18 September 2022

More than an old car #200: Nissan Cedric H31

Many people tend to associate Japanese cars with high performance, being small-sized or quirky. However, they are more than just that, just like this 1964 Nissan Cedric Custom H31!

First introduced in 1960, the Cedric was developed as a purely domestic medium-size passenger car to replace the Austin A50 Cambridge, which Nissan had obtained licence to manufacture previously. It featured a style strongly influenced by American cars, such as a wraparound windscreen, forward-leaning A-pillar, vertical dual headlamps and tail fins.

Initially, it was only available with a 1500 cc engine and came in either 4-door sedan or wagon version. A 1900 cc engine was later introduced: 2 separate trims were available, namely the 1900 DX and Custom. The Custom model was 1000 mm longer than the 1500 and 1900 DX. In October 1962, the vertical headlamps were now horizontal and the grille design was changed to a 1-piece version. The model number was also changed to H31 during this time. September 1963 saw a revised grille design: it was now split into 2 parts and the lower half had 7 vertical lines.


(Picture credits to: https://www.cutlass70.com/entry/2021/11/30_31Cedric)

The final facelift in September 1964 had the lower half with 4 vertical lines (i.e. this particular unit in the blog post). Furthermore, the taillights was also changed from 3 segments to 2 segments for the final facelift. A luxurious version known as the Cedric Special (type 50) was fitted with a 2800 cc engine, along with a number plate recess on the bumper. It was also longer than other Cedrics, coming in at 4850 mm.

Strictly speaking, the 'H31 Cedric' refers only to the Custom model but it has become a catch-all for the 1st-generation model. The H31 Cedric was powered by a 1883 cc Nissan H straight-4 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 140 km/h with an acceleration of 16.4 seconds [0-100 km/h]. and had dimensions of 4650 x 1690 x 1505 mm. It weighed 1260 kg and had a fuel consumption of 13.4 litres / 100 km.

Production of the 30/31 series ended in 1965, where it was succeeded by the 130 series. The H31 Cedric was first sold here in 1963 by Tan Chong & Sons Motor Co where it was retailing for $8,450. However, no original cars here have survived: this unit was imported from Japan a few years ago. It is noted that H31 Cedrics still have a large number that exist: even though Japanese cars from the 60s are not deemed collectible, it is a pleasant surprise to know that someone actually knew about this model's existence and decided to bring it here. While it is currently unregistered, I hope that someday you can get to see this rarity out and about on our roads!

10 September 2022

More than an old car #199: Ferrari 365GTB/4 'Daytona'

As our country slowly opens up its measures, it has been really great to see car meets back in full force. I have also known of others who have travelled overseas for car shows and a apart of me feels envious that I may not have a chance to see them. This also reminded me of a car show that I attended back in 2018, where I was able to see this lovely 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 'Daytona'!

By the time Ferrari introduced the traditional front-engined 275 GTB/4 in 1966, its competitors were already releasing cars with larger engines and a mid-engine layout: Ford with its GT40 and Lamborghini with its Miura. The Miura was more of a threat to Ferrari as it was a genuine series production also in Italy. Aware that it was lagging behind, the 365 GTB/4 was conceived and subsequently unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in 1968. The new car was unofficially dubbed Daytona, in recognition of Ferrari's podium finishes at the 1967 24 Hours race.

The bodywork was designed by Pininfarina and made at the Scaglietti works in Modena. Featuring a chiselled nose, rakish cabin and muscular tail, Pininfarina was able to blend the curves with flat pointy surfaces that would characterise the wedge era of the 1970s. Apart from a pair of discreet vents on the hood, there were no ducts nor spoilers (other than a set of quarter bumpers), giving the car a very clean design. More uniquely, the headlights were covered by a Plexiglas panel, giving it a distinctive look. 

As expected of a Ferrari, the interior was upholstered with luxurious leather and alcantara. Cockpit visibility was extremely good compared to the GT40 and Miura, and gauges were all contained within an oval binnacle. Additional options could be had, such as head rests, air-conditioning and wire wheels instead of the star-shaped Cromodoras. 

Ferrari was unable to sell the 365 GTB/4 in the US as the covered headlights were deemed illegal; this led to a revamp in 1971 when pop-up headlights were introduced. Additional marker lights and installation of an ignition system were some of the numerous changes introduced. It was also around this time that a convertible version known as the 365 GTS/4 was released as well, even though a prototype had been exhibited in 1969. The steering wheel was further changed to a smaller leather one compared to wood rim previously.

The 365 GTB/4 was powered by a 4390 cc Tipo 251 Colombo V12 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 280 km/h with an acceleration of 5.7 seconds [0-100 km/h]. It had dimensions of 4425 x 1760 x 1245 mm, weighed in at 1600 kg and had a whopping fuel consumption of 25 litres / 100 km.

Production of the 365 GTB/4 ended in 1973 with 1,284 made, of which only 149 were in RHD. The Daytona gained fame for featuring in the inaugural Cannonball Run in 1971, where it made the journey from New York to Los Angeles in slightly less than 36 hours (with an average speed of 129 km/h). It also appeared in the sitcom Miami Vice (though the actual car used was a Corvette C3 chassis). 

This particular unit is currently owned by the Sultan of Johor, and it was exhibited 4 years ago as part of a classic car show. Interestingly, at least 1 existed in Singapore back in the 1980s before it was exported to the UK. While there is none currently here to the best of my knowledge, it is not everyday that you get to see this rarity up close...perhaps you may be able to see one overseas!