Junkyard Find: 1977 Datsun 810 Station Wagon

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

The Datsun 810 wagon was a fairly common sight on the streets of Northern California during the Middle and Late Malaise Eras, sort of the semi-sporty wagon choice for families who wanted a family hauler with a bit of 280Z in its genes. The Datsun 810 became the Datsun Maxima by the early 1980s and the Nissan Maxima by 1984, and all of the rear-drive members of this family have become rare finds these days. We’ve seen this ’82 Maxima and this ’78 810 wagon so far in this series; those two cars and today’s 810 were all shot during trips to California wrecking yards. I don’t know if they even existed outside of a 50-mile radius from San Francisco.

While the 810 sedans got the independent rear suspension of the Datsun Z, the wagons had a good old suitable-for-heavy-loads solid axle out back.

The 280Z in 1977 had a 2.8 liter L6 engine, while the 810 kept the 2.4 liter displacement of the earlier 240Z.

This one probably did some surfboard-hauling duty in its later years.

The interior is worn out, but you can see that it must have been a nice place in 1977.

I thought about pulling this mechanical-digital clock for car-clock collection, but 95% of these things are broken and I didn’t have 12V source to test this one.

Faux woodgrain on the tailgate, just like a Country Squire!

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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  • JamesGarfield JamesGarfield on Dec 21, 2013

    There's the joke about when Nissan was planning their first imports to the US. They knew how important the right Name was to American buyers, so the Nissan marketing folks paid a visit to Volkswagen. They knew that VW had been very successfull in the American market, so Nissan asked if VW could maybe suggest a good name that the Americans would like. The old German VW exec told Nissan, "Ja ja, ve vill help yu... I vill tink on it... " The Nissan guys said, "OH, Great thanks so much. But could you hurry please? We start shipping next week." The German VW exec says, "Next veek? Ahhh, Dat Soon???" The Nissan guys said, "GREAT NAME! Thanks, we'll take it!"

  • -Nate -Nate on Dec 23, 2013

    Good little cars then and now . -Nate

  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.