Junkyard Find: 1976 Datsun 620 Pickup

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1976 datsun 620 pickup

Did any of the Afghani Mujahideen drive Datsun pickups to battle after the Soviets invaded? Probably, but the Toyota Hilux got all the press. For the same reason today, Malaise Era Toyota pickups tend to be kept alive, while their Datsun, Mazda (via Ford), and Isuzu (via Chevy) counterparts get crushed when they finally suffer some problem that costs more than $200 to fix. I’ve been seeing a steady stream of these Datsuns in junkyard for 20 years now, and here’s the latest one.

This pickup is a bare-bones, non-King-Cab, zero-options model. No tach, all idiot lights.

The L20 was very reliable, though Toyota’s 20R set the bar impossibly high for four-cylinder truck engines.

Remember aftermarket sunroof conversions?

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  • Primerdust360 Primerdust360 on Apr 17, 2012

    I'd love to find a pre-smog "bulletside" to hide a V8 in. I remember some of the truck magazines still had vendors advertising custom parts for sale for these in the early '00's.

  • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on Jul 01, 2015

    Im looking at a 76 620 right now. Needs a carb and has surface rust, but decent otherwise for being under a grand. Im keeping my Taurus as a daily driver, but I need something for gardening (have a 1 acre vegtable garden) and hauling scrap metal with. I like pre-80 Datsuns a lot. I see many 22R Toyotas with cracked heads/blocks. They were extremely bad for that, have no idea how they earned a reputation of being reliable. I had one Toyota owner brag to me about getting 250k miles out of his. I asked what all had been done to it. New engine at under 100k (cracked block/head) and a new head and head gasket at 180k miles. How is that something to brag about? You cant even squeeze 100k out of it without replacing the mufikan engine! If it were a Chevy or Ford that needed all that, oh God, biggest POS ever, but its okay for a Toyota to self destruct time after time because....TOYOTA! What a crock!

  • Kcflyer on one hand it at least wont have dirty intake valves like Honda's entire lineup of direct injection ice vehicles. on the other hand a CRV offers more room, more range, faster fueling and lower price, hmm
  • Tassos BTW I thought this silly thing was always called the "Wienermobile".
  • Tassos I have a first cousin with same first and last name as my own, 17 years my junior even tho he is the son of my father's older brother, who has a summer home in the same country I do, and has bought a local A3 5-door hatch kinds thing, quite old by now.Last year he told me the thing broke down and he had to do major major repairs, replace the whole engine and other stuff, and had to rent a car for two weeks in a touristy location, and amazingly he paid more for the rental ( Euro1,500, or $1,650-$1,700) than for all the repairs, which of course were not done at the dealer (I doubt there was a dealer there anyway)
  • Tassos VW's EV program losses have already been horrific, and with (guess, Caveman!) the Berlin-Brandenburg Gigafactory growing by leaps and bounds, the future was already quite grim for VW and the VW Group.THis shutdown will not be so temporary.The German Government may have to reach in its deep pockets, no matter how much it hates to spend $, and bail it out."too big to fail"?
  • Billccm I had a 1980 TC3 Horizon and that car was as reliable as the sun. Underappreciated for sure.