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Concept Car of the Week: Nissan ARC-X (1987)

Fri, 05 Oct 2012

In the mid to late 1980s Japan's car industry was booming and with it its confidence. No longer satisfied with producing brilliantly engineered but worthy cars, Japanese manufacturers had ambitions of taking on the Europeans in the luxury market.

Nissan made its intentions clear at the 1987 Tokyo motor show with the ARC-X concept. And Nissan's vision of contemporary luxury wasn't a baroque Euro-pastiche but a remarkably clean, beautifully proportioned sedan the purity of which had not been seen before and arguably hasn't since.

Its exterior by Shigeru Miki is an object lesson in minimalism from the tip of its pebble-smooth DRG to its high-set rear deck. Its detailing and graphics are almost non-existant but what little there is is meticulously considered – just take a look at the delicate door ‘handles'.

Inside, Mr Late-1980s-company-exec was treated to the most up-to-date electronics, including a digital gauge pack (it was the 1980s after all) and satellite navigation. Meanwhile his plush velour seat also housed the gear selector and various auxiliary controls.

The ARC-X Concept was awarded the Car Design award in 1987. Nissan went on to create the Infiniti brand two years later but has yet to confincingly match its European rivals, certainly on home turf.

First shown Tokyo 1987
Designer Shigeru Miki
Length 4,770mm
Width 1,795mm
Height 1,315mm
Wheelbase 2,850mm
Drag 0.26Cd
Engine VG30DE dohc 24v V6

By Owen Ready