If you’re anywhere near Dungay in New South Wales, near the Queensland border, you may spot this 1972 Datsun 180B (610) for sale by the side of the road. After all, it’s pretty hard to miss in this smashing shade of early 1970s orange.
1972 was the first year for the 180B, known in North America as the 610 and elsewhere as the 160B and Bluebird. The very seventies styling may seem overwrought now (and perhaps even then), but it was Datsuns like this that helped cement the Japanese brand’s position on the world stage.
Underneath the coke-bottle styling is a lengthened version of the same basic platform as the Datsun 510, including the same independent trailing arm suspension (wagons had a live axle and leaf springs). Datsun attempted to make its compact/mid-size offering more plush and comfortable this generation.
This generation of 180B was introduced in Australia in locally-built sedan and wagon and imported hardtop coupe variants; the coupe was available only in sporty SSS trim with a different suspension tune. Given Australia’s predisposition towards sedans and wagons, its unsurprising that the 180Bs most commonly seen on the road are Deluxe and GL sedans and wagons in various shades of lime green or yellow. The only engine in the Australian 180B was the 104 horsepower 1.8 four-cylinder engine; even the sporty SSS coupe and the late-introduction, imported GX sedan luxury model had the same engine.
The 180B was a strong seller in Australia, and the 1970s and 1980s were good times for Nissan Australia, especially in the mid-size segment. Unlike North America, Australia did not receive the confusingly-named 710; instead, the range went from 120Y (B210) to 180B. Eventually, the 710’s successor was introduced in 1978 as the Stanza. By then, the 180B had made way for the 200B that was famously derided by Wheels as being a 180B with twenty more problems. While Nissan did make some running changes shortly after its launch, they didn’t have to worry too much: the 200B became Australia’s best-selling mid-size four-cylinder.
This example has had a few changes made. For starters, its wearing what looks like 1990 Maxima wheels. Then, there’s the aftermarket stereo unit and steering wheel. Unfortunately, another driver made a negative change to this 180B: a dent on the backside. There’s a little bit of rust around the front bumper, too, but otherwise the car looks pretty straight.
If you’re driving through Dungay, you won’t miss it.