When you mention Datsun, you know you’ll be seeing a vehicle of the yesteryear when kids nowadays are infatuated with Nissan’s Playstation inspired GTR that some wouldn’t have the slightest idea that Nissan was once a Datsun. So here we are bringing you a one of a kind Datsun that it is so rare to find it in this pristine condition that some though it was a midget-like constructed vehicle of the fun sorts.
First of all, here is a bit of the history. In 1931, DAT Motorcar Co. chose to name its new small car “Datson”, a name which indicated the new car’s smaller size when compared to the DAT’s larger vehicle already in production. When Nissan took control of DAT in 1934, the name “Datson” was changed to “Datsun”, because “son” also means “loss” (損) in Japanese and also to honour the sun depicted in the national flag. Nissan phased out the Datsun brand in March 1986. The Datsun name is most famous for the 510, Fairlady roadsters, and later the Fairlady (240Z) coupes. And on 20th March 2012, it was announced that Nissan would revive the brand for use in Indonesia, South Africa, India, and Russia with a new logo in commemorating the old one.
But the one Datsun model we have found here is the Nissan Sunny variant of the pickup. The Sunny variants is to fill the gap between the March for being their small car segment and the Bluebird variants of larger cars. Therefore it is a pickup, but rather a small. but you must know, in Japan where the streets are rather small and twisty in their highly dense towns and villages. Their townships are so packed that their carmakers created a segment just for it. The kei jidosha. This pickup, the Sanitora is for that segment. Imagine a full load of the normal pickup truck you see today trying to squeeze trhough the tiny streets in rural Japanese towns. Hassle with a capital H. The Sanitora fits in nicely to propel businesses and who knows, might the the silent reasons to their booming growth back then.
Here is a little bit more on the Sanitora’s history. The B120 commercial truck debuted in February 1971, based on the B110 passenger car chassis. The B120 used the same wheelbase and running gear of the Datsun 1200 sedans, coupé and wagon models. Initially it used the same stainless steel grille as the 1200 sedan, and the rectangular gauges of the Standard model B110s. Both regular (B120) and long-bed (GB120) models were offered. After the 1200 car series ceased production the B120 continued. In certain markets the B120 was actually badged as the “120Y”, as part of the updated 120Y range.
The B120 ute was sold in Australia until 1985. It was assembled locally and marketed in New Zealand during the 1980s in two trims: “RoadStar” and “SportStar”. This model was known as a bakkie in South Africa. It was capable of 4.8 L/100 km. B120s were not sold in North America – especially in the United States where the “Chicken Tax” is imposed. In 1978, in the Japanese market, the B121 model replaced the B120, with the most notable change being a switch to a plastic grille of the type used by the B110 coupé. Also notable was a change to upscale round instrumentation.
This particular Sanitora has the goodies that will give the little pickup the mammoth street creds. It has Mooneyes bits inside and outside, quirky bits that can put a smile on your face, and the ol skool set up that shows who’s the boss in the car restoration scene. Not forgetting the Tomei A-series engine that has the adequate power to pull anything that fits in the trunk bed uphill and downhill and you gotta love that Enkei Apache wheels. Those are a rarities.
The car was obtained from a chicken seller meaning that the car has had its fair share of years lugging around chickens, hens and chicks. Now that is time to put an end to those entrepreneurial years, the Sanitora had received love and car and it has been glorified to what you see in these pages. In fact it carries around a different kind a chick these days. It is that cool. This one just proves that the little pickup can carry a little more weight on its shoulders for more years to come.
words: Jeo pix: Hazwan Najims