When I saw this rather fresh-looking B210 parked behind a coffee cart on West 11th, I did a double take. Not just because B210s have become a rare sight, but because I thought it looked familiar, yet a bit different. There’s a reason for that, as it’s the same B210 I shot a few years back, but it’s been painted and spruced up, and then was sold to the proprietress of this coffee cart three years ago. It’s been her daily driver since then.
Yeah! I love it when this happens.
Here’s how it looked back then.
And now it’s all shiny, like a fresh cup of cappuccino.
The interior was given a freshening too; it’s now black instead of tan. But it looks like the same upholstery, on that non-stock seat. Vinyl paint, I assume. Yes, it’s an automatic. That probably endeared it to its quite young new owner, who probably doesn’t know how to drive a stick.
And the back seat has rudimentary upholstery; the original rear seat was pulled out who knows when; when I shot it last time, there was just a plywood platform back there. Like a business coupe.
The body work looks reasonably adequate. Looks good to go.
The B210 looked a bit controversial in its day, but now it just looks old and different, and apparently cute, which is undoubtedly why a young woman would by one.
My full CC on this B210 is here
And here’s one by Will Stopford
Weren’t those called forget the B, 210
Big improvement outside but I’d have kept the beige interior. Front seat(s) come from a ’75-80s Ford Econoline van.
I’ve gotta say… of all of the cars that I’d wish, hope, or expect to acquire phoenix (or, from an alternative universe, perhaps Timelord) status… I wouldn’t be thinkin’ “Yeah! A B210!”
Didn’t much like these when new but, then, I was never much of a Nissan fan. But, now, this actually seems kind of cool with its quirky (but not outright bizarre) styling. Even better than finding a more conservatively styled, seventies Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla in similar shape.
Plus, this one seems to have gotten the kind of love an old, imported, daily-driver econobox needs and deserves. And the burnt orange color is just icing on the cake.
A set of chrome lug nuts would dress up the wheel/trim ring combo, a tactic that I used on a ’75 Dodge Colt.
A set of chrome lug nuts would dress up the wheel/trim ring combo, a tactic that I used on a ’75 Dodge Colt. Unfortunately, the fuzzy picture I had digitized doesn’t show them! 🙂
I’m not a fan of the color or the roof line, but the fastback version of this car looks pretty good in blue.
However, those honeycomb wheel covers- Woof!
As with so many Nissans of this era, the model variations typically sold outside of Japan really don’t translate the styling well. A home market upper-trim Sunny Excellent GX was a vastly better looking vehicle with the intended brightwork and trim, unaltered bumpers, fully realized interior, etc:
Early 70’s Pontiac GTO’s and Trans Am’s had honeycomb style cast wheels but I seem to remember some Italian supercar having them first. Datsun copied from one or the other.
I drove a babyshit yellow 1973 B210 fastback back in the 70s. I bought it because I liked the looks of the fastback! Around 1979 or 1980 I traded it in for a 200SX hatchback. As i recall, the little B210 was a great city car but very spartan.
Those front seats look like they came out of a 70’s Dodge B-van
Datsun 120Y in this market and very rare now the rust monster took most of them out, I rented a new one way back when Avis had them as the cheapest rental you could hire and that one went ok for what it was, decades later I bought one because it was the cheapest thing I could find that day in Hobart and that was a reliable work car for the 6-7 weeks I had it, slow on hills slow on the flat easy to park awfull roadholding and handling but it started every time it was needed and got there and back.
The posted car looks great young kids over here love them usually repowered with something but still ugly little 120Ys.
Some how they manged to rust through on the roof even with out a rack being ever fitted. In the land of Marinas and 1100 s a car fully equiped with a radio and started first time in all weathers was as big deal.
Love it! I remain jealous of a climate where such a thing is possible. The Land of the Forever Car. It is so nice to watch someone win a battle against entropy every now and then.
I can’t say I’m much of a fan of the color, but there is a period-correct vibe it has going on, so I guess I like it a lot better now than I did back then. Ditto with the styling. I am going to guess that correct upholstered pieces for these are now unobtainium, even in your area? Not surprising.
I always kind of liked the styling of these, though they were somewhat polarizing back in the day.
I rented a 120Y new way back it was really different looking but drove ok for what it was, I bought one for a fruit picking trip in Tasmania same colour pale yellow that went but gutless on hills poor handling not much comfort but as reliable as the sun and good on gas except with a headwind going to Symons plains race track it didnt like that at all, Very few left on the road in NZ the rust monster ate them rapidly yet that Hobart bought car was rust free, the one posted looks mint.
In the 70s my cousin bought a red 4 door to replace a 4 door Thunderbird with rear suicide doors. She was a teacher and had just bought a house, so I imagine that the choice was driven by economics, but what a change. The Thunderbird was in pretty rough shape and needed repair or replacement, but the Datsun was really odd looking, especially the rear door and the back of the roofline. It seemed to me as if they had done a quick sketch and then never got around to refining it. For all that it was good inexpensive transportation.
OK I guess if you like them, but terrible riding and handling cars that will fold like a beer can in an accident (including the passenger compartment) while of course not protecting you with any air bags. I’d consider those things before putting the time and money into this thing myself.
Maybe the newer models were a little stronger. I had a 1980 210 in 89 that my girlfriend was driving and went into the ditch, hit a culvert and rolled approximately 5 times. It was totaled but came through it better than I expected. She didn’t have her seatbelt on and got launched out the window but survived (minus her spleen) and spent a few weeks in the hospital.
Of the 120Y, as it was badged here, a magazine said of the styling “we can only feel sorry for the steel, being bent into that shape”
Or words to that effect. The US spec bumpers don’t do it any favours of course.
They were easy to work on, far better than a Mk 1 Escort. A mate’s girlfriend had one and complained about ‘funny steering and brakes” Nothing an hour, new front pads and idler arm bushes didn’t fix.
Those are not the oem seats.
1974 B210 Hatchback. This was mine in 1982, my dad’s friend gave it to me (Thanks Mr. C). It was rusted out and did not run. I rebuilt the engine, a few new body parts and a gallon or two of bondo . I even had to fit some angle iron on both front inner fender wells to secure the shock towers as they were rotted out (I did that with the fenders off and you could not tell it was held together with angle iron and machine screws 🤣🤣) ! I taped and painted the honeycomb hubcaps 🤣. First paint job on a car for me and I had to have metallic 😕. Drove the hell out of this and it never let me down, amazing fuel mileage even by today’s standards. Photo is from approximately 1983.
The BEST car I ever bought for D.fl 40, back then or $ 25
Drove it for over 18 months and my friends used it a lot to haul stuff because it was a 120Y Wagon
It always started even under a ft of snow it was never moody so I can fully understand this owner, these are like happy puppies.
One of those cars they sold a ton of that I haven’t seen in many years now. I guess there was a notchback version, but seems like my memory only sees hatchback fastbacks. I guess they were a better car, but I only seem to remember it as being heavier, slower with worse handling than it’s 1200 predecessor. On the other hand, friend had one, fell asleep coming home from his wee hours milk truck route and was bombarded by loose bowling balls he had in the back. Survived with but a headache, and knowing him he probably wasn’t even wearing a seatbelt.
Bought one new One week later I took it back and bought a used Alfa Spyder.
Thanks to the young lady who resurrected this once-common road dandelion. History.
I had an even rarer Datsun, a 1974 710 (as I remember the B210 debut was also in 1974 though this one isn’t dated). Datsun must have changed several models this year as the 710 was also new for 1974; though some lament that the 510 it replaced was the better car, the 710 was a bit plusher, which says something about the time; people seemed to want something a bit nicer, even in their small cars.
Still, the execution was a bit off. Mine had a bright blue exterior, with white vinyl seats (would love those now with unimaginative interiors) and had carpet rather than vinyl flooring, but the carpet was brown…to me an odd combo.. Probably saved some money by having one color carpeting for all models, but it looked odd.
These were still lightweight RWD cars…..even though my 710 was bigger and more substantial than the B210, it mattered to me as I had the car for my whole undergraduate time, and I was a commuter student living at home in Vermont. My commute wasn’t too long (maybe 20 minutes with great view of lake Champlain for much of it) of course the traction on a light RWD car isn’t great. Mine was an automatic (last automatic I’ve owned) and until it warmed up would crab sideways at stoplights so I had to remember to shift into neutral until it turned green (which made it something less than automatic).
But it was a simple car easily worked on so in a way was ideal car for a student without much in the way of funds to keep it going.
I kept it about 8 months after I graduated and moved a few states away, but on one trip to my parents I hit some black ice on the interstate and munched the guard cable, which tore up the front on one side (headlight gone but otherwise still driveable, radiator wasn’t hurt fortunately) and I got it fixed up, but preparing to sell it as I’d lost confidence in light RWD (maybe was my driving skill but loathe to admit it) and wanted to get FWD which was starting to be pretty common…ended up getting a used Scirocco which started my VW kick, which I still have yet to cease (3 models in 41 years).
My family has tended to buy Datsun/Nissan a lot….my two younger sisters had qty-4 different 200SX/240SX models between them (middle one still owns a ’97 she bought new)…same sister had a Toyota Tercel once, but it was the only Toyota in the family. My Dad had an early Subaru DL bought new in 1976, but otherwise each Japanese car was a Nissan. I like them too, but guess I like VW better, as that’s all I’ve bought since giving up the 710 all those years ago…probably because they no longer sell many (any?) hatchbacks which is my preferred body style (the 710 was my last sedan).