Behind the scenes lots of interesting things were happening at Nissan. The company was now being run by it's new President Auykama. Auykama was friends with a gentleman by the name of William Gorham, who was an American engineer who had moved to Japan in the 1920s. Gorham was a car enthusiast, and he even managed to start a business in Japan building his own cars, named the Gorham. Auykama was well aware that Nissan still had a lot to learn with regards to car manufacturing, and Gorham offered to return to the United States to try to recruit some more American engineers to work at Nissan and teach the Japanese more about mass production of cars. He returned with much more than originally planned.
While Gorham was in the United States he visited a recently closed factory of the American car manufacturer Graham Paige. Graham Paige had a fairly modern factory and equipment, which was now sitting idle. Gorham contacted Auykama back in Japan and suggested that Nissan should purchase the production line equipment from the Graham Paige factory. Auykama agreed to the plan and a deal was done that netted Nissan all the equipment, and the rights to build the big Graham Paige Crusader for a total of US$390000.
Nissan built a new factory in Yokahama in 1934, and all the old Graham Paige equipment was installed in the new factory. This huge investment gave Nissan the largest and most modern factory in Japan, and the basis on which to expand and grow. The new factory came online in 1935, in time for the start of production of the Datsun 14. This marked the first time that the bodies and chassis were all built in the same factory, rather than having them built by subcontractors.
After having started construction of the smaller Datsun models, in 1937 Nissan started building their own version of the Graham Paige Crusader, which would be known as the Nissan 70.
The Graham Paige Crusader was considered a smaller 'economy' car back in the United States, but when the Nissan 70 went on sale in 1937 it was considered huge by Japanese standards. In fact the car was actually too big for the regular narrow Japanese roads at the time, making the Nissan 70 a bit of a handful to drive in traffic. Two main versions were built, with the most common being the sedan, but an open top phaeton was also built from 1938 onwards.
The engine used in the 70 was a Nissan-built version of the Graham Paige engine, which was a 3670cc 6 cylinder engine producing 85hp. Securing the rights to build this engine would prove to be an astute move by Nissan, because not only did they use the engine in the Nissan 70 sedan, they also used this as their truck engine, updated versions of this engine would power Nissan commercial vehicles right up until the end of the 1950s.
Production of the Nissan 70 continued right up until December 1943. Even though the Nissan 70 was not ideal for everyday driving in Japan it found many uses elsewhere. The biggest costomer for the 70 was the Japanese military, who used it mainly as a staff car during the war. As the Japanese army moved through Asia during the war Nissan 70s were shipped to countries Japan had invaded. As well as staff cars the 70 was also used as an ambulance. After the war Nissan 70s were found as far away as the jungles of New Guinea. In all over 5500 were built between 1937 and 1943.
The seadn version was the most common version.
An open top Phaeton version was introduced in 1938.
The Nissan 70 was a Japanese produced version of the American Graham Paige Crusader.
Length - 4790mm
Width - 1714mm
Height - 1753mm
Wheelbase - 2794mm
Weight - 1410kg
Top speed - unknown
Transmission - Floor change
Model - Graham Paige
Capacity - 3670cc
Bore & Stroke 82x114mm
Power - 85hp@3600rpm
Compression - 5.7 : 1
Carburettor - unknown
Final drive - unknown
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