Published on May 18th, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Datsun Bluebird 1979, The Unexpected Sedan
Many have rusted beyond restoration, but there might be some surviving quietly.
Speaking to some hardcore classic car collectors recently, it was confirmed that the revival of interest for 1970s and 1980s Japanese sedans is creeping up with a new generation of collectors in Malaysia. Primarily younger car buyers/collectors. The biggest draw for the longest time was for 1960’s Japanese coupes and sedans but these vehicles never received adequate or any rust proofing from the factory/assembler/ importer and so they have rusted away lying in small village mechanic yards and in metal junkyards waiting for some form of recycling to be done.
Here is a Datsun that was never sold in numbers in Malaysia. This car was the replacement model for the Datsun ‘U’ Series which did quite well. Its arrival in Malaysia was actually short-lived and only the sedan was sold by Tan Chong Motors. The station-wagon and coupe did not arrive (based on our research) and its direct rivals were the then popular Ford Cortina 1.6L and the Toyota Corona.
This Datsun sedan was a rear wheel drive car with curb weight of 1095kg. Its 1.8L engine had a displacement of 1770cc, was mated to a 4-speed manual gearbox and it delivered a good 87bhp and 137Nm of torque. Claimed power was a 0-100km/h run of about 13 seconds and a top speed of 166km/h was possible.
Now, this Datsun was not a small car for its time. It dimensions were, length: 4345 mm / 171.1 in, width: 1630 mm / 64.2 in, wheelbase: 2500 mm / 98.4 in.
In Japan the Datsun 180 range gradually received upgraded motors which could pass the 1978 emissions standards; these models carry 811 series chassis numbers, with Japanese market vehicles were installed with a ‘NAPS’ badge on the rear deckled that identified emission control technology having been installed. This process began in October 1977 and continued until August 1978. This meant replacing the earlier L-series engines with the new cross-flow Z engines, based on the L. In the later part of 1978 the Bluebird G4 was introduced (PD811) with a 1.8 litre four-cylinder model fitted with the long-nose bodywork.
Our checks with all online classifieds found no car on sale in Malaysia and after doing some research with collectors and old car enthusiasts, it seems that there is no running unit in Malaysia.
Australia and New Zealand seem to be having a number of surviving units including the coupe and the station wagon and there is a ‘movement’ growing to restore as many of them as possible as values are moving up.
We are sure there are units sitting in retires homes under cover collecting dust around Malaysia. Just need to find one and bring it back to its glory.