “No. 199: Skyline H/T 2000GT-X (1972: KGC10),” “No. 201: Cedric 4-door H/T Turbo Brougham (1982: K430),” “No. 203: Datsun Bluebird 4H/T 1800 Turbo SSS-E/G (1982 : KP910),” “No. 206: Leopard Turbo 2000SGX (1982 : PF30),” “No. 207: Bluebird 4H/T V6 Turbo Maxima Legrand (1986: PU11),” “No. 212: Gloria 4-door Sedan Custom Deluxe (1972: H230),” “No. 238: Cedric Cima Type II Limited (1988: FY31),” “No. 269: Skyline 4-door Hardtop GTS Twin-cam 24V Turbo (1986: KRR31),” “No. 322: Leopard 4-door Hardtop ZGX (1985: PF30),” and “Skyline,” n.d., www.nissan-global. com, accessed 7 November 2014 to 17 February 2015; “Nissan Laurel” [brochure 6121D612], 1977; “Nissan Laurel” [brochure, c. November 1980]; “Nissan Leopard” [brochure 3124ATT], December 1983; “Primera” [brochure, c. February 1990]; “Nissan 1985 Skyline (R31 type),” Old Car Catalog Collection (web edition), n.d., www.wald-licht. com/~oldcar/ 85_n_skyline_01.html, accessed 2 January 2015; “Nissan 1987 Bluebird (U12 Type),” Old Car Catalog Collection (web edition), n.d., www.wald-licht. com/~oldcar/ 87_n_bluebird_01.html, accessed 16 February 2015; the Old Car Brochures Gallery at the Old Car Manual Project (oldcarbrochures.org); [“Nissan: Presea (2nd, 2.0L-NA, FF/5MT, HR11 Type) Ct.S”], greeco channel, n.d., greeco-channel. com/ car/ nissan/ presea-7/, accessed 17 December 2014; Masaaki Sato, The Honda Myth: The Genius and His Wake (New York: Vertical, Inc., 2006), and The Toyota Leaders: An Executive Guide, trans. Justin Bonsey (New York: Vertical, Inc., 2008); Arthur St. Antoine, “Lexus ES300,” Car and Driver Vol. 37, No. 8 (February 1992): 107–109; Steven Cole Smith, “Acura 3.2TL,” Car and Driver Vol. 41, No. 9 (March 1996): 65; Kevin Smith, “Road Test: Lexus ES250,” Car and Driver Vol. 35, No. 11 (May 1990): 91–96; “SS,” “Fifth Generation Cedric 430 Type / Sixth Generation Gloria 430 Type (June 1979),” www1.seaple. ne.jp/ ssms/ p_car3-1-04.htm, accessed 18 February 2015; [“Subaru: Impreza (1st, 1.8L-NA, 4WD/5MT, GC6 type) HX Edition-S”], greeco channel, n.d., greeco-channel. com/ car/ subaru/ impreza-38/, accessed 16 December 2014; Subaru, “History: Leone coupe released,” 2006, www.subaru-global. com, accessed 26 December 2014; Subaru of America, “1982 Subaru” [brochure MSA 8100, c. September 1981]; [“Nissan: Presea (1st, 2.0L-NA, FF/5MT, HR10 Type) 2000Ct.S”], n.d., greeco channel, greeco-channel. com/ car/ nissan/ presea-2/, accessed 16 December 2014; “The C32 Laurel I Cherish,” n.d., www7b.biglobe. ne.jp/~kyusya/ cars.html, accessed 6 February 2015; “The History of Cedric,” n.d., www.geocities. co.jp/ max205ps/ y30/ history/ 01.html, accessed 2 January 2014; Toyo Kogyo, “New Cosmo 4Door Hardtop,” [brochure 8110D], October 1981; Toyota Motor Corporation, “Harrier” [Japanese brochure P50044-9712], December 1997; [“News from Toyota: Toyota Cars New Crown Released”], [Japanese press release], 21 September 1962; [“News from Toyota: Corona Hardtop Launched”], [Japanese press release], 25 July 1965; [“News from Toyota: New Corona Hardtop Launched”], [Japanese press release], 18 August 1970; [“News from Toyota: Corona Passenger Car Line Adds New GT Car: Toyota 1600GT”], [Japanese press release], 18 August 1967; [“News from Toyota: High-Performance Specialty Car: Celica Full Model Change”], [Japanese press release], 12 August 1985; [“News from Toyota: New Corona Series Launched”], [Japanese press release], 5 September 1964; [“News from Toyota: Toyota Carina Full Model Change”], [Japanese press release], 7 September 1981; [“News from Toyota: Toyota Carina ED Full Model Change, Corona EXiV (‘ekshivu’) Launched”], [Japanese press release], 6 September 1989, [“News from Toyota: Toyota Carina ED Launched”], [Japanese press release], 20 August 1985; [“News from Toyota: Toyota Carina Hardtop Launched; sedan adds 1600GT four-door”], [Japanese press release], 6 December 1972; “New from Toyota: Toyota Celica, Carina ED, Corona EXiV Full Model Change”], [Japanese press release], 8 October 1993; [“News from Toyota: Toyota Corolla and Sprinter Series Full Model Change”], [Japanese press release], 26 April 1974; [“News from Toyota: Toyota Corolla Ceres and Sprinter Marino launched; Corolla FX Full Model Change”], [Japanese press release], 18 May 1992; [“News from Toyota: Toyota Corolla, Sprinter Minor Change”], [Japanese press release], 31 January 1977; [“News from Toyota: Toyota Crown Full Model Change”], [Japanese press release], 18 September 1979; [“News from Toyota: Toyota Crown Full Model Change”], [Japanese press release] 31 August 1995; [“News from Toyota: Toyota Crown Line Full Model Change”], [Japanese press release], 4 September 1967; “New from Toyota: Toyota Crown Series Launched: Four-Door Pillared Hardtop Added”], [Japanese press release], 25 October 1974; [“News from Toyota: Toyota Launches Adult Specialty Car: FF Corona Coupe Launched, Corona Four-Door and Five-Door Get GT Grade”], [Japanese press release], 20 August 1985; [“News from Toyota: Toyota Launches New Genre of High-Grade Car: Harrier Launched: Sport Utility Saloon Type”], [Japanese press release], 25 December 1997; [“News from Toyota: Toyota Mark II and Chaser Full Model Change”], [Japanese press release], 1 October 1980; [“News from Toyota: Toyota Mark II, Chaser, and Cresta Full Model Change”], [Japanese press release], 22 August 1984; [“News from Toyota: Toyota Mark II • Chaser • Cresta Full Model Change”], [Japanese press release], 24 August 1988; [“News from Toyota: Toyota Mark II, Chaser, Cresta Full Model Change”], [Japanese press release], 29 October 1992; [“News from Toyota: Toyota Releases New High-Class Passenger Car: Windom”], [Japanese press release], 30 September 1991; [“News from Toyota: Toyota Vista/Camry Full Model Change”], [Japanese press release], 11 July 1990; [“News from Toyota: Toyota Windom Full Model Change”], [Japanese press release], 21 August 1996; 75 Years of Toyota, 2012, www.toyota-global. com: “General Status of Plants in Japan: Affiliates (Toyota wholly-owned subsidiaries)-Toyota Motor East Japan, Inc.,” 2012, accessed 6 April 2015; and 75 Years of Toyota: Vehicle Lineage: “Camry Hardtop (1st),” “Camry Hardtop (2nd),” “Camry Sedan (3rd),” “Carina Coupe (3rd),” “Carina ED Hardtop (1st),” “Carina ED Hardtop (2nd),” “Carina ED Hardtop (3rd),” “Carina Hardtop (1st),” “Carina Sedan (4th),” “Chaser Hardtop (5th),” “Corolla Ceres Hardtop (1st),” “Corona Coupe (1st),” “Corona Exiv Hardtop (1st),” “Corona Exiv Hardtop (2nd),” “Corona Mark II Hardtop (4th),” “Corona Sedan (8th),” “Crown Royal Hardtop (10th),” “Crown 2door Hardtop (4th),” “Crown 2door Hardtop (6th),” “Crown 4door Hardtop (5th),” “Crown 4door Hardtop (6th),” “Crown 4door Hardtop (7th),” “Crown 4door Hardtop (8th),” “Lexus ES Sedan (1st),” “Mark II Hardtop (5th),” “Mark II Hardtop (7th),” “Mark II Hardtop (8th),” “Scepter Sedan (1st),” “1600GT Coupe (1st),” “Sprinter Marino Hardtop (1st),” “Toyopet Corona Sedan (3rd),” “Toyopet Corona Hardtop (3rd),” “Toyopet Corona Hardtop (4th),” “Toyopet Corona Mark II Hardtop (3rd),” “Toyopet Corona Sedan (3rd),” “Toyopet Corona Sedan (4th),” “Toyopet Crown Sedan (3rd),” “Vista Hardtop (2nd),” “Windom Hardtop (1st),” and “Windom Hardtop (2nd),” 2012, www.toyota-global. com, accessed 17 April 2014 through 3 January 2015; Toyota Motor Sales, “Camry V6 Prominent” [brochure C80046-9007], July 1990; “Carina ED” [brochure 132011-6008], August 1985; “Carina ED” [brochure 131016-8909], September 1989; “Carina ED” [brochure TF0010-9310], October 1993; “Carina FF 4door Sedan” [brochure 131020-5905], May 1984; “Corolla Ceres” [brochure CE0038-9205], May 1992; “Corona EXiV” [brochure 121016-8909], September 1989; “Corona EXiV” [brochure PE0010-9310], October 1993; “Crown” [brochure 101024-6209], September 1987; “Crown 4door hardtop” [brochure TD0018-9110], October 1991; “Mark II” [brochure PC0029-9210], October 1992; “Mark II” [brochure PC0013-9609], September 1996; “New Carina” [brochure 131017-5609], September 1981; “New Corona Coupé” [brochure 121121-6008], August 1985; “New Crown” [brochure 101059-4910], October 1974; “New Crown” [brochure 101365-5409], September 1979; “New Vista” [brochure 191052-6108], August 1986; “Sprinter Marino” [brochure AD0038-9205], May 1992; “The Quality Car: New=Mark II” [brochure 021102-5112], December 1976; “New Mark II” [brochure 111346-5510], October 1980; “The Chaser” [brochure 171114-6308], August 1988; “Toyota 1600GT: Corona 1600S/Corona Hardtop 1600S” [brochure 20030-428], August 1967; “V6 Prominent: New Camry V6 4-door Hardtop” [brochure 141104-6308], August 1988; “Windom” [brochure CH0013-9608], August 1996; “World Prestige Class Windom (V6 3000-4Door Hardtop)” [brochure CH0018-9109], September 1991; “2.6-liter Toyota MK II,” Road & Track Vol. 24, No. 12 (August 1973): 71–72; Mark Wan, “Ford B-Max,” AutoZine.org, 8 October 2012, www.autozine. org/Archive/ Ford/new/ B_Max_2012.html, accessed 12 February 2014; and Jack K. Yamaguchi, “Agony of Prosperity,” L’Editrice Dell’Automobile LEA, World Cars 1973 (Bronxville, NY: Herald Books, 1973); Hattori Yoshi, “Lepoard [sic] Has Teeth Too,” CAR May 1981: n.n., Peter Young, “Performance restored,” Modern Motor February 1983: 95–97.
The online dictionary Jisho (jisho.org) was also a big help in deciphering Japanese-language information.
Some historical exchange rate data for the dollar and the yen came from Lawrence H. Officer, “Exchange Rates Between the United States Dollar and Forty-one Currencies” (2011, MeasuringWorth, https://www.measuringworth.org/exchangeglobal/, used with permission). Exchange rate values cited in the text represent the approximate dollar equivalent of prices in non-U.S. currencies, not contemporary U.S. suggested retail prices, which are cited separately. Please note that all equivalencies cited herein are approximate and are provided solely for the reader’s general reference — this is an automotive history, not a treatise on currency trading or the value of money, and nothing in this article should be taken as financial advice of any kind!
- Bridging the Gap: The Honda / Acura Legend and Rover 800
- RX-Rated: Mazda’s Early Rotary Cars, Part 1
- RX-Rated: Mazda’s Early Rotary Cars, Part 2
- Soaring High: The Lexus SC and Toyota Soarer Coupes
- Thunder and Lightning, Part 1: The Toyota Corolla Levin and Sprinter Trueno
- Thunder and Lightning, Part 2: The AE86 Toyota Corolla Levin/Sprinter Trueno
- Upwardly Mobile: The Lexus LS400 and the Birth of the Japanese Luxury Brands