Lil’ Hustler: 1976 Datsun Pickup Time Capsule

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I find that I am frequently disappointed upon close examination of “survivor” finds. What look like pristine original components in fuzzy, poor quality pictures often turn out to be serviceable but cosmetically poor parts in person. Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against honest wear and tear–anyone that has seen any of my cars knows that! But what I don’t like is a vehicle being represented as pristine and then it turns out not to be the case. Unlike those vehicles, I think this one is the real thing. Yes, there’s some wear, and, for example, the shift handle has a lot of cracks in it. But as a whole, the vehicle looks to be in stellar condition, with a recent repaint and front seat upholstery being the concessions to age. They did manage to undercoat everything underneath, though! It’s located in Burlington, Washington, and is for sale here on eBay, surprisingly at no reserve and bidding less than $1,500 at this time. I fondly remember my father building a model of one of these when I was growing up–we never owned one but I think he would have liked to. I remember both these and the equivalent Toyota trucks seeming to run forever. This one has only 83k miles and has had two owners prior to the current dealer. I’m pretty sure this one will make its new owner happy!

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Comments

  1. JW

    Very nice truck and I’m kind of surprised it’s an auto trans as most were manual in our area ( Midwest ).

  2. shiro1303 Member

    Very nice up over 6k wouldn’t be surprised to see this reverse imported back to Japan as the domestic market ones are few and far between and fetch a decent sum in much worse condition than this.

  3. ron tyrrell

    What I find interesting that it has a L16 engine and most of the 1976 had the L20 B 2 liter. They were famous for oil burning because the rings would stick due to the crank case vent system.The L20 emission system put so much blow by back thru the engine it would stick the rings, the cure we found was a good engine cleaner like Resilone. After a treatment the engine would settle down but some times we would have to rering the engine with cast iron rings and that would end the problem.

  4. Ken

    Bought a ’73 Datsun pickup new in that color blue, sticker price was $2800, got $1200 trade-in on a ’69 Datsun 2000 roadster (yes, just kill me now). That 1600 engine had no power with the four speed so I bet it was really anemic with an automatic, more like “Lil Glacier” than “Lil hustler”. Was a good little truck as I recall and probably kept me from amassing speeding tickets, unlike the 2000 roadster.

    • krash

      Ken….that’s funny…,”(yes, just kill me now)”…

  5. Sam

    You know, I’m with Ron, it really looks a lot like the ’73 I had, with the L16 engine that burned oil in #4. Are we sure it’s a ’76 model?

    Like 1
  6. Howard A Member

    This is just unheard of condition, as these weren’t that popular, (much less an automatic) in the 1st place. Took a while for American’s to warm up to mini-pickups. Terrible rusters. I had a friend with a truck just like this ( I think it had 8 spark plugs) and wasn’t very mechanically inclined. One day, he asked me to look at it for a reoccurring problem it had. Seems, it would start cold, run for a few miles, then quit. He would open the hood, take off the air cleaner, blow into the carb, replace the air cleaner, close the hood, and it would start right up, and run until he got to where he was going, only to repeat that process coming out of work. I assured him, that blowing in the carb had nothing to do with it, and I was buffaloed. When he took it to a garage, the mechanic found a broken wire to the coil, that would make contact when cold, but when hot, would fail, and him slamming the hood, reconnected the wire, temporarily.

  7. DREW V.

    Bidding at $6,650 with 3 days to go…

  8. Fred

    Wow, the condition of that interior is mind blowing. It’s been 30 years since I’ve seen on of these without rusted out holes on the side of the bed.

  9. bonneville 64

    Had a 1979 King Cab Datsun with the L 20B engine. when you got up around 50-55 mph, sounded like it needed another gear, as it was only a 4 speed. For a mini truck it sure had some good torque, put over a ton of wet sand from the river in it and hauled it 17 miles back to the house. Was hunched down almost to the spring perches, but it pulled it up out of the riverbed and made it all the way home. BTW had cloth covered bucket seats, and air conditioning. couldn’t hardly tell when A/C was on, didn’t seem to drag the engine down.

  10. krash

    very nice….

    one winter in New England and it would virtually vanish on a 3 month high salt diet…

  11. Carl W French

    I really miss this class of trucks. I would own one now if they still made something like this. I really wish some maker would do another mini pickup.

  12. Moxman

    I really like the 620 body style. I remember visiting a repair shop owner, who specialized in “Z cars,” who stuffed a 240Z motor in one of these. With side draft Webers and a 5 speed gearbox. Had to dimple the firewall a little bit, but it fit. Man…was it fun to drive!

  13. Jerry Koszut

    Talk about a memory jogger… I sold these brand new in Muncie Indiana back then. In all that time I never saw one of these with an automatic. That by the way, could explain the engine difference.

  14. Barzini

    I love the looks of these trucks but two things hold me back from owning one. There is not much head and leg room if you are 6ft tall. And as Bonneyville 64 pointed out, they needed a 5th gear. That’s too bad because this truck is a real special find.

  15. Mike

    While I was in High School, one of the teachers had one of these lil trucks, I remember a bunch of us would go move it for him, but without his knowledge. about 8 of us Football/weight lifters would go pick it up and carry it to another location, so one day Mr. Osborn, (yes really his name, and no not the singer) anyway he got smart and put a bunch of firewood in the bed, and hauled it around, so we emptied out the firewood moved it and put the firewood back in it. Never mess with a bunch of High School Football players. He drove that truck until there was nothing left of it, I think it just rusted apart and he left it where it sat that day. I saw him years later after I graduated, he was still driving that old thing, he had plywood in the bed because it had rotted holed through it, but no joking he parked it in front of his home on the street the day it finally died, and it sat there for years until the city forced him to remove it from the street, never did know what he did with it.

  16. justin

    I bought a 1971 Datsun pickup for $200.00 that had a little over 80,000 miles while a Sophomore in high school in 1978 as a knock around vehicle. The body was beginning to show rust and needed a clutch. They were very simple to work on and the clutch was replaced in an afternoon. I replaced the skinny factory wheels and tires with chrome spokes and radial tires from a junkyard for $100.00. I then built a roll bar and added off road lights.The handling was greatly improved and the wider tires made running the beach and sand dunes on Matagorda Island much easier and the lights really brightened the path. It was lite enough for 2 invisible teenagers to pick up the rear and move out of the ruts if we were to get stuck. However, the little truck was no match for the 400 lbs wild hog that ran out from the brush while traveling a Texas back road late one night. The complete front end was ripped out from under the truck. It flipped and the roll bar served it’s purpose by saving the cab from being crushed on top of us. We did get a few bumps and bruises due to the truck only having lap belts but they served no purpose whatsoever as there were no seat belt laws back then and they were tucked behind the seat. Those were great little trucks for what they were made for, economy and dependability … but most of all, fun.

  17. grant

    This looks just like a 73 that I had. With a side draft weber and a header, it was quite quick.

  18. cory

    I had a 78 and 79 620. Both were great little trucks. Bother of mine were extended cabs though and I consider that a requirement on these. One had a 5 speed, which was great, and one had an automatic, which really wasn’t all that bad. The key to these is condition. Everything is cheap for them, except rust repair. TheY improved a lot in the years they were made such as bigger engines, disk brakes, and electronic ignition. My advice is buy the newest and best you can afford.

  19. Doug Towsley

    seller ended the auction, bet he sold it direct off ebay, thats the nicest condition i have ever seen one of these in. I follow early Datsuns and im betting he got a LOT of money for it. I have a 79 620 and a 72 510 wagon currently, love those old Datsuns.

  20. John b

    I currently have a 72 datsun 521 truck. You never see these in the east coast. For years i have been trying to find a set of the factory wheels…..anybody help?

  21. doug

    Are your wheels 6 lug or 4 lug? If 4 lug I have a factory set of wheels with hubcaps on that 510 wagon I would consider a fair offer on.

    • John b

      Hi- sorry for the late responce. I have the six lug. If you know when i can find the 6 lug please pass the word
      Kind regards
      Jydresto@yahoo.com

  22. William Waite

    Does anyone have any idea where this truck is now (Nov. 2017)? This is exactly what I’m looking for! Any leads or suggestions? Please email at FiremarshalBill49@gmail.com. Thanks!

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