Nissan is one of the best and most enduring automakers today, with a reputation that dates back to the 1950s. The 60s era was home to a lot of great cars. Meanwhile, Nissan’s Bluebird and Cedric models were already at their peak selling point. To meet the demand for a more stylish sedan, the brand decided to create a version that would offer the benefits of its best-selling sedans, but in a compact package with more luxurious features. In 1968, the Nissan Laurel C30 was born and ticked all the boxes of a compact sedan. As the first generation of its kind, the C30 was a more upmarket version of the Bluebird. This sedan rivaled the top-of-the-line versions of the sedans of the 60s.
The same is true in a sleek exterior design that featured a compact build, twin headlights and 14-inch whitewall tires. The Nissan Laurel ran on the same base engine as the Skyline. It was a 4-cylinder OHC with a displacement of 1800 cc. It also had 4-wheel independent suspension which was later adapted by the third generation Bluebird 510 version. Today, the Laurel is among the rarest classic 1960s Nissan models you can find.
The Nissan Laurel debuted in the late 1960s as a worthy competitor to the Toyota Corona Mark II and the Mazda Luce. This is the story of the Nissan Laurel C30.
The Nissan Laurel C30 had humble beginnings and received a premium design
The Nissan Laurel was a unique vehicle and one that would stand out from the rest of the counterparts offered in the late 1960s. When it was first released, it became a top choice for anyone looking for a mid-size sedan. daily. Offering more luxury than its predecessors, the Nissan Laurel C30 dominated its segment during its production years. It was a true upgraded version of the Datsun Bluebird 510 – another viable sedan at the time.
For the first generation of the range, the brand offered the Nissan Laurel in a luxury compact package. Customers could choose between two body styles: a 2-door hardtop coupé and a 4-door sedan model. Its fairing featured distinct twin round headlights. It was a fashionable feature at the time, and something that would later become standard for its impending generation lines. The headlights mingled with the sleek grille. The silver bumper gave the front a nice bold finish. Models produced the following year featured “GX” lettering on the grille. Most 4-door versions were equipped with auxiliary lighting in the front. This came in the form of two additional lights fitted between the grille and the bumper, for extra visibility.
Another factor that was atypical about the Laurel compared to most classics was the mirrors. Called mirrors, these were positioned on the front panel, just above the wheel arches and signal lights. Compared to the door-positioned mirrors we have today, we’d say visibility out of the Laurel C30’s side mirrors would have been difficult, especially in bad weather. 14-inch whitewall tires and full wheel covers enhanced the look of the car. In dimensions, the first generation Nissan Laurel measured 169.5 inches in length and 63.5 inches in width. When combined with the 55.3 inches in height, the Laurel was among the most compact vehicles of its kind.
The interior of the Nissan Laurel C30 had all the trimmings of a trendy compact sedan
The interior of the Nissan Laurel complements the exterior design. It featured a unique instrument cluster, with well-positioned, driver-oriented buttons and dials. Its instrument panel offered revamped odometer readings for the next model year. The 1970 Nissan Laurel C30 2000GX version received sportier equipment. It also came with two bucket seats in the front and a bench seat in the back for the 4-door sedan. While it was the smaller version of the previous vehicles, the Nissan Laurel had a considerably large cabin, thanks to the 103.1-inch wheelbase. This made it the perfect family sedan.
The classic Nissan Laurel offered two durable engines
The 2-door hardtop coupe models were equipped with a 2.0-liter G-20 inline-4 engine, which developed 120 horsepower. On the other hand, the 4-door version of the vehicle units offered a 1.8-liter inline 4-cylinder engine. It was a similar engine to the Skyline model and only produced 99 horsepower at 5,600 rpm. These engines were either mated to a 4-speed manual or a 3-speed automatic transmission system to power the rear wheels. For better driving performance, the Nissan acquired a heavy-duty suspension. It featured strut suspensions at the front and a semi-trailing arm suspension system at the rear. Just like the C10 Skyline. The power and handling capabilities of the Nissan Laurel greatly influenced the second-generation C130 version, which the brand produced from 1972 to 1977, and many units that followed.
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