Too Nice to Donate: 1974 Datsun 710

Hard to believe someone donated this perfectly tidy 1974 Datsun 710 wagon, but that seems to be a relatively common occurrence in California. Blame it on the fine weather and prohibitive smog requirements that survivor-grade cars are cast off like yesterday’s newpapers. This 710 is shockingly complete and is listed here on eBay at no reserve with bidding just under $3K.

Check out the old-school California blue plates and vintage dealer plate frame – those are the details that only survive on time-warp cars that lived quiet lives with old ladies going to church and the market. The light woodgrain inserts are faded but amazingly still there, and lenses and glass all look perfectly fresh. The Datsun does run and drive, according to the seller.

Many of the vehicles this eBay seller gets in are absolutely candidate for donation, usually in non-working condition or clearly abused by owners without the means or the ability to maintain it properly. This Datsun looks cherry inside and out, with a completely stock interior and original instrumentation. It features an automatic transmission paired to a 1.8L four-cylinder.

And if you thought it was missing the original hubcaps on the rear wheels, guess again – they’re sitting neatly in the – literally, perfect – storage compartment. This is a car that was found in grandma’s garage and carefully wheeled to the donation center, with nary a detail disturbed. Someone is walking away with a rare Japanese classic for not much money at all.


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  1. DanaPointJohn

    I live in SoCal and can attest that cars from this vintage are daily drivers on our roads, and not at all unusual to see. Someone will get a fun car to tool around in. Enjoy!

    Like 6
  2. Evan

    There are no smog requirements in California for cars before the 1976 model year, so I’m not sure what you’re calling “prohibitive”.

    Like 9
    • Dave

      I’m not from California, but do find it strange that 1975 cars wouldn’t need the catalytic converter to function.
      How long has the CARB been around? They were responsible for the PCV systems’ invention. Before that cars had a road draught tube to vent blow-by gases into the atmosphere.
      People used to rip the PCV system off, claiming that it cost horsepower. It did help to keep oil cleaner and reduce acid formation in the crankcase, leading to extension of oil change intervals.

      Like 3
      • Will Owen Member

        1975 cars DO need convertors; it’s 1974 and earlier that need to pass any test only if they’re belching obvious smoke. Gross polluters of any vintage are subject to removal from the road.

      • That AMC Guy

        1975 cars DO NOT necessarily need converters, at least not in 49-state form. They just needed to meet the emissions specs no matter the technology used to do so.

        I owned a ’75 Hornet that was non-converter from the factory. I’ve also seen a 1980 Subaru that was delivered without a converter from the factory. Both had emission stickers stating there was no catalytic converter.

      • belinda

        Dave, 75 model year was the start of “cats”. As other posted noted, not all car need them to conform to tail pipe standards.
        CARB was started in 67. However they are >NOT< R\responsible for PCV. PCV systems have been around from the 1940 or earlier. Packard Autos offered as an option on taxi starting in 47ish. many taxis never or seldom went fast enough (35+ mph) for the road tube to be effective.

  3. Rube Goldberg Member

    I’m shocked and amazed, nice vintage Asian cars can be found, only in southern states. $3g’s for this tin can?( my old man would’ve said) Actually, they were great cars, and they didn’t last long in the rust belt, which is why the fierce (?) bidding, it’s well worth it. Probably runs like crap, if at all, they all did, and an intake gasket ( good luck finding one) may just be the beginning. In Colorado, we have some of these driving around too, not unusual, unlike say, Minneapolis, where these cars lasted 6-7 years, tops. Junkyards were full of them after the front shock towers gave away. Great find, and to someone in California, it was just an old car.

    Like 3
  4. Steve R

    It looks like a nice car. Someone will be very happy with it.

    As touched upon, there are a lot of these sorts of cars still around, stashed in garages. They tend come out of hiding when gas prices increase dramatically, which isn’t an uncommon occurrence in California.

    Steve R

  5. Car Nut Tacoma

    Lovely looking car. I remember cars like this from when I was a boy. I’d buy one if I were in the market to buy a classic car.

    Like 1
  6. the one

    We had a ’74 pick up wth a/c auto, gutless! But! We turnrd over the air cleaner cover and, hey! a bit more air produced a bit more power, but not much..

    Like 5
  7. Onree Member

    No one else has mentioned it , but “features an automatic transmission” nearly always cools off my interest in these California survivors. I, along with most other old car fanciers would prefer to avoid an automatic, especially in small underpowered cars. Then there’s the “buyers fee” gouge, already at $250

  8. chrlsful

    funny, the transmis shifter’n boot look like the ‘stangs of that era & my ’70 Bronk’s transfer shifter.

  9. George

    With an automatic, it’s probably sluggish. With a 4 speed, they could fly with that 2.0 engine. Don’t tell my mom, but I had her 4 door up over 110 mph without much effort. It was a ’76 and even with care, rust was a major issue with them, almost all Japanese cars of that vintage for that matter. My little brother put it into an embankment at 45 on a gravel road the week before she was going to give it to me.

    Like 1
    • Car Nut Tacoma

      I have to agree. My stepdad had a 1978 Toyota compact truck for many years, he bought it almost brand new. It had a 2.2 litre 20R 4 cyl. engine and a 5spd. manual transmission. I don’t know what its performance would’ve been like had an automatic been used. But I thought it was the perfect workhorse engine for any vehicle. Like most cars of the 70s, probably one of the biggest problems to plague the Toyota was rust. By the time we were done with the truck in 2005, it was barely recognisable as a truck. The only thing usable was the cab and the engine bay.

  10. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    These early 70’s Datsuns and Toyotas were rusted out and done in 2 years time around here.

  11. Charles

    Bought a 710 new in 1974. Drove it cross country several times and really enjoyed it. I was young and had no fear. When I traded it in (1976) it had roughly 80k miles. I’ve seen one recently and am amazed at how insubstantial it was. It looks like a death trap. Oh to be young and fearless once again!

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