At any time limit, it appears, there are a couple of automakers main the way in which in design. Hyundai’s arguably setting the tone nowadays with its software of dramatic, daring shapes to the vehicles it sells in sometimes conservatively styled segments. Cowl up the badges, and nobody would guess the 2021 Elantra’s Z-slashed flanks reside on a automobile produced by the identical firm that constructed the dowdy 2006-2010 Elantra a decade prior. Nissan, within the late 1970s, was not the Hyundai of the 2020s, however the 1977 Nissan AD-2 idea reveals an organization that was attempting laborious to set itself aside from the Japanese sedan crowd. The AD-2 was daring, adventurous, and really, very blocky.
Only a 12 months earlier than the AD-2 hit the scene, the Aston Martin Lagonda Sequence 2 bridged the hole between the extraordinarily wedgy supercar development and the luxurious sedan style with an arresting, controversial design. And it wasn’t penned by an edgy Italian design home, however somewhat a homegrown designer: William Cities who’d joined Aston a couple of years earlier.
The AD-2 is not any clone, nor even a duplicate of the Lagonda, nevertheless it’s laborious to think about the hard-edged British sedan did not have an effect on the Nissan idea’s design. In any case, the Lagonda had exploded onto the scene. If an organization wished to make a design assertion, taking a web page out of Aston Martin’s Lagonda playbook could be sensible.
The AD-2 was noticeably extra upright than the Lagonda, with skinny, swept-back pillars. The automotive’s triple glassed-in headlights on all sides of an higher fascia sans grille appear like an early shot on the later “Iron Masks” Skyline therapy. The flush taillights are somewhat generic.
However look nearer and you may spot some wild particulars. The rear window wraps round with a pointy crease, one thing that a couple of Normal Motors manufacturing vehicles of the period toyed with. There is a good bit of tumblehome to the slabby flanks, the door handles nestle below the facet home windows (on the high fringe of the door), and the facet mirrors … Effectively, they’re tucked into unusual cowl arches that circulate again from the entrance fringe of the hood, leaving one thing like a reverse energy bulge within the center.
When you actually nerd out on unusual Japanese vehicles, these wing mirrors may tickle some nook of your mind. Sure, they’re a bit like those discovered on the Nissan Autech Zagato Stelvio AZ1—a bizarre, fantastic oddball Nissan constructed a couple of years afterward the Leopard platform (offered right here because the Infiniti M30). In the meantime, the AD-2 was constructed on a predecessor to the Leopard, the Laurel, and featured the corporate’s L28 I-6.
Whereas it seems that some AD-2 influences trickled down into the corporate’s sporty and strange choices, it appears the automotive’s design cues have been left off of Nissan’s future bread-and-butter fashions. The early Maxima was blocky however extra conventional in its styling, whereas the designs of the funky little NX and the sporty 200SX went fully totally different instructions.
The AD-2 is an attention-grabbing window into an period whereby the extra baroque traits of the 1970s have been giving strategy to a extra wedge-like look. By 1985, even the plain-jane Honda Accord adopted a doorstop profile and Prelude-esque pop-up headlights.
The AD-2 explored some attention-grabbing concepts, even when its design wasn’t essentially profitable as a complete. However whilst we recognize it (or sure points of it, at the least), we’re unhappy to report that Nissan says this idea now not exists.