Albino Unicorn: 1983 Datsun/Nissan Pulsar

Unicorn sighting! And, that front bumper looks almost as long as a unicorn’s horn is. This 1983 Datsun/Nissan Pulsar is listed on eBay with an unmet opening bid of $2,000. This fairly rare car is located in Murray, Kentucky. This is the last year for the Datsun name in the US and this car has both Datsun and Nissan badges on it, pretty cool, if a person is into such things, which I am. But, you knew that already. Let’s check out this albino unicorn.

Yep, that’s a big bumper, yowsa. But, these were very good cars for what they were intended to do, carry people around town as commuter vehicles. The seller mentions that this car is at 3,600 RPM at 65 mph, so flying across Utah at 90 mph (speed limit of 85) is probably out of the question. I have a car like that, one that I don’t drive above 72-73 mph because the RPM is high enough that I don’t want to blow anything up. This Pulsar has been repainted to a “driver quality”, that’s a drawback that it isn’t original.

I know that not all of the Barn Finds family of readers are into vintage Japanese vehicles, but not everyone is into the same things here, or in life, in general, and we’re an equal-opportunity vehicle service. That sounded like a public service announcement, but I just like to mention that every now and then. This was the N12 Nissan, badged as a Datsun/Nissan Pulsar for the US market in only 1983 for the 2-door and 4-door hatchback, but the Nissan Pulsar coupe continued on in the US market.

There’s a lot of fading going on inside this car but supposedly there are no cracks or real flaws at all other than the dash clock isn’t working. The only flaw that I see, and I say this every time, is that automatic transmission. A car this small always benefits from having a manual transmission. Perhaps the most interesting part of this interior, other than the nice red color, is the pattern on the seats! There are no back seat photos, no trunk photos, and worst of all, there are no engine photos! This car is being sold by a licensed dealer in Kentucky so that seems odd that there aren’t more photos. This engine would be Nissan’s E15, 1.5L inline-four with about 70 hp. The repaint and automatic transmission are really the only flaws that I personally see in this car. This isn’t the best looking car by almost everyone’s standards, but I think that it’s interesting being the last badged Datsun model in the US, even if it is a four-door with huge bumpers!


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  1. Adam T45 Staff

    The plastics on early ’80’s Nissan/Datsuns was very prone to deterioration. The harsh Australian sun saw plastic pieces crazing, cracking and disintegrating within a few short years. One advantage that we had in Australia was that our Pulsars didn’t receive that enormous front bumper. I believe that may have been to meet American crash standards, which at the time were higher than most Asia/Pacific nations (we’ve finally caught up). One advantage that we had was that apart from the featured car and the performance-based coupe, in Australia we also received a variation called the Pulsar ET Turbo (don’t as what the “ET” stood for). This sported the turbo engine out of the coupe, along with 4-wheel disc brakes, Bilstein shocks and sports seats with additional lateral and thigh support, along with full instrumentation and all the other goodies. I’ve attached a photo for you.

    • Scotty Staff

      That’s much better, Adam! Thanks for the photo.

    • rusty

      In Australia the ET stood for Extra Testicle.

      It was assumed Nissan meant you had to have one to drive the turbo.

      When we all knew you had to have one to be seen in it. Hee hee

      • Adam T45 Staff

        I actually had an ET (wish I still had it!). I took it for a test drive, and was feeling pretty cynical about the whole concept of a fwd turbo car. By the time I returned to the dealership I was ready to sign the papers. I could not believe how well it went, stopped and handled. Mind you, trying to get it onto full boost in the wet in 2nd gear required that extra testicle!!!

    • Neal

      Plastic deterioration was very real. In the early/mid 2000’s, I inherited my grandfather’s ’84 Maxima with very low miles. Great, solid car at the time except for the gaping holes in the console and trim where chunks had cracked out. Strong inline six and all the bells and whistles. Literally. Like, it talked to you. Eventually needed a full relatively expensive exhaust system and then we were concerned about safety with a little baby, and another on the way,etc. Passed it on to our babysitter, who was willing to put a bit into it to keep it running. All good until the timing chain went at only about 40k miles, and then she was done with it too. I always feel so sad for otherwise “good” cars that somehow don’t merit the cost of repairs. I’m willing to live with irrepairable holes in the interior plastics, but everything got so brittle and jagged.

  2. Racingpro56

    The ET turbo i could do…the overly doored unicorn with the diving board on the front end…no.

  3. Chebby

    No question, these cars served an important purpose in the evolution of the automobile. Yet having owned its close cousin, a 1982 Datsun 310GX, I have to say there is no reason why you would ever want to own one of its kind again, any more than you you would seek out a 1978 Conair hair dryer or a 1982 EraserMate pen.

  4. rusty

    Adam T45 said ” Mind you, trying to get it onto full boost in the wet in 2nd gear required that extra testicle!!! ‘

    hee hee

    • Adam T45 Staff

      Yep. If you didn’t keep your wits about you in the wet, the boost would hit and the thing would wheel-spin. If it then found grip on one wheel you could change lanes automatically. If you were used to the car….no problems!

      • rusty

        Actually I have just realised now I had one of these for a very short time of 8 months [well at least i think i did but modern hatchbacks back then all look the same to me but it couldnt have been anything else and the funny bumpers thru me off. ].

        Remember walking into a car yard when I was between Morris Minors with $800 Aussie dollars in my hand and only needing interim transport.. And said what do you have for $800 expecting a beat up old holden.

        He pointed to a nice looking metallic blue one of these [not turbo] which had a $2500 sticker on it and long rego [which in Australia is extremely expensive] and said you can have this. That would have been average $ at the time.

        A bit shocked as It was a deal too good to be true [and it was] I thought. But It was a friday so I knew he needed to pay wages so i took it for a test drive [best time to haggle when its pay day]..It went well [well I only hasd Morris Minors to compare it too and a few old Holdens] so then I did my normal motor tests and it seemed ok. But hey it was selling for about what the rego was worth so i though give it a go..

        It Seemed fine and nothing indicating head probs..But a few weeks later when I did a radiator flush and replace fluid it started overheating and sludging A stuffed head fixed with head gunk in radiator.

        When I flushed it I obviously took out the gunk. Anyway..basically I wanted to get my rego moneys worth out of it so I kept desludging it for many months till rego fell due and then handed the plates in.

        Sold it later unregistered for $300 so i guess i got my 8 months of rego out of it..but it was a pain..Guess thats why I forgot as I only had it on the road such short time. That car swore me off alloy heads..but bugger everything is alloy now unless I go back to my beloved Morris Minors. Hee hee

        Anyway bugger It wasnt an Et but I feel it detesticled me. hee hee

  5. duke

    this is more like an albino albatross……gotta pass on this econo box-Zzzz

  6. chuck farley

    This from the era when Datsun/Nissan had quality control issues similar to Lada – and similar parts unavailablity. (Think also of first gen Hyundai Pony!)

    Had a 200Zx of that same year. It would have been a poor bargain even if it had been free!

    Any needed pieces were always back ordered about 2 months and it needed LOTS of stuff to keep it going. Got rid of it after a miserable 4 months of ownership.

    • Adam T45 Staff

      Chuck, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve had a fairly high number of Nissans/Datsuns over the years. The greatest bug-bear was actually getting correct parts when you ordered them. As well as being shipping spares by carrier pigeon, Nissan has had a tendency to introduce running changes within model years. I needed a universal joint for a Skyline that I owned. I had to tell the dealer what month the car was manufactured because there were three different ones for that model year depending on build month….and none of them were interchangeable!

  7. chad

    step up a yr or 2 to the NX model that could convert to the wagon, p/u, hatch, & convertable…

  8. milotus

    Looks like an original Hyandai Pony,
    & just as exciting!

  9. B and A

    In EU those were badged as Nissan Cherry.
    There was also a cooperation between Nissan and Alfa Romeo. The result of this cooperation was the Alfa Romeo Arna.

    • Adam T45 Staff

      Ah yes, the Arna. Combining the flair and style of Nissan with the build quality of Alfa!

  10. Mike

    I currently daily drive one of these babies. She’s a gold with gold interior 4 door hatch with 70k miles on the clock. This is the first one I’ve seen for sale since I got mine (about a year ago).

  11. Ralph

    Gimme a Ford Fairmont anytime.

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