Nearly Perfect: 1983 Datsun 720 King Cab 4×4

Survivors in any form are generally appreciated by enthusiasts, but survivors that wear their original graphics kit and factory decals in near-perfect condition occupy a particularly warm spot in the hearts of gearheads. This 1983 Datsun 720 King Cab DLX pickup is a super clean example that wears its original paint and graphics proudly and is also in shockingly rust-free condition for a truck that is not known for its high survival rate. It’s listed here on Hemmings for $18,900 with indicated mileage of just under 110,000 and located in Santa Ana, California.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Mitchell G. for this “time capsule”-grade find. The Datsun is a well-equipped example, with the long bed, four wheel drive, and extended cab body. If you bought this truck new in 1983, you were waltzing off the Datsun dealer lot with one of the most loaded-up models the company sold at the time. While the smart money is on a short-box design with the same other options checked, I doubt there’s much of a swing value-wise considering how few of these Datsuns exist in this sort of condition and aren’t a poverty-spec two wheel drive example.

The interior is downright gorgeous for having over 109,000 original miles and given they didn’t exactly feature high-grade materials when new, it’s impressive that the tan upholstery and carpeting has survived the way it has. The steering wheel has one of those silly-looking wraps around the perimeter, but that can be removed fairly easily. The dash may be cracked; these were brittle dash pads when new and if it spent any time baking in the Arizona heat, it’s likely perished. Still, since the paint job doesn’t look too weathered, there’s a good chance it lived inside. The A/C is said to need charging.

In fact, the seller speculates that some of the few dents the body has likely stems from garage storage. The truck’s paint looks consistent across the inner fenders, firewall, and cowl panel, removing any doubt that the paint job isn’t original. The seller doesn’t provide much detail on engine health, other than noting the hoses and belts look fairly new and that the drivetrain idles smoothly once warmed up. The asking price for this Datsun is all the money and then some, and while I can appreciate the seller’s desire to get top dollar, I’m just not sure the Datsuns have appreciated to that price point just yet.

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  1. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    Over 100000 miles, the dash is cracked, the A/C needs a recharge (yeah, right), the way the description is worded, it sounds like a shifty car salesman’s way of saying the truck only idles smooth when warm, so I would assume that there is some kind of cold idle issue. 20K for an old high mile Nissan pickup with a shiny 4X4 graphic on the side?? Sorry, I’ll pass!

    Like 26
    • Phlathead Phil

      No kidding! As the saying goes: “There’s an azz for every seat.”

      “Hello, would you like a seat?”

      Waaay too much!

      Like 5
    • bugeyes Member

      From the sellers description:
      “Mechanically, the truck feels excellent and starts first time on the key. There’s no smoke or noises on start-up. It idles great both cold and once warmed, and performs / behaves entirely properly out on the road.”

  2. RGSmith1 Member

    Bought a new one of these in 82. After a year, the tin worm had a massive feast.

    Like 9
  3. Brycal

    The interior actually looks filthy and that does not look like the original fabric. That said, cool throwback truck!

    Like 3
    • Sherminator

      Looks more like a few wear spots, not filth. I’d say this detailed up pretty nicely for a 37-year-old truck. Not my particular cup of tea but it seems to have been taken care of quite nicely.

      Like 5
  4. Car Nut Tacoma

    Lovely looking truck. I remember when the Datsun/Nissan truck looked like this. Although I love the condition, the asking price of $18,900 is way more expensive than I’d be willing to pay for it. For a compact truck like this, I’d be willing to pay 10,000 for the truck, and then have it inspected, to make sure that everything works like they should.

    Like 4
    • Phlathead Phil 🚗🇺🇸

      Let’s try $1,000.00 not ten.

      Like 1
  5. Dennis

    I bet in 1983,the truck cost maybe that much new. If it were a low miles time capsule truck? Maybe you could get $18 k. You should be asking about 5-6 grand for a high mileage rust free project truck

    Like 1
    • John

      In 1982 I bought a 2WD V6 S10 brand new for $7500. I’m sure this didn’t cost near $18K new back then.

  6. Dougie Member

    Dream on seller. Good luck finding that sucker born every second. lol. I wouldn’t pay that for a Toyota!

    Like 3
  7. Rustytech

    For its age and mileage this is a very nice truck, $19k nice, I don’t think so. My dad bought one just like this new. It was a good truck, but the tin worm ate the bed right off it in 3 years. We built a pressure treated wood flat bed with side rails and used it to haul fire wood out of the woods for years.

    Like 1
  8. RexFox Member

    I bought a newish ‘83 in ‘83 (dealer used it for parts runs; they rotated trucks every 6 months) for $8,800 (2 wheel drive, but otherwise loaded). Had to replace the clutch at about 30,000 miles (one of 3 vehicles out of 35+ that I’ve had to replace), and a head gasket at 35,000. It was a nice driver and the 5 speed was a huge improvement over the 4 speeds of earlier Datsun. Almost $19k?, no, but for $5k, I’d be interested. At a minimum, it needs AC work (probably major), a new dash (can’t stand looking at cracked dashes), and A possible engine rebuild to make it run smoothly. Back in the day, these trucks were pretty worn out at 100,000 miles. I still like it though.

    Like 1
  9. chrlsful

    i think they were 1st w/the king cab (77?)

    Like 1
    • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

      Yes, they coined the phrase “King Cab” but it actually was NOT because of the added space. I owned what for the time was a loaded 2wd 1983 pickup. Tin worm didn’t touch the cab, just the hollow panels of the bed above the wheels. What’s happening with this engine is probably what happened to mine…it is a dual spark motor which takes double the parts and brain power to get to run properly. This is overpriced for something with this many miles on an original motor. It will go another 200k more though.
      Odd that the tailgate paint is so chipped/nicked. Mine faded but never a scratch in the matte black of the raised lettering.

      Like 1
  10. PaulR

    Wasn’t 1983 the first year for these to be officially called Nissan, and 1992 was the last year as Datsun by Nissan?.

    Like 1
  11. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    I asked that question on a tour of the Nissan Heritage Collection in Nashville, TN a few years ago. My 1983 was badged both ways. In their collection they have and 83 with only Nissan called out. The guide told me there was a transitional period where, depending on where the truck was built, options and dealer installed accessories the trucks in particular could have both markings. My recollection is sometime after 1986 was when the dealerships all became Nissan as I remember the Datsun sign coming down off the big dealership building in Murfreesboro TN that year. My girlfriend traded in her 1982 Datsun 210 for an 1986-87 Nissan.

    Like 1

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