Cheap 1963 Datsun Bluebird Survivor

Sometimes there are listings of cars that have the entire history of the car’s development, the life stories of the main engineers and company faces, and the personal story behind the family who owns the car and how so-and-so car means a lot to so-and-so family because of such-and-such reasons. Sometimes the listings give almost no information. Today’s ad for a 1963 Datsun Bluebird, which you can find here on craigslist, is closer to the latter than the former, but that doesn’t make the car any less interesting. Come along for the ride as I attempt to tell you as much as I can about this classic Japanese wagon! Special thanks to Gunter Kramer for letting us know about it!

As with anything, the Wikipedia page is a good starting off point for if you’re like me and want to learn more about the Bluebird nameplate, but the long and the short of it is that the Bluebird is one of the longest-running nameplates for Nissan, and is generally used to denote a midsize sedan, competing primarily with the Toyota Corona. A 1.2-liter inline-four cylinder engine drives the rear wheels through a fully synchronized three-speed manual gearbox, and made about 60 horsepower when new. At a weight of only 1,900 pounds, 60 horsepower is plenty.

Overall, the car looks to be in decent shape. It won’t be a showstopper, but will get you where you’re going for a decent price. Inside looks complete, if a little old. Remember: this car is nearly sixty years old. The seats are free of rips, though there are some wires hanging below the dash, and there is a steering wheel cover that might be hiding some cracking. But the dash looks good, and there’s nothing glaringly wrong here. I’m surprised to see a radio in the dash; I know radios were often extra-cost options. Living the luxurious life here.

Worth noting: the seller doesn’t include any images of the underside, and maybe it’s just the fact that I grew up in Minnesota, but I obsessively worry about rust on any and every car. In that vein, though, the doorframes look solid, so it’s possible my fear is unfounded and this really is a good, decent, practical, daily classic driver. And it’s so adorable, too! Just look at its little face!


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  1. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Holy schnikes! Nice write-up, Ben, and nice find, Gunter! That’s one rare car and scarily close to home so cheap shipping. (insert sound of Scotty G rearranging decimal points on his meager IRAs to see if he can snag this one).

    Like 6
    • Howard A Member

      “Holy schnikes”? Consider that quite a compliment, Ben,,, that doesn’t go out to just anyone. :)

      Like 1
  2. That Guy

    With the current enthusiasm for all things JDM, which I share, this seems like a very tempting deal. This won’t last long.

    Like 3
  3. Howard A Member

    Amazing, Captain, what this and a new Nissan have in common. Not a lot. In the 60’s, cars like this were unheard of. “Datsun”,,,yeah, Dat Sun sure is bright today,,,and to see what they are today. Believe it or not, in the early 60’s, even though it had been 20 years since WW2, people, like my old man, still harbored a resentment towards Asian products. We had no use for a car like this in the US, merely a novelty. Unlike most other places in the world, we had the cheapest gas, and comfort was on our minds, not “puddle jumpers” like this. Neat find,,for cross town errands, I’d have to think a ride on a modern highway today in this would be one scary experience.

    Like 6
  4. chrlsful

    very nice, I’d daily it altho a lill small & I just bought a ford ‘fox’ wagon (35 yr old).

    Like 1
  5. Fred W

    Starting in the 80’s I was really into Japanese small cars (to the consternation of my WWII vet dad, as Howard described, he had lots of colorful names for them). I prowled the junkyards to keep them running and must have owned at least 50. NEVER saw one of these, a real museum piece with a bit of work.

    Like 1
  6. Ward William

    We had these down under and these were the beginning of the Japanese reputation for producing bulletproof small cars. Those 60-70s Datsuns were not comfortable but they sure as hell were reliable.

    Like 2
  7. Car Nut Tacoma

    Beautiful looking car. I’ve never seen a Datsun of this vintage. If only more pictures were posted on Craigslist. There are nowhere near enough pics.

    Like 1
  8. Eric B

    I’ve never seen one, and it’s stuff like this that makes me smile. the oddballs. I’m numb to all the typical classic muscle cars, etc that you see everyday.

    Look at it’s little face. Exactly and such a stark contrast to today, when most look like an angry insect.

    Like 2
  9. Robert Eddins

    The left and right sides don.t seem to match up, one seems to be lower than the other. Could that just be my bad eyes? Maybe it.s just made this way.

  10. Will Owen Member

    There was a Datsun sedan of this vintage on an open fenced-in lot that I really wanted, especially after seeing how much the engine resembled its reported model, the BMC B block. The Japanese carburetor and electricals were the only visible clues under the hood. After I had shown enough interest the woman in charge gave me the key, telling me to just take it to the next corner and back. Well, I made it to the corner, where it ran out of gas … which she decided was MY fault. I gave her the key and left. I’ve regretted all of that a little; the pre-unit-construction Datsuns (especially the two roadsters) were very nice vehicles, and the open ones plenty of fun to drive.

  11. Al

    Ben, a real good write up! Thank you.
    At one time I owned a 1968 Datsun Bluebird 1200 Wagon, purchased in 1974 for $200.

    I drove it without a speedo, just drove what ever speed everyone else did. The drivers window had no opening or closing mechanism, and there was no front bumper, but it got 45 mpg.
    I think the car was 12 feet long and I hauled a 16′ canoe on top from the west coast to Minnesota and eventually to Oswego and then back home.

    The carburetor float didn’t float anymore (cork) near Cleveland, so I went looking for a similar car at wreckers in the Cleveland area. I think Datsun sold 500 cars in the east and 5000 in the west. Try to find a car! Eventually I found one and purchased the carb, a radio, gas pedal, speedo cable, window mechanism,front bumper and other bits and pieces for $5.

    One thing I always wondered about, with the wagon loaded with camping gear and canoe it got 1500 miles to a quart of oil, with no load about 150-175 miles to a quart of oil.With this knowledge I carried about 700 lbs of rocks in the back end and still got 45 mpg. A fellow worker offered me $250 for the car, I told him about the rocks and why they were there. He promptly got rid of the rocks and subsequently blew the motor. Go figure!

    Like 5
  12. Ron Jordan

    This is very, very rare.

  13. Ron Jordan

    I think you are just not a car guy. Maybe stick to golf carts.

    • jwaltb

      Brilliant commentary, Ron.

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