The 1966 Nissan Prince Royal, an Imperial Household Limousine

The 1966 Nissan Prince Royal, an Imperial Household Limousine


In Half I of our Deserted Historical past protection of GM’s Turbo-Hydramatic transmission line, your creator made reference to a really unique Nissan that made use of the hefty THM400. That extraordinarily formal Uncommon Journey has been on my thoughts since then, so right here we’re. If it pleases your majesty: The 1966 Nissan Prince Royal.

Immediately’s Uncommon Journey was created through a request from the Imperial Family Company of Japan. The company has its house workplace proper on the grounds of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo and is in control of all state issues of the Japanese Imperial Household. The Company was previously referred to as the Ministry of the Imperial Family, a title that lasted from 701 to 1947.

The Company handles safety, journey, healthcare, state visits, cultural occasions, and administration, and consists of a number of totally different boards of administrators. It retains the 2 primary seals of Japan, and even manages family chores and creates eating menus. With such a broad set of obligations, the non-public vehicular transportation of the Imperial Household falls inside its realm.

Within the Sixties, the automotive business of Japan was on the upswing. The Imperial Family Company wished a pleasant giant automobile to ferry across the Emperor in grace and utmost dignity and reached out to the massive names inside the nation. It was an necessary turning level within the nation’s automotive business, as prior Imperial Household automobile transport was at all times offered by imported autos. The primary Emperor to have a automobile used some Mercedes-Benz 770s within the Thirties, which had been changed within the Sixties by the Rolls-Royce Phantom V. With its maturing automobile business, it was time for a home producer to supply a royal limousine.

Shortly thereafter, an announcement was made by Prince Motor Firm: It was the producer chosen to supply the royal transportation. Prince was comparatively new to vehicles; it was based as an airplane maker referred to as Tachikawa Plane Firm and offered planes for the Japanese Military in World Warfare II. When the battle was over, the corporate was reorganized into Fuji Precision Industries. Shortly thereafter it based its automotive division, the Tokyo Electrical Automobile Firm.

The electrical automobile plan didn’t final lengthy, and in 1952 the corporate renamed itself once more to Prince. That title change was to honor Akihito, who turned invested because the Crown Prince that yr. A fan of adjusting issues up, the Prince identification lasted two years. In 1954 the corporate turned Fuji Precision Industries once more. In that occasion, Fuji purchased out its buyer the Prince Motor Firm and absorbed the identification. However there was boredom with the Fuji title after just a few extra years, and in February 1961 it turned the Prince Motor Firm as soon as once more.

In the course of the title modifications, Prince constructed a bigger automobile referred to as the Gloria from 1959 onward. Associated to their sporty midsize Skyline mannequin, the Gloria was meant for a wealthier buyer as a luxurious automobile. It wore totally different physique panels to the Skyline however used its platform and engines. The very first Gloria was introduced to Crown Prince Akihito in 1959 and established the royal tie to Gloria. The luxurious sedan was a marriage anniversary current.

The Gloria switched to its second technology for 1962 and grew decently bigger in all dimensions. It rode on an extended wheelbase and gained an inline-six engine of two.0 or 2.5 liters in displacement. Very similar to the primary Gloria that used American styling cues through its quad headlamps and Dagmar bumpers, the second performed off the seems of the 1959 Buicks and had some similarities to the Chevrolet Corvair. Beneath, it was nonetheless on the identical platform because the Skyline.

The second Gloria (S40) remained in manufacturing via 1967, by which level Prince was in a little bit of trouble. Although the Skyline and Gloria had been profitable, the corporate was small and lacked the total lineups of the massive names like Nissan and Toyota. Nissan specifically preferred what the Skyline and Gloria needed to supply, and eyed a merger with Prince.

The official announcement was made by Prince in Might of 1965, and the merger was accomplished in August 1966. Prince was absolutely absorbed into the bigger Nissan, although its new chief saved the Skyline and Gloria fashions on sale. Nissan had its personal Gloria competitor (the Cedric), and each merged onto the Gloria’s platform for 1967.

In the meantime, improvement of the brand new imperial limousine was properly underway at Prince. When Prince made the announcement in regards to the contract in 1965, the unique order was for 2 autos. The primary one can be delivered in 1966, and the opposite in 1967.

Although the S40 Gloria was nonetheless in manufacturing, the Imperial Family’s order would replicate the upcoming third-generation Gloria, coded A30. If the second technology went for a Corvair and Buick look, the third Gloria was all about Cadillac. On the entrance finish, the quad headlamps remained however had been stacked atop each other as an alternative of a horizontal configuration. The sweeping fender line that merged into the hood like an Invicta was changed by a squared-off entrance finish with a single crease down the center, embellished by a chrome trim strip.

The grille was break up horizontally into two giant sections and mirrored a diamond mesh sample. The prior grille was break up down the center vertically and had a tighter, less complicated mesh. Retained on the brand new automobile was an additional grille under the primary one, divided into a number of sections by chrome bars. The decrease grille resided above a chrome bumper that was extra sq. than earlier than and tucked nearer into the entrance of the automobile.

Down the facet, the sturdy Buick-influenced character line was gone. The crease was pulled a lot nearer to the physique and lacked any chrome ornament. It was supplemented by a chrome trim strip that began between the headlamps and ran the total size of the automobile. A decrease character line remained nearly the identical because it was on the second-gen Gloria. It stretched between the midpoint of the tires and prolonged onto the rear. Solely barely modified was the upright greenhouse, with an analogous glass space between the generations.

Thicker and Sixties-ready was a revised C-pillar, which was extra squared off than earlier than. Mentioned squared pillar result in a a lot squarer rear windscreen; a wraparound design within the outdated Gloria. The rear finish was modified fairly a bit within the transition and grew extra formal and serious-looking. The ovoid brake lamps of 1966 turned vertical rectangular items for 1967, very like a Cadillac.

The trunk was usually extra squared off and ended at a rear fascia with a full-width chrome trim panel. The panel contained the reverse lamps and had “GLORIA” block lettering above it, which changed the script logos of the second-gen Gloria. The rear bumper, just like the entrance, was extra sq. and tucked in in opposition to the physique.

The wheelbase between the second and third technology Glorias remained constant at 105.5 inches, however general size elevated barely from 183.1 inches to 184.6″. The width remained the identical at 66.7 inches, and the peak shrunk from 58.3 inches to 56.9 as Prince pursued a decrease, longer look.

Physique types had been two all through the second- and third-generation Gloria, as a extra formal sedan and sensible wagon. Engines had been three, the entire 2.0-liter displacement. The entry-level model was an inline-four, whereas the opposite two had been inline-six. Transmissions had been a four-speed guide or three-speed computerized, and 1967 was the primary time a Gloria was supplied with an computerized.

It was from this foundation that the engineers at Prince labored up their Imperial Household transportation. The Gloria’s wheelbase was prolonged significantly, to 152.8 inches. That made for an general size of 242.3 inches, or 57.7″ longer than the usual automobile. The Emperor’s limousine was additionally a lot wider than the usual automobile at 82.7 inches, and it had a hat-ready formal roof that meant an general top of 69.7 inches.

Although the dimensional modifications required bodywork that was totally bespoke, the Royal maintained manufacturing facility styling. The roof was notably taller and extra formal, and the rear doorways adopted a rear hinge, however these had been the one substantive design modifications. Requisite Imperial Seals had been utilized on the entrance and rear of the Royal (no license plate needed). The chrysanthemum seals additionally appeared on the center of the passenger doorways.

Underhood issues had been decidedly totally different from a normal Gloria. The Royal was very heavy at 7,054 kilos and thus required an engine far past a 2.0-liter inline-six. Prince developed an engine particularly for the Royal, and it was a formidable one. Named the W64, the mill was a 6.4-liter V8 – far past the passenger automobile engines Japan produced on the time. With overhead valves, the 90-degree engine produced 256 horsepower. Fairly an American-like specification. Solely eight examples had been produced, and 5 of them went into examples of the Royal.

To tug all these tons and liters of displacement down the street, Prince wanted a powerful transmission. It turned to the brand new three-speed Turbo-Hydramatic 400 from GM. Like different customers of that individual gearbox, the THM400 impressed by shrugging off huge weight and energy figures.

Tires on the Royal had been customized as properly and made by Bridgestone. Elsewhere on the engineering entrance, the Royal had double-wishbone entrance suspension, and leaf springs on the rear. The brakes had been drums in any respect corners, and power-assisted. Double pane glass shielded from outdoors noises and allowed the passenger space to be pressurized. There was no decreasing glass partition with the driving force: All communication should happen through in-car telephone.

Inside, luxurious lodging included eight passenger seats, configured in three rows within the rear. The middle seats had been of the folding selection and solely meant for safety guards. The rear lounge additionally included a bar. Whereas the driving force sat on vulgar lifeless cow surfaces, the rear passenger compartment was coated in wool upholstery, as anticipated.

Although improvement was performed by Prince, as Nissan was the merged firm identification it additionally put its title on the Royal. The vehicles had been registered as Princes, nonetheless. In whole, 5 Royals had been delivered to the Imperial Family in 1966 and 1967, with one in hearse configuration. The Imperial Household loved a protracted service life from their V8 limousines: They had been used till July of 2006 when all had been changed by the Toyota Century Royal.

[Images: YouTube]

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September 2022