Junkyard Find: 1979 Datsun 210

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1979 datsun 210

Back when I was coming of automotive age, in the early 1980s, most of my peers who got hand-me-down cars from relatives ended up with Vegas, Pintos, Colts, and Datsun 210s (for some reason, I don’t recall anyone at my high school getting a Civic, and very few got Corollas). Almost all the 210s are long gone these days, since there’s little interest in restoring them and you can get better fuel economy and reliability from a 1990s Tercel or Metro, but every so often I see one in a self-service wrecking yard. We saw this ’79 four-door in 2011, and today we’ll be looking at a ’79 two-door.

Yes, the 210 was very, very slow, thanks to its fuel-sipping 65-horsepower engine. But look— rear-wheel drive!

This one is pretty grimy, but there’s no rust (I found this car in California) and it would have been easily restored… if anyone cared about late-70s 210s.

Nobody ever got 47 MPG out of a 210, unless it was downhill at 49 MPH, but they did sip gas by Malaise Era standards.

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  • Dgb100 Dgb100 on Jun 28, 2013

    One of my HS buds had a 73 or 74 Honda Civic with a two-speed clutchless manual transmission. You had 1 -2 -N -R. It was awful but awesome. It was the very opposite of a muscle car. We could literally out run the car for a block or so.

  • Gholovacs Gholovacs on Apr 08, 2014

    Does anybody know where this 79 Datsun 210 2dr is in California? Need a rear panel glass, looks like it is good in the pic. Thanks

  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Ed That has to be a joke.
  • SCE to AUX One data point: my rental '23 Model 3 had good build quality, but still not as good as my Hyundais.Test mule aside, perhaps the build quality of the CT will be good in 2027.