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Oklahoma Farm Find: 1965 Datsun L320 Pickup

When I think of a farm or ranch in Oklahoma and what pickup could be hidden there, I think of Ford or Chevy as most people would. After all, it’s a rugged state filled with rugged people doing rugged work to keep America churning. I wouldn’t have guessed that this 1965 Datsun L320 pickup would be found there. The seller has it posted here on craigslist in neighboring Texas – Rowlett, TX to be exact. The seller is asking $10,000, here is the original listing, and thanks to T.J. for sending in this tip!

And all that “rugged” talk doesn’t mean that these aren’t somewhat rugged little trucks, they’re just really small and light compared to what was available in 1965 for ranch or farm duties. I think they would be really useful on a ranch or farm, they’re small enough to get down trails or other areas where a full-sized pickup can’t go yet can still do a fair amount of hauling.

This example appears to have been repainted at some point, which has probably helped to preserve the body panels. The seller says anything you see is Oklahoma red dirt, not rust. I don’t see anything looking like rust but after 59 years, there has to be at least surface rust underneath. Sadly, we don’t see the underside at all. The bed looks great and I’ve always liked those square wheel wells.

The steering wheel is showing some big cracks, and this truck is nice enough that I’d want to restore the interior while leaving the exterior as it looks now. Datsun made the L320 pickup from 1961 to 1965 and a telltale sign of a ’65 would be the round turn signals under the headlights and a different grille. Most 320s had a column-mounted four-speed manual, this one has it on the floor where the car Gods intended it to be (kidding, sort of).

The engine is Datsun’s early E engine, the E-1, an OHV inline-four with 1.2 liters, 60 horsepower, and 67 lb-ft of torque. 60 horsepower seems like a decent amount for a mid-1960s small pickup that weighs 2,000 pounds, but it had high gearing to make the most of that power so it’ll be screaming at anything above 55 mph. The seller has gone through almost everything other than sorting out the fuel tank. It’s using a marine gas tank now and it runs fine. Any thoughts on this Datsun pickup?

Comments

  1. 8banger 8banger Member

    Looks well-preserved but that radiator cap is the most dissolved I’ve ever seen. Wonder what the rest of the cooling system looks like…

    Like 6
    • bob

      Yes, you’d think the owner would replace that cap before taking pictures. A small cost to improve presentation. But that said, I’d still like to have this truck.

      Like 4
      • Dan

        Agreed, how could the seller overlook something that blatant? Very well-preserved, seldom-seen truck but that old OK plate means it hasn’t done much running recently; definitely needs a mechanical once-over.

        Like 3
  2. alphasud Member

    Imagine buying this truck when it was new and what the neighbors said. More of a farm chore rig with an occasional run to town purpose. So tiny! Probably similar dimensions to a modern JDM truck people are importing now.

    Like 6
    • Jamie

      I can tell you what the neighbors said! If you bought this new, your patriotism was questioned and not in a nice way. WWII was only 20 years earlier and there were a lot of veterans around, with very long memories. You might have also seen your new Japanese truck vandalized if you parked in the wrong place. Possibly even flipped over. My father bought a Toyota in ’67 and drove it for years. He caught a lot of flack, but he didn’t care.

      Like 14
      • Michael Tischler

        My dad,a WW2 vet felt the same way,never bought a Japanese car.He passed in 01′ before 9/11.
        He always would say his social security check didn’t come from the Bank of Japan.

        Like 7
      • That AMC guy

        Red Forman (father and WW2 veteran on the TV series “That 70s Show”) commenting on his purchase of a 1976 Toyota Corolla:

        Neighbor: “Red – a Toyota?”

        Red: “Yeah, it’s mine. I tell you, the last time I was that close to a Japanese machine it was shooting at me.”

        Like 8
      • Fred W

        My dad , a WWII vet, had some choice words for every German or “Jap” car that I dragged in the yard in the 70’s. Despite that, he still helped me out with them and definitely developed a respect for VW quality. RE: this little truck, I read an article in a classic car magazine about the restoration of what I think is the same model. Parts were near impossible to find, many had to be reproduced, which isn’t cheap when you order quantity one!

        Like 2
    • Billy Bristow

      Our family had a friend John Dillinger the 3rd that bought one new in Amarillo Texas he was a junkman and bragged about the 38 miles to the gallon.

      Like 0
  3. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Along the lines of alphasud’s comment, I’d like to see this parked beside a new Super Duty, just for scale/contrast. I don’t think I have seen one of these in years. A day at the upholstery shop would be advised. Not a bad write-up, which is rare for craigslist. I have no desire to own it but I’m glad to see Scotty’s write-up.

    Like 7
    • RMac

      Good write up and cool little truck I have absolutely no use for but love it
      It reminds me of the last years of studebaker pickups in that the bed does not seem to match the cab in the least bit

      Like 8
    • angliagt angliagt Member

      If you got a pair of long ramps,you could probably drive this up into
      the bed of a Super Duty,& close the tailgate.

      Like 4
      • Danno

        It’d easily fit in a Ferd F-teen thousand.

        Like 0
      • Threepedal

        I do recycling and I’d have to show up after sunset to bother with this thing. Similar to the evolution of Subaru

        Like 0
  4. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Yeah they use those in the pastures in OK….right. We just sold a restored one as well here in Dallas and it took awhile….wounder if this is it ?

    Like 4
  5. HoA Howard A Member

    I remember the ads, buyer talking to salesperson “I’ve never seen anything like this”. Salesperson, “oh, you will”. Not in H-D, AMC, Beer City. Our mindset was, why on Gods green earth would you want 1/3 of a pickup truck for. What good is that? And there was merit to that. A “mini” pickup goes against all common sense, and we laughed and laughed,,,not so funny now, eh? We talk about how simple a truck like that ’71 Dodge was, this is simpler yet. I mean, look at it, a 3rd grader could handle it. This needs to be in a Nissan showroom to show buyers what the humble beginnings were. Driving it isn’t much better than the military Jeep. Still an outstanding find.

    Like 9
  6. justpaul

    This is where I do sometimes want to go completely off the rails and do a proper restomod. Find a donor mid-90s (or so) 4WD Nissan or Toyota with the right wheel track, cut the frame down to the length required, machine up a new drive shaft, and build something that looks super vintage but has all of the civility and power required for our “modern” world.

    Like 1
  7. Richard

    It’s an ancestor of my 2000 Nissan Frontier King Cab pickup, that I’ve had for 24 years and 287,000 miles. A more rugged, durable vehicle you would not find.
    Mine is a basic 4X2 with a 5 speed, 2400 cc 4 cylinder, and AC as the only option. These trucks will run for a lifetime with PM, as long as they are not abused.

    Like 4
    • Jon.in.Chico

      Mine is a ’96, same engine and trans, no AC or radio, but PS, PB but only 138k miles … guy with whom I worked had a 1960 Datsun pickup – he was 6′ 7″ and looked like a spider in a thimble in that truck …

      Like 4
  8. Big C

    Pops drove Anglia’s and Cortina’s in the early to mid 60’s. This was in Northeast Ohio. You never saw yourself coming and going in those cars. And they rotted away like most European trash cans did. But, throughout his long life, he would never allow a Japanese car to be parked in his drive. He rubbed off on me, too. 60+ cars and trucks in my lifetime, and nary an Asian car in the mix.

    Like 3
    • Jonathan Q Higgins

      Gee, if you had tried Asian cars you would’ve only needed about 4 instead of 60. :)

      Like 4
      • Big C

        I didn’t care for boring tin cans.

        Like 0
  9. Steve Member

    I like the truck, just don’t trust Craigslist. Wish I was closer.

    Like 1
  10. BigBlocksRock

    If you are over 5′ 8″ tall you’ll need a shoehorn to get in it. And a chiropractor after you get to where you’re going.

    Like 3
  11. Mark Z

    Bought a new green Datsun PU in 1971, $1900 plus $225 for aftermarket A/C, was bullet proof, stayed in the family for 20 years and just kept running!

    Like 4
    • HC Member

      I bet that 60 or 70hp went to about nothing running that under dash AC, in the 4 cylinder, but don’t blame you for doing it.

      Like 1
  12. HC Member

    This is one of the earliest Datsun Trucks I’ve seen and seems to be a driver in good condition. My friends grandfather had a 1970 Datsun truck and always caught crap about it from other farmers in the area, who drove nothing but Ford and Chevys. Haven’t Google it yet, but pretty sure 1965 would have been one of the first years Datsun sold in the US. Good find and it would make a great farm or ranch truck.

    Like 2
  13. Zorba

    Niiiiice! I’d rather have this than ANYTHING new – work requirements notwithstanding. No stupid “technology”, no Nanny-State nonsense, no idiotic crew cab, just a decent truck albeit a very small one.

    Like 3
  14. RexFox Member

    I believe ‘65 is the first year for the floor shifter and the last year for this body style. My dad fought against the Japanese in the South Pacific for the entire war (enlisted on Dec 8th, 1941), but he did not have a problem driving Japanese vehicles (1st was a ‘66 Datsun pickup) because they were affordable, economical and handy. The American alternatives were mostly gas hogs. He appreciated the fuel economy as his commute could be pretty long depending on where in the Columbia they were dredging.

    Like 4
  15. Hollywood Collier

    Everyone has an opinion…here is mine. I like the original radiator cap and that it is wore out. In my opinion he is not trying to hide anything. I had a 77 Datsun king cab yellow truck and that thing ran and ran. My buddy tore it down for me to rebuild it and only put in new bearings….said if it was his he would only do that to it. He was a mechanic at our local Datsun dealer way back in the day but he did side work at his home at night. I like this truck…..never saw one in person but is really cool to me. I like old and unusual cars and trucks. I also like Barnfinds!!! Thanks.

    Like 4
  16. Big Owl

    Used to work at the Datsun dealership in Charleston West Virginia 1972 thru 76 I believe the first year they sold Datsun was 65 they sold Studabaker’ before Datsun

    Like 2
  17. Big Owl

    The bed on this 320 reminds me of the bed that was on the 520/ 521 Datsun of the seventys they came out with the 620 pickup in 1973 I believe,we had a 620 for our shop truck used to drive it every day I worked in the parts department.

    Like 0
  18. Andrew

    My buddy had a blue one in ’78. We used it to haul parts from the junkyard for all our cars. The cab is small, even for 2 teenagers! Gas was expensive so the little truck was cheap to run.

    Like 0
  19. Bama

    Due to an import tax, these trucks (and Toyotas too) were shipped into the US without beds, they were deemed to be an incomplete vehicle so the tax was less. Beds were made in I believe Long Beach California and then installed before they were sent out to the dealers.
    My Dad wasn’t old enough for WWII, but he despised foreign vehicles. He got PO’ed when I bought a used VW Bug, and really PO’ed when I bought a brand new Toyota pickup! He softened up a bit when my sister married a Honda salesman! They have owned mostly Hondas since they married, and Dad respected the quality they were built with, but still only bought Fords until his death!

    Like 3
    • Richard

      The 25% tariff originated in the early 1960’s, in retaliation for an EEC import duty on US poultry.
      The target at the time was the VW Microbus pickup. I bought a Mazda pickup in 1984, built in Japan and it was subject to the tariff.

      Like 2
  20. Mike

    I had one and you could use the jack handle to hand crank start it. it was awesome lots of good times , just do it in a Datsun.

    Like 2
  21. John D Bellmore

    The engine looks to be styled/copied after the BMC early 1500,1600, 1800cc B series engines. I did know of a mid 60’s Datsun that was fitted with twin SU carbs off of an early MGB. The manifold gaskets were the same.

    Like 1
  22. Roger Hunter

    Wow! This brings back memories! My first vehicle was a 1963 Datsun P.U. it was white with red interior. My dad bought it for me in 1969 or 70 for $400.
    It was “4 on the tree”. (I am 70 now) The shift pattern was different than the standard Anerican pattern. The previous owner had even typed out the shift instructions on a card and glued them onto the metal dash on the left side. When I drove it home, I made the transmission growl a number of times before getting there. We found out that it went through 1 qt. of oil per day/day and a half. My dad rebuilt it and that took care of the problem. (Thus, the $400 price tag.) I put on a red, white, and blue seat cover. It was too cool for school. Never had to worry about getting a speeding ticket, as 60 mph.was it’s top speed. It you dropped it out of an airplane, that was as fast as it would go. It was a great truck.
    Sometime around that time, my dad bought himself a blue 1970 Datsun pickup. That was a great vehicle, also. He gave it to me when I went off to college. He sold the 63 and got something else. Later on, around, 1978, my wife and I bought a 1973 240z. Loved that one to death. Sadly, the engine croaked, and the Datsun mechanic bought it from us to fix up for his daughter. Datsun (not Nissan) will always have a soft spot in my heart.

    Like 0

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