By on January 21, 2019

1980 Datsun 310 in Colorado wrecking yard, Lh front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Nissan sold lots of the original Datsun 510s in the United States, and so the remainder of the 1970s saw a whole series of model names ending in “10” showing up in Datsun dealerships. Some (e.g., the 610 and 710) were Bluebird-based cars like the 510, but the 310 was really a Cherry-based Nissan Pulsar.

Here’s an optioned-up 1980 Datsun 310 hatchback coupe in a Denver self-service wrecking yard.

1980 Datsun 310 in Colorado wrecking yard, front seats - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsSome 310 owner bought the doors from this car, but left these gorgeous Full Disco seats behind. Why? How?

1980 Datsun 310 in Colorado wrecking yard, A14 engine - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe A14 engine powered many rear-wheel-drive Datsun B210s and front-wheel-drive 210s. With 1,397 cubic centimeters and 64 horsepower, the 1,970-pound 1980 Datsun 310 wouldn’t win many drag races, but it looked sporty and sipped gas at a time when Americans were gearing up for $20/gallon fuel.

1980 Datsun 310 in Colorado wrecking yard, instrument cluster - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsWe can’t determine the real mileage from this five-digit odometer, but this car looks fairly clean for its age.

1980 Datsun 310 in Colorado wrecking yard, rear glass - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe 5-door hatchback looked like the yen-pincher it really was, but the bubble hatchback window on the coupe looked cool.


Wow! It’s a long way to empty… iiiiin a Datsun!

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34 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1980 Datsun 310 Coupe...”


  • avatar
    FormerFF

    Those seats look to be in amazingly good condition for a 40 year old Japanese car.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Seems this car was a creampuff until it got taken to the yard. I realize this is not a gullwing Mercedes or anything like that, but I find it sad, nevertheless.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Suddenly its gonna dawn on you – Datsun Saves!

  • avatar
    jatz

    Ah, SO desu ka!

    B210 was RWD and 210 was FWD. Thanks, always wondered.

    If they’d given me 2 credit hours for every B210 I could spot at my college in the late ’70s I’d at have least 8 PhDs.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Yep, I learned to drive a manual on 5-speed B-210, with its dogleg shift pattern. It even had a beep-beep-beep alarm inside the car, to warn you when you selected reverse.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      Both the B210 and the 210 that replaced it were rear wheel drive. The 310, F10, Stanza and Sentra were the FWD Datsuns by Nissan. If you look at the 1979 210 that Murilee linked to, you can see the longitudinal engine installation and lack of FWD axles in the underhood shots.

  • avatar
    mechimike

    Check that odometer again. It looks like this car’s traveled 129,049 miles before ending up here.

    I imagine the tenths position was eliminated as being redundant to the one on the trip odometer.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    These weren’t as weird as the ungainly F10 (another Cherry-based car), the other FWD car they were bringing in at the time.

    See that little electric fan under the hood, in the lower left-hand corner? That was used to blow air on the carb to keep it cool, and avoid percolation and vapor lock. It kicked on with the radiator fan, and with the air conditioning on a/c-equipped cars. I liberated one of them from a junkyard F10 and installed it on my ’76 Vega GT, and wired it to come one with the a/c. The thing actually helped on summer days.

    • 0 avatar
      R Henry

      Wish I had one on my old Tower of Power slant six Dodge…the fuel often boiled/percolated out of that thing …eventually led to an engine fire.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        I paid $25 for the thing (now that I say that, it sounds like a ripoff), and it was fairly light, so easy to mount. Eventually the bearings in it went south, and it crapped out.

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      Interesting. My 83 Civic with A/C had a second fan against the radiator that would come on only when the A/C was on.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      The 310 replaced the F-10 here in the states. The main difference was the F-10 had north south engine configuration like the Tercel while the 310 was transverse.
      I had a friend in high school who would occasionally drive his dads new F-10. For it’s time we thought it was bizarre like the Juke of the era.

    • 0 avatar
      cargogh

      As soon as I read this, I got a visual of those huge headlight bezels on a golden brown body. Hugely ugly, like it was wearing glasses.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    That is 129,049 miles. Tenths only dislayed in the trip odo.

  • avatar
    johnnyz

    I had a b210 rear wheel drive. it was a great pizza geek vehicle. The float on that Hitachi carb would stick like a son of a b**** though. Pita.

    My younger sister had a 200SX. One day she and my parents went to the zoo and I went under the 200SX and measured the rear sway bar. It was a perfect fit for my b210!

    I put new gas struts on it and wider tires. You would be amazed how well that little econo box handled on the cloverleaf’s!

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Cute little econobox .

    The BW M35 automatic tranny from some long gone B210 lives on in my Metropolitan Nash FHC…..

    -Nate

  • avatar
    spookiness

    The front “face” of these is almost identical to an 80-81 Civic.

  • avatar
    jimmy2x

    Actually bought one new when stationed in Jacksonville FL. Never had any problems, but for the fact that it was painfully underpowered. Even the mildest uphill slope, was a challenge with the wife and both kids in the car.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    When my father-in-law and mother-in-law got together and had their first couple of kids, he picked up a used Datsun wagon (510? 610?) with manual trans (this would have been the early 80s.)

    He actually taught his wife to drive stick in one.

  • avatar
    volvo

    Let me know when you see a late 60s to mid 70s 510 at the wrecker. Where I live they are as popular as BMW 2006/1600 from that era and since we are relatively rust free few go to the wrecker. They get rehabbed instead.

    My wife had a 510 when I met her and it was a pretty capable car.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’d forgotten how obsessed people were with fuel economy back then!

  • avatar
    brentrn

    I bought a new 1980 310 GX manual-trans in brown with a beige interior in the summer of 1980. I had just graduated from college and needed a car for my first job as a nurse. I think it was around $5000. It was impossible to negotiate price for compact cars then. The salesman said “there’s an ass for every seat”. At least Datsun didn’t charge more than sticker like the Honda dealer wanted.

    The car ran fine except for the incredibly bad tires that would go flat over any sort bump in the road. I had to replace them with better tires after the first year. I never felt very safe in it and got a Saab 900 in 1985. I had that car 12 years until it rolled over. I was unhurt. I don’t think I would have had the same outcome in the 310.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    The manual 310 was the only car that I could instantly recognize by sound consistently. They had a transaxle whine that hit my ears like a whistle does a dog.

  • avatar
    FAHRVERGNUGEN

    Always intrigued when I see that someone swapped seats from one side to the other, as (possibly) evidenced by the seat back release on the inside of the passenger bucket.

    • 0 avatar
      jeffreymp

      That lever on the left side of the passenger seatback was for use by the rear passengers to use when getting out. There was another release at the seat hinge on the right side (in the usual place).
      There was also a cool little half-round ashtray built into the back of the seatback for rear passengers…
      We had a ‘79; it was a great little car.

  • avatar
    volvo

    That was something we did occasionally on older Volvo 240s when the driver’s seat bottom started to fail and simple rebuild was not practical.

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    I like the clean design of the instruments.


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