Cars Behind Bars: 1977 Datsun 710 – Nothing Left But Memories… And Maybe a Few Spare Parts

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Our own Perry Shoar has dubbed Washington State “Old Japanese Car Heaven,” and rightfully so; our mild climate is very kind to even the most rust-prone vehicles, including the notoriously biodegradable Japanese cars of the 1970s.  But this particular old Datsun is behind bars on death row with no chance of parole.

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Those of you who reside in states and provinces where the roads are salted in wintertime will probably have to stifle a yawn when you see this photo of the Datsun’s cowl.  “Hey, that’s nothing!  I remember when…”  Yeah, I bet you do, but I don’t.  To my naive Pacific Northwesterner eyes, this is an amazing sight.  How much (or how little) work would it take to remove that windshield?

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If you need a nice rust-free hood for your old 710, look somewhere else!  However, it looks like we may have a fairly good front bumper for the 710 wagon that Paul wrote about recently.

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Ouch!  Once upon a time, this car got rear-ended by something much taller than a Datsun 710.  For a car of a certain age, it’s the automotive equivalent of a career-ending injury.  Well, at least the door and the rocker panel are pretty rust-free.

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Where does the tire end and the pavement begin?  After sitting still for so long, the tire has merged into the asphalt.  Nice wheelcover, though.

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The rear-fender “Datsun” badge is gone, but if you’re looking for a 710 cap, we’ve got one right here.

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The license on this Datsun expired over 22 years ago.  Washington no longer requires a yearly tab on the front plate, but that rule didn’t go into effect until 2002.

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A shot of the passenger side shows that this is literally a car behind bars.  It also reveals a very asymmetrical rust pattern; in contrast with the driver’s side, the passenger side door is quite sheer and revealing; sheetmetal lingerie, if you will.

Whenever I see an old Datsun 710, it brings back memories of  high school, and the Music Appreciation teacher who drove a 1971 or 1972 240Z.  It was orange, and instead of the usual aftermarket wheels that so many of those cars received, this one retained the standard color-keyed wheelcovers.  He was very tall (well over six feet), and it was always an impressive sight when pulled up in front of the school and unfolded out of that low, low sportscar.  You could tell he loved that car as much as he loved Beethoven and Mozart.

But Fate came between the 240Z and the Music Teacher when he fell in love with Vicki, the English Teacher.  They married, had a daughter and traded in the Z on a new green 710 4-door.  Though Vicki was pretty fond of her new husband’s orange Z, (she called it “the 240,” always with a little smile) it didn’t have room for three, and it had to go.  I suppose it’s a pretty common tale.

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Before we say goodbye to the sad old incarcerated Datsun, let’s have a look over its shoulder at some cars that hopefully will encounter a kinder fate.  There’s a predictably-silver droptop Audi that should have been out on the road on such a sunny day.  Next to it, there’s a very presentable Caddy 4-door; looks like a 1969 or a 1970.   Beyond that, we have a Ford Explorer or Expedition, followed by a 4th-generation Monte Carlo, a Toronado Trofeo and a boat that looks as if it’s been shrink-wrapped.

But what can our Datsun hope for?  Possible reincarnation as a kitchen appliance?  Datsun, I’ll remember you in my prayers.  Thanks for the memories.