Junkyard Find: 1978 Datsun B210 Coupe

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

We saw a 1975 Datsun B210 hatchback Junkyard Find a few weeks back, and this ’74 B210 hatch about a year ago. Today, we’ll look at a fairly solid example of the B210 coupe.

This is a car that was once as numerous on American streets as is any mainstream 21st-century econobox today, but the B210 was even more susceptible to rust than other Japanese cars of the era and it didn’t resist depreciation quite as well as its Corolla and Civic rivals.

For those of you too young to have experienced slushbox-equipped B210s in person, imagine that you’re driving a Chevy Aveo. In quicksand. Towing a trailer loaded with overflowing Porta-Potties. Uphill.

Still, if you were patient on freeway onramps and didn’t mind losing stoplight drag races to cement mixers, the B210 was a pleasant enough car to drive. The purchaser of this one sprang for the no-doubt-extremely-expensive factory AM/FM radio.

Once you’ve paid for the radio, however, why would you want frivolous gauges?

I can’t recall whether this style hubcap was a Honey Bee-only design or slapped on all B210s of the era.

The fuel-economy claims of Malaise Era manufacturers had to be taken with a grain of salt, but the real-world B210 did manage to get into the 40 MPG range on the highway.

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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  • -Nate -Nate on Sep 12, 2012

    Wow ; lots of kids here , I was an Indie. Mechanic when these came out , they sold like hot cakes and ran forever in Sunny So. Cal. , land of no rust . Those hubcaps are not the worst , the same vintage Datsun 710's had full sized disco dolly hubcaps that were *so* awful , I just _had_ to put a set on my '79 Datsun 620 Pickup truck , I still have one perfect one hanging in my back porch . The JATCO M-35 slushbox tranny used in these is also bulletproof , it's a licnsed copy of the Borg Warner tranny developed in 1949 for Ford . I scrounged one from a '79 B-210 for my Metropolitan Nash FHC as my injuries preculde me from operating a clutch anymore . a good , firm shifting solid tranny that's extremely hard to break . Too bad this clean little Coupe was scrapped ~ it'd prolly make a good if boring daily driver . That Clarion radio was a very good unit in it's day and prolly still works fine . -Nate

  • Laserwizard Laserwizard on Dec 28, 2015

    Most vehicles in the 1970's were rust buckets waiting to happen. The Japanese vehicles even through the 1980's were less than stellar in staying together. Engines ran well (save for Honduh blown head gaskets), but the bodies and the interiors were subpar. What had great panel fit initially was not impressive after five years.

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