At first glance the 1968 Nissan Laurel C30 looks like it could simply be a slighly modified version of the 510 series Datsun Bluebird 1600, but looks can be deceiving, as this is a very different car.
After Nissan and the Prince Motor Company merged in 1966 their seperate design departments continued to work on their own designs. Both design teams were working on a small to medium sized four door car that would also appeal to the sporting driver, both wanted to emulate the concept of the BMW 'Neue Klasse' series of cars that had gathered themselves a good reputation in Europe. The resulting Datsun 510 and Nissan C30 Laurel designs achieved their goals with similar looking sedans, though in the end the Laurel ended up being larger, more sophisticated, and more expensive to build, and when it went on sale at almost exactly the same time as the Datsun 510 it was sold at a premium price.
Many of the design features of the Laurel mirrored those of the 510, especially with their crisp straight modern lines. But the Laurel was over 200mm longer, it's wheelbase was also 200mm longer and it was over 50mm wider as well. This extra length combined with the fact that it was also lower than a 510 gave it a much sleeker appearence. Depending on where the car was sold it was badged as either a Nissan Laurel or as a Datsun 1800. On the side of the front guards there were three small vents arranged in a horizontal line. On the rear guards there was a badge that said either Laurel 1800 or Datsun 1800. The boot lid badge said either Nissan or Datsun. The car's long bonnet covered an engine that was very different to that of the Datsun 510.
Prince engineers were always a bit more advanced than their counterparts at Nissan. Prince had been the first Japanese car maker to sell a car with an overhead cam engine when the Prince Gloria came out in 1962 with the OHC G-7 engine. Nissan on the otherhand had to call on the engineers at Yamaha to help design their new L series OHC engines, which appeared first in the 130 Cedric and then later in the 510. Whilst all this was going on the Prince engineers were working on a gem of an engine that would end up in the Laurel. The engine, a 1815cc 105hp unit called the G-18, was an overhead cam engine with a cross-flow head, having the intake manifold on one side and the exhaust on the other. The cylinder head was an alloy construction with poly-spherical combustion chambers. In it's standard single carburettor form the free-reving G-18 pumped out more power than the top of the line L series engine in the twin carb 510 SSS. Significantly it also matched the output of the old 6 cylinder 2 litre OHC Prince G-7 engine. Later cars had a 1990 123hp twin carb G-20 engine. In the long term the Nissan L series engine would prove to be more durable than the G-18, and less expensive to build, and by the mid-1970s the G-18s had been replaced in the later Laurels by the Nissan L series engines.
Like the 510, the Laurel also had four wheel independent suspension, but unlike the 510 it featured a rack and pinion steering system. The interior was much more up-market, and had a plush and well appointed cabin. For 1969 a rather awkward looking coupe version was added to the range. The coupe featured a more curvatious cabin and rear end, rather similar to the later Cedric 230 coupe, but the curvy rear didn't really match it's straight and angular nose.
The Laurel was never available as widely as the 510, and no attempt was made to sell the car in the USA or Australia, though it was quite popular throughout Europe. The C30 Laurel was in production from April 1968 until March 1972. The Laurel concept proved popular enough to continue on, and the C30 was replaced with the C130 series in 1972. The Laurel series continued on for a total of 34 years before finally ending in 2002 when the 8th generation of the Laurel ceased production.
The sedan version of the Laurel C30 series. Unlike the Datsun 510 no wagon version was offered.
There was also a coupe version available called the Laurel Hardtop.
Length - 4400mm
Width - 1595mm
Height - 1390mm
Wheelbase - 2640mm
Weight - 1095kg
Model - G-15
OHC 4 Cylinder
Capacity - 1483cc
Bore & Stroke - 80x70mm
Power - 94hp@5600rpm
Torque - 96ft/lb@3600rpm
Compression - 8.5 : 1
Carburettor - dual throat down draught
Final Drive - 3.7 : 1
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