Curbside Classic: 1977 Datsun F10 Sportwagon – Ugly? No, It’s Cute!

Twelve long years ago I found an F10 coupe here in Eugene still being driven by its original owner. I wrote it up at the other site, and titled it “The Ugliest car Ever?”.  Recently I came across only my second F10 since starting this long, strange trip. That was a very welcome and pleasant surprise, as I didn’t expect any of these to still be plying the streets. More significantly, it gave the poor F10 a second chance to redeem itself, in my opinion of its looks, one it very much deserves.

This isn’t ugly at all! It’s cute. It’s not exactly a stellar design of its time (think VW Golf). Have my feeling changed because I’m older and gentler (some might disagree with the latter), if not necessarily wiser? Or is it because in comparison to so many of today’s cars (ahem; I’m looking at you, RAV4), it looks a lot better than it did in its time or in 2010?

Admittedly, it looks a bit better in profile than it does from the front. We’ll get back to that, um, quirky front end shortly.

Of course the wagon’s profile is better than the coupe’s, whose rear end was a bit high. But really, the main issue here was the F10’s high belt line and relatively small windows, which looked a bit odd at the time, but is of course par for the course today. Every car now has those basic features, as they’re inherently aerodynamic, among other things.The F10’s styling was just ahead of its time. Is that a sin?

Yes, the front end is not exactly attractive. The turn signals that looked like they were bought by the truckload from the Pep Boys detract from its, ah, limitations even further. The massive and deep headlight surrounds give new meaning to the term “tunnel vision”.  But I’ve seen worse. I think?

What’s peculiar about my two F10 finds is that both of them have black headlight surrounds, whereas all the ones in the ads and other images on a Google search shows them to be argent (silver gray). Hmm.

As to front ends and current styling trends, I’m not picking on the RAV4, as it’s more representative than an outlier, but I am not sorry to see the styling trends it espouses (angry athletic shoe?) are apparently on the way out. Every styling era inevitably has its end.

Nothing more definitively indicates the end of this one—one that Toyota embraced with a bear hug—than the 2023 Prius. Its predecessor will go down in history as the 1959 batwing Chevrolet of the 21st century. What an about face, literally.

The exceptionally large C-pillar on this F10 wagon is a bit out of the ordinary. It probably reflects the fact that in Japan, the F10 was positioned as something of a premium small car, above the more pedestrian RWD Sunny/B210. Trying to look a bit more like a shooting brake and less like a basic wagon?

But…now that I think about, there was no corresponding B210 wagon sold in the US. Why was that, when Toyota was selling gobs of Corolla wagons? Hmm, again. Was the F10 wagon intended to fill that role? If so, it wasn’t a good call, as the F10’s sales were disappointing.

Frankly, the whole notion of selling two distinct and technically different lines of cars in this size category was a head-scratcher. But then Nissan in the seventies tended to evoke head lice. For a more detailed look at Nissan’s stylistic gyrations and the F10’s predecessor, I refer you to Rich Baron’s Cherry CC.


As a frame of reference, the F10 first arrived for the 1975 model year, at the same time that the very clean and angular VW Rabbit (Golf) arrived. A very stark study in contrasts.

As with the F10 coupe, I had a chance to meet the owner of this wagon. He’s had it for six years, and said it’s been a faithful companion to him.

He and his dog seem to sort of live out of the F10, although not necessarily sleep in it. A daytime home on wheels; or?

The passenger side front seat has been removed, to make more room for the two of them. Maybe they do sleep in it; I didn’t exactly ask. But one could do worse, given the F10 wagon’s reasonably long rear compartment. For a very small car, that is.

And it doesn’t ask much, in terms of fuel.

Related CC reading:
Curbside Classic: 1977 Datsun F-10 – It Got An F In Beauty School

Curbside Classic: ’74-’77 Datsun 100a (Cherry E10) – Cherry Picking