The Datsun 810 became the Nissan Maxima a couple of years into the 1980s, and you rarely see the 810 nameplate these days. Every once in a while, however, an 810 shows up in The Crusher’s waiting room. Here’s a ’78 wagon I found in California last month.
The 810 shared quite a few components with the 280Z, including the six-cylinder L engine. By 1978, the Z cars had 2.8 liter L28s, but the 810 got the 2.4 liter L24 out of the older 240Z.
The 810 wagon, with its need to carry heavy loads, didn’t get the independent rear suspension of the Z and the 810 coupes and sedans.
While modern-day drivers would consider this car intolerably cramped, it was sold as a fairly luxurious and high-tech machine back in the late 1970s.
Look at this engineer-designed array of warning lights!
The original purchaser of this Datsun opted for the three-speed automatic transmission. With 125 horsepower out of the L24, this car wouldn’t have been quite as slow as most slushboxed-up Japanese cars of the era.
A Ford Windsor V8 is a pretty easy swap into the engine compartment of a 280Z, which means the same swap should work in an 810 wagon. What a fine parts-hauling setup that would make!
This ad is for the sedan, but still gives a good idea of the “yacht-grade” luxury Nissan was after with the 810.