After riding the steam engine drawn passenger train, and sometimes the bus, into Sapporo to teach English to my class of hopeful interpreters, I bought a car to make the trip. From then on I only took the train when it was snowing so hard that rails were safer than a two lane highway covered in ice and snow.
In Japan in those days, if you owned a car it had to be new; if a car was three years old, by law, it had to be junked. This wasn't that big a deal because only the well off had personal cars in the late 1960's and early '70's. However their was a loop hole that exempted American government employees stationed Japan.
As it turned out I was a beneficiary of this Japanese law, and in 1969 I became the owner of a 1965 Nissan Cedric 2800 Special. It had been bought the year before by another fellow stationed Chitose who had bought it for next to nothing from a Japanese owner. I paid $250. for it and it cost another $75. to have the Borg Warner automatic transmission repaired.
The Nissan Cedric 2800 Special was the top of the line Cedric and the Cedric was the top of the Nissan car model. By Japanese car standards the Cedric line were large cars and the 2800 Special was an even larger car than regular Cedrics and rode on an extended length chassis and was the only Nissan with a six cylinder engine and a large one at that displacing 2.8 litres and putting out 140 horse power. Being the top of the line it had special appointments with additional chrome exterior trim adorning its' sides and a unique grill with gold anodized embellishments, the two hood ornaments were also gold anodized. The Special's dash was also upgraded with real wood inserts and, unique to the 2800, fancy brocade cloth seat covers. An AM FM signal seeking radio also was fitted, but no power windows or power steering.
These 2800 Specials were the favored transportation of many of Japan's CEO's and were mostly chauffeur driven for these top earning "salary men." They were also the very favorite of top Yakusa members throughout Japan. In other words the Cedric 2800 Special was the Cadillac Fleetwood for Japans top income groups.
I owned my 2800 Special for two and a have years while I was stationed in Japan and being the largest car made in Japan at the time the interior room and large seats afforded by the car's extended wheel base served as a welcome alternative to the cramped seats of the taxis, buses and trains running in Japan at the time. With snow tires on all four wheels and 11 cent PX gas the car made for great transportation for me and my other American friends, and carried us on sight seeing trip all over the scenic island of Hokkaido (Hokkaido has several of Japan's most scenic national parks and wild life preserves).
I had many adventures in the car, not the least of which was the night I mistook a 2800 Special, which belonged to our local Yakuza boss and accidentely drove back in it (half shit faced) to Kuma Station (where I lived) only to be turned away at the main gate because I didn't have a U.S. forces license plate. Needless to say, I high tailed it back to the bar district where I found my car and parked the Yakuza's car next to mine and got out of there. The door and ignition keys to my car fit the one I had mistakenly drive off in perfectly!