I recently acquired a short Datsun UK press release relating to the NRVII (Nissan Research Vehicle II) from 1983 which lead me to take a closer look at this concept. This car was a pretty advanced project for its time which featured all sorts of technology that today is commonplace such as a navigation system, automatic lights and wipers, tyre pressure warning as well adaptive cruise control. Based on a B11 Sunny (Sentra), the RVII ran a methanol powered turbocharged 1.3 (E13 engine) which put out 120bhp. Along with the weight savings (over an already light car!) afforded by the use of plastics for things like the windows, fuel tank and even the wheels, this must have been a pretty lively performer!
I really love that digital dashboard display and especially the button pad in the centre of the steering wheel which remains stationary while the wheel rotates. Somewhow the RVII could even measure your brainwaves and alert you if you became drowsy. Quite how that worked is a mystery!
The Australian TV program ‘Towards 2000’ ran a short feature on the Nissan NRVII at the time. It is surprising just how advanced this project was and how well developed the systems appear to be, although I suspect the boot was probably full of the electronics needed to run everything… maybe the reason that Nissan declined to let the program makers have a look in there.
In a way, the most surprising thing to me about the RVII, is that Nissan would choose to package such remarkable technology into such an plainly styled and unremarkable looking car! I guess the purpose may have been to present it all in a form that people could relate to so they could see that this was research genuinely intended for the consumer rather than just pie-in-the-sky dream-car stuff. Check out some scans of the original press release below…