Minty Lil’ Hustler: 1980 Datsun 720 Pickup

This impressively clean 1980 Datsun 720 “Lil’ Hustler” truck was sold new in Tennessee and apparently never left. With low miles and a body in seemingly mint condition, this may be one of the nicest 720 pickups available today. The seller notes that the truck runs and drives well and has been stored indoors since new. With under 40,000 original miles, it’s no surprise the truck is listed with a reserve price here on eBay, with bids approaching $5K and the magic number not yet met. 

As Japanese manufacturers entered the domestic pickup truck market, you could see their attempts to market their model right on the tailgate. From shouting about four-wheel drive to announcing that the bed was indeed long, these tailgates did a lot more for the truck’s brand than simply keep its content stored. I always forget that this generation of Nissan’s pickup had the taillights stored under the tailgate, simply having the sheetmetal wrap around the corners of the bed.

The interior is where this truck really shines, with mint condition seats and rubber floor mats. Consider me surprised to learn that the Lil’ Hustler moniker wasn’t just a trim option but actually what Nissan called the truck from a model name standpoint. Vintage advertisements show the Lil’ Hustler name was actually used more frequently than the model code of 620 or 720, depending on generation. This is when Nissans were still fun and had some personality injected into them; today’s lineup is a far cry from the early days of the Nissan brand.

That being said, don’t walk into your local Napa or Nissan dealer expecting to find parts for your Lil’ Hustler. More than likely, a registration document will simply say “Pickup” or “Truck”, followed by 620 or 720. Still, it’s tempting to get some custom graphics made to announce the Nissan’s marketing name for the truck, as I don’t think we’ll ever see anything called a Lil’ Hustler ever again. The engine bay is pleasingly clean, like the interior, which does further the notion that this cute Datsun pickup has been loved since Day 1. Have you ever driven a Lil Hustler?

Comments

  1. Dick Johnson

    Thanks Jeff, for stating what I feel what Nissan has lost in the translation with their brand today. While our 2004 Frontier 4×4 has been durable, it is not as tough as the 620-720. Or even our Hardbody.

    The Ford 150, 250, and 350 in our family have been as advertised. Almost grandkid proof.

    My mother’s 720 was not brother-proof. She camped all over the States with it for years until bro’ totaled it. Maintenance was consumable parts only. A fun truck.

    Like 4
  2. AUTOVISA

    Used to have and drive small pickups for my work and after having Nissan 720, Chevy S-10 and Ford Ranger the top was the 720 by far a real workhorse.

    Like 3
  3. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Wow that is one clean, straight little truck. Those single wall boxes never looked as straight as this unless they were never used for hauling.

    Stout little guy with plenty of service years left.

  4. Rob John

    Since the truck is in Tennessee, he may want to reach out to those folks in Smyrna and see if they want it for their Corporate collection. There aren’t many left.

    Like 3
  5. Luxurious_Lexus_Landyacht

    I had an ‘85.5 720, shortbed, with the only extra being A/C.

    I drove that truck all over the U.S. west. Bought it with 48K on it, about, sold it with 179K, IIRC. Had it only four years, or so. I forgot just how much I drove back then.

    It did lunch a transmission and a head gasket, but that’s it, and it made it home both times.

    Being it was the 1980s, yeah, it was lowered. Didn’t go crazy, though, because I used it as a truck. 2″ drop in front, 3″ in the rear. Had to cut the bump stops a bit, but it did look nice.

  6. Paulbz3

    Currently @ $5,800 w/reserve met. At this price it’s good value IMHO

    Like 3
    • ken

      I agree. Have one 6/80 and I KNOW these are approaching collectible status.

  7. Beatnik Bedouin

    I’ve had both 620s and 720s and drove the heck out of ’em. They were the ‘Timex’ of light commercials – “Takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’…”

    It’s a shame that Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Isuzu, et al. have gone to the ‘larger, higher and heavier’ mindset. Their products from the 1970s and ’80s made sense at the time and would find a ready market today, imho.

    Like 2
    • Rob John

      I would love to have a Mitsubishi Mighty Max. Even the rebadged Dodge D-50s would be nice to find.

    • Matt Cenr

      Unfortunately the costs are nearly the same to build a small truck as a larger more profitable one …
      .

  8. Wrong Way

    Very clean little truck! How much pay load can you get in it?

    • Dick Johnson

      Supposed to be a 1/4 ton. What we did in loading these trucks was just criminal. My mother, along with a very large linebacker brother plus camping gear exceeded the max gross wt by a bunch. Are the bump stops on the axle? No problemo. Add some load leveller shocks and some ‘helper’ springs to the stack.

      Like 1
      • Matt Cent

        My 81 was a one ton diesel .. it could tow like crazy and handle just about anything you could put in the bed.

        Like 1
  9. Courtney

    I loved my 85 720 so much when it finally died I got another one…84 king cab manual transmission one previous owner. Real work horse. I just wished it was the 2.4.

  10. Matt Cent

    I bought a 720 Diesel as my first and only New vehicle in 1981.. I kept it in a garage for the first 4 months and just waxed it as I couldnt afford to have 2 vehicles on the road. I got Auto Armor as one of the options seeing as I live in the New England area. Changed the oil religiously., waxed it over 25 times the first year. within 2 years the body had rust through. If you live in the snow belt and buy this truck, keep it in the garage and Never in the snow and salt.

  11. chad

    “…Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Isuzu, et al. have gone…”
    1 ‘et al’ was the VW (gas/diesel).
    (I think all the USA 1s were the above named Jap.’s).

  12. DN

    Lil’ Hustler – that decal alone is worth the price! Haha

  13. Matt Cent

    Rusts like crazy though

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