DTW Trifecta: 1982 Nissan Laurel, Givenchy Edition

At Curbside Classics I found an article about this remarkable rarity. It combines three themes that we have been considering in recent months: engines, Japanese design and special editions.

1982 Nissan Laurel Givenchy edition: source
1982 Nissan Laurel Givenchy edition: source

Precious little visual information exists regarding this car so please excuse the slightly rough images. What is fascinating is that it reminds me of Patrick Kavanagh’s line that “through a chink too wide there comes in no wonder”. The photo suggests enough to let your imagination to just go flying wildly.

1982 Nissan Laurel Givenchy edition
1982 Nissan Laurel Givenchy edition: source

If anyone has a brochure for this car it must be worth as much as I am willing to pay. There would appear to be no chance of this model existing in Europe.

Being a Japanese car, the vehicle is the product of Japanese design which we discussed very successfully this year. Finally, the car has a 2.0 straight six engine which means it belongs in the group of the cars that took the road less travelled.  According to CC: “This is a fourth generation Laurel (built from 1980-84) and a fairly rare Givenchy edition built only in 1982.  As a

1982 Nissan Laurel: source
1982 Nissan Laurel: source

special model, it had the top engine offering; a 2.0 L-series (L20ET) fuel injected, turbocharged straight six, good for 145 hp.” Dwell on that, please. That is a Japanese 2.o litre turbocharged straight six petrol engine. From where I am sitting that makes it a bit of a unicorn.

Presumably the turbocharging made up for whatever the configuration lacked if it had been un-blown. For me turbos exist to make up for the inadequacy of a 4-cylinder and is the least bad option (the others being a raised displacement, oddly-spaced gearing or supercharging). I will leave this to our resident enginologists to discuss. Remember, I’m not an engineer.

All of this makes the 1982 Laurel a remarkably unusual car: a limited edition with its special paint and upholstery coupled to an engine design which today is almost entirely out of fashion.

I had a  quick look for Nissan Laurels and found just two. This 1987 costs €2000 despite having 999,999 km on the odometer. You’ll like the lens flare on the photo below. I wonder is the seller one of those people who creates artist impressions for architecture firms. Doesn’t the 1987 car look a lot like a 1982 Toyota Carina?

Cherishably bad private-buyer photography: source
Cherishably bad private-buyer photography: source

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

14 thoughts on “DTW Trifecta: 1982 Nissan Laurel, Givenchy Edition”

  1. Were that the actual mileage shown, that last one is almost worth buying just to see the odometer reset to zero as you drive it down the road.

    As I’ve mentioned before somewhere, in 1983 I spent several weeks in Bahrain, and we were driven to our workplace every day in a metallic green Laurel hardtop with a column shift. I can’t say that it impressed me, except the pilarless construction. The driver made a big meal of gear changing and taking roundabouts, but I don’t know if that was down to the car’s deficiencies or his.

    1. We need a Tommy Hilfiger special edition of the CLK and a Ralph Lauren edition BMW530i. I feel that Hugo Boss and Audi go together though maybe Brax could be a fit.

  2. Nice car – i cannot remember a six-cylindres turbo-engine having that few horsepowers – very interesting! Maybe it is that rare, because this engine likes fuel very much….
    The interior is nice too, but i would prefer sitting (or sleeping at the rear seats with the lateral pillows) in the predecessor with its tremendous seats.

    1. Goodness, those are veritable thrones. More good research from our readers.
      Those seats show what Cadillac might have been trying to do in the 70s. The difference is they look inviting. Note the way the rear seats have wings on the headestraints. You could really enjoy life in this car.
      The engine arrangement is intriguing. Why not a bigger capacity six, say 2.5 or 3.0 litres? I wonder if a review exists. Time to consult eBay.

  3. Richard – If you want 2 litre sixes, Japan’s the place, and has been since the early ’60s. It’s a ROOLZ thing, and mostly seems to apply to Crown / Cedric size cars, with the tax-busting sub 1700mm width. Turbos too, especially in the early-mid ’80s, when turbo mania raged through Japan.

    Thes JDM ROOLZ result in some odd stuff. A small-six Brougham Datsun is probably a lot more liveable than a 250cc four cylinder motorcycle with a 16,000rpm rev limit.

    1. Robertas: your encyclopædic knowledge always astounds. I’d imagine the Parazitas library must be quite a sight.
      Presumably few of these little sixes came to Europe?

  4. I doubt it. Most of the 2 litre sixes were reduced capacity versions of units made in larger displacements. It cost pennies more to make the larger capacity engines, and these were preferred by export markets. There were some European markets whose tax regimes were censorious about engines over 2 litres. Italy and Greece spring to mind, but I don’t think either were large-scale consumers of large Japanese saloons.

    There was a brief emergence of small capacity Japanese V6s in the UK in early to mid 1990s when the benefit in kind tax rules favoured sub-2 litre cars.

    The lucky British got a 2 litre six cylinder Nissan QX as the car wasn’t engineered for any engine other than the VQ series V6. Mitsubishi offered the contemporary Galant with a choice of a straight four or a V6, and Mazda utterly spoiled us with the 323F, MX-3 and the aforementioned Xedos 6.

  5. This thread really got me thinking. First of all about the R32 (which I know had a bigger engine) which in turn made me think of “Hakosuka” which had a 2 litre inline 6 and then of the beautiful Toyota 2000gt which also had a straight 6 2 litre, good for nearly 150hp without a turbo. (Wasn’t sure whether to comment here or on the small 6 cylinder post!). With the aid of Prof Google I looked up that blown engine in the Laurel and it seems that it was Japan’s first ever turbo engine of any kind. It had no intercooler (partly explaining it’s pretty poor power stats) and it wikipedia says it was actually fitted to a plethora of cars including Glorias, Cedrics, Skylines and some Z cars.

    1. BMW didn’t have a monopoly on straight sixes then. Opel ought to have ploughed on with theirs and not gone to a V for the Omega B. What are the odds of much of this surviving? And finally, as with our Japan theme I understand that the EU focus of the motoring press has been blinkering.

  6. By the way – the Nissan Laurel Givenchy has very nice alloy wheels – typical for Nissan. The Nissan Cube was available with the same wheels design:

    1. That’s smashing – what a super photo. I hadn’t noticed the wheels on the Laurel until now. I also am sure I hadn’t seen the Cube in a dark colour. The highlights are really distinct. The alloys are very pleasing. The huge radii on all the graphic elements confound the cubic profile. The reverse happens on the Citroen XM which has a very smooth silhouette but angular graphics so you think it’s an angular car.
      Can amyone suggest a fashion designer who would suit the Cube? I feel it ought to be properly prestigious so you get a deeply lux special edition.

    2. Markus. Thank you for pointing that out. I hadn’t noticed it myself. Now I can hold my head up in the face of car park jibes, knowing that my Cube has lineage in the shape of alloys that hark back to the classic Laurel Givenchy.

  7. Nissan Cube Chanel edition?
    The upholstery should be designed by Dior and the interior plastic trim and carpet should be bespoke coloured. If possible a supplier for the carpet should be found so its nice and soft, not automotive nylon.

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