EXCLUSIVE: 1968 Datsun 520


UPDATE 12/13/2019 – Al sent over more photos of this truck, to give you a better idea of its overall condition. Be sure to give it another look!

If your a fan of compact durable pickups, the Datsun 520 is likely to be high on your list of potential trucks to own. These aren’t known to be powerful or fast pickups, they so have a history of being robust and dependable, providing the tin worms didn’t get to them. Reader Al B has decided to part ways with this 1968 Datsun 520, though not perfect, it’s been serving him well as a fair-weather daily driver to run errands around town. This one deserves a closer look.

The 520 help paved the way into the US for the Datsun/Nissan and it’s much loved 620, 720 and D21 pickups of the ’70s through’90s. Personally, I prefer the looks of the 520 over its boxy descendants. Of course, the design reflects the minimalistic and simplicity of ’60s Japan. Having a full length boxed frame adds to the durability factor for the Datsun trucks. Designed to “keep it simple”, is reflected in the ease of maintenance and repair not only for the US but the world market. Even the fuel tank sending unit has an access panel in the bed floor. Looking at the engine compartment, as well as the interior, shows the simple design layout incorporated throughout.

If you are all about simplicity, you can’t get much more simplistic than one of these. Just look at this interior! There’s a bench seat, a steering wheel, shifter, a few gauges and that’s about it. Honestly, it’s really all you need in a pickup and it sure makes restoring it simple. This one doesn’t need much interior work, you can drive it as is right now, but you could fix a few issues to make it more comfortable. It’s going to need new contacts in the steering wheel to get the horn working and for some reason, the dash lights aren’t working. A new steering wheel would probably be the easiest fix for the horn and the dash likely just needs new light bulbs.

The J13 inline-4 displaces 1.3 liters with a rating of 67 horsepower. The transmission is the dependable manual 4 speed. Drum brakes all the way around. Glass is in excellent shape. The bed is solid, too. One rocker has been fabricated and the other showing some holes. Al states that the cab floors feel solid, and can’t find any signs of cab corner issues.

Al purchased the truck after an estate sale from its original owners. They maintained the vehicle pretty well through the years. Currently needs exhaust pipe/muffler, turn signal switch, and a set of shocks to complete the road checklist. Have already replaced the tires, fuel pump, clutch, brake master cylinder, cleaned the tank, and lots of other details. The engine runs like a top after doing a complete tune-up, valve adjustment, and carburetor rebuild.

For their size and price, these really are hard-working little trucks and this one should have lots of life left in it. Personally, we would treat any rust right away, sort the brakes, fix the horn and put it to work as our parts runner. Al even suggests that it could make for a great little truck for anyone lucky enough to live on an island or near a beach that needs something to drive around the community and down to the beach! If you have any questions for Al, please leave them in the comments below.

  • Asking Price: $4,500 or best offer
  • Location: Dayton, Indiana
  • Mileage:
  • Title Status: Clean

List your car here on Barn Finds for only $50!


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  1. Fred W

    Happy Thanksgiving to all fellow Barn Finders! May you all inherit a 20,000 sf climate controlled metal building jam packed with your favorite vintage wheels.

    Like 21
  2. r s

    I think a person would have to really, really want one of these to pay $4500 for it. From the video it doesn’t sound like it ‘runs like a top’, in fact it sounds like one cylinder is dead.

    Like 2
    • Josh Mortensen Staff

      That’s the exhaust leak r s. Alan knows it isn’t perfect, that why he’s accepting offers.

      Like 6
  3. Stangalang

    Love the split rear bumper..these were some tough little trucks

    Like 4
  4. Jesse Colson

    Looks like a Chevy Luv truck to me

    Like 1
  5. Skorzeny

    A pickup truck doesn’t need, nor has it ever needed, whitewall tires…

    Like 2
  6. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    I bought a used Datsun 620 in the late ’70s from the original owner. It was in excellent condition with no rust, nice paint and a clean interior. Didn’t keep it long as it was underpowered with a cheap interior and a body that I can only describe as “tinny.” It ran OK but it felt like what it was; a cheap import. I’m not a fan.

    Like 3
    • AZVanman

      I had a 74/620 that was amazing off road. 2wd of course, but with over-sized tires that little sucker would go anywhere. The tortion bar front suspension was cranked up and strong as hell, unlike the weak sloppy front ends like say the Ford twin I beam. Small and inexpensive, yes, but very reliable.

      Like 3
  7. jimmy the orphan

    When I was in high school my friends dad bought a new one of these neat little trucks. It was a 69′ but just like this one. My buddy was a year behind me and didn’t have a license. We got to take it out one night so I drove. All was well until I went to dim the lights. I could not find the dimmer switch. I pulled over and looked under the rubber mat. Zip. drove around with the high beams on all night. I don’t know who finally told me where it was but up till then I’d never heard of such a thing. BTW these pickups are rated half ton and ride like a ww2 army jeep. Keep a sack of cement over the rear axel, major difference. Later, JIMMY.

    Like 2
  8. Brakeservo

    That little engine is an improved copy of the Sprite/MG Midget/Morris Minor mill. They took all the oil leaks and overheating issues out when they copied it, and the transmission was 100 times better than the BMC gear box. Phenomenal little trucks, no need for power steering, power brakes or air conditioning! Built back in the days you expected to downshift when going up a big grade or hill. Driving was more fun and life simpler back then.

    Like 4

    is this pick up still on the market! I’m very interested.

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