HISTORY: The story of Datsun, Nissan & Prince Switzerland – Part 1 “Prince”
This is the first part of a multi-post series about the (hi)story of Datsun, Prince and Nissan in switzerland. Check out the other parts HERE.
Part 1 is about the Prince / PMC (Prince Motor Corporation) / PMC Mikado brand in switzerland. I decided to start with this, since it’s the shortest and probably simplest story of them all.
UPDATE: This post got updated in December 2021 with my various new official document finds and pictures thereof:
Here’s a brief history overview about the Company A.P. Glättli, that was the import-company of the Prince brand in switzerland, based on the commercial register Entries i found:
– In early 1929, Mr. Paul Glättli opened a Car repair shop on the Hauptstrasse (Main street) in Hedingen, the “Paul Glättli Garage”
– In August 1932 he opened a subsidiary at the Stauffacherstrasse in Zürich (District 4)
– Only a month later he sold the old headqarter in Hedingen and moved to the new location in Zürich
– In September 1937, the name was changed to P. Glättli “Hansa Garage” am Schaffhauserplatz
– In March 1952, the Company was renamed to A.P. Glättli (by the owners full name Arthur Paul Glättli), and the purpose of the company changed to Import cars as the general agency of the Truck and Car brands “Lloyd”, “Goliath” and “Borgward” (All three brands come from Bremen, in germany). Including repair shop and spareparts warehouse.
– In 1952 they closed the “Hansa Garage” workshop and moved to the “neue Winterthurerstrasse” in Dietlikon
– In 1959 the company was changed to an Corporation and the name therefore changed to A.P. Glättli AG
– In the corporation there were a lot of changes in the board of leaders the following years, but nothing really important
– In 1965 Arthur Paul Glättli died, and therefore Oskar Weiss took over his position, while (probalby his Son?) Paul Glättli got vice president.
– In 1983 the A.P. Glättli Company went into liquidation and got closed in November 1983
But where was the Prince brand? It is never officially mentioned in those commercial register records. I don’t know the details, as there are no records, but i think the brand never really took off in switzerland to get a big hit.
one reason is probably the pretty short lived story of only three years.
In 1963, around the time their main brand “Borgward” went bankrupt, A.P. Glättli announced it will now also import the PMC / Prince / Mikado branded cars to switzerland.
They started with the Import of the Gloria Super (6-cylinder version of the Original Prince Gloria Deluxe 4-cylinder car). The first car that arrived here was still an RHD car with numberplate ZH 383 (ZH = Zürich), as the picture below shows:
This exact car was tested by the Automobil revue in November 1963, which i own in original print in french version:
The review also mentions that the car will be commercially available in switzerland from January 1964
This is the official swiss sales brochure, which has beautiful coloured photos on multiple pages:
In August 1963, they homologated the “Prince Gloria Super” LS41E-1 (1964 model version) in switzerland as this original homologation record sheet shows. Most probably using the car shown above for homologation.
In January 1965 the “PMC Mikado Gloria Six LS41” (1965 model version) got homologated in switzerland:
You can see an Picture of the original swiss sales brochure of the LS41 in this gallery: (click images to get full-size view)
In March 1965 the Prince Skyline 1500 (LS50E) followed and got homologated
The advertising for it in Automotive magazines (As scanned below from an 1965 Automobilrevue issue), hilariously advertises the skylines’ great and tough build quality, since they “have to cope with terrible japanese streets” 🙂
Here’s a scan from the original 1964 Automobilerevue annual catalogue, which has a one-page advertizing of the Prince Skyline and Gloria Sedan:
The last one was the PMC Mikado Gloria 6 LW Estate in April 1966
Here’s the gloria 6 estate, which is on the flipside of the Skyline 1500 Estate advertizing flyer (first in this blog post):
Update 01.03.2022: Today i got an original printed pricelist from A.P. Glättli (which also was the Skoda importeur at that time) from 1st of January 1966 With their full range lineup.
On the front sid eyou can see the main office was in Dietlikon, while they still had the Hansa-Garage subsidiary in Zürich:
And rear side with the Skyline 1500 (standard 3 gears, deluxe 3 gears, or deluxe 4 gears), Gloria 6 and Gloria 6 de Luxe:
And then, in August 1966, the Nissan Motor Corporation in Japan merged with the Prince brand, and probably the whole distribution organization changed and got integrated into the NMC system.
In October 1966 Datsun, Switzerland opened it’s business. Datsun and Prince in switzerland never had a real link to each other, as far as i know. Since there was a few-months gap between prince been taken over by Nissan and the Opening of Datsun swirtzerland.
I’m really curious to find out how many PMC branded cars A.P. Glättli sold in the three / four year period, but i guess they were only a handfull, while they probably made a bigger business with their Goliath, Lloyd and Borgward brands
The location at the neue winterthurerstrasse in Dietlikon still exists in very similar shape, but now houses a Mattress discounter, as google streetview shows 🙂
Due to copyright restrictions i’m not allowed to show you more of the images i found.
On zwischengas.ch you can find many interesting photos of Prince in switzerland – like
– Various advertising of the Glorias and the Skyline
– Some automobilrevue stories on the Prince brand and car tests in switzerland
– Press photos from the Geneva internation Automobile Salon in 1964 and 1965
Also there’s a nice story with vintage pictures and opening festivities invitation letter of the above building. Check it out here:
As with all my knowledge posts, i tried my best to get all information from trustworthy and official sources. However i can not guarantee that above information is 100% correct. If you have any correction, input or additional information, i appreciate if you let me know. I’ll update this post whenever i find something to add or change.
Also i put countless unpaid hours of research and work into this post and spent quite a bit of money to buy a lot of original documents, so please ask, before you copy anything, including the pictures. thanks!
Big Thanks to Marcel from the Bettelbrünneli Collection, Gerard from Zonedatsun, Heiko from Datsun.ch, Stefan from Cagedude, Lara from the Central Library of Zürich and the ETH Zürich team behind the E-Periodica Archives, Myrtha with her inside-knowlege and the historic Archive of the Verkehrshaus Luzern. Without all of you, this posts wouldn’t have been possible!
I also was in contact with some people at Nissan switzerland, but still waiting for some information until today. If i get anything, i will update these posts immediately.