Sometimes, contemporary magazine road tests compliment, or give criticism of features of a car, that seem at odds with our own experiences, but occasionally there’s one that gets it spot on. This surprisingly late (1978) road test, from Popular Motoring magazine, of the Datsun 120Y sums the car up pretty accurately and makes particular note of the major factor in Datsun’s success in the UK… reliability. Whilst many of the cars were not particularly ground breaking in term of technology during the 1970s, where they did stand out was in their build quality and durability. As this feature notes, it was this, along with it’s light controls, that handed the Datsun 120Y nearly 20% of the driving school market.
I think possibly the only statement in this article I would take issue with is the remark suggesting that Nissan was not renowned for sophisticated suspension on its cars. Up until ’78 when this was written, Nissan had employed trailing and semi-trailing arm, De-Dion and Chapman strut systems on their cars, as well as live axle and leaf spring layouts such as on the 120Y!