About the (Zenki) Nissan Leopard



Zenki (early model)

On February 18, 1986 a brand new car was created by Nissan in Ginza, Tokyo.  Using the best technology that Nissan had to offer, the two-door Nissan Leopard coupe was born.  The motivation to create the Leopard stemmed from Nissan’s desire to capture a share of the market that the Toyota Soarer had already reigned over.  Unfortunately, the Leopard was met with failure.  It is widely accepted today that the Leopard hid in the shadows of the Soarer in success.  On June of 1987, every Leopard with the Grand Selection package came standard with the 6″ TV monitor option (beside the 2.0L model). (Credit and translated from f31-leopard.main.jp)

While the Leopard never reached the popularity of the Toyota Soarer, long term, we shouldn’t consider the Leopard a total failure. The Leopard became famous and even highly regarded because of the show Abunai Deka (Dangerous Detectives or Dangerous Criminals). While the show used a few Nissan models, the Nissan leopard Ultima was famous because of this show. When the Leopard was newly released, it did not do well against the Toyota Soarer in Japan. As a second hand car in Japan, it is very popular. Like any good car, there is a strong following. Since it’s inception, the popularity has grown.


Like many 80’s cars, the Leopard was high tech and flashy. Digital gauge cluster, “Jet turbo” engine available, and Super Sonic suspension.


Keeping with the 80’s boxy style, the Leopard was very sharp looking.


In addition, the basic design was shared with the skyline of the same period (R31 type), and the development cost was suppressed” (http://carcast.jp/2749). That quote right there tells you the fate the Leopard has always been facing. The R31 shares many characteristics, but it has slightly longer wheel base. Obviously the R31 was, in all, successful. 

The leopard came out as a 2 door coupe (previous model was offered in sedan). The trim levels were offered with different engines. The engines were all V6 and all VG motors. VG20E (2.0 SOHC), VG20ET (SOHC turbocharged) and VG30DE (3.0 DOHC). Interesting enough, they skipped a VG30E (and was never offered in the F31 chassis in Japan).

The trim levels were Ultima (3.0 VG30DE)



XS and XS II (2.0 VG20ET Jet turbo),



XJ and XJ II (2.0 VG20E). There was 4 speed automatic transmission and a genuine 5 speed manual transmission in the XS and XJ models. These are rare and highly prized because of the factory MT.



Grand Selection was introduced to the Ultima and XS/XS II line. It referred to the upgrades. This offered a TV, phone and the Grand Selection badge on the fenders.


Options were very nice for the leopard. Depending on model, Leopard logo grill and trunk emblem were different colors (multiple, silver or gold).

A wide selection of color combos:


Some of the more obvious options were very nice for the Leopard. Here are some of the options.

Rear glass sun screen.

Entry card

Chrome rain visors.

Rear quarter glass sunshade.


The one thing that escapes the Most American M30 owners/fans, The Zenki f31 leopard was marketed differently. There are photos of “Private Coupe” Or “Adult Coupe”. The concept is “adult intelligence”.  Expressing private coupe for intellectual and adults who are not flashy.