The Lost Ones

The first wave of Datsuns arrived in the UK during 1968, with the entire model line up consisting of just four models, the 510 Bluebird, B10 Sunny and 130 Cedric… with the C30 Laurel arriving shortly after. These models all sold in tiny numbers, so you would naturally expect these early Datsuns to be the ones to have disappeared entirely. Yet this is not so. Though extremely rare, I know of at least one example of each of these. The same applies to the next generation of each model, even though the range expanded to include a variety of body styles such as coupes and estates. Later models have sometimes not fared so well…

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Resto

The restoration of the site is ongoing and as well as adding new stuff, I’m revamping some old posts, with a little text editing (largely to fix all the horrible grammar and spelling!) as well as updating many of the images. A lot of the old articles were written in the days when people were still using screen resolutions as low as 800×600 (remember that!?) so many of the images are rather small and low quality.

Among those getting an overhaul is the history piece I did 12 years ago about Nissan’s deal with Austin of England during the 1950s. There’s now a load of new images and all are larger than before so take a look!

Datsun Promotional Film

Plenty to see in this Nissan promo film for the early 1970s. Nissan were riding high on a decade of success both in the marketplace and on the race track, and they weren’t afraid to tell the world all about it. Plenty of excellent period shots of the Tokyo Motorshow, the East African Safari Rally and even some footage of the R382 in action. Also there’s loads of testing and development footage. A great watch for anyone interested in Datsun history…

Tokyo in Tennessee

Back in the early 80s, the US car industry was really suffering. The trickle of imports from Japan in the early 1960s had turned to a torrent by the end of the 70s. Domestic car sales were taking a beating and with US auto workers starting to be laid off, a backlash was forming. Despite this Nissan made the controversial move of trying to address both its desire to sell its cars to Americans, while still providing US workers with employment, by building a Nissan factory in Smyrna, Tennessee. This film by 60 Minutes from back in 1982 takes a look at the project, and in particular, the training of the workers, so that they could build cars like the Japanese workers…

Nissan Planète Automobile

Nissan Planète Automobile is an amazing new publication from French publisher E-T-A-I and something I would regards as an essential purchase for any diehard Datsun fan. The author, Bernard Vermeylen, has covered a colossal amount of ground in this history of the marque, from the company’s early days at the beginning of the 20th century, right through to last year’s Nissan IDX concept. The book is absolutely packed with pictures, both in colour as well as black and white, and it’s by far the most comprehensive book I have seen, covering some really obscure models. Unusually, it also has a ‘world view’ as well, rather than placing emphasis on the authors home market as is often the case with books like this.

Of course, being from a French publisher the entire book est écrit en français , but don’t let that put you off if you can’t understand French… it’s a beautiful book to flick though purely for the pictures. Or look at it the way I do… it’s a great opportunity to learn or improve your French!

So far I have only seen this book for sale online via French websites, but I doubt it’d be difficult to get hold of. It’s not particularly cheap at 49€ but in my opinion it’s well worth the price. I’d just like to add a huge thank you to my Dutch friend and total Datsun nut Iwan for sending me my copy!

Click through for a brief peek inside Nissan  Planète Automobile and the details (ISBN# etc)…

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Nissan Type 70

Nissan’s Type 70 arrived on the Japanese car market in 1937 and was quite a departure for the company as it was considerably bigger and more luxurious than anything they had previously sold. Clearly they were pretty proud of this new car and produced this charming silent film, which remarkably for 1937, was in colour!

Of course the Type 70 wasn’t actually designed by Nissan at all…

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Datsun Dealer Ads

In the early days of British sales, Datsuns were advertised heavily in the motoring media. Combined with a excellent value and reliability offered by the cars, this promotion led to the staggering success of Datsun UK in the early 1970’s. The level of their achievement can be seen if you consider the sales statistics. Datsun UK sold 6900 cars in the UK in 1971 and by the end following year that number had hit 30,000, only to be more than doubled in 1973 to 60,500! By 1976 Datsun UK held 6% of the entire UK market, representing more than 60% of all Japanese imports and outselling Toyota by nearly three to one. In fact, the UK was the only market in the world at that time where Nissan outsold Toyota.


If an agreement between the British Government and the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) hadn’t introduced import quotas, fixing imports numbers at their 1976 level, who knows how big Datsun’s market share would have become? A lot of this success was down to Datsun UK’s founder Octav Botnar, who believed that it was the dealers themselves who were the key to success when it came to sales promotion. With the right financial motivation and a simple management structure, the company’s success would be brought about on the showroom floor. In fact Datsun UK probably had one of the smallest management teams of any importer at the time, and operated on a single tiered principle, where every dealer in the country had direct contact with the management at Datsun UK’s head office. Datsun UK was actually started with a very small staff of only twenty people and very little work was sent to outside contractors. Even their sales literature was designed and printed in-house (in a converted ladies toilet no less!). Dealers were encouraged to advertise in local media and take an active role in the promotion of the company and the marque. Most were very keen to do so, having seen their sales double year on year. Collected together here are a selection of these dealer adverts which would often appear together in large promotional features in the motoring press at the time…

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