Junkyard Find: 1974 Datsun B210 Hatchback

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

I’ve seen a few B210s during my junkyard travels since we had this ’75 hatchback and this ’78 coupe in this series back in 2012, but most of the time I don’t find them sufficiently interesting to photograph. A bewilderingly labeled 210 or 310 or B310 or whatever it was that Nissan called their American Sunny for several months in the late 1970s, sure, I’ll shoot that. I overlook these cars, I must admit, because I came of driving age in the early 1980s, when these cars (and early Colts, and Pintos, and Vegas) were the bottom-of-the-barrel misery boxes that young people bought for $150 and loathed driving— let’s call them the Ford Tempos and Chevy Berettas of the Late Malaise Era. This B210 looked so old, sitting in the snow among the Camrys and Volvo 940s at my local Denver yard last winter, that I decided to add it to this series. Enjoy.

Why call this car the B210 and a different car the 210 in the United States, and then give the same car the 120Y name in Europe? Ask the geniuses who decided to spend incredible sums to ditch the Datsun marque in the early 1980s, then bring it back in the 21st century.

No matter how much the thought of the Malaise Era may make everyone depressed, it’s hard not to love these goofy-looking “Honey Bee” hubcaps.

If you’re buying a B210, why bother with options? Blockoff plates galore on the dash.

The A13 made all of 75 horses in 1974. That’s 3.5 less than the ’74 MGB got, so a B210-versus-MGB drag race that year would have required a lot of patience for the spectators.

I wonder what sort of cassette collection you could acquire if you grabbed every one you found at a large Yank-Yer-Partz yard. Most of them would be unlabeled tapes that would turn out to have a muffly one-channel-only recording of Dark Side of the Moon, of course.

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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  • Blue-S Blue-S on Aug 11, 2014

    I just saw one of these yesterday, driving down the street in its faded yellow paint, "Honey Bee" decals and honeycomb hubcaps. A definitely-over-50 dude was driving.

  • TylerGremlinKing TylerGremlinKing on Aug 31, 2014

    I can imagine driving this thing listening to Bennie and the Jets xD Good Times...

  • Lou_BC Ironic, the Honda Ridgeline, a truck that every truck guy loves to hate is in 6th place.
  • 28-Cars-Later I keep forgetting I own it, but the space look on the ext cab reminds me of my 'Yota pickup of the same model year. I'm pretty sure there is some vintage of Hilux which features the same looking ext cab window (maybe '88?) its a shame these things are mostly gone and when available are $1,000,000,000 [INSERT CURRENT CURRENCY].
  • Sayahh Imagine if Ford had Toyota design and build a Mustang engine. It will last over 300k miles! (Skip turbo and make it naturally aspirated.) Maybe Yamaha will help tune it...
  • Sobhuza Trooper Isuzu's crime was to build some damn good trucks.Shame on them.
  • El scotto Listen, unless you were Lord Headly-Stempmoor or such when you got off the off the boat, boot in Canada, you got the short end of the stick. People got on the boat, these days a plane, to escape famine, becoming cannon fodder in yet another stupid war, or the government thought it was A-OK to let soldiers kill you. Juneteenth is just a way to right one of the more bad ideas in the American experiment. Instead we have commenters who were buying tater chips and diet soda at Wal-Mart and got all butt-hurt because they heard someone who wasn't speaking English. I'm going to go fix a couple of frankfurters with salsa and guacamole and wash them down with a lager or three