Near-Perfect King Cab: 1983 Datsun 720 4×4

If the vitality of period body-side graphics are any indication as to the preservation of a vehicle, than this 1983 Datsun / Nissan 720 King Cab pickup looks pretty special. This is the mack-daddy of 720s, a 4WD extended cab with locking hubs and thankfully, a manual transmission. Unfortunately, the seller is asking all the money for one of these, with a heady $17,900 list price. Then again, the old saw may prevail – find a better one? The 720 is listed here on eBay and located in Denver, Colorado. 

At this point in time, the pickup truck market hadn’t quite exploded into what it is today. I look back at this era somewhat wistfully, as it was more about a truck being a truck – hence the emphasis on things like locking hubs, small steel wheels and ample ground clearance. More and more my gripes with the automotive industry are the same, car or truck: nothing is simple, nothing is utilitarian. Aside from the Wrangler, every make and model has become a timebomb on wheels, wherein a solitary bumper tap results in said vehicle being totaled. Not trucks like this 720 – it was built to compete with the likes of cockroaches.

Inside, this Datsun still shows nicely, with a blue cloth interior and wood inlays in the dash. It looks like it has an ugly aftermarket radio, and franky, for the price, I’d expect the selling dealer to find a period-correct OEM replacement. This is all the money for one of these and given how correct it is from stem-to-stern, the modern headunit is a major detraction. Still, Japanese vehicles from this era are not known for their durable interiors, so it’s nice to see one holding up so well. Mileage is a tick over 100,000, so it’s even more impressive that the cockpit looks this good.

The engine bay is spotless, way better than I’d expect for a 100K-mile truck. The 720 is equipped with the Z24 2.4L four-cylinder, which is surprising as I thought those didn’t appear until 1984. This being an ’83 would usually have the smaller 2.2L, so perhaps a swap was performed or this is simply an early ’84 titled as an ’83. The “Electro-Injection” sticker likely refers to the computer controlled carburetors that came standard on the bigger mill. So what do we think: is the list price a fair ask for a time capsule like this or is $10K closer to reality?



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  1. Sanity Factor

    What is your problem with aftermarket stereo….i have always conderidered it an upgrade from factory junk…yes i have a am radio in my 73 chevy powered by one dash speaker but also a 300 w alpine in the glove box…i like my music…as do others im sure so get over it…


      Exactly his point,you hid it in the glovebox.

  2. dan

    a toyota couldn’t get that $$ so a nissan……no way in hell, lol

    Like 1
  3. Rustytech Member

    It’s nice to see one in this condition even if it is overpriced. Most rusted into the earth years ago. My old man had one for years, the bed rusted so badly we had to take it off and build a flat bed for it. It was great for hauling firewood up out of the woods. The rust continued to grow though , finally he wound up leaving it out in the woods when the frame broke with a full load of firewood. It’s probably still right where he left 30 years ago.

  4. Wrong Way

    I would really like to get my hands on this little truck! The price is a factor because I would actually drive the truck! Nothing heavy just definitely use it for primary transportation! However that being said his price is more in line with someone who wants to put this away!

  5. JW

    Yes at his price too nice to drive and that’s what these trucks were made to do so he will have to come down to reality if he wants to really sell it. But then again I think the same way about the first generation Broncos and they are not coming down in price sadly.

    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      Exactly right, JW. They’re not making any more of them and popularity is ticking upwards as the Gen Xers start to yearn for the cars and trucks from their childhoods.

  6. Leon

    Those 80s Nissans came with rather narrow stock wheels.

  7. MH

    That’s a Z24i engine. “elctro controlled” carburetor? Lol. No. Throttle body injection. That engine wasn’t available until 1986. Way over priced.

  8. sluggo

    Amazing condition, I will give him that, But grossly overpriced. But cool to see, nice find. But I suspect he will be sitting on this for a very long time unless he adjusts his perception of reality.
    here in Oregon, theres still a bunch of these around and very low prices, I will admit its been ages since I saw one this nice, But
    it is what it is.

  9. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    My 83 had the Z22 engine, with “dual spark”. Does the eBay listing say he upgraded the engine to a later one? My 2wd was configured just like this, same color scheme, even had working A/C. Rusted on the passenger side of the bed which began to flap. Used a rope to secure all cargo AND THE BODY OF THE VEHICLE! Tree chopped the roof for me one day but the dang thing still drove for many hundred thousands of miles and never let me down.

  10. Superdessucke

    So, is this a 4×4?

  11. Gay Car Nut

    Lovely looking truck. Although I never drove a Datsun or Nissan truck, I remember the Datsun and Nissan truck. I miss the compact of the 70s and 80s through the early 90s. They may, or may not get the best fuel economy, but that depends on how it’s being driven. But having driven a Toyota truck, I’ve found them to be just as capable of the same things as larger trucks, albeit on a smaller scale. My stepdad had a 1978 Toyota pickup truck. Although the seats weren’t very comfortable, particularly during the hot summer months, there was more than enough head room and leg room for me to work with. I remember it had the 2.2 litre 20R 4 cylinder engine. It didn’t accelerate very fast, but it had all the low end torque needed to do any kind of work you wanted.

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