Junkyard Find: 1981 Datsun 810 Maxima by Nissan
The 1980s were confusing times for figuring out badges on U.S.-market Japanese cars.
You had the Toyota Corolla Tercel (which wasn’t related to the Corolla). You had the ever-shifting miasma of various Mitsubishi-based Chryslers. You had the Nissan Stanza Wagon (which was a non-Stanza Prairie at home). And you had all the brand bewilderment of the Datsun-to-Nissan changeover of the early part of the decade (to be fair, Detroit was doing the same sort of badging sleight-of-hand, e.g., front- and rear-wheel-drive Cutlasses in the same showroom).
The Datsun 810 became the Nissan Maxima during the 1981-1984 period, but it didn’t happen like flipping a switch; here’s a Datsun 810 with “by Nissan” and Maxima badging that I spotted in a Northern California wrecking yard a few months ago.
It’s still a Datsun, but just barely.
Not even 100,000 miles on the odometer. Did it sit forgotten in a garage for decades?
The interior is in decent shape, so the car probably didn’t spend 34 years fading in the California sun.
The 810/Maxima was similar to its Z-car cousin under the skin, though it got the 2.4-liter six instead of the 2.8-liter engine that went in the ’81 280ZX.
Did I grab the Voice Warning System box, which used a tiny phonograph record? Damn right!
The presence of this car’s keys in the junkyard means that it didn’t get grabbed against the owner’s will, but was most likely a trade-in or insurance total.
This is the first car that speaks to you!
In Japan, this car was the Bluebird 910, and it had class.
It was much cooler as a Bluebird SSS Turbo.
In Australia, it was sold as a luxury car that could deal with bumpy dirt roads.
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I had an '82. it was great, little rust, totally reliable, kept it for a very long time because it just wouldn't die. Loved the talking car bit too- your door is ajar... and its small compared to the '95. I think the successor is the 1-series.
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