Choose a Cherry

Generally, road tests and write ups on 1970s Datsuns are quite complimentary about their subjects, but not always. Car Mechanics magazine seemed less than impressed with the F10 model, Datsun 100A FII estate, when they tried it out in this short test from December 1977. To be fair, a lot of what they say is quite true. F10 estates have very little sound damping and thus are horribly noisy. The seats really are truly dreadful and the controls are indeed a bit of a mess and yet… I’ve owned two estates in the past and to this day rate them as one of the most fun Datsuns I’ve driven. The go-kart handling of the estate, thanks to its rudimentary leaf spring rear axle, makes it awesome fun, especially when equipped with a little more go than the stock A10 engine can provide (I highly recommend an A14 conversion!) It’s also a useful load carrier which was unerringly reliable. Even with all of its many failings, I wish I still owned an F10 estate.

Road Test: Motorist’s Choice (Datsun 120Y)


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!

Road Test: Power Prince (S54B)

To remedy the dearth of PMC posts on here, I’ll begin with something Skyline flavoured… a road test of the very first of the high performance Skylines, that culminated in the legendary GT-R we know today.  This car, the S54B, was developed from the original four cylinder S50 Skyline, by stretching the nose by 200mm in order to squeeze in the triple carburettored 1998cc Prince G7 straight six, derived from the the S40 Gloria engine. The intention of Prince in creating this monster, was to go racing in the GTII class in the Japanese Grand Prix of 1964, which they did with great success, finishing in all the positions from 2nd to 6th behind the Porsche 904… although the Skyline did lead the race for a while!. Of course, the S54B (and S54A with single carburettor G7 engine) were also available for the public to buy, and the car paved the way for next generation of straight six powered Skylines, the GC10 and in particular the GT-R.

Here, the road going S54B, or Prince Skyline 2000GT as it was known, is put through its paces by Australian magazine Sports Car World back in September 1966. It seems they were suitably impressed…

Continue reading Road Test: Power Prince (S54B)

Road Test: Datsun Cedric Wagon

Back in the days before the Australian Dollar had elbowed out the old colonial Pound, any Aussie with a lot of kids, who was in the market for a wagon to haul them all around in, could blow £1440 on a classy new Japanese import, the Nissan Cedric. And according to this road test from Australian Motor Manual back in November 1963, that represented pretty decent value…

Road Test: Skyline Comes to Britain

In June 1973, British motor magazine ‘Autocar’ covered the arrival of the first model of Skyline to be sold on the British market, the GC110 model, or Datsun 240K-GT as it was known here, with a pretty comprehensive article describing the car and giving a few driving impressions. As we have come to expect, they found very little to complain about…

Are They Any Good?

Are they any good? …was the question posed by the Australian magazine Modern Motor back in February 1961, when the country was faced with the imminent arrival of the first full scale Datsun imports from Japan. As with many countries, the UK included, Japanese imports were eyed with some suspicion initially, and were seen as a great threat to the domestic car industries. Many older people in the UK still hold this view simply because our own car industry slowly self destructed through the 1970s and 1980s. However, pretty much everywhere else in the world the respective domestic car industries survived the tidal wave of Japanese imports and most of these companies still manufacture cars to this day.

Back in the 1960s, Australia’s domestic car industry was nowhere near as large as ours, so it was quite understandable that the new Japanese cars should be seen as a threat, especially when the Australian government had just hiked sales tax on new cars to 40%. Also, as the Modern Motor article discovered, the quality, standard equipment and prices of the new Datsuns were all highly competitive. As the writer sums up… “At these prices, who today can afford to ignore these vehicles?” Check out the full article below…

Continue reading Are They Any Good?