Junkyard Find: 1979 Datsun 210 Sedan

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

We saw this junked ’78 Corolla a while back, and there was this ’81 Mazda GLC and this ’80 Civic, but no discussion of Middle Malaise Era Japanese Econoboxes can be complete without mention of Nissan’s third-gen Sunny aka 210 aka 120Y aka B210. Here’s a nice example I found in a Denver self-serve yard a week or so back.

I forgot to check the build tag for the exact model year, so this might be a ’78 or an ’80; Nissan had a winning formula with this car and didn’t change it much year-to-year.

While not as much fun to drive as the Civic nor as reliable as the Corolla, the 210 was still a solid, gas-sipping commuter that sold like crazy. They were ubiquitous on the streets of (non-rusty parts of) America until about the mid-1990s, then they spent a good decade as junkyard regulars. Nowadays you just see the occasional long-term survivors stumbling into The Crusher’s waiting room after several decades of service.

Put your money in the bank, not in the tank!

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • DenverInfidel DenverInfidel on Oct 16, 2011

    I had a B210 (78, I think) that was a relatively good car. The odo didnt' work, but the previous owner guessed it had upwards of 200k on it. Needed a bunch of work while I owned it, but I was very lucky to have a good friend whose dad owned a shop. He did a ton of cheap/free work on it for me. I think the head gasket went and the driveshaft snapped (loud and scary from what I remember). But he got me the car super cheap, like $700 or something, and it hardly burned gas. Got me through a couple of year of college and the corresponding shi!!y jobs. I was always loyal to nissan afterward because of the b210. Like so many japanese imports it too was rusting badly, having spent its life on salted colorado roads. And water leaked into the interior like crazy when it rained. Ahh, memories.

  • JesusChrist786 JesusChrist786 on Jun 04, 2014

    My dad is selling a 1979 datsun 210 for about 1,000. the paint is rusty but it still runs great.

  • Daniel J Locally they just passed new/stricter hands free laws. Without mirroring, hands free is pretty difficult with Mazda's older infotainment system. So yeah, it's pretty important. I passed on buying a Camry back in 2018 because they didn't support AA at the time.
  • Bd2 I use my smartphone as a mirror to check my hair and contact lenses in the morning if that's what you're asking
  • 1995 SC I have it in one car. My other just has a normal Bluetooth connection. The later just works. I can take or leave car play at this point.
  • Buickman OnStar for me.
  • Fred My 2020 Fit has a great phone pairing system and Andriod Auto. However I never use AA and rarely pair my phone through BT. I listen to FM and have an old school XM receiver with a strong transmitter that I use daily.