Nissan Made An Electric President Convertible For Sumo Champion Parades In 1991


Front 3/4 view of a black Nissan President convertible

Photo: Nissan

As I was brainstorming President’s Day posts that aren’t explicitly about actual presidents, I was looking through Nissan’s archives and stumbled across a variant of the Nissan President sedan that I had never seen before. There were four generations of President from 1965 to 2010, the latter two of which were sold in the U.S. as the Infiniti Q45, and in 1991 Nissan made a one-off electric convertible based on a third-gen President.

Simply called the President EV, this roofless sedan was developed to be used at special events like victory parades and marathons. Specifically, it transported sumo wrestling champions around, but it was also used at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics, now known as the World Athletics Championships.

There aren’t many images of the President EV out there, but other than the sliced-off roof, metal handrails and door sill stickers, it’s not too different from a regular President. The electric powertrain is a result of such parades and events requiring quietness and zero emissions. It used a zinc battery with a 32-horsepower electric motor, which was good enough for a range of around 60 miles per charge. Top speed was a mere 25 mph, which the President took 9.5 seconds to reach, but it would hit 19 mph in just 3 seconds. Nissan says it weighed around 4,321 pounds, the same as the regular President sedan.

Recently Toyota unveiled a convertible version of its new Century SUV, also to be used as a parade vehicle for sumo wrestlers, but as the Century already has a plug-in-hybrid powertrain, that wasn’t modified. And unlike the President EV, there’s a chance that Toyota might actually put the Century SUV convertible into production.

Front 3/4 view of a white Toyota Century SUV convertible

Screenshot: Japan Sumo Association/YouTube