CC Capsule: 1977 Datsun 200SX – Back to Work at 40

The 1977-79 Datsun 200SX, not the most beloved of 1970s sport coupes, had the story behind its quirky styling told by Paul a year ago, then received a detailed treatment from Eric703 with a 1977 200SX found curbside in March of this year.  The 1977 200SX featured by Eric703 then appeared near my office on a rainy morning in June, ready to be photographed having done what daily driven cars do the most, take their owners to work.  A 40 year old car sitting in the rain after morning commute duty is not living the classic car dream, but it is a fine example of the site ethos of memorializing classic cars still driven regularly.

This 200SX is also a fine example of how the passage of time can redeem even the cars that we once disliked.  I recall seeing this generation of 200SX everywhere during the 1980s when my impressions of cars were being formed in my teenage mind, and I recall it being one of the cars that I instantly disliked the most.  The strange massive C-pillar, kinked character line, and most of all the rubber-edged park bench bumpers all made the model appear horribly ugly, and having no known performance credibility completed the impression of it having no redeeming value.

The reliability and durability of its B210 underpinnings did not occur to me at the time, of course, and neither did the fact that a lot of them were still on the road almost a decade after they were made.  The 200SX then was forgotten after the last of the daily drivers succumbed to rust and beyond-economical repairs, so much so that I paid little attention to the CCs by Paul and Eric when they appeared.

Seeing this 200SX parked in the rain after having done daily driver duty instantly made the car’s righteousness obvious, though, regardless of any faults of its design.  This 40 year old car was again hard at work after its stop for repairs and a cup of coffee at the diner, photographed by Eric703.  (That this car is the same is clear, with the license plate number being the same and the passenger side front fender having the same shade of yellow that does not match the rest of the body.)  It reappeared parked on the same street frequently during the weeks that followed before disappearing.  Its owner may have retired it after getting a new daily driver, or it may still be handling morning commute duty but with underground garage parking now hiding it.  Either way, this 200SX was a perception changer, as many CCs seen on the streets are.