CC Capsule: A Datsun 710 Wagon Moves in Down The Street – That Makes The Fourth One In Town

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I had just heard Stephanie drive off when she called me excitedly: There’s an awesome old Japanese station wagon parked just on the next block over. Of course I grabbed my camera and walked down the street. Now anyone else might be pretty excited, but…another Datsun 710 wagon!?  Jeez; this makes the fourth one that is still in regular use in town ( I covered the other three here). How about a 710 sedan or coupe, maybe? I’m getting spoiled.

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Ok, I shouldn’t complain; this is a fine addition to my neighborhood. And this one is obviously well-loved and appreciated, although matching wheels might be nice. It’s a work in progress, like so many old cars here.

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Stephanie is going to really love this car’s door covering: a patchwork quilt.

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And a handy pocket for…well, for whatever needs pocketing. Probably not quite up to cup-holder duty, but parking change? Joints?

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I’ve taken to shooting back seats as well as front ones. Why not? They’re an important part of a car, and often reveal something of its story too. Spray cans of paint; oil, a K&N filter, and some reading material. A bit voyeuristic, but it’s on the street, and I’ve been staring into cars’ interiors since I was a kid.

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Might as well check out the back too, while we’re at it. A rising sun; a real Nipponophile.

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The 710 (Nissan Violet/Datsun 140J/160J)  appeared in in 1973, as essentially a new car line, somewhat smaller than the 610, which had replaced the legendary 510 (Bluebird). Since the 610 was substantially bigger than the 510, the 710 was really more of a replacement for the 510, and played a similar role as the Toyota Carina, which also slotted under the Corona.

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The 710 was a very pragmatic car under its somewhat extravagant exterior, a reflection of Nissan’s new design direction which abandoned the clean international look that had been ushered in by Pininfarina’s 410. All the Japanese manufacturers were exploring a new design language at about this time, a synthesis of original elements with a substantial American influence. The results were uneven, but are now desirable period pieces of a colorful moment in the evolution of Japanese design. This curvaceous and highly decorated look soon gave way to the hard-planed look of the eighties.

As much as I’d like to find a 710 coupe or sedan, hey; I’m proud to live in a town with four 710 wagons, even if they all are automatics.