This Nissan, or Datsun, or Datsun-Nissan is actually a 1981 Datsun 810 Maxima Diesel Wagon, “by Nissan”. This oil-burner is on Craigslist with an asking price of $2,500. Just to get you in a buying mood, here’s an old commercial showing an 810 Maxima sedan on YouTube. NADA lists the high value of a similar car as being $2,400, but that isn’t for the diesel.
There are a lot of badges on this baby. Datsun was in the process of changing over to Nissan for the North American market and this car, which was basically a Datsun 910/Bluebird, became the Datsun 810 Maxima – by Nissan. The 810 Maxima was the top trim level above the 810 Deluxe and they were only available with an automatic transmission with the gas engine. A diesel with a 5-speed in a wagon would have been a fantastic combination. If AWD/4WD would have been available it may have been almost too good to be true. In 1982, the 810 designation disappeared and they were known as the Datsun Maxima – by Nissan, and finally, the Nissan Maxima, a model that is still sold today. I’ve heard rumors that Nissan was considering bringing the Datsun name back, any thoughts on that? In a world that’s in lock-step with anything and everything retro right now, from cars to clothes to hair styles to tv shows and pretty much everything else, it seems like a no-brainer to see new Datsuns running around the streets again here in the US. It’s just a matter of time. A new Datsun 240Z? Yes, please!
This particular Datsun 810 Maxima wagon appears to be in great condition. There aren’t a lot of photos as is usually the case with Craigslist ads, even though a seller can add several times the amount shown here for free. There doesn’t appear to be any rust to speak of and I don’t see even a door ding, that’s pretty amazing for a 36-year old car. For some reason, the wagons received rear drum brakes instead of four-wheel discs like the 810 Maxima sedan had. The seller says that this car is “rust free”, my two favorite words related to vehicles.
I’m not sure what this interior photo is supposed to show, but that’s all there is, unfortunately. From what is visible it looks pretty clean and un-cracked, dash-wise, which is good. Actually, with the diesel option, a 5-speed manual was available but you can see that his car has the automatic. One thing you can’t see is the first voice-warning system in a US vehicle. This one used a shock-resistant phonographic player for a 3″ plastic record which had 6 recordings on it for different warnings, such as, “parking brake is on”, “left door is open”, etc. I had a Chrysler LeBaron convertible in the mid-late-80s with a voice warning system and I assumed at the time that it was the first one. I was wrong; yet again.
Here’s where you’ll sleep during your road trip home after picking up this great car in Portland. It looks as clean as an operating room back there! There are no engine photos but this one has Datsun’s LD28, 2.8L inline-six diesel with around 80 hp. This engine has a seven-bearing main and is about as durable and reliable as they come in passenger car service, at least in this era. The seller says that it “runs perfectly” – again, two words that you always love to hear in relation to any used vehicle. However, they also mention that the “mechanical fuel pump needs to be re-built.” There’s a lot of help online so hopefully that won’t be a big project. Have any of you owned a Datsun 810? How about a Datsun with a diesel engine?