The PU11 Nissan Maxima was among the Japanese sedans to experience a complete identity shift in the mid-Eighties. Nissan was rebranding itself from a discount Datsun identity and took Maxima upmarket. Packed with technology and on its way to the 4DSC identity that defined the model, the Maxima deserves a place at the table with the V20 Camry and CA Accord. Let’s get technical.
So there’s the “real” Datsun 510, which was sold from the 1968 through 1973 model years and is the one everyone means when they talk about the now-incredibly-valuable BMW 2002 competitor… and then there’s the A10 Nissan Violet, which was sold in the United States with 510 badging from 1977 through 1981. These cars are extremely rare, but I found one in Oakland in 2012 and now I’ve found another in Denver.
Not following the hip-hop scene closely, I’m not really sure who Nas is, a quick search shows that he’s a successful rapper and actor. I do know who Malcolm Campbell and Viktor Frankl were. Sir Malcolm was a British racer and writer, who set and held world land and water speed records in the 1920s and 30s in cars and boats called Blue Bird, many of his own design, breaking the LSR nine different times. Campbell’s final record, set at the Bonneville Salt Flats in the Blue Bird V, made him the first human to drive a car more than 300 mph. Frankl was a psychiatrist and neurologist who founded a form of existential analysis called logotherapy. After surviving the Holocaust of European Jewry by the Nazis, with his psychic wounds still fresh in 1946 he wrote Mans Search For Meaning, which hasn’t gone out of print since its publication. As part of an ad campaign that’s something about ‘ chasing your wild rabbit‘, Hennesey cognac had director Martin de Thurah cut two versions of a long form television commercial, really a short film, called The Man Who Couldn’t Slow Down, about Campbell. It’s not a commercial trying to sell a car but it’s the best commercial with a car that I’ve seen in a long time.
Having worked at a Japanese language tv station in LA in the seventies, I developed an early appreciation of their commercials. Here are a couple of Datsun ads highlighting the Blubird/510. The first one parallels the flying theme of my CC, and the second one, after the jump, shows off the coupe version, which sadly was never exported to the US. Shades of the Volt dance. Enjoy!