Nissan’s SM Simulacra



The 216X concept was the first in a series of Nissan test-beds that were clearly influenced by inhouse Citroen designer Robert Opron’s Citroen SM, which hit the streets in 1970 after almost a decade of development from the starting point of the DS.


While the production SM would become the ultimate French GT (with Maserati powerplant) and featured evolutionary developments of concepts introduced with the DS (directional headlights, asymmetric plan shape etc) the 126x (above) came with futuristic features like a forward-tilting cockpit canopy. The slots along the middle of the bonnet housed red, yellow, and green lights which lit according to what the vehicle was doing (braking, accelerating etc). The power plant was a 3 litre V6 and the drivetrain was AWD.

The N270 X (below) was introduced at the 17th Tokyo Motorshow in 1970. The snarling, wedgey styling was not matched with its substance: its base BNA was that of the Nissan E10 Cherry.


If you look closely you might be able to identify subtle echoes of these designs in the Nissan Skylines of the seventies and eighties.

Design influence waxes and wanes almost imperceptibly. There may be nothing new under the sun, but it is diverting to muse on what mood winds blew. Whomsoever influenced who, it seems that only the French company was able to fully exploit the radical explorations of its in house team.