Little Hustler! 1974 Datsun 620 Wrecker

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Listen up, Datsun wrecker fans! That’s right:  Shirley in Goat Elbow, Nebraska and Ed in Frozen Loaf, Oklahoma, this is your day! Joking aside, this 1974 Datsun 620 Little Hustler tow truck might excite a narrow band of enthusiasts, but it has a certain Hot Wheels flair that’s hard not to like. Don’t call it a toy, though. Southside Datsun and Southside Enterprises of Augusta, Georgia built a number of these Datsun pickup-based tow trucks to show the versatility and reliability of Datsun trucks, and this one comes with towing slips from towing a number of customers along with other documentation. Original brochures show “Western” trailering mirrors instead of the units on this truck which have an ’80s Ford F-series look.

Wreckers from the ’70s look great in general, and this one’s snappy red and white paint and deep-dish mag wheels with raised white letter tires crank up the cool even more.

Wikipedia claims that the Datsun was referred to as the “Li’l Hustler” in the States. The nickname no doubt inspired the “Little Hustler” branding used by Southside. Would you put this little hustler to work or save it for parade duty?

The listing includes nearly 100 pictures, some showing rust and other less-than-perfect details, but nothing that will keep it from finding a home with a Datsun fan on a quest for something different. Datsun 510 tuner shops:  Are you listening?

If original, this should be the L18 inline four-cylinder gasoline engine making 100 HP. This and the proper manual transmission may not yank an F350 King Ranch out of a ditch, but the winch might.

This Little Hustler might be a wrecker, but as classics go, it might not be a 401k wrecker. Bidding here on Proxibid has barely cracked $6,000 USD on the Carroll, Ohio rig. Surely, the Shirleys and Eds of the world will perpetrate some 11th-hour sniping to hook up this nifty work truck!

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Comments

  1. David Sawdey

    It’s also towing a Datsun
    Subliminal?????

    Like 6
    • JDC

      It shows it towing a 240Z as well.

      Like 3
  2. AndyinMA

    This thing would be a hit at a car show, and maybe even a truck show too.

    Like 12
    • J.C. Conway

      I would buy it just to tell everyone that I visited Goat Elbow,Nebraska .

      Like 2
  3. Howard A. HoAMember

    Oh, I don’t think so. A vehicle like this towing a Torino, or anything bigger than a King Midget, would not only be foolhardy, but downright dangerous. The engine is horribly underpowered, and more of a novelty, than anything. Tow trucks need to be heavy duty, not putt-putt 4 cylinders, I think this is a lot of nothing.

    Like 13
    • AMCFAN

      In a perfect world yes. When this truck was conceived it was anything but. The fuel crisis in the mid 70’s was real. It made Covid seem like a Joke.

      The idea was twofold. A smaller truck for local pickups would reduce fuel costs. You wouldn’t need a two ton heavy wrecker that got 4 MPG to go pick up a Mustang II.

      For the uninformed a towing business isn’t all about towing. It’s jump starts, lock outs and fixing flats on the side of the road. It’s called service work. If needed to haul a full size car it could and from the ad it has.

      Versatility is the other. it would be small and nimble to get where a then behemoth truck couldn’t. The boom would be great to use when pulling or installing an engine. Even today.

      Looks like a fantastic opportunity for something that until now no one knew about. The 510’s are gold as the Z cars. This would fit right in…..and haul them too if needed. Pretty cool

      Like 8
    • Roland

      I would respectfully disagree. In the late 80’s and well into the 90’s I saw the typical tow truck go from a one ton chassis with a build for purpose “bed” to a 3/4 ton chassis with a standard pickup bed and a towing insert. Only when the cable and cradle tow rigs were replaced by the hydraulic wheel lifts did the one ton (and heavier) chassis come back. A lot of those 3/4 ton trucks had sixes under their hoods and very low gearing to compensate. Yes, they were more than this Datsun, but not that much more.

      Like 5
    • Bob

      The owner certainly has narrowed down the potential buyers with such a truck. A plain jane Datsun truck would have attracted a lot more people. Now it’s more of a car show piece and not much else.

      Like 2
    • Nelson C

      Howard, you are right on the money. In addition, when towing ANYTHING it’s all about control. Whether or not that 100hp can move the load, the rest of the vehicle needs to be able to STOP the load. Although it’s cute enough my money is not on this rig.

      Like 2
      • AMCFAN

        So after reading the ad for the auction. This truck was built by Southside Datsun. A dealer in Augusta Ga.

        They would sell you a complete wrecker body to install yourself or a boom and sling assembly that would slide in a pickup bed.

        Apparently the truck in the ad is believed to be the actual display truck on the brochure.

        So the owner never painted himself in a corner Nelson.

        It would make sense if you offer an outfitter package potential buyers need to see it. This particular truck hit its target market being bought and used at a Datsun dealer in Tennessee and kept untill the 1990s. Someone knew it was special enough to keep it in great condition for a commercial work truck.

        Bravo to its caretakers and to the fun the new owners will have.

        Like 1
      • Nelson C

        @AMCFAN, myself and others have pointed to the vehicle exceeding its capability to properly control/stop when towing 3000 plus pounds. Another concern was the capacity of the rear axle. I trust you know more than me. The chain is only as strong as the weakest link.

        Like 1
  4. Melton Mooney

    The advert doesn’t say it’ll tow FAST. With deep enough rear gears it could tow that Torino without a problem. Stopping might be a different story.

    Like 3
    • AMCFAN

      @Nelson The operator of a truck who is familiar with it will quickly know its limits of operation. Common sense is towing something large and heavy the towing vehicle will dictate the safe speed needed to make safe confident stop.

      Those that operate towing and recovery vehicles for a living are certainly unsung heros. Let’s not assume they are stupid.

      Like 0
      • Nelson C

        I’m not worried about the professional. There are, however, people who are not as experienced that can get into trouble. My reference to towing applies to trailers as well. We talk with folks everyday who are willing to cut corners believing they can get away with it.

        Like 0
  5. Threepedal

    Just to validate various comments here, years ago I used a PL 620 to ground tow a 12 passenger bus 75 miles. About a mile from my destination I dropped the right front wheel of the bus off the pavement and when I attempted to bring it back, the bus jackknifed the Datsun, then climbed it like a horny mutt, and rolled it 3/4 over. And I had even gotten the truck inspected that morning before setting out on this fools errand.

    Like 2
    • Wademo

      Sometimes we do dumb things with vehicles and get away with it, and sometimes not. Makes for some great and some not-so-great memories.

      Like 3
  6. George Birth

    Neat little truck. It would be a great little addition to any tow company. Not all trucks are needed for a quick jump start or flat tire replacement. Any auto repair shop could park this out front with the shop name and/or logo on it,
    it would make a great adv. for them.

    Like 5
  7. Philbo427

    Love the slotted rims. They need to make a Hot Wheels version of this or a 1/24 model kit. Could imagine using this on a small circle race track for towing outlaw cars.

    Like 2
  8. dick

    once upon a time, I think it was the 80’s Toyota was the official truck of Lime Rock Park racetrack. their tow trucks we V6 dually Toyota wreckers. They did okay. the track has moved on to Rams but i think I saw one still kicking around last year.

    Like 0
  9. Bunky

    It’s cute, I’ll give it that- but it’s really not designed to tow anything of any size. I appreciate the candid reply from Threepedal. A cautionary tale. The whole truck; engine, transmission, differential, “frame”, brakes, hubs…is built for hauling a small pickup box full of stuff- preferably not heavy stuff. Don’t get me wrong; Old Skool Datsuns are well built, well engineered, and tough. Fun promotional vehicle, or handy for moving ORVs and such.

    Like 0
  10. Al camino

    You have to have small feet to drive this!

    Like 0
  11. Viper

    Cute, but so is the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile and I wouldn’t want either of them. But as P.T. Barnum said, there’s a butt for every seat. I just pity the fool who buys it to tow anything over 1500# and tries to stop it!

    Like 1
  12. Norman Wrensch

    It looks like it has dual rear wheels so it just may have a real dually rear axle and some big brakes . Maybe like rear axle that’s under those Toyota motor homes.

    Like 0
  13. Rw

    I like it but,I’m I the only one who look at all the pictures ? It’s a Rotsun.

    Like 0
  14. nlpnt

    This could be actually useful in a lot of ways – as a means of getting a disabled car out of a traffic lane to where it can be worked on, or getting a car parked in the way of something out of the way on a “move it the shortest distance possible and drop it then and there” basis, that sort of thing.

    But as a 50-year-old truck it’s most likely use is as a mascot/advertisement/parade truck.

    Like 1
  15. CenturyTurboCoupe

    What a joke! Certainly a clutch eater!!

    Like 2

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