Not just President. President Sovereign. With a name like that, you’d expect an executive sedan with VIP appointments—and on that front the Nissan President delivers. Luxury Japanese automobiles didn’t take hold in the United States until the late ‘80s with the birth of Lexus, Acura, and Infiniti, while the President and Toyota Century had been ferrying around the elite in the home country since the 1960s.
If you’re looking for a taste of the same experience as former Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Satō has during official state business, RM Sotheby’s has a 1987 Nissan President Sovereign V8E VIP for sale in its upcoming Fort Lauderdale Auction. This car is several years later than Satō’s time in office, with the second-generation (1973–89) body and interior. As a later model, this President combines modern updates like fuel injection but retains a decidedly old-school feel.
Also, it has fender mirrors. Fender mirrors are undeniable cool, if also potentially hazardous to pedestrians and cyclists. Maybe it’s that aura of danger that adds to the coolness.
Inside there are doilies covering the upper parts of the seats, front and rear. Such trim is must-have on both Japanese taxis and executive transportation. While not pictured in the auction listing, there is also a fold-down pass-through in the front passenger seat so you can kick back and lounge from the rear seat. Of course, the back is the place to be in this car, with plenty of features suited to your executive status.
You can catch up on the latest news with an on-board TV audio tuner. Or just recline your adjustable rear seat, kick on the seat heaters, and plug in your headphones to hear some soothing relaxation tapes. Feeling productive? Plug a microphone into the rear tape deck and dictate some memos for your driver to drop off when you get back to the home office. And you won’t have to bother speaking to the driver if you’re hot or cold: There are vents right behind the rear headrests, with a temperature slider above the center armrest.
Like the first-generation Toyota Century, the Nissan President was made with comfort as the top priority. The 4.4-liter pushrod V-8 engine, made specifically for this car, is more smooth than strong. It puts out 200 horsepower, meager for the late ‘80s and in terms of specific output but offers up 253 pound-feet of torque routed through the three-speed automatic. You won’t feel the transmission shifting. There just aren’t that many situations where it needs to shift.
This particular car previously sold at Auctions America (now part of RM Sotheby’s) Fort Lauderdale auction in 2017 for $13,200. The current no-reserve estimate is $15,000–$20,000. No other car in the classic market combines the gravitas of three-box, low hood and trunk proportions with the sealed-beam, quad headlamp front end styling of America’s more forgettable Malaise-era sedans. We’re kidding of course, because the President pulls off the look. Must be because of those fender mirrors.