Junkyard Find: 1975 Datsun B210
The California streets of my childhood were full of Datsuns like this one, and the B210 remained a common sight in (rust-free parts of) America until well into the 1990s. Then, without anybody really noticing, nearly all of them disappeared. Every so often, I’ll find one in a self-service junkyard; there was this slushbox-equipped ’74 last year, and now this mustard-yellow ’75 has drifted into range of The Crusher’s jaws.
The 1.4 liter Nissan A14 pushrod engine was quite reliable and minimized the painful effects of OPEC price-gouging, but the B210 was sluggish even by the lax standards of the darkest days of the Malaise Era.
In 1983, Nissan recalled 328,318 Datsun B210s to repair a rust-prone fuel-tank support. I don’t recall hearing about B210s dropping fuel tanks on the highways back then, but it must have happened.
Will the high price of scrap metal flush out all the remaining B210s from their garages and driveways soon? We’ll see.
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I had 2 of these in the 1980, unbelievably reliable, both stickshifts. No rust in Az where I lived at the time so they lasted forever. Crazy reliable! went back to the North Dakoda hoestead for a 100 year reunion of my wifes family. Same clan that invented and built the factory for the "Bobcat" mini bulldozer. Took the B210 over to Lake Superior and went around the lake into Michigan. Drove great on every long trip and we took many trips. Fully loaded, no problem. Heck we bought it with ver 100k and sometime after 200k it finally needed a clutch. Had no $ at the time... so I went to a UPULLIT yard... bought a used clutch disc for $5. I kid you not, this is a true story. Put the clutch in w/o replacing anything else. The car was still running fine at 325,000 miles when I sold it for $1500. I still saw it running around town years later. The engine is a slightly revised (better oil seals... better carb... better water pump) Emglish MG design. Nissan bought the rights to copy the engine. It still is the only EZ swap for an MG Midget or MGB of the 1970's. Because its the same. Just better.Never cared that it was underpowered, Always figured by over engineering and underpowering it it was designed to last. And it was! Same years GM was making the Vega and Ford the Pinto. The pinto was actually an OK car, but the Vega was worse than a jike. But in Arizona and Calif, no one bought anything axcept a Corolla or a B210 for one simple reason; they were reliable... they lasted... and they were reliable... and they lasted. That clutch repair still makes me laugh everytime I think about it. It was a 3 hour start to finish repair...alone... I still remember putting the transmission on my stomach to lift it back into place. Damned good car!
Garbage car if there ever was one. Even new these were awful products.