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Lost in Suburbia: 1976 Datsun 620 King Cab

This is the kind of truck that, were it in my neighborhood, I would absolutely walk over to my neighbor’s and offer him $300 to remove from his property. Can’t tell you why, other than the suburban surroundings just make it seem like the type of project that would lend itself to an easy sale. This 1976 Datsun 620 King Cab pickup here on eBay has some rust issues, but is also listed with no reserve and just one bid to $450.

I couldn’t tell you if Goldsboro, North Carolina is actually in the suburbs, but the houses in the background seem to resemble that of a newer development. This Datsun actually presents quite well all along the body and bed (some minor rust in the doors), and is a rare find in extended cab form. Of course, the early days of bumped-out cabs are a far cry from the modern six-passenger trucks that now occupy suburban settings, often times taking up too many parking spaces and inches of roadway.

While my favorite feature is the period body decal stripe that has survived mostly intact, you also have to love this color: who else but a company like Datsun or Toyota would roll out an orange pickup? This is a fairly loaded example as far as vintage Japanese pickups go, as it also appears to have the longer bed in addition to the extended cab. Thank goodness it has a manual transmission, as power was not its strong suit. It looks like most of the rust is contained to the front corners of the floors on both sides, beneath the carpet.

The Datsun currently does not run, but these trucks were celebrated for their reliability when new. “Doesn’t run” versus “won’t spin freely” are two different concepts, so we’re hoping the seller simply hasn’t tried too hard to fire it up versus confirming this truck is DOA. There’s a much nicer version of this truck available elsewhere on eBay $5,500, but it’s an automatic and doesn’t feature those killer period stripe decals – and I’m foolish enough to want the $500 beater for those reasons alone!


  1. Gay Car Nut

    Although I was too young to drive at the time, I remember the Datsun pickup truck, particularly as far back as the mid-70s.

  2. sluggo

    I have had a few of these and other Datsuns. I prefer them over Toyotas. Toy stuff doesnt interchange near as well and you have to have the MONTH made because so many part changes. Datsun copied GMs interchange policy and most parts interchange thru the years and models. Easy to swap and source parts.
    I have a 1979 version of this married to a 1972 version. (Bought it lightly wrecked) and so no DEQ or inspections. The extra cab is not much but better than nothing. Enough room for my dog, tool box or luggage to lock up in the cab. Mine is still running the L20 motor and 5 speed, but I have a Z24 out of a 240SX I am rebuilding for it. Great little trucks and sad stuff like this is not still being made instead of $40,000 leather interior modern trucks.

  3. RobfromTexas

    I love my crew cab, $40,000, leather interior modern truck. It drives great, hauls around the family, co-workers, clients and equipment, and pulls trailers loaded with boats or my classic cars. It does it all in air conditioned comfort with the latest safety technology without even trying hard. I also like a simple vehicle like this Datsun. I have a fairly plain-jane survivor ’70 Chevelle but I don’t denounce the existence of more modern passenger cars. Don’t forget that the market, along with regulations, determines what type of vehicles are built. If there was a demand for trucks like the subject Datsun, they would still be sold in the United States.

    • sluggo

      Rob from Texas, More power to you if you love your leather clad $bigK pickup, not saying they dont have their benefits

      (for example GREAT donors when wrecked to restify/restomod something cool and vintage, Your leather seats & other parts would be wonderful in my 65 GMC restomod),

      But the days of a cheap-basic-easy to maintain/operate that the average guy can repair himself seems to have gone away. I am not here to debate or speculate WHY, but my first guess is Govt regulations as well as a lack of DIY-Can do attitudes.

      I do have a bit of familiarity with bringing back retro style vehicles, More so motorcycles, but I know several people quite well who tried to introduce interesting cars. (Hint, Norton America) And the amount of regs/rules and red tape is mind boggling. We could of course point out some well versed rationales about what is TRULY ecologically sound and Green?

      Smugcars like the Prius and VOLT are not earth friendly, updating to better specs and performance vintage iron is far more sound from a eco & financial standpoint. The math is simply brutal for new manufacturing vs repurposing old.

      • Doug

        Sluggo- Got to agree with you ! My lady just got herself a new Outback, and it’s a pain in the butt to change the oil ! My ’01 Forester is MUCH easier to work on. Even her ’09 was fairly easy to replace the clutch in , though my lift was occupied at the time, so had to do it in the driveway.

        I don’t know what I’ll do when I can no longer keep my ’01 Forester going, but hopefully she’ll make it past 400k….Mobil One & NAPA Gold filters..

        Maybe when I’m in my 80’s I’ll settle for one of these new “High Tech ”
        cars that one needs a degree from MIT to open the hood on , but for now,
        while I can still spin a wrench, I’ ll stick with my “Oldies but Goodies.”

    • Mountainwoodie

      Well yes and no. Its a canard of modern day American Capitalism that the market responds to demand. Once a generation of folks know nothing but what is offered thats what they want. Giant pickup trucks are a huge profit center for the auto companies…THATS why they;re the way they are. A stripper modest little pickup like this would not be offered today because people are now used to heated seats and paying 40, 50, 60 grands for a truck! Just nutty to my vaguely Luddite sensibilities. But as the French say, Chaque a son gout…….each to his/ her own taste

      • Miguel

        I remember the sales manager at the Chevy store I used to work for told me he worked at a Mazda store before he came to us.

        He told me they would give away the trucks at almost cost and stick it to anybody that wanted a car.

        Can you see any company doing that today?

        This was back in the ’80s by the way.

    • angliagt angliagt Member

      I think that it more about profits.
      It doesn’t cost that much more to make an F150 –
      versus a Ranger,but there’s a ton more profit in an F150.

  4. Marco

    I bought one of these new from the dealer back in the day. Hauled around a lot band equipment to gigs and even an upright piano bottoming out the springs in the process. It was a little workhorse until the road salt went to work on the aluminum (dissimilar metal) brake adjusters. Then the checkbook came out!

    • sluggo

      Doug, & I agree with you too!,, I admire some of the new vehicles and some of the design and engineering is awesome,, They are figuring out how to make stuff last WAY longer than the norm 20-30-40 years ago, Plus most of it is safer, and handle better.

      I am more of a middle of the road guy, love the vintage stuff but most of it I like to improve so it can still be enjoyed and used, But I will admit we ARE looking at a NEW Dodge Truck, But I already know most of it I cant or wont be able to fix. (Still looking at the new Fords & Chevy too)

      As to Subarus,, My info is dated but 10 or so years ago I knew several guys who worked for various new car dealerships and they both HATED working on Subarus. Quite outspoken they are difficult and hard to access anything that needs repair. They showed me convincing tech materials that showed any repairs needed were way more expensive than other typical comparables.

      Right now I am working on sorting out the wiring in our Battle wagon. A Eddie Bauer Ford Exploder. (Early 2000’s) and its got tons of wiring and accy and everything is intermittant and while its awesome in winter weather I can see why people scrap them so quickly when things go wrong. I have a pretty ratty 1939 Dodge Coupe project and tape measure says I can do a chassis swap and build a Mad Max style road warrior. All my friends say its a great plan. Ford V8 and AWD plus all the parts much easier to access and service.

      Something like this 38 coupe would turn a lot of heads,, especially with knobbies and AWD burnoffs

  5. Fred w.

    I bought an ’83 Nissan new with 5 speed, AC and nothing else. For the next 10 years it took me on my route of 5 coin laundries 365 a year ,never missed a beat and never needed a repair. Body looked as good as the day I bought it , and I was in FL. After this ’76 was made, quality control of the body went up considerably.

  6. angliagt angliagt Member

    Hey BF – Why can’t you put the location in the postings?
    I’m one of those you likes to see where these vehicles are,as I’ve
    been very fortunate to travel all over the USA.

    • Ron

      @angliagt – the location is mentioned in the write-up, and you can click on the e-bay listing and find the location there as well…

  7. angliagt angliagt Member

    I was referring to the opening posts

  8. Kevin Lee

    My senior year of high school (1979), a guy had one just like this one, except he had the back jacked up with monstrous H-50s in back sticking out a good 3 inches. It was painted orange using what appeared to be a two inch wide paint brush. This and the guy with the early ’60s Nova with the Daytona wing on the back! Oh the humanity!!!

  9. Francisco

    There is something to be said for those numerous tie-down hooks. Designers of modern trucks don’t have a hint what it’s like to have to strap all your stuff down with just four stupid hooks. I seem to have read somewhere that some pedestrians ran afoul of the hooks when they didn’t have enough sense to get out of the way, so the safety people outlawed them.

  10. craZee

    Seller will be sorry he sold it as he will have more yard to mow now LOL

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