This weeks trivia is all about the 1981 Nissan Drive Guide system which was basically a crude navigation system for the Nissan Skyline DR30 and the Nissan Gazelle and Silvia S12. Nobody took a wild guess at the teaser from last week, but I’ll get to the purpose of the antenna in this episode! In the 1970s the most advanced navigational system in your car was…a road atlas and a compass! Of course the US military was solving that problem by shooting up GPS satellites from 1973 onwards but the automotive industry also made attempts. In the 1980s in Germany and the US companies used antennas to send signals via various radio frequencies but this was very costly. Meanwhile in Japan Toyota, Honda and Nissan made their own attempts to solve the car navigation question.
1980s Japanese Navigational systems
In 1981 Honda implemented a system called Electro Gyrocator and this system breathed tech savvy Hondaness as the system used an Helium gas gyroscope to detect both rotation and movement. The complex system required printed plastic maps and if you are interested in more photos and background information, Japanese Nostalgic Car blog wrote an article about it. In the same year Toyota implemented a system on their Celica XX but I was not able to find any information about how that system worked.
Nobody took a guess at last weeks teaser and maybe it was a bit too strange indeed. So the question was what is this device called and what does it do?
The device is the Nissan Sportsmatic that was featured in both the Nissan Cherry F10 and the Nissan Pulsar N10 coupe.
The sportsmatic for the F10 was a conventional autobox with torque converter, but the Sports-Matic in the picture is the version on the Pulsar N10. This gearbox is an automatic by Nissan that isn’t a slushmatic, but uses an electromagnetic clutch to engage and disengage the drive.
The engagement knob for this automatic gearbox is a bit unconventional: shifting it up puts it in Drive, shifting it down puts it in low gearing, to the right is the Over Drive while Reverse is left up and Park left down. Continue reading
I found this great video about the Prince R380 on AUTOnGRAPHIC. It features an interview with the late Shinichiro Sakurai taken back in 2004 on the Prince company, Prince Skyline and the Prince R380!
It’s amazing what this small company achieved in just a few years. Of course we all know the Nissan-Prince merger meant the end for the Prince Motor Company. However the thriving engineers stuck around and made thriving products like the S20 engine, Skyline C10 and Cherry E10! It might actually have been the savior for the company as the expensive racing program might have brought down the company.
Found at [AUTOnGRAPHIC] (Edit 2021: link removed as AUTOnGRAPHIC no longer exists!)
The Violet from last monday made me think about its rally heritage. The Violet A10 was Nissan’s most successful rally car and the later models were powered by the LZ20 DOHC engine we know from the Nissan Super Silhouette Formula cars. Back in 1982 Nissan still appreciated their rally achievements and showed it with this TV advertisement:
The video starts with a the normal Gazelle S110 RS commercial, but shortly after that it shows the Nissan Violet A10 splashing through a big muddy pools and going sideways on the fourth Safari Rally. As a bonus it gets followed by another Gazelle S110 RS commercial! Probably they couldn’t get enough of that 4 valve FJ20E engine of theirs! Now that is appreciation! 🙂
Time for some more car chases! This time it is Mitsubishis versus Nissans! Edit: embedding was disabled by the user. Click on the image to watch the video!
This video clip of Guerilla: Tokyo Police Group 8 shows what carnage a group of Nissans can do against the police Mitsubishis. Lucky enough Shou Kuramoto (chief Daimon in Seibu Keisatsu) kills off the rocket launcher. Unfortunately two perfectly good Nissan Gazelle S110s get killed instantly and the Cedric manages to survive a good 8 minutes. So the Mitsubishis prevail over the Nissans. Nissan versus Mitsubishi, 0 : 1.
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