Mechanically Sound: 1979 Datsun 620 King Cab

This 1979 Datsun 620 King Cab may look rough on the outside (and it is) but its owner has invested a fair amount of dollars in its upkeep and mechanical restoration. With some sweet period graphics and strong running condition, this is a cheap truck that likely won’t cost you much nor lose any value. It’s listed here on craigslist for a mere $1,850, and the seller says he’s invested far more than that in parts alone. 

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Ikey for the find. The Datsun has those awesome taillights that ran horizontally under the bed gate. These were likely terrible for helping other drivers see your brake lights or turn signals, but I always dug the way they looked. The seller notes that the “body is next” on his list of to-dos, but that he’s ready for another project. Hopefully, the Pacific Northwest location means this one is still structurally sound underneath.

The interior doesn’t look too bad for a trunk of this age and price point, though it appears non-stock seats have been swapped in. This isn’t a bad thing, as I suspect they are far more comfortable than what was originally installed. The cabin otherwise remains in stock condition with the exception of an aftermarket radio. It’s hard to determine if there’s just surface rust or actual rot in the bottom of the doors, but it’s worth asking for more photos.

Mechanically is where this Datsun has been lavished with attention. The list of new parts includes clutch, pressure plate, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pads and drums in the rear. The seller also mentions a conversion to a single sidedraft carburetor, plugs, wires, rotor, and cap. Tie rod ends and fresh tires round out the list. There’s little else to sort out here mechanically, so drive and enjoy while you tackle the cosmetics.


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  1. Doug

    For someone looking for a functional pickup for the occasional parts run to the local Pick ‘n Pull, this would be a decent choice. If it were closer to me, I’d at least take a look at it, and possibly buy it. I like the extended cab – enough room to put a couple of grocery bags or other small items secure in the cab and still carry a passenger.

    Like 1
  2. Mds

    My two cents worth; if he invested all of the time and money into the mechanicals, did he stop at the bodywork because it’s too far gone below the skin…???

  3. Livermoron

    I had a 79 King Cab I bought from my boss in 85. Great truck and if this was closer would seriously consider buying it for my younger boy who is close to getting his permit. As the mini-truck starts to pick-up in the classic world this is one of the ones to get – early 80s 2wd Toyota SR5s, Mid 80s 4×4 Toyotas are a bit higher on the desirability list.

  4. JoeNYWF64

    Here’s another problem today – seat covers. All u see now are non velour(tweed or some other rough cheap material) non colorful, meaning just grey, etc. yucky seat covers in stores, some with stupid cartoon characters on them, while just 20 yrs ago i could get nice maroon or blue or tan, etc. low back & high back bucket seat & bench seat velour seat covers even at a junky store like Nat’l Wholesale Liquidators for a great price, which BTW just went out of business.
    That pickup should have nice BLUE velour seat covers & you might not even have to bother reupholstering the seats. Who wants to sit on vinyl anyway? – in winter or summer.

    Like 2
  5. Miguel

    I have been in a lot of these and I expect the shifter is really loose, like most of them.

  6. Marco

    Mechanically sound? There were dissimilar metals in the brakes and adjusters needing constant attention, especially in winter salt. Worst truck I ever owned!

    Like 1

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