Three-Owner Sunny: 1976 Datsun B210

Fresh off a visit to San Francisco, I’m reminded that in other parts of the USA, vintage tin like this Datsun B210 can not only survive – they can be driven daily. Now, California has stringent emissions laws for sure, but for an unmodified car, that’s a small price to pay in exchange for the friendly climate. This 1976 Datsun B210 here on eBay has just three owners from new and impressively clean sheet metal. It’s for sale in Ventura, CA, with no reserve. 

We’ve featured a few of these hatchbacks over the years, and it always seems like the nicest survivors are saddled with an automatic. Not so in this instance, as this B210 – known as a Sunny in other markets – comes equipped with three pedals. The seller notes some torn upholstery and cracked dash pad as defects, but the three-spoke steering wheel and clean door panels help make up for those demerits. The B210 is even more impressive when you consider it has over 130,000 miles.

The seller has done a fair amount of work in the time he’s owned it, replacing the rubber fuel lines, carburetor, brake pads and shoes, and installed a new set of tires. It still has some bugs to work out, including a faulty fuel gauge and the speedo cable needing replacement (a replacement part is included). What’s most notable about the Datsun is the presence of what looks like original paint throughout – and note how well the exterior still shines. Despite being an oil crisis-era economy car, this B210 was loved.

Unfortunately for U.S. customers, those big park bench bumpers were mandated by the fed. It renders yet another pretty design looking fairly clunky thanks to those plastic-capped protuberances tacked on front and rear. The aftermarket mesh wheels look great here, and help fill out the wheel arches nicely. Overall, this is a well-preserved specimen of a Sunny equipped with the right transmission for such a diminutive powerplant.  And, at no reserve, someone could walk home with an affordable survivor-spec B210.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Milt

    Another car I remember that was EVERYWHERE, but no where to be found today.

    Like 1
    • Muz

      Thank goodness for that. These were horrible things that didn’t go, were a horrid drive and rusted while watched. Their only redeeming feature being that in RHD form the steering box can be used to improve the steering of the MG TC.

  2. 68 custom

    these are great cars and the engines when maintained will go 300k plus. rust is about all that can kill one and this one is in very nice condition.
    pretty sure the paint is not original though, never seen one in this hue?

  3. Rattlinglikenuggets

    Aw man, I’ve gone all nostalgic about this. My brother had a red one in the early 1980s. He did spend quite some time rebuilding the front end as it was so rusty. I can – even now – remember the smell of the inside, all petrochemicals and used car.

  4. Gunner

    I want…..have owned a few Datsun’s and loved them all. Great memories in each one. The B210 has great lines, IMHO.

  5. Doug Towsley

    These were great little cars, cheap and easy, Not hard to maintain, the 5 speed was the way to go. I cant recall the specifics but I think there was several sizes of these A series motors, so worth going to the 1500. I took the drivetrain out of one of these and put it in a Triumph spitfire that I bought for $300 with a blown motor.
    The problems on these to watch out for is Oil in the radiator. If its mocah brown its got a leaking head gasket. (FELPRO all the way) but easy fix. These vapor lock so upgraded fuel pump and optimize the system. The stock carbs are an issue so a weber was a popular swap. The later electronic ignition is good and helped by a MSD5 or MSD 6 box and a good coil.
    You have to check the cam chain and easy fix, but it can be tightened 3 times with the stock settings. Or replace when worn. Not doing so will kill the motor.
    These were NOT a fast car, but driven smart you can move along just fine and very easy to keep on the road for pennies per mile. I know a guy back in the day who hotrodded his and lowered it, air dams and body kit, tires and suspension and good sway bars. He would flat out embarrass anyone who was foolish to race him.
    These were popular back in the day for sports car club racing, Datsun was great about supporting thru dealers the racing scene. I still have some of the old Performance catalogs of the factory race parts for the whole range.

    • angliagt

      B210s had a 1300 (A13) in 1974,& a 1400 (A14)
      ’75 -’78.

  6. Barzini

    I never post negative comments about cars but make an exception for the B210. After years of owning used cars, my parent’s first new car was a 1976 B210. It began rusting after a few years and needed the engine rebuilt before 50,000 miles. Horrible car. Yet our next door neighbor also had a 1976 B210 that lasted more than 100K miles. Both cars were well maintained and not driven hard.

  7. angliagt

    I’m trying to sell my ’78 with a ton of extra parts
    for $2500,but have no takers yet.Lots of NOS parts.
    If anyone’s interested,& buys it,I’ll make a donation to
    Barnfinds.

  8. Moparman Member

    Definitely NOT a “Honey Bee”! :-)

  9. scotto

    my mom had one of these in the early 80’s, when i was 6-7 yrs old. we used to tie a canoe to the roof and go off to the river often.

    hers was orange with a manual trans. i remember because once i was climbing around inside for some reason and knocked it out of gear. it rolled down the hill into a field. no damage done, but everyone was confused for a while about where the car had gone.

    dont think ive ever seen one of these on the road since the 80’s.

  10. Chris In Australia

    Slow, cramped, ugly. Known as the Datsun 120Y in Australia. Mechanically good, I’ll give you that. One comment I remember was “I feel sorry for the sheet steel tortured into that shape”

  11. Rex Rice

    In the Summer of ’73, I was a Datsun salesman; a learning experience. The ’72 version was a bit smaller & lighter. The 2 door, (not the fast back), was fast and fun to drive. The engine was very strong with 5 main bearings, the perfect fit for other cars that haven’t rusted away as these have.

  12. B Schneider

    I bought this car. I flew into LA and drove it all the way home to Michigan. It runs great! It needs a few things repaired but in all it’s a great car.

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