What A Beauty! 1965 Datsun Pickup

I love these old Datsun and Toyota trucks, because they are just the right size for me and rarely break. This, however, is the nicest restovivor I’ve ever seen! It’s located in Yucca Valley, California and is for sale here on eBay. It’s covered 113,000 miles, but sure doesn’t look it–which is reflected in the buy it now of $14,500.

This is supposedly original paint that has been “restored”. I’m assuming that means careful work with a buffer. While there are some scratches inside the bed and a few worn spots, the paint in general reflects careful garage storage for this truck’s entire life. This is one of those rare chances to snag a vehicle that’s been taken care of the way you’d like to see one taken care of from day #1.

It really stands out that the bed doesn’t really line up with the cab; I’ve heard that it’s a generic bed, but I’d love to know more from any Barn Finds reader experts.

The interior is just downright gorgeous, at least in condition. The seat and door panels have just been redone–I hope this is the original pattern and colors, although I couldn’t find one just like this on the internet. We’re told that all the lights, gauges and wipers work. There really aren’t many luxury features on this little truck, but that’s part of the point. Less to go wrong!

The engine and transmission have been rebuilt in the past, and if you are a British car fan, you’ll be squinting a bit. Both the designs for the “A” Series and “B” Series BMC small four cylinders were sold to Datsun/Nissan, and you can certainly see the resemblance. The brakes have also recently been redone, and of course it runs and drives well. Brand new tires round out the package. Now you may feel the price is high–personally, I don’t. I think this is the type of restovivor that someone will be very happy with, and will have little work to do on it for the cosseted life it will no doubt lead. But that’s my opinion–I’m interested in yours!

Fast Finds


  1. Scotty Staff

    Ohhhhh.. that’s painful! Nice find, sir.

  2. Don

    That is the original bed style .

  3. Don

    Is that an emergency brake on the driver’s side floor?

    • JBP

      Or parking brake. It is realy nice, but strange, i have never seen one here in Europe.

  4. Bob C.

    This truck looks like the reverse effect of a studebaker champ pickup with the outsourced dodge bed.

  5. Don

    What are the hook things on the side of the bed for.

    • jwinters

      to tie down your load.

    • Adam T45 Staff

      You could also get an optional canvas tonneau cover that went over the tray. It attached to the hooks with an elastic cord to cover your load.

  6. OhU8one2

    It also appears to me that somebody really likes Mustang’s. And not the hay burning one’s.

  7. KEN TILLY Member

    I owned one of these Datsun trucks from new in 1965 when I was a building contractor in South Africa and it was worked to death but wouldn’t die! However, it was built as a workhorse and DEFINITELY would never have been supplied with seat covers like this one! About one year ago I went with a friend of mine up to Johannesburg to look at a collection that was for sale and from it he bought a 1962 model and has since restored it to near perfection and uses it in his electrical business as his daily runner.

  8. boxdin

    Because of the “Chicken Tax” trucks like this were brought to the US incomplete. Then a bed was attached, toyota sourced their beds in Long Beach CA, Datsun had the beds “attached loosely” and were more firmly attached at the Port of Entry. This is still done in some cases.

  9. Jason

    Very nice. I’m glad to hear some people still appreciate these compact pick-up trucks.

  10. olddavid

    It’s 1963, and we have purchased one of these from KAT. In those days the transport company was obligated to buy the vehicle when any damage was caused by handling. Every 90 days they would be sold by closed bid. We had a SAAB (two stroke?) and a Toyopet four door and one of these. What a convoy of cars. Couldn’t figure out how to dim the brights. Those three cars taught us a hard lesson. But the good part was we met Mr. Qvale in San Francisco, and he and my Father were friends for years. He would sell us all his unusual American iron and we took everything foreign and strange to him. I can still remember about twenty SAAB engines sitting around the perimeter of the shop. People had forgotten to put the two stroke oil in the gas. The things I saw in those days you couldn’t make up. No one would believe.

  11. MGSteve

    What are those “hook things” . . . C’mon Man! Were you throwing that out there in jest??? But a few short years ago, almost all trucks had those rope hooks on them. That’s ‘cuz we use to put stuff in them and tie down the load. I’m not sure what new trucks are used for today . . . I hardly ever see anything in the back of them. I so miss this size of truck. Question: Why does everyone need a full Crew Cab? I virtually never see more than one person in the cab. Question: Why does everyone need 4wd? I guess you might get stuck in the flower beds at the mall? Question: Why are their animal guards over the lights . . . even the tail lights? If we were all living in the out back of Australia, maybe I get it. If we were chasing wild rhinos in deepest Africa, maybe I get it. But, driving around town???? I really don’t get the need for animal guards over the tail lights??? How fast is your truck . . . and how fast is the rhino? Are you afraid a rhino will overtake you, and crash into your tail lights? Give the world back trucks this size, and I think they’d sell, again, by the hundreds of thousands. I finally sold my 83 Toyota 2wd, short bed truck w/315,000+ miles on it, and still ran like a clock. Body was getting rough, but still was a good little work truck. “Moved up” to a used ’04 Toyota 2wd, and that truck should out live me. People constantly stop and ask me “Where did you get this LITTLE truck?” “What year is this?” “This is what I really wanted.” FWIW, 2004 was the last year Toyota made the basic little truck–but hey, it even has AC, a radio that works, the dome light comes on when you open the door, power steering, power brakes . . . what more could a person want????? A pic of my ’83 Toyota . . . see: rope hooks! Today, if you want something to replace those ol’ rope hooks, you have to go to the dealer, specialty supply places, trick truck places and spend a lot of money to buy some fancy thing to replace those basic rope hooks. My “new” ’04 has 4 wee tiny little loops, in the corner of the bed . . . almost useless.

    • Brakeservo

      In 2003 I bought a four-cylinder 2wd automatic Toyota Tacoma pickup from the dealer in McMinnville, Oregon. I got a deal on it as nobody wanted a four-cylinder 2wd automatic truck then. When she saw it, my wife got pissed at me because it had 101,000 miles. Well, today it has about 500,000 miles, everything – the AC, Cruise Control and even the dome lights work perfect. It’s been far more faithful and dependable than the (now ex) wife ever was! As an aside, when it hit 300,000 miles I called the dealer to tell them about it, I thought they might be impressed. Instead the guy on the phone said “300,000 miles? So what, they all do that!”

      • MGSteve

        ahhh C’mon now . . . that’s a big truck! Has the Sport Cab. You’re on the right page though. Before the small Japanese trucks (I initially could not afford the Toyotas . . . not for what I wanted them for), so started with an Isuzu and then a Mitsubishi. Those were “OK”, but it wasn’t until I bought that 83 Toyota, which only had 160,000+ on when I bought it, that I discovered what all the chatter was about. Suckers are tough! Before the small Japanese trucks, I had a 58 Dodge, D100 1/2 ton, with so many miles on it that we never really knew the mileage. It was a bunch! However, to achieve that many miles, unlike a Toyota, I went through several engine changes, several tranny rebuilds, etc. To your point about your dealers blowing you off about your truck having surpassed 300,000 miles, when I would go to Dodge dealers and try to chase down a part, their reaction was “What???? You want parts for a ’58 truck??? Give it up, buy a new truck.” That attitude really @##$%^& me off. Instead of being proud that one of their trucks had done this, they only wanted to sell a new truck–which I seriously doubt was going to last 40+ years! If I had been a dealer, I would have wanted it one the showroom floor for a few weeks.

      • DRV

        But not all have Merc wheel covers…

  12. geomechs geomechs Member

    I remember seeing trucks of this vintage when heading out through the Intermountain country to the Pacific Northwest but you wouldn’t see one of these on the east side of the Rockies until the early 70s. I think I brought the first import pickup to my hometown in ’71, and I almost got chased OUT of town when the majority of residents saw it–you’d think they all fought the Japanese in the South Pacific. But their size served a purpose (that’s why I bought mine) and they eventually carved their own niche. Back then I think that Datsun had a better engine than Toyota. I met some Datsun owners who were quite happy with theirs but I don’t think I met ONE who was happy with the Toyotas until the ’72 models came out; they were much improved over the ’71 stuff. None of them had a heater that would put out much until the mid-70s….

    • Dave Wright

      We always considered Datsun engines better than Toyota but Toyota had better bodies.

      • RH FACTOR

        I had a ’74 Toyota pickup bought new; rusted faster than I could pay for it!!!

  13. Larry

    I’m no expert but I think that’s the correct bed. At one time imported small pick ups arrived in California without a bed. The bed was installed in the US. I believe it was to circumvent some some odd tariff law applied to imported trucks. That’s also why Subaru Brat’s (remember those)? came with those wierd, easily removable seats in the bed, so technically it was a passenger car, not a truck. Google “Chicken Tax” it’s an interesting story.

  14. DRV

    I had a ’65 and 2 ’69s back in the early 70’s. We used them for a lawn service of ours. They were perfect for stashing lawn boys and gas cans but hard for 3 in the seat!
    The 69’s were light years ahead in what little power they had.
    This one is more tempting as any one I’ve seen since.
    I can remember loading them until the bed hit the axle. Thankfully we had flat roads.
    The price is huge but I’m guessing you won’t lose over time….

  15. Bellingham Fred

    My Dad bought a ’67 Datsun brand new for around $1700. It may have been an end of model year sale. The seat was vinyl and fairly plain unlike the one shown here. It was small but we didn’t need a heavy hauler. He called it his motorized wheel barrow. I learned to drive in it at 14 years old. We lived in a real estate development with private roads and he was a former drivers ed teacher. The 4 speed was fun to drive, I didn’t own a daily driver with an automatic until I was almost 30.

    • jackthemailman

      $1700 sounds about right. In September 1970, new 240Zs listed for right around $3400. I didn’t buy one because the dealer wouldn’t come off the price one nickel. Oh, well….

  16. Car Nut Tacoma

    I’ve always loved these old-school Japanese trucks. They may be primitive compared to today’s trucks, but so what? If it runs, everything works like it should, and it drives safely, then that’s all that matters.

  17. Rex Rice

    With a 5 main bearing crankshaft, these engines were bullet proof. I have driven them down the Interstate, ‘pedal to the metal’ for hours without harm being done. These early Datsuns were hard riding tho, riding like: A Truck . I also pulled a sail boat, pissing off the big trucks when I pulled it up the launch ramp.

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