Carport Find: 1971 Datsun 521 Pickup

Not every “barn find” was found in a literal barn, it’s a term to denote that a vehicle was discovered after being parked for months or years. Just like a new Mini Cooper is much bigger than the original ones were and a person doesn’t have to ford a river just because they own a Ford. This 1971 Datsun 521 pickup was parked under a carport for 25 years and it can be found here on eBay in Statesboro, Georgia. The bid price is $3,850 and there’s still a day left to get your bids in.

The seller says that this preserved Datsun truck was parked under a carport for 25 years and the only thing that they’ve done with it is to wash and wax it and generally dust it and clean it up a bit. It appears to be in absolutely incredible condition. Frankly, I can’t believe that the bid price is so low on this one given the seemingly endless suitcases full of money that a lot of people still seem to have to spend on vehicles in 2020.

The Datsun 521 was an updated version of the Datsun 520, which was a milder design that I like much better for its innocent look, whatever that means. The 520 and 521 were made for the 1966 through 1972 model years with the 521 being the last half, from 1969 to 1972. The bed looks almost like new, unbelievable! But, they do admit that the truck appears to have been repainted at some point in its life, so it isn’t 100% original.

The interior looks great, too. The seat looks almost like new and there doesn’t appear to be any rodent damage which is wild, normally that’s my biggest fear with storing vehicles but this one appears to have been spared that nightmare, especially since it was stored outside. I don’t see any dash cracks or any glaring issues inside.

The engine is split in half, what the! Actually, the seller took all vertical photos and took two half-engine photos, so I had to tweak them to make them into a horizontal format. That’s one of the problems with people today living on their smartphones, they think that everyone else looks at the world in a vertical format. Other than a pogo stick, a vehicle is  h  o  r  i  z  o  n  t  a  l   so I don’t understand the vertical format for vehicle photos trend. Here’s what my brain does when I see a listing with all vertical photos. The engine is Nissan’s L16, a 1.6L inline-four with around 92 horsepower. It doesn’t sound like the seller has tried to start it at all, hopefully it turns over at least. Are there any fans of these early Datsun pickups out there?

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  1. Bmac777 Member

    They washed ,waxed and cleaned it? Obviously they don’t know the correct way to present a barn find, which seems to be that you treat the crud and trash strewn interior like they’re factory options.
    I was thumbing when I was 14 and got picked up in one of these and ended up sandwiched between 2 drunk guys on a Sunday morning, what a horrifying event.
    After the second time we swerved back from oncoming traffic I said “this is good right here” and they let me out and headed on their way, but not before giving me a beer to take, which after that ride, I needed.

    • Dusty Rider

      I hitched from Missouri to Tuscon on Rt 66 in 1970. Second ride outside Springfield Mo was in one like this, but with a 4 speed on the column. It might have been a Toyota, I can’t remember, small pickup, mid-60’s. This guy picked up every hitch hiker we saw and had 4 or 5 in it by the time he dropped me off in AZ. Had my turn in the bed, took a nap and my shirt came unbuttoned in the wind, and by the time I woke up, had a V shaped sunburn from chest to navel that looked pretty weird for a week or so. Tuscon’s another story.

      • RexFox Member

        Great story. I had some scary hitch hiking experiences, but I was thankful for all the rides. The models before the 521 (421) with rounded fenders had the 4 on the column.

  2. Rex Kahrs Member

    Great story 777, I did a lot of hitchhiking back when (1970s), and luckily wasn’t murdered in the process!

  3. Dave

    When you see these up close you realize just how “mini” these were. Tinworms feasted on these and most were scrap in a few short years. This should be in a museum because it will rust if you drive it in the rain.

  4. Bellingham Fred

    I learned to drive at age 14 in a ’67 Datsun PU. My Dad bought it brand new for around $1700. We lived in a private community so I could get away with underage driving. My Dad had taught Driver’s Ed earlier in his teaching career, so I received good instruction.
    Dad used that truck for all kinds of hauling jobs, he referred to it as his motorized wheelbarrow.

  5. Kenneth Carney

    Looks just like the one Jim Smith, our nearest Datsun dealer in Peoria, was hawking on TV in ’70 or ’71. I can tell
    you first-hand that many many folks
    drove from my hometown of Bloomington
    to Peoria just to buy one of these. Mr.
    Smith advertised that all of his mechanics were trained at the Datsun
    Training Center in seacaucus, New Jersey
    which made a lot of folks feel at ease
    about buying one of those new fangled
    foreign cars he was selling. This was a
    really great time for Datsun. Seems that
    anything they sold was solid and reliable
    and not those pieces of crap that Nissan
    sold from ’83 onward. Sis bought an ’08
    Sentra sedan that had more issues than
    Carter had liver pills. The CVT transmission rarely worked right, and the
    engine pumped gallons of oil to who knows where. Any time I looked, I couldn’t find a leak. Today’s Nissan could take a lesson from Datsun and build better quality vehicles that are more
    reliable. So would I buy this truck? I
    certainly would!

  6. Moses

    My Grandfather had a white one when I was 13. He let me take the truck almost anytime I wanted to drive. He had a farm, a junk yard and 2 truck stops out in the country in Al. Good ole NTS. Some people know what that means. We escorted Semis across the Al. River bridge when they were a little wide. CB’s were handy back then. Good hard packed yellow dirt roads is the majority of where I drove the Datsun. His was a 4 speed. I really enjoyed driving that little truck and looked for one for years in the late 70’s to 80’s. Not actively but would have bought one if found. That truck was so smooth, driving and steering, shifting, just fell in love with it. Wish I could go get this one now. I guess if I could tag it and drive it home I would, and I don’t even know where it is. Does any one else? Wonder if it would make a trip.

  7. Moses

    As I was looking at it again I see it is in Georgia!! Only the next state from me. Think I will go to E-bay and try to talk to this person, and maybe after the storm…….

  8. Car Nut Tacoma

    Awesome looking Datsun truck. My aunt and uncle had one back in the 1970s. I was way too young to drive, much less anything else. But I remember the truck. I remember the truck sounding tinny, and feeling fragile. But I remember it being durable and driveable.

  9. DRV

    First check for rust repairs. If it isn’t rusty, buy it. I had 2 of them used in 1970 for a lawn care business. It’s all of a pickup I need and want this one big time , but am saving for what the future might bring now.

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