Honey Bee? 1978 Datsun B210 Sedan

082816 Barn Finds - 1978 Datsun B210 - 1

This little honey is a 1978 Datsun B210 Sedan and it’s in Angola, Indiana. It can be found on eBay where the current bid price is just over $1,000 and the reserve isn’t met. There are still five days left on the auction.

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The seller isn’t sure if this is a Honey Bee model or a regular B210 Sedan. I’m leaning towards a repainted Honey Bee, do any of you have any experience with these cars? The Honey Bee was the entry-level Datsun, for those folks who couldn’t swing a regular B210. That makes the B210 sound like it was quite a posh ride, doesn’t it? It wasn’t, but the Honey Bee was even less posh, forgoing such “luxuries” as a cigarette lighter, a spare tire cover, a speedometer trip meter, a trunk mat, carpet, arm rests, chrome molding for the windshield and rear window, and the list goes on and on. One thing that you would think that the Honey Bee came with would be the classic honeycomb wheel covers, but, nope, just the plain dogdish wheel caps as shown on this car.

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This car is actually a light yellow color, not white, although they did come in white, light yellow, and brown. In 1977 you could get a bright “Sunshine Yellow” color. This is an Arizona car, but even with that bone-dry climate it still has some visible rust on it. The metal in these cars was about as light as it got which gave them such great MPG and also such a low price. This one has a pulled-away front bumper, but you should be able to source a new one. A real Honey Bee would have had some sort of side stripe and a Honey Bee sticker behind the front wheels, so this one has been repainted if it’s an actual Honey Bee.

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An automatic transmission would have been a mind-bending luxury for such a low-ball car so this one has a 4-speed. If you run across one of these with a 5-speed it isn’t a Honey Bee. As you can see, the driver’s seat needs some work and it looks like there are a couple of cracks on the top of the dash. But, being an Arizona car, that’s probably to be expected. You can see a distinct lack of gauges and dash-hole-fillers; yep, this is the economy car of economy cars. Whether a Honey Bee is better or more valuable than a regular B210 is a question for greater minds than mine.

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It looks pretty clean in there, no? This is Nissan’s A14, 1.4L inline-four with 70 hp! You may not win any races with anything this side of a 1974 Schwinn Varsity, but I’m 100% positive that it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow, plus you’ll be shifting this one which is always fun. Unless, of course, you’re stuck in rush hour, bumper-to-bumper traffic for an hour. But, I digress. I know that there are a few Barn Finds fans who love vintage/nostalgic Japanese cars like this one and have some great knowledge on the various models. For you experts, do you think that this is a Honey Bee or a regular B210? I’m leaning towards it being a repainted, de-striped Honey Bee. It may be hard to not bid on this one, much to the chagrin of my Honey Bee (wife).

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Comments

  1. Luke Fitzgerald

    Geez this thing is low rent – I’m surprised it’s got a glove box door – not a hole like a commercial – love it

  2. Gug Gug Ly

    Yes highly likely its a honeybee..

  3. Howard A Member

    This car was the lowest priced car in the US at the time. $2639. This car replaced the “1200”, which an old gf had. Pretty tinny. I’m not sure if this is an actual “Honey Bee”, but seems to have all the right equipment, or lack of it. This car also got incredibly good gas mileage, 41 mpg. Pretty good for a 4 speed, gas motor. The down side, they withered away at a horrific rate. I remember B210’s with the front shock towers that would rust clear of the unibody, deeming them undrivable. These motors were the motor of choice for early APU’s ( aux.power units) on semis. Collectible? Um, well, collectible in the fact there are probably 7 of these remaining in the country like this, but more accurately, just a nice gas sipper to run into the ground. Great find.

  4. Fred w.

    Howard, you did it again- triggered a memory of a car I owned back in the day but completely forgot about, the Datsun 1200. Mine was a fastback like this one. By age 25 I had bought and sold over 100 cars so 40 years later they kind of blend together.

    • Howard A Member

      Right back at ya’, pal. What this site is all about, for me. My ex-gf had a car exactly like your picture, same color. Needed a 5 speed and a hatchback, but it was a good car. Like I say, the doors were about 3/4 inch thick. I too, tried to remember how many cars I’ve had in my life. I stopped at 100, but I’m sure I missed a few.

  5. Terry J

    Just sold my faithful ’77 B 210 to a young college kid – his first car. It was the same 2 door sedan as pictured but with an automatic. Nissan built MG engines under license in the early 50’s so when they designed their own…… yup. The 1400 had 5 main bearings and a forged steel crank. TOUGH engines that could go 1/4 milion miles and beyond. A cooperative between Nissan and Mazda created JATCO (Japanese Automatic Transmission Co). My JATCO tranny was what was typically found in most Japanese cars in the 70’s into the 80’s and was a loose copy of the Ford C-4, also bulletproof. Such a great little car, dependable, simple to repair, but also crude, noisy, leaky and slow. :-) Terry J

    • whippeteer

      The 4 speed was bad enough. I had a 610 with the 2 speed auto. Passing was planned the day before you left home.

  6. whippeteer

    Mine rusted in half. Literally! Behind the doors. The front suspension also rusted out so that the only attachment was the strut on the driver’s side and intact suspension on the passenger side. I still drove it that way for at least 6 months. Hit the brakes, and the car would visibly torque and twist, and the left front tire would tuck and roll.

  7. Jerry Long

    Had the high end model in 1980. SL hatchback in metalic brown. It was a great car. It cost $6300 new.

  8. 87 Rx7 Turbo II

    Could someone clear up why this is a sedan and not a coupe? I thought a sedan was a 4-door model and Coupes were all two doors. Someone please clarify…..

  9. angliagt

    This is a Honey Bee – rubber floor mat,ho arm rests,etc.
    These also came with distinctive side stripes,in Black.These
    were all a light/medium Yellow color.These were called sedans,
    by Datsun.The coupe was the hatchback.
    I have a ’78 coupe in the garage,that was given to me
    about 10 years ago.I’d planned on going through everything on it,
    so it’s taken forever,but it’s almost completely rust free,which is
    what killed most of these.
    These are also creeping up in price,& seem to be getting
    a large following.

    Like 2
  10. John B

    One of my neighbors way back then bought one new for his daughter, she drove it forever. Some sort of pale yellow I think. My next door neighbor bought two identical 1975 model B210s for his sons, about 2600 bucks each as I remember. They drove them forever too. Orange color. No frills, but good little cars!!

    Like 1
  11. Karo

    I don’t see any reference to the Honey Bee in the ’78 (the last year of this series of car if I’m not mistaken) B-210 brochure. It is just called the “Standard Sedan,” and the one pictured is identical to the feature car. No stripes, so the whole missing stripes theory seems incorrect. The blue GX in the foreground has the cool honeycomb wheel covers we all remember.

    Like 1
  12. whippeteer

    They didn’t last long in the northeast.

  13. Rob S

    Old girlfriend had a 77 honey bee. I had (still have) a 70 Mach . Couldn’t afford much back then so we usually took the honey bee. $2 of gas would go a long way! Back seat was too small but the front seats reclined flat for some Friday night “star gazing” at the sub marine races….
    Car never let her down!

    Like 1
  14. Tom Driscoll

    My sister bought a honey bee brand new with her earnings as a waitress, it was dirt cheap but fun to drive. The rubber floor covering is the give away I think…too bad the graphics are gone, there was a cute yellow honey bee on the sides as I recall, I don’t remember there being a script on the c pillar, but I could be wrong…she finally traded it in for the upscale 200sx, that car with a 5 speed could really scoot!

  15. Steven

    Oh boy , I knew a girl who drove a Honey Bee and that she that girl was one hottie.. Back in those days real beauties had cars like this cause of cheap on gas.

  16. Tammyg

    Convertible

    Like 1
  17. Lita Schmitt

    I had this exact B210 in this pale yellow color back in college, before I fell asleep at the wheel and totalled it in ’82. “Lita’s Chiquita” is was affectionately called. It is not a repainted Honey Bee. Mine had an aftermarket A/C unit that was two knobs in a black box that sat under the dash right in front of the stick. I remember getting over $9,000 from insurance for it and being totally surprised it was worth that much.

    This car got ridiculous gas mileage. I remember getting 48mpg on a trip to Louisville, KY from the western part of KY. I wish I still had this car. Fun memories seeing it again.

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