$900 Oddball Mini-Truck Project

Who doesn’t love Japanese mini-trucks? Seriously, who doesn’t? They’re durable, affordable, cheap, and relatively fun to drive. With a useable bed and a size and price-point that won’t intimidate most owners, these trucks make great work-horses. Why bother buying a 1980’s Toyota, when you can buy this 1962 Datsun L320 here on craigslist for only $900! Thanks to reader Olaf E for this great submission!

The only other Datsun mini-trucks I’ve seen are owned by Mike Finnegan and David Freidburger of Roadkill and Hot Rod magazine. David owns a mid 70’s pickup with a mid-mounted Buick V8. Mike owns what I believe is a ’68 Datsun that has been heavily modified including a full body and bed chop and is set-up for asphalt-grazing air-ride. Although both of these Datsuns have their own unique form of character, this truck also oozes with potential.

This truck shows promise as a great start to a summer project, or an easy fixer-upper dump-runner. Located in Eugene, Oregon, the truck appears to have very little body rust from the few images that are provided. No description of the mechanical systems are given, but the owner does say a clean title is in hand.

As shown above, the seller says that an extra roof, doors fenders, and front clip are included with the sale. Although this truck looks very solid, extra body panels for an obscure find are always good to have. The badge on the fender says “Datsun 1200”, so I have a hunch that this puny pickup is powered by a small 4 cylinder 1.2 liter engine.


WANTED 1965 Ford Falcon sedan delivery Drag car Contact

WANTED 1972. -1975 Chev Vega or sunbird BuickSkHacke Chevrolet Vega or sunbird skyHack Just need abody Contact

WANTED 1986 – 1987 Chevrolet El Camino SS or Choo Choo Mint low mileage car , prefer white Contact

WANTED 1958 Buick Limited 2 Door Hard Top Looking for a 1958 Buick limited coupe hard top, survivor or restored. Contact

WANTED 1974 Porsche 914 2.0” “In a barn for over 30 years.” Contact

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  1. grant


  2. Phinias

    I had a l973 Datsun Pickup. It was reliable as can be, handled pretty well hauled more than it should have been able to, and was cheap to operate.
    The ONLY thing I hated about the truck was driving in it for more than an hour at a time. I’m no giant at 5’8″, but it was uncomfortable in almost any way imaginable. I was in my 20’s when I owned it, but if I had to go more than an hour, by the time I got out I felt like an 80 year-old man.
    They are still good looking, and I remember it with some fondness…until I think about a long drive in the thing…ouch!

  3. Paul

    Forget the truck, I want the Fiat x1/9 in the background of one of the pictures.!

  4. Ralph H.

    Well, you had to ask…interest was non-existent for mini Japanese trucks in my hood…

  5. erikj

    My Dad had one back in the 70s. He lived on Whidbey island so it was perfectfor putzing around the island and once in a while a ferry trip to the mainland
    Such a wonderfull truck

  6. PaulbZ3

    Love the “60 HP” emblem!!

  7. JACKinNWPA Jack NW PA Member

    Why oh why is it so far away from me……right! because I don’t need another project. Yet I can imagine a Nissan 240SX 2.4 5 spd. and the IRS and….there I go again.

  8. milotus

    And these had a “4 on the tree”.

  9. JoeBazots

    I think a Nissan 3.7L/6spd. swap would make this a killer little truck!

  10. edh

    Roadkill’s pickup is a Mazda.

    • JG

      EDH is right. And it’s got a mid mounted OLDS!

    • Jim Mc

      With an Olds V8 and Toronado transaxle, not a Buick. Love that program.

    • RichS

      The Mazda they’ve had for a while and was dubbed the “Mazdarati”. In the most recent episode however, they bought another truck – a 521 model Datsun which is the ratrod James is referring to:


  11. geomechs geomechs Member

    After owning a ’71 Toyota I got pretty turned off by trucks this size. The only thing I will say positive is that they can go through a lot of snow. Lots of clearance and short wheelbase, put some weight in the back and they’ll go where they’re pointed. If you live where it gets below zero you might reconsider them though. I don’t think the Japanese made a heater/defroster that actually did the job until the mid-70s at the earliest. My Toyota and a friend’s Datsun were horrible to get heat into the cabs. Talking to others and they weren’t any more successful. I saw one similar to this completely restored. I have to admit that they do have an appeal that even catches the attention of a redneck like me.

  12. Denis

    Lots of these on the Westcoast Cali,Oregon,washington.
    This one is PL 320 they also made an NL 320 el camino style cab connected to the box way cool.

  13. Tim

    There neat little trucks,if you can live with the harsh ride they offer,good on fuel milage.not praticle,safe,fast or comfortable! I finally parted with mine due to fact cars seats don’t really fit! Oh good times

  14. Richard Member

    1965 is the year Datsun that I restored , fun truck to drive, but you will be hard pressed to fit if you are over 6′.

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