I had never heard of the 1973 Nissan ESV before, but I accidentally bumped into a couple of photos on the Nissan Newsroom website. In the early 1970s, the Japanese government forced automakers to invest money and time into vehicle safety and Nissan announced in 1971 it would create the ESV. Apparently not only Volvo was doing experimental safety vehicles, but the whole of Japan. The result of that push can be seen in the two ESVs Nissan created.
The E2 was aimed more towards absorbing impact energy:
This cutaway drawing gives me more questions than answers. What is the deal with that Pedestrian Safety Device? Is that a bull bar to ensure pedestrians are flipped into the air over the car to ensure they don’t hit the windshield?
Luckily there is another cutaway drawing of the other ESV, the E1:
This looks a lot more sane to me. Many of these features are common today and slowly appeared on cars over the past five decades. The pedestrian bull bar was removed and replaced by a urethane front bumper, which we have seen become popular 10 years after the ESV. Airbags became available mid-1980s and standard mid-1990s, so that took about 15 years. The door guard beams only became available in the early 1990s, so that took a good 20 years. The Anti Skid Control sounds like a (crude) ABS system to me, which became common late 1990s and early 2000s, so that took about 30 years.
Only the periscope didn’t catch on very well. I wonder why…
If I look at the padded interior of the ESV, I think it took a good 3 decades to catch up.
Judging from the body shape I would say the ESVs were based upon the Nissan Violet 710. It’s not 100% the same, but it is close. However, that’s not possible as the 710 would only be released in 1973. Probably both cars were developed alongside each other and perhaps (this is a very long shot) the ESVs were actually once test mules for the 710.
The ESV looks much more modern in its appearance than the Violet. I would personally say it’s a late 1970s car. The styling is close to the Skyline Japan and the bulky padded interior also makes it look much more modern.
All photos in this post are either Nissan press photos.