Cohort Sighting: Datsun 610 – City Slicker


If cars like the Land Cruiser posted earlier today exemplified Toyota’s restrained, simple values, cars like this early (1971-1973) Datsun 610 show the beginnings of Datsun’s effort to move beyond its own utilitarian image.  While I think ’70s Datsuns are generally nice to look at, its obvious why not everyone agrees and this upper-level coupe shows the sort of flashiness embraced by the likes of a rural cousin newly arrived to city.


Another submission by ericclem from Old Japanese Car Heaven, this Datsun shows a refreshing degree of interest from its owner, who decided that a stripe running down the center of the entire length of the car was an appropriate touch.  Actually, with its mini 1971 Charger shape, I agree with his/her choice.  Of course, the Dodge benefitted from a more confident and restrained styling philosophy, but the added detailing seen here still looks good.  And oh my Lord, is that a Mitsubishi Mirage Turbo/Colt Turbo in the background?!  I can’t remember the last time I saw one of those and neither can any of you.


That Charger I mentioned could only kill for an interior like this; no wonder turning the Galant Lamba into the similar Dodge Challenger made so much sense.  If the exterior styling was a rehash of 1970s American car themes, this interior previews the ’80s and a latent (and fleeting) confidence in Japanese car design.


Just for variety’s sake, here’s some Chevy influence (if you’re determined to cite a source of inspiration, that is).  Only the US and Japanese markets got these triple-section taillights, and, along with the chrome surround, trim panel and center-mounted backup light, there’s a proto sci-fi vibe.  Or maybe it’s just the more earthly sway of Yokohama at night.


Leather graining on the grille surround–hey, why not?  Sure, it’s plastic and sure, it’s excessive, but it’s well-made and shows enthusiasm and attention to detail.  Very different from the Endura nose on the contemporary GM cars, even though the overall look is similar.  The bumpkin cousin only copies from the best.



Related reading: 1974 Datsun 610 – Datsun Takes A Bold New Direction: Down