We're going back a few years, but if I recall, the older (1960 vintage) Nikkors were never as tight or stiff as the modern (1980 vintage) Nikkors. I had the 50 1.4 & the 105 2.5 in both vintages. I bought the A.I. versions precisely for their tighter feel.
It's certainly possible that the older lenses were once as tight (when new) but I never had the opportunity to compare two new lenses side by side.