Survivor King Cab: 1984 Datsun 720 Pickup

It’s one thing to find an 80s-era Japanese pickup truck that isn’t a pile of rust; it’s quite another to find one that isn’t a pile of rust and is a genuine survivor still wearing its awesome period graphics. This 1984 Nissan/Datsun 720 King Cab looks boss on its white steel wheels while wearing a brush guard, mudflaps, and amber fog lamps, and is a one-owner California truck. They don’t get much more authentic than this, and it’s listed here on eBay with a Buy-It-Now of $7,500.

To top it all off, it’s a long bed and of course, four wheel drive. The two-wheel drive models just don’t nearly as much adulation, unless it’s period minitruck with hydraulic suspension and chromed suspension. The shame of this era of Japanese trucks is that they were really good and super durable, but their fragile sheetmetal just didn’t stand up to winter climates where road salt was in rampant use. I’ve seen more than a few of these in old-school junkyards with rotted out beds, door, and fenders. This truck has no such problems.

The interior shows some moderate signs of wear, but nothing to get worked up over. Really, the carpet just shows typical signs of use, and if it had floormats, there’d probably be no damage whatsoever. The dash is uncracked and the surfaces all still retain good color – even the vulnerable leather shift boot. The door panels show no signs of period aftermarket speakers being jammed in, and the factory gauges are still in place just behind the shifter. All in all, a nice, stock interior without too much detailing needed.

Under hood is a little more worn, with the hood pad insulation falling apart and the air cleaner in need of some sanding and painting. Minor issues, for sure. I’ll be making a new entry soon about my junkyard find 1986 Isuzu Trooper that just made the long trip to Rhode Island, and explaining how shocked I was at how much fun it is to drive! I’ve got a new appreciation for these early 80s Japanese trucks, and I’m confident this segment of vehicles will continue to appreciate for the next few years.


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  1. Bear

    Nice truck!
    It is comforting to see a well cared for 1-owner vehicle.
    Amazing condition for a 35 year old truck.
    I’m thinking that the bed probably had a camper shell on it for most of it’s life. (I can see mounting holes in the side rails, & that would explain the near pristine condition of the bed.)
    My only criticism would be the surface rust on the air cleaner & especially on the undercarriage. Given that this is a southern CA car, I’d assume that the owner either lived near or spent a lot of time at the ocean, as this appears to be salt air damage to me. (Could also be road deicer caused rust (perhaps from frequent drives up to Big BearMt?), but I don’t see any sheetmetal rust so I tend to think not.)

    Like 2
  2. JimmyJ

    My dad had one of these he took the valve cover off once to adjust valves, it started ticking again shortly after. Other than that he put 450,000k on it without any engine work. The box got rusty but cab was still rust free original paint, when he finally sold it we saw it running around town for years after. Great truck

    Like 4
    • Kurt

      I heard due to taxes, the beds were manufactured in the US, while the rest of the truck was manufactured in Japan, which is why the beds rusted out long before anything else.

      Like 2
      • Little_Cars

        I had an 83, bed rusted clear through but the cab was as pristine as the day it drove off the line. Good tough truck, never a lick of trouble with the “dual spark” motor and it even came with air. If you are correct about the beds being stamped apart from the cabs, I wonder if that happened at the Smyrna, Tennessee plant? I know it opened as a truck plant but don’t know the specific year.

      • chrsful

        ‘chicken tax’ just meant they sent’em unassembled
        (just like Knocked Down of today: SKD, CKD & CBU). Pulled offa da boat w/o bed on (but there with), stuffed on subsequent to hittin da ground. Same reason too, tx break.

  3. Car Nut Tacoma

    Nice looking truck. It’s nice to see an original survivor still being driven and maintained. I remember the Datsun/Nissan pickup truck of the early 80s. I was too young at the time to drive. But I know plenty of people who have driven them. They were small enough that most people could drive them, but large enough that they could do most work that the larger trucks are too large to do.

  4. Chris In Australia

    Never popular here in Australia. The IFS had SFA ground clearance, even in the revised version. Rust and beach work killed a lot of ’em. I hadn’t seen one in years, now I see one on reasonable shape several times a week.

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