Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Pleasanton Street Sighting - 1975 Datsun 610

This month we're marking the Christmas holiday season with a silly theme: All I Want For Christmas Is "U". That means cars with the letter U in their brand name. Our first one was a BUICK, now let's look at DATSUN. This is a 1975 Datsun 610 sedan.

Who decides what makes an old car desirable? Does it have to have a V8 or two doors or come from a certain country or manufacturer? Does it need a book full of historical provenance or a concours restoration? Can a faded Japanese economy sedan from the mid-1970s be considered cool? I think it can.

Much like Nissan is today, Datsun in the 1970s was something of a mixed bag. On one end there was the vaunted Z sports coupe, and the rest of the dealership lot was populated by small four-cylinder econoboxes and pickup trucks. Many of their cheaper offerings, like the B210, were awkwardly styled and considered relatively disposable. The used Nissan Sentra and Altima of their day, if you will. They couldn't all be timeless classics like the much-loved 510.

The 610 was introduced in 1971 in Japan as the Nissan Bluebird-U, a big brother to the Bluebird 510. It found its way to the US for 1973 as the brand's biggest passenger car offering. I rather like the styling of Japanese cars from the first half of the '70s. They have a sort of "mini-American" appearance to them with crisp lines, pleasing "coke bottle" shapes and nice detailing. This third-year 610 was saddled with an additional 200 lbs of rubber spring bumpers, catalytic converters and other fun stuff to make it legal for sale in America. California-spec 610s made a blistering 94 horsepower from their 2.0-liter fours.

I've seen this 610 twice, eight years apart. The first time was in 2008, when it still had all its paint. Unfortunately the California sun is not kind to cars over time, and a lot of paint seems like it has an expiration date where once it becomes noticeably worn in one spot, it all goes downhill fast. This car is particularly interesting to me as I very rarely see 610s, and I'm a sucker for 1970s cars with slotted mag wheels. These rims appear to have been made by PS Engineering. Condition at the time of the shoot was interesting. Nearly all trim seems to be in great shape, with nice plastic lenses and only one window trim piece missing. The bumpers are curious as the rear looks like stainless steel with the rest painted or sun faded. I can't help wondering where this car might be today, or if we're looking at a ghost of Christmas past.

Photographed March 2016

No comments:

Post a Comment