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A “Temple on Wheels:” 1989 Nissan President Hearse

I don’t know about you, but I had never heard of a Nissan President. Nissan introduced their expensive, flagship, top-of-the-line luxury vehicle in 1965, some two years ahead of its rival, Toyota, and their Century luxury vehicle. At the time, it boasted Japan’s largest engine displacement, 4.0 liters, and its largest body, taking some obvious styling cues from Detroit. The second-generation President made its debut in 1973, with even more influence from America’s luxury cars (it’s been described as a two-feet shorter, six inches narrower ’73 Cadillac), and would remain virtually unchanged through the 1990 model year. Well, here we have a nicely preserved example of a 1989 Nissan President for your consideration. And, oh yeah, it was converted into a highly-ornate Miyagata-style hearse over in Japan at some point. It is located in Massillon, Ohio and is currently for sale here on Facebook Marketplace for $12,500. A special thanks to Ted for sending this unique vehicle our way.

Being a curious guy, I did a little research and found that the lavish looks of these hearses (sometimes called a “mobile temple and palace on wheels”) are intended to resemble a Buddhist temple or Shinto shrine, and became popular in Japan after World War II. More than 2,000 of these Miyagata-style hearses were owned by Japanese funeral businesses in the year 2000, but that number has fallen to an estimated 400 today as smaller, simpler, family funerals have become more common. As a result, these lavish hearses are growing more popular outside of Japan and are now finding new homes around the world.

The mileage on this right hand drive hearse is listed as only 11,538 and the interior, like the President’s exterior, is very well preserved. Being a luxury vehicle, the light gray cloth seats look very sofa-like and comfortable and I’m not seeing any noticeable wear. The attractive door panels look great as does the tasteful, medium-gray, woodgrain-trimmed instrument panel. It looks very 1980’s, but it’s smart looking and functional with excellent fit and finish. Overall, the interior looks like new, but I’d get rid of the blood-red carpeted floor mat.

There are no images of the President’s engine, but the seller says Power comes from a Y44E V8, rated at about 197 horsepower and 253 lb-ft of torque. Output is sent to the rear wheels via a 3-speed automatic transmission. All functions are operational.”  Professional cars, especially those associated with the funeral business such as hearses and flower cars, have always fascinated me from a styling and visual aspect (ever seen a bulbous, bizarre-looking ’58 Cadillac hearse?). Sure, this isn’t a mainstream collectable, but it’s an interesting example of how another culture on another continent approaches “your final ride.” And let’s face it, you won’t see another one of these at your local cars and coffee gathering anytime soon. 


  1. Casey

    Holy cow !!!! …This has to be a 1of 1. ..I don’t think many people would want something like this, even if were free.
    Well, this sure is different !!! 🤪🤪😂😂

    Like 12
  2. John Eder

    This will be a big hit at “Coffins and Coffee”…

    Like 34
    • Ron Denny Ron Denny Staff

      Heh Heh. Rim shot on that one, John…

      Like 9
  3. Rockwreck

    Wasn’t this for sale several months ago on some internet site?

    Like 6
    • Frank TA

      Yes it was listed on “Cars & Bids.” Sold for $6,900. on 10/12/2023. There was no reserve and 3 people bid. Someone is looking for a quick turnover profit.

      Like 4
      • Ted

        Great recollection Frank TA! Looking at that posting now! It will be a nice flip if it sells!

        Like 1
  4. Stan

    Need a heavier chasis to haul most Canadians and Americans 🇺🇸🇨🇦🍔🍟⚰️

    Like 16
  5. Chris Cornetto

    I thought my 65 Caddy crown sovereign was gaudy. Most folk around here would see this and think it was an ice cream truck.

    Like 6
  6. DN

    WOULD rather have a 54 caddy with its early fins,

    Like 2
  8. Bilbow

    Make an interesting weekend camper.
    Vanity plate “CFN CMPR”.
    Wonder if you have storage in upper section?

    Like 3
  9. Car Nut Tacoma

    I’ve heard of the Nissan President. I’ve never seen one up close or in person, they were never offered here in the USA for some reason. But anyone who’s a JDM Japanese car enthusiast has heard of these cars. I think the most upscale Nissan we’ve gotten that I’ve seen was the Infiniti Q45 back in the 1990s.

    Like 1
  10. 59poncho

    I thought that contraption was in the background in the first picture!!! Damn, ruined a cool sedan.

    Like 2
  11. Kurt Member

    I LOVE IT. Would freak out my older neighbors though. Interesting power plant, a V8?

    Like 1
    • John Eder

      I thought that it was a highly modified Chevy Blazer Chalet…

      Like 1
  12. Cletus

    Japanese answer to the El Camino on a Sunday.

    Like 0
  13. z28th1s

    There was a dealer/collector that had a warehouse full of cars pretty close to me here in VA that had one of these a couple of years ago. Might very well be the same car as I’m sure there aren’t many like it.

    Like 1
  14. Ward William

    I would love to run that as a small campervan just for faeces and giggles. Just to see faces as you rock up to the RV camp in this.

    Like 2
  15. Troy

    I’m not willing to pay the $12,500 ask I agree with Frank TA someone is looking to almost double their money. At $5k I might buy it but then I would have the gold accents tested to see if its real or just paint if its real then strip it and sell it. Then going complete red neck I would repurpose the wood for other projects then put a dually rear axe under the back with flares and put a truck camper on it then take it to red necks with paychecks in Texas and see if I can flip it for profit

    Like 2
  16. Bob

    to Gaudy Looking for my taste of Cars

    Like 0
  17. Steveo

    If only it weren’t a wrong-hand drive…
    You could probably park this anywhere and not get ticketed or towed.

    Like 0
  18. Cooter Cooter Member

    This looks straight outta the movie Coming To America!

    Like 0

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