Hoarders of Datsun and Nissan related merchandising and collectibles may already be familiar with with these cigarette cases, based on various models built by the company. They appear to date back to at least 1959 and it seems that virtually every model sold since then has been represented by one of these cases… well into the 1990’s it would appear. The earliest examples I have seen are modeled on the 310 series Bluebird and 30 model Cedric, but cars as late as the Nissan Cima and R33 Skyline are also represented. It’s impossible to say whether every variant of every model series built is covered, but there are saloon, coupe and even estate versions, so perhaps they are?
All feature the same basic design which consists of a very heavy, one piece cast metal body, usually around 1/18 scale, with a removable roof to allow access to the cigarette tray and match holder inside. Generally they are plated in a gold finish, although a few appear with a silver or pewter finish. Many even include a small clockwork music box which plays a tune when the roof is lifted off. It’s unclear exactly what marketing purpose these served, but it seem likely that they were issued to distributors and dealers of the companies products rather, than to the general public, as they certainly are not that common.
Below, I’ve gathered together a gallery showing some of the various Nissans modeled in this way. There are dozens more and it would appear that some other Japanese marques were captured in the same way, most notably Toyota. Best place to find them is Yahoo! Japan Auctions… but be prepared to part with a fair bit of money if you want a nice one!