40k Mile Survivor: 1975 Datsun B210

Before the 1980s, most Nissan-built cars were branded as Datsun’s, a practice that dated back to before World War II. So, the use of the Datsun name was not unique to U.S.-imported cars, which began to trickle in around 1958. One of the models, produced between 1973-78, was known as the Sunny on its home turf, but as the Datsun B210 in the states. You don’t see many of them running around some 45 years later, but this ’75 edition has managed to survive and may only have 40,000 miles. Located in Bentonville, Arkansas, this bright yellow hatchback is available here on eBay where the bidding has reached $2,025, though the reserve is unmet.

The Sunny/B210 had the good fortune of being introduced during the 1973 OPEC oil embargo as car buyers began to flock to more economical forms of transportation. A variety of body styles were available, including the hatchback coupe featured here. The popular engine/transmission pairing in the U.S. was the 1.4-liter inline-4 with a 4-speed manual transmission, like in the seller’s car, but an automatic was available. American-market B210s were the first Sunny’s to use the larger 5-mph bumpers as mandated by new Federal safety standards and they weren’t blended into the styling.

This 1975 B210 was only owned by two parties before the seller getting involved. The car has survived in part because it spent a lot of time (40 years) in a garage in Illinois. The second owner was going to restore the automobile but fell ill before much work could be done. Mechanically, the Datsun is original except for the substitution of an electronic distributor, though the original was retained. We’re told the car runs well and the transmission shifts as it should.

The B210 retains its original paint which still has a decent shine, but there is some rust in the sheet metal, not uncommon with these cars. Both rear quarter panels will need patches in front of the rear wheels as well on the bottoms of the doors. One of the front fenders and rocker panels will need similar attention. Though the seller says the undercarriage is in “unbelievable condition,” things do look pretty crusty. The gas tank may be brand new.

Though there are new tires on all four corners, the brakes are going to need some work. The shocks that hold the liftgate open are shot and need to be replaced unless you like getting conked on the head. The driver’s bucket seat is ripped and torn, and the dash pad is cracked. The odometer quit working, so the mileage reading stopped around 40lk. There is mention of air conditioning and hardware is present under the dash, but I don’t see any plumbing under the hood. The car will come with some paperwork that has been saved along with a few extra parts, like a new radiator and trunk liner. Unless you take the B210 to a Japanese-centric car show, chances are yours might be the only one there.

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Comments

  1. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    Wow what a throwback. Had friends with these back when new, and we always thought of them as basic, but throw backs.

    Like 5
  2. Rod Faurot

    We have a friend that has one of these with more than 500,000 miles and the engine has never been opened.

    Like 8
  3. Bob C.

    Amazing to see one still around, in this condition yet. They would start rusting the moment they left the dealer’s lot.

    Like 15
    • Taconix

      They started rusting as soon as they got on the boat!

      Like 4
    • Greg

      I worked for a Datsun Dealer back then.
      A B210 with a stick was OK to drive but you put an automatic in it and AC you had a disaster waiting to happen. It was so under powered that getting on an expressway and meeging into traffic was lethal.
      I owned a 1970 Datsun 510. With a stick. That was a fun car. They had a 4 cyl engine that was 2 cylinders short of being a 240 motor. It was an OH Cam. Problem was RUST…

      Like 3
  4. Arby

    Right up there with the Aztec as homeliest ever.

    Like 7
    • That AMC Guy

      I think it was a contemporary Car & Driver review which stated of the B210 hatchback: “When painted brown, looks like a cockroach.”

      Like 7
    • alan hubbard

      The Fastback version shown here was passable a the time period, but the sedan version was god awful looking. The funny thing is these Japanese “classic” usually only survive if they where Automatics, I was surprised to see this one was a manual. The A/C was always dealer installed, sometimes not to nicely done.

      Like 1
  5. Woody

    So many of my friends had this car in high school. Usually in yellow, orange and avocado green. All had black vinyl interiors I seem to recall. And for some reason, all Datsuns had the same smell when you sat in them. I’m guessing it was all that plastic and vinyl. Thanks for the memories!

    Like 10
  6. Randy

    Had one. In Blue rust color. Worst car I ever owned. Engine was weak and the car was rusty everywhere in no time. Malaise era for Datsun after my excellent 510. They did not continue making great cars until much later as Nissan. Randy

    Like 3
  7. CraigR

    My brother had one of these and when he enlisted, I got it. Put a set of 14 inch wheels on it and it was a winter bomb. Beat it to death, and the death took the form of a broken ring, the thing still ran but spewed prodigious amounts of blue smoke. The local police took exception to the smoke and “enouraged” me to stop driving it. Good times LOL.

    Like 1
  8. DelBoy

    Awww. The car I learned to drive in back in 1976, although I think the driving school’s one was a lurid orange. This was an early Japanese car that showed the UK manufacturers what a bunch of cheapskates they really were. Standard equipment included carpets (gasp), radio (gasp), heater (gasp), wing mirrors (gasp) and warranty (gasp X2). All inclusive, where as with Uk cars, only available for an additional chunk of cash.

    Like 4
  9. bone

    The engines in these little cars were as dependable as a lawn mower engine- you could neglect them and they’d always start . The bodies,in New England anyway, , were what usually killed them. We had a lot of these (and other similar imports ) in our junkyard in the early 80s ; they pullers would use them as yard cars . They would beat the hell out of them in the yard, but the motors would keep on running

    Like 7
  10. Vance

    My friend’s smokin hot Mom drove one of these back in ’76, I was 5′ 10″ and 180 lbs, and that was 9th grade. Trying to get in this thing was like putting 10 pounds of sh$t in a 5 pound can. Of course no a/c and vinyl seats. But seeing her scantily clad, and swearing profusely wasn’t so bad either. It was still a tight fit, me in the car of course. Being 14 was a hard time to be a teenager.

    Like 8
  11. BillTheAppleman

    I bought a ’76 new(ish, was a demo car). No A/C but had a 5 speed trans. Had to replace the head gasket more than twice in the 150k I put on it. Not a terrible ride for the price, but I don’t regret trading it away.

    Like 2
  12. angliagt angliagt Member

    I had a 1978 B210 that was given to me.I had over $4500
    into it when I sold it ( I bought enough NOS parts to completely
    rebuild it.I sold it for $800,& threw in everything.
    There was an article in a 1974 issue of Road & Track,where
    Bob Sharp built up a new ’74.It was white,with red & blue stripes
    on it.Always wanted to make a copy of it.

    Like 2
  13. Paul Kile

    I would buy it, take the engine and tranny out (with the A/C), and use it in a Morris Minor. Scrap the rest with all that rust

    Like 2
  14. Chris Webster

    Still ugly after all these years. At least we were spared the 5MPH bumpers.

    Like 2
  15. Car Nut Tacoma

    Nice looking car. I had a neighbour when I was a boy who had a Datsun B210. At the time, I didn’t find it very attractive. Compared to today’s Nissan and Infiniti cars, though, I find it way better looking.

    Like 4
  16. Greg

    I bought a new 1974 B210 Hatchback with a 4 spd. It was late in the model year and the 1975’s came out shortly afterward with a 5 spd. I should have waited. But the car actually received very positive remarks from all my friends and neighbors. It was a very attractive copper brown with brown interior. Drove it for a couple of years trouble free before trading it up for a Datsun 310….what a mistake that pos was!

    Like 2
    • Gregg

      Didn’t you mean to say “cockroach brown”?

  17. mh

    I opened a Datsun Dealership in Jan of 77…. we could sell a Datsun B210 for 1995 dollars.. brand new..and make money… I had that dealership for six years…and we actually made money in our shop….one month during those six years.. people would buy those cars…and you would hardly ever see them in the shop except for normal services like oil changes..and you cant make money on an oil change… they just never broke down.. there were times in 77 and 78… that we never even had a new car on the lot that wasnt sold..people wanted to trade in gas hog cadillacs…and we couldnt take them.. couldnt get rid of em… it was crazy times when gas hit a dollar a gallon…. A new 77 280z…if I remember correctly was 4995….. those were the days…

    Like 12
    • WH

      Gasoline at a dollar per gallon?
      What a bargain that was compared to what we pay now.
      Got close to that last year during Covid.

      Like 1
  18. Troy

    Add says speedometer not working also means odometer not working 5 digit odometer so no way to know if it has rolled over at $2000 for this rust bucket take the money and run.

    Like 4
  19. Solosolo Member

    When we had them in South Africa they were known as either a 120Y or 140Y, 1200 or 1400cc engines. Same story with the rust as they disintegrated as you washed them.

  20. Andrew S Mace Member

    I know…if you can’t say anything nice….

    That said, thank goodness for the 510 and the 240Z to balance out the “memory” of the B210, which was nothing compared to a Corolla or Civic!

  21. Howard A Member

    We’re all pretty much aghast that this is even here. It was the B210, I feel, that really turned things around for Datsun. Like the Corolla, or Civic, it was a cheap, dependable, economical car, unlike the 510 that it replaced and they couldn’t ship them fast enough. Calm down 510 lovers, the B210 was just a better car. Like all these, they began rusting on their maiden voyage, and a couple of winters in the salt bath, usually did them in.They were crummy cars, lousy heat, rode rough, terrible seats, and heaven forbid you get T-boned in one, but they offered dependability and economy, unlike anything we ever saw, and that’s all it took. Great find.

    Like 3
  22. Karen Bryan

    Never understood how Nissan could produce a beauty like the 240Z alongside an eyesore like this. And why were about 99% of them that nauseating color?

  23. Murray

    Dreadful think which should have been put down at birth. Its only redeeming feature being that its steering box has been used in thousands of MG TCs as a replacement for the original and now worn steering box. Which in Australia at least is how most of them ended up, rusting away in a yard, missing their steering box…..

    Like 1
  24. Kevin

    You can see the A/C lines and drier on the right side of the engine compartment. Not sure why all the hate on these. Except for the rust and the occasional head gasket failure these things were nearly unbreakable. You could drive them as hard as you could and they just kept running. A bit slow but great cars in their day. Even the styling wasn’t that bad for the time.

    Like 1
  25. HC

    Sorry, but no. Just wasn’t my cup of tea then and still not now.

  26. Solosolo Member

    I toured America back in 1989 and hired a Buick and a Toyota Cressida during that period. The Cressida gave me exactly twice the mileage that the Buick did. I stayed for a while in San Juan/Capistrano with a lawyer friend who still has the Buick convertible that he owned through high school, and his biggest fear was that gas was going to be over $1 per gallon very soon! Now you guys are looking at $4 a gallon I believe. Here in UK it is £1.39 per LITRE which is $1.91. Multiply that by 3.785 litres to the US gallon and you have $7.22 to the gallon! Now you might understand why us Brits drive small, economical cars.

    Like 1
  27. HC

    The late 70s Datsun 240, and 260s and 280Zs were alright, but not this B210. Never was a big fan.

  28. JBD

    I bought one from my dad’s friend for $50. I had to put 2 used tires on the front end then drove it for another couple of years. Simple and reliable car. Never had any problems with it. It is probably still running…

  29. Stacyy

    My math teacher had a brown 210 back in the 80’s. Seemed really quirky back then.

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