Curbside Classics: 1967 Datsun 2000 (Cedric) and VW Golf Mk1 – Atypical Partners

We all have one or two such acquaintances; the office-mate with a beater Volvo, the hip neighbor with a lusty ’70s Celica in the driveway, the CRX nut case from your college days, etc. The not quite ordinary and not quite easy to pin car owner, with possessions that range from the intentionally eclectic to the accidental. So which is this? Plan or happenstance?

Here’s a random couple in a ‘hood not far from mine: a ’67 Datsun 2000 (Cedric in its native Japan) and CC’s ever favorite, the 1st gen. VW Golf. A pseudo-luxurious Japanese RWD cruiser from the ’60s along VW’s life-saving FWD Beetle replacement? Are those two driving experiences worth to own under the same non-roof?

If the ageing owners’ garage wasn’t occupied by a modern cheap econobox, this would be a ‘CC driveway’ post. Instead, the Datsun and Golf are perennial curbside attractions under the ownership of an elderly -an not very friendly looking- couple. From time to time, each abandons its curbside post and are seen moving at ‘elderly-man’ pace in San Salvador’s daily traffic.

Admittedly, the Cedric and Golf pairing isn’t extraordinarily odd, it’s just not the first thing that springs to mind. We usually can find reason behind the ‘opposites attract’ kind of partnership, you know? A Mustang GT and a Peugeot 107 under the same roof? Loose cannon or trusty reliable partner? Why not both, to keep it interesting?

That said, I don’t think the Lethal Weapon twosome matches our vehicular pair; the Cedric is not quite Roger Murtaugh (say Oldsmobile wagon!), and the Golf is far from a tough-yet-suicidal Martin Riggs.

Here’s another unusual pairing, though these two are just too perky to equate to our Datsun and Golf duo. Tina and Amy often exchange the ‘straight man’ and ‘wise guy’ roles in their kooky routines, and while the Cedric could probably play as ‘straight’, is the Golf really a ‘wise guy’? I briefly owned a 1980 model, and while the car seemed fixed on laughing at my expense, the idea still doesn’t quite click in my head.

Let’s go from matches to coincidences, as the styling of these two enjoy some fine Italian tailoring. As most know, Giugiaro penned the Golf, and I’ve always considered myself a fan of the model. Even my star-crossed ownership hasn’t dented such feelings, and seeing the model’s clean lines in bright vermillion just quickens my heart.

Remarkably both vehicles are in rather original condition. Notice I didn’t say pristine, as the chicken-wire grille on the Golf (opening photo in this post) shows all too obviously. Proof that the cars’ owner seems pretty crafty with kitchen tools, but far from a mechanical expert (Visible results compel me to suggest, keep your paws away old man!).

Meanwhile the Datsun 2000 is a Pininfarina exercise, result of an all too short Nissan-Italian engagement in the early ’60s. The 2000/Cedric’s lines are clean, attractive and dignified; though somehow reflecting ‘swinging ’60s’ vibes. Longtime readers know the Cedric has been covered at CC before, with a ’66. I believe this is a ’67, as the rear trimming differs. Not that I’m a Cedric expert, and there aren’t too many online images to clear the matter conclusively.

2000 Deluxe Six, one of the Cedric’s international monikers. While the Cedric was not quite ready to fulfill American/European upscale pretenses, from available evidence, Nissan thought the model could play the role for a few decadent Latino Hacendados. For all practical purposes, the 2000/Cedric must have sufficed in that role, although Mercedes would end up as the luxury marque of choice with the locals in the long run.

To keep within the slight ‘Mad Max’ motif started with the Golf’s chicken-wire grille, this 2000 has a rather blank stare; its headlights’ empty sockets sealed with… aluminum foil? A somewhat freaky and unnerving sight. Is this 2000 Ok? Has its owner sucked the life out of it in a dark gruesome ritual and is nothing but a zombie?

Eerie-stares aside, I do know there’s life under these bonnets. As mentioned earlier, I’ve caught up behind both at some point or another on my way home at rush hour; the Datsun riding slowly, moving glacially under the old man’s relaxed driving. The Golf moved just as leisurely, though with a thin plume of white smoke coming out of the tail pipe.

Let’s get back to the topic of couples and the quandary at hand. Here’s another pairing, though probably too deliberately eclectic against our Datsun/Golf. For those not into ’80s sitcoms etceterini, that’s Larry on the left, the not-too-bright American ‘straight man,’ and Balki on the right, the silly and well-intended quirky Eastern European roommate. ‘Perfect Strangers’ was the sitcom, and although some attributes seem to check, they don’t quite yet match our vehicular pair.

This is probably closer to what I have in mind, though admittedly not a pair. Not that there’s anything seriously wrong with this lineup, but not really the one that comes to mind when ‘Law & Order’ is mentioned (Lennie, how do I miss you…).

I’ve been in this neighborhood for 8 years and this vehicular couple has been around ever since as curbside residents. In all honesty, both cars appear to be original purchases, or at least, family hand-me-downs.

Then again, I may be overthinking the whole matter. I’m a VW owner and have a fondness for early Datsuns. If given the chance, should anyone offer me these two, I would gladly take them in. Now, that would be deliberately eclectic.

More on the Cedric:

Curbside Classic: 1966 Nissan Cedric (130) Deluxe – by Tatra87