Original Condition? 1963 Datsun 320 Pickup

Commonly referred to as a Datsun 1200 due to the 1.2L engine size, even in some literature of the period, this 1963 Datsun 320, or 1200 pickup is an interesting truck from an interesting time and it looks like a nicely-worn mostly-original truck. The seller has it listed here on eBay in The Biggest Little City in the World: Reno, Nevada. They have it listed as a classified ad with an asking price of $9,200 or you can make an offer.

If this is really original paint it’s in pretty good condition for being almost six decades old. I wish my paint was this good. It has a nice fade to it, seemingly honest wear from just being on the planet for this long. The Datsun 320 was made for a handful of years, from 1961 to 1965, and they may be Datsun’s last really vintage-looking pickup.

The Datsun 320 had an improved suspension compared to the 220 that it replaced. There was now a torsion bar front independent suspension compared to the solid beam axle. I’ve said this before but I wish that a vehicle company would make a small pickup for the US market again. I know that everyone wants bigger trucks, wider trucks, four-door trucks, but give me a small truck any day. Of course, one with enough legroom for a 6′-5″ tall person to drive it, so maybe something like this is too small for me anyway.

Clearly, the seat isn’t original, and there are a few things missing inside. The door gaskets need help and I’m always bummed to see door strikers painted, but overall it looks pretty good in there, too. The door panels/cards are missing as is the rubber flooring. I’m not sure if that’s because someone has done work inside and never completed it and put those things back or what the story is there. The owner isn’t giving us much info on this one, unfortunately.

The engine and engine compartment look pretty good, but is that red primer showing, or was this truck originally red? If it was, they did a full engine-out color change at some point. This 60-horsepower engine is Datsun’s E-1, a 1.2L inline-four and unfortunately, it’s not currently in running condition. This one needs some carb work and they also mention that it needs a new clutch. Bummer. That’s a pretty spirited asking price for a truck that’s not in operating condition but I guess that’s what the “or offer” part is for. Are any of you fans of tiny pickups? If so, have you owned one?

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Comments

  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    $9200? Sounds like it should be totally restored for that.
    I had an assistant high school auto shop teacher,Jim Wyatt,who
    had a 240Z & one of these.He called an “Ugly Duckling”.He told
    me that it had a “four on the tree” shifter.

    Like 8
  2. RGSmith1 Member

    I’m with you, Scott. I wish someone would start making smaller trucks again. I had an 82 Datsun King Cab for several years. It served my needs quite nicely. I really have no need for something bigger.

    Like 14
  3. Vegaman Dan

    $4000 maybe, and it better be a driver for that. It’s a pretty neat little truck, and I’d gladly throw a simple paint job on it and not worry too much. I’m impressed how original the vehicle is, and it still has the original air cleaner!

    Like 8
  4. Steven

    Grandpa bought one new. Red, faded to pink very quickly. . I learned to drive four on the tree in it. I owned a white one a few years back. Like this one it wasn’t a runner. I brought it back. It just needed a little attention by someone (me) who knew what a carburetor was. I upgraded the brakes to dual master. One thing about these, they are very low geared so 55 mph is pretty fast. One last thing, they are tiny, long legs don’t fit well.

    Like 4
  5. Cattoo Cattoo Member

    Maybe ten years ago my friend finally got her back from there husband. Said she was thinking of selling it. Told her I wanted first dibs and to call me as money in hand I had. Went by a couple weeks later if that, and it was gone. Sold it out from under me for $300. It was as original as it could be. It was even green in color like this one. Grrr

    Like 6
  6. Mike

    Looks like huge battery or maybe it’s a regular sized battery and everything else is small.

    Like 7
    • alphasud Member

      It’s a hybrid:)

      Like 3
  7. Howard A Member

    Okay, so I went off on a bender with the last pickup, however, I can see a shred of merit in the asking price here, it’s something that was just non-existent. In good ol’ Beer City, we laughed at stuff like this, just a toy, nothing could possibly replace our red, white and blue Fords, Dodges and GM’s,,,which, at the time, were just the best trucks. Then the gas crisis hit, not so happy now, eh? And they couldn’t ship these fast enough. They filled a gap, for people that didn’t really need a big pickup, and gas mileage was paramount, no matter how chintzy the vehicle. Cool find, there simply has got to be some remorse, in spending 5 figures for a vehicle of this caliber,, but hey, why not?

    Like 2
  8. Matt c

    I had an 81 720 Diesel, the first and last brand new vehicle I ever owned. Despite getting auto armor guaranteed for life rust proofing within 2 years had rot holes at the seams, For the first 6 months it sat in a garage before I registered it and I waxed it at least 25 times. unfortunately they used reconstituted metal with rust already in it and rotted from the inside out. The little Diesel however was quite the engine, it got 33 miles to the gallon going in traffic or 100 on the highway. When I put big tires on it that dropped to 30. If it hadn’t rotted I probably would still have it.

    Like 3
  9. Mark_Mitchell Member

    Back when I was a kid, we were visiting relatives in Fresno, CA. On the way home, I spotted a rare Datsun NL320 Sport Truck on a used car lot for $500 (with the El Camino style unibody bed). My dad agreed that it was cool, and we bought it on the spot. I jumped in and drove it about 150 miles back home to the coast (at 15 with no license!). I loved that truck, but jumped at an opportunity to trade it for a ’59 Porsche 356A Convertible D, which I still own all these years later.

    Like 10
  10. Solosolo Solosolo Member

    I bought one of the first Datsun 1500cc pickups when they arrived in South
    Africa in 1965 and it turned out to be a very useable, economical truck that also rusted out within 4 years. It was also classed as a one tonner, whereas in US it would most likely be classed as a quarter ton truck.

    Like 1
  11. DRV

    It’s miraculously unrusty.
    The price is good for one going to be restored to new.

    Like 1
  12. Poncho

    WOW! $9200? Better keep it in the desert or it will resume rusting as it’s siblings did years ago. Do you know how much car $9200 will buy you? For someone to pay that price, it will be an emotional purchase rather than a wise purchase. Emotional after that $9200 leaves your hand!

    Like 1
    • Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

      No, I don’t know how much car you can buy for $9200.00, please inform me.
      God bless America

      Like 1
  13. ScrooLoose

    I have heard of Pocket Bikes.
    Is this considered a Pocket Truck?
    I like it.
    Steel is real.

  14. Mr.BZ

    Right there with you, Scotty! I’ve had several pickups but my favorite was my ’74 Datsun 620. So fun to drive, cranked up the torsion bars and put big National Air-Float Commando tires on and it was almost unstoppable off road. It fit me well as a 6’3″ 17-24 year old, not sure how well I would fit with another 75 lbs on the scales!

    Like 1

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