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Time Capsule: 1981 Datsun B-210


One of the measures for success of just how well your vintage Japanese car has survived is if the factory-applied decals are still in place. Check out this 1981 Datsun B-210 here on eBay that has just over 20,000 original miles and remains as-new and in the wrapper. Heck, even the white-letter tires are original and the interior looks like it’s never been used.

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While not worth a ton of money, finding any Japanese car from this era in this kind of shape – meaning, not completely decimated by the tin worm – is a rare find. The B-210 is known as a Sunny in other parts of the world, but no matter the name, it arrived at exactly the right time in the U.S.: with the fuel crisis a not-so-distant memory and increased demand for fuel-efficient vehicles, the B-210 was a success for Datsun. Add in the convenience of a hatchback design and low price and it’s not surprising these cars did well sales-wise when first introduced.

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And even if it wasn’t particularly fast (I don’t think the B-210 ever made do with much more than 90 or so b.h.p.), that’s a downright appealing cockpit for the price. This is an economy car and I’d venture to say it even looks “sporting” on the inside. The three spoke wheel and manual shift obviously help with this sentiment, as does this car’s near-new condition. Most Datsuns of this vintage bear the scars of many frugal owners over the years doing their worst to interior surfaces.

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Now, the question is this: what do you do with it? It’s a shoo-in for events like the Japanese Classic Car Show on the West Coast, happening the weekend of September 24 out in Long Beach. In my opinion, it’s not so valuable that you can’t use it as a summer driver but it absolutely should never be modified aside from getting new tires for safety reasons. Bidding is just over $3K with the reserve unmet; what number do you think it will hammer home at?


  1. Avatar photo grant

    Very similar to my first car, a 79. This one is much nicer.

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    • Avatar photo Grant

      As I remember it was a great fun, drove it everywhere, streets and fields. What a gasss

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  2. Avatar photo Jerry L

    Had the same car in a darker brown. Great car that still ran as the body and interior fell apart after 150K miles and 10 years.Paid $6300 for it new.

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  3. Avatar photo James

    Yeah, but their “asking price” is $21,000.00, a bit optimistic if you ask me.

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  4. Avatar photo JW454

    Nice but not 21K nice. JMO.

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  5. Avatar photo AlanB

    Buried in the small print: “Asking Price: $21,900”

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  6. Avatar photo Bruno M

    Japanese car?

    Japanese cars = boring…

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  7. Avatar photo Glen

    577 miles a year, that’s what this car averaged. Who are these people? I have over 11,000 kilometers on my car, I’ve had it since mid December. That’s over 6800 miles. Granted, I probably put more miles than the average person,( the nearest McDonalds is about 45 minutes from here, so is the nearest Walmart.) None the less, I don’t understand these people who buy a car and basically never use it.

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  8. Avatar photo grenade

    This car is worth 10-11K TOPS. Twenty years from now, that is still going to be the number. It’s cool, love seeing it, but 21+? Come on dude…

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  9. Avatar photo Robert

    I had an ’81 B210 wagon. 5-speed. It was a great car. I put Bilstein shocks on it and Addco sway bars front and rear. It wasn’t fast but when you got it up to speed you didn’t have to brake much for turns = fun!

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  10. Avatar photo AMC STEVE

    Holy f,ing crap, let’s do the time warp again….this car reminds me how old I am! Being the same yr I graduated high school it looks new and I remember girls getting these to drive off to college. Freaky Man!

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  11. Avatar photo Terry J

    Actually the B210 was built from 1973-77. I have a ’77 B210. The car for sale is a Datsun 210. Nice car. $21k is a crazy number, but if you own a car you can ask whatever you want for it as long as you are willing to keep it. Terry J

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  12. Avatar photo angliagt

    B210’s were ’74 – ’78 models.

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  13. Avatar photo Howard A Member

    Incredible find. I had a gf that had a 1200, and this was the successor to that car. This was a much nicer car, as the 1200 was pretty basic( and tinny), but at the time, it was all about gas mileage and the Asians caught us with our pants down, and these were very popular. Terrible rusters though, and the front shock towers would collapse, deeming the car unfixable. Many truckers used these motors as an early APU ( aux. power unit), as the motors outlasted the bodies by quite a margin. Not sure of the collectability of this, but if you want a like new ’81 Datsun B-210 to run around in, here it is. Great find, although, I agree, a little pricey.

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  14. Avatar photo Steve

    Its up to $11k now, half their asking price. Imo, the seller would be well ahead to accept whatever the final bid is. No way its worth their asking price.

    Listings such as this do make me regret selling my 76 celica gt about 15 yrs ago. It had original red paint no dents and one rust spot. Interesting waY i came About owning it. A neighbor had moved off and left one like it, ran but no title and body and interior was rough. I happened to be visitng my dad, a welder who was working on a pipeline near Giddings Tx. We were out sight seeing/ car /truck spotting and saw a celica gt like the neighbor had given me, sitting iN A pasture. I onocked on the door and ended up buying it for $300. It ran but the grael roads of the area had worn out wvery component in the front suspension. I had to rebuild the carb to get it running well, as well as install a water pump due tot a leak. The front suspension issue was solved with the removal of around eight bolts and swapping suspensions between cars. I sold both about a year later for $2500. At the time, i thought i did pretty good, but looking back… Another funny side note is buyer never picked up the parts car, but i came in from work one day and it was on blocks with rear axle removed. I knew where he lived and went there and asked what was up. He said the rear started making noise so he came and got the spare. While i was at work. Without aasking. Did jot bother to put old axle back so i could move it. I told him again he needed to come get car. A month later he still had not, so i picked it up with my loader and left it right in his Driveway. LOL

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  15. Avatar photo Terry J

    Great story Steve. Had a pal that bought a new Celica GT in 1976 for $5495 which at the time I thought was ridiculous and said so to my everlasting shame. First I failed to recognize how much cars cost then (remembering what $3500 would buy back in 1966) and second I did not realize what a very cool car that little Celica GT was, being a Detroit iron snob at the time. Like to have one today. :-) Terry J

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  16. Avatar photo That Guy

    I’ve seen this dealer’s cars pop up on this and other websites before, and they seem to get some pretty interesting stuff passing through their hands. Remember they are a dealer, so they make their living by selling cars, not by hanging onto them. $21,900 is a starting point for negotiation. They know their market, and know full well they will end up selling it for less. As of this moment the bidding is at $11K with three days to go, so clearly there is interest out there, and some people willing to pay good money for this amazing museum piece.

    I’d love to know how this throwaway car ended up being treated like a rare diamond for the past third of a century.

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  17. Avatar photo Datsuntech

    This is not a B210. It is a Datsun B310 also known as the Datsun 210, no B. Not to be confused with the Datsun 310 which was a N10 also known as a Cherry or Pulsar.
    Although the B210 and B310 are both Sunnys, along with the B10, B110, B11, B12, B13, B14, B15.
    Convoluted enough for you? Got it all straight? Good.

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  18. Avatar photo Barzini

    I probably drove at least 100 of these cars when they were new and I worked at Bob Sharpe Datsun as a “lot boy”. They made such a distinctive beeping sound when you left the key in the ignition and the new car smell was like none other. While I liked some of the other Datsun models, this one did nothing for me then or now. But it served a purpose for many and it’s surprising to see one in such good shape.

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    • Avatar photo Wayne S.K.

      Danbury Man, eh Barzini? I worked at Carey Industries for a few years in the early ’80’s. I lived over in Carmel. When you mentioned Bob Sharpe, the memories of Danbury hit me like a sledgehammer. Loved that town… :)

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  19. Avatar photo gary

    My 1st car here in the UK was a Datsun sunny but here it was a Datsun 120y good car I thought at the time but looking back not so sure I was 17 and loved it lol

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  20. Avatar photo John

    A couple of things seem strange. The right rear tire still shows its red tread markings. The other tires do not. Obviously, it has the “new” spare on it. At 20K miles, I would never have expected a bright shiny muffler. We had one of these in the family. It’s alternator bracket was not painted to match the engine. It’s appears to be a perfect example, but I’d have a few questions before I wrote the check. And the check would not be for $21K.

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  21. Avatar photo Chris C.

    I’d agree with all of you guys that I’m sure they would settle for a lot less the 21K & change their asking when the auction nears its end. There’s something about all original cars that brings hardcore collectors of that particular vehicle out to bid & win something like this. It will be interesting to see if it goes to a new home or gets relisted. It does look like the muffler has been recently been replaced & there’s no doubt the original spare is on the right rear now. Those old Bridgestone tires have to be showing their age with dry rot looks like the rear tire that was on the car has blown out & is now in the spare tire well. I’d say anything over the 11K that’s been bid on this auction up to now is pure gravy & they should take it & run that’s of course the high bidder actually pays off on it.

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  22. Avatar photo PRA4SNW

    We have no idea what the reserve is on this car. The $21K is their asking price and I suspect it is there to give the buyer a sense that they got a “bargain” when the auction ends at 12K.

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  23. Avatar photo drewski253

    I bought an orange ’79 in 2005 with a bad flywheel/flex plate for less than $150. It had less than 70k miles on it. My friend Phil junked it because I didn’t make it over in time to help him fix it. (He only gave me 1 day..!)

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  24. Avatar photo Murray S. Member

    This car ran through Barrett Jackson Auction out of Las Vegas a couple years ago. It is truly as nice as it looks in the pics. It sold with auction fees for around $14-$15K. Then of course there is transportation fees. It was this dealer who bought it and they have had it a while, which isn’t such a bad thing. Is it worth $21k? Probably not to most of us but the cool thing about a low miler or any classic is…..it is worth what someone will pay and if that is what they are wanting. It is really not far off of a new economy price car and I personally would spend the $21K for this Datsun before I would buy a new Kia for the same money, and I know the Datsun will be worth more than the Kia in a few years from now. The value of any collectible is in the eyes and pocket book of the future buyer. Good luck to the seller and the buyer. It really is a super nifty car and in superb condition. Go find another one like this. Kinda hard to do😀

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