Road Tests

rt_PM_b210rt_coverSometimes, 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 features 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 were not renowned for sophisticated suspension on their 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! Click below to check out the whole article…

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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 it’s paces by Australian magazine Sports Car World back in September 1966. It seems they were suitably impressed…

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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…

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The August 1966 edition of Australian Motor Manual took a look at the new Nissan Cedric (130 model) or ‘Datsun 2000’ as it was to be known in Australia and Europe. They find the performance a little lacking but hold it in high regard for pretty much everything else…

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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 or Datsun 240K-GT as it was known 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…

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1961_02 _modern_motor_01Are 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 1970’s and 1980’s. 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.

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