37k Documented Miles: 1978 Datsun 620 Deluxe Pickup

UPDATE 02/13/2022: We’ve seen a few vehicles arrive on our desks in recent weeks here at Barn Finds that I would class as “repeat offenders.” That means that we have featured them before, and they have either failed to sell on the previous occasion, or they have the appearance of being a quick flip. This sweet little 1978 Datsun 620 Pickup seems to fall into the former category. The owner didn’t have any luck with his last auction because while it made its way to $23,900, it failed to reach the reserve. It also seems that nobody was interested in hitting the BIN button, which he had set at $35,900. Therefore, you will again find it listed for sale here on eBay. The bidding has been relatively spirited, and while it has pushed the price to $20,100, this still sits short of the reserve. Interestingly, he has chosen not to include a BIN option with his latest auction. We can only hope that he has more luck on this occasion.

When you look at the overall condition of this 1978 Datsun 620 Deluxe Pickup, it’s easy to believe that it has been squirreled away in hiding for the last twenty-two years. It presents superbly, with no issues or problems. This sheltered existence means that it has accrued a mere 37,350 documented miles throughout its life. The owner has decided to part with this spotless classic, so he has listed it for sale here on eBay.

It seems that this little Datsun has spent its life in sunny California, and its current location is a mere twenty miles from the dealership where it was originally sold. It wears its original Code 227 Burnt Orange paint, which is spotless. There are no signs of any flaws or defects, while the paint holds a fantastic depth of shine for an unrestored survivor with forty-three years under its belt. The panels are laser straight, with no evidence of dings, dents, or prior repairs. The life that this Datsun has led means that it remains rust-free, with no evidence of any corrosion or other problems. The exterior trim is as immaculate as the paint, while the glass appears flawless. However, I don’t believe that any of these items are the highlight of this exterior.

I doubt that you’ll ever find a Pickup of this type or age with a bed that looks this clean. There are no dents that would indicate abuse and no scuffing on the paint. It seems that the Datsun has not had to work to earn its keep. Given its condition and age, I would hate to drop anything into the bed and destroy such a beautifully preserved aspect of this classic.

Lifting the hood reveals another aspect of this 620 that presents superbly. The engine bay is in as-new condition and houses the original 1,952cc L20B four-cylinder engine that produces 107hp. That power finds its way to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission. These L-Series four-cylinder engines are some of the toughest ever made by a Japanese manufacturer. I have seen them clock hundreds of thousands of miles with little more than essential maintenance. Their only significant weak point is valve stem seals, but they do no more than cause smoke on a trailing throttle and increased oil consumption. The dual-row timing chain can rattle when the engine heads towards 100,000 miles, but I’ve had significant experience with these engines and never experienced a breakage. This Datsun has never experienced those issues, and it should be many years before it needs anything beyond regular servicing. It has a genuine and documented 37,350 miles on the clock. The owner has replaced the tires on safety grounds, but it is otherwise untouched. It runs and drives perfectly and has plenty to give its next owner. The Pickup comes with a significant collection of documentation, including the Owner’s Manual, Warranty Card and Book, Dealer’s Business Card, and the dealer inventory sticker on the lower corner of the windshield.

When we open the doors and look around inside this 620, we are confronted with more good news. The interior presents beautifully, with no visible wear or issues. The Cream vinyl upholstery is immaculate, while the dash and pad show no evidence of cracks or UV damage. It isn’t loaded with optional extras, but the buyer receives a heater and a pushbutton AM radio.

Pickups like this 1978 Datsun 620 Deluxe don’t come along every day. It is as close to showroom fresh as you are ever likely to find, and it appears to need nothing beyond a lucky new owner. It has already received an impressive fifty-nine bids, which has pushed it well beyond what might be considered the average price. That makes it difficult to gauge just how high it might climb before it passes the reserve. I can’t say with any certainty, but it will be interesting to see what you think. Taking that one step further, are you tempted to join the bidding frenzy? Even if you don’t, this auction should still be worth watching.

Comments

  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    Very nice,but would you actually use it like a truck?
    1978 was the first year for disc brakes on these.The
    reason I bought a Toyota instead of a King Cab in ’77.

    Like 5
    • Stan Part

      No, of course you wouldn’t. This is a collector’s item. A show piece.

      Like 3
  2. junkman Member

    The second time you rip your shirt, catch your coat pocket, or hook a belt loop on those cargo hooks around the bed it won’t seem like such a great truck. Boy, that used to really annoy me. Then again if you just drive it and stay away from the garment shredders on the back you are gonna love it.

    Like 4
    • MGSteve

      Junkman–well, I strongly disagree with your comment about the cargo or rope hooks. I’ve had pick up trucks my whole life, and if you are really using a truck, IMHO, the “rope hooks” are an essential. I had a 58 Dodge for 43 years, and added “rope hooks” all way ’round. After that, I had a series of small Japanese trucks, the early ones had ample “rope hooks” and I LOVED ‘EM. My “newest” truck is an ’04 Tacoma (last of the “little” trucks). Sadly, it does not have rope hooks, and I truly miss them. I’ve added a poor substitute, and they don’t work nearly as well. I see all these huge, double cab trucks which can cost $100K, I hear . . . and nothing so practical as a way to tie down your load?????

  3. DRV

    I want it badly. They say find the best one and here you have it.
    I’m glad BaT isn’t selling it so the price will actually represent what it’s worth.

    Like 5
  4. Pleease

    Man that’s beautiful – a time machine, being so new-like.

    Out of general curiosity, why do people bid early in an auction situation? What’s the “up side”? Seems wiser to wait until the end to see what you can buy an item for, rather than participate in driving the price up. Am I missing something?

    Like 5
    • Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

      In most cases on something like this, the early bids are shills.

      Like 5
    • Todd J. Member

      Some people don’t have time for mind games and rather just bid the most they’re willing to pay. They’ll be notified when the auction ends.

      Like 1
  5. DON

    Hope it ends up in a dry climate ; if I brought it here to CT. , it would be rusted away in 5 years

  6. Car Nut Tacoma

    That’s crazy! 37k miles?! That’s low miles for a car over 40 yrs old.

  7. misterlou Member

    If the car has spent it’s entire life in California why isn’t wearing blue plates? You can keep your vanity plates if you want, but regular plates stay with the car. I always find this suspicious, especially with low-mile cars that claim to have never left.

    Like 3
    • Chris

      My grandpa gave me his ’65 Ford F100 in the mid 90s and when we went to DMV we were told in order to change ownership the black and yellow plates could no longer remain on the truck and I was issued new white and blue California plates with a new license number. I remember my grandpa arguing that it made no sense, but the DMV worker couldn’t be swayed. Maybe something similar happened with this one?

      • MGSteve

        I don’t think anyone will ever understand DMVs. So much seems to depend on which person serves you. I re-registered a 1955 MG with California Black/yellow plates, and it was no problem whatsoever, albeit with several years of non-registration. One suggestion is to use either the AAA Club or the private DMV registration services. I think it safe to say that most of those private “aftermarket” DMV companies are owned/staffed by retired DMV employees, and they are more interested in getting things done than following every single rule. Had many friends use their services with good success.

  8. Howie Mueler

    Super nice, and very cool, but $22k can get you so much more.

    Like 4
  9. Jack

    Maybe 7 or 8k. Over 20 k, no thanks it’s still a small older model truck that can’t carry its weight in cargo.

    Like 3
  10. Beel

    My girlfriend in the late ’80s had one of these. Same color. Great truck and we took it camping all over. Loved the engine. At her suggestion, we played the gas tank challenge coming home from a Shasta camping trip. We lost just a few miles from home.

  11. chrlsful

    fine, very fine (rest0).
    I’d like one too (esp w/the lill extra in-cab room)
    but auto & longer bed /or/ this bed, 4WD & 5 speed.

  12. GCS Member

    That’s museum quality. I couldn’t drive it except around the block and that would be scary with the idiots on the road these days. Really nice.

    Like 2
  13. Stan

    Is this the motor with the dual spark plugs/cyl ?

    • angliagt angliagt Member

      No – it’s the single plug one.I believe these had an L20 engine-
      2000 cc.

  14. Cam W.

    A friend got one of these, brand-new in high school. Same model and colour. They were not popular yet, and considered cheap, throw-aways by many. Most of the students came from wealthy families, and this was the cheapest car in the student parking lot.The first day he brought it, a couple guys from the football team lay on the pavement behind it, planting their feet on the bottom of the tailgate while the owner floored it in reverse. The tires spun easily, and that was the only way it could do a “burnout”. A couple more guys jumped in the back, and began jumping up and down for traction. I looked on, expecting imminent disaster, but the tires just kept spinning and smoking. Soon smoke began coming from the rest of the drivetrain The little truck was eventually saved by the (school) bell.
    For context….. The same kid had earlier been given a 5 year old Jensen Interceptor, and purposely destroyed it by jumping railroad tracks, and taking it off-road. His dad was involved in some sort of crooked white-collar business with mining stocks, and did jail time.

    Like 1
  15. JudoJohn

    Hmm. Says listing was ended by seller due to an error in the listing. Nice truck, but market will determine what it’s really worth.
    I had a 1972 red one, and my brother had a ’75 orange like this one. They were good, tough trucks.

    Like 1

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