History

aikawa01

Some years ago, I purchased this old, framed photograph of Nissan’s first President, Yoshisuke Aikawa. It dates from 1956, a period during which he was a member of the Japanese government. I thought it to be quite an unusual thing to find at the time, but more on the photo in a moment. Firstly, for those who are unfamiliar with the name… who was this man? As regular readers would expect, naturally there’s a Datsun connection because Yoshisuke Aikawa was instrumental in the creation of Nissan Motor Company in the 1930’s and was a major force in Japanese industry before the Second World War. After the defeat of Japan he again became a key factor in the country’s post war recovery…

Continue Reading

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterest

t14matchbox

I acquired this interesting item earlier this week. It’s a tiny printed paper (35mm x 55mm) which has apparently been taken from an old box of matches… and judging by the illustration on it, it must have been a very old matchbox as that’s a Datsun Type 14 Phaeton from around 1935! Either that or it’s possibly a later commemorative but that seems unlikely as those sort of things usual feature the Datsun Type 11 which is regarded as the first Datsun. It’s unusual to see any commercial advertising relating to pre-war Datsuns. If anyone can shed any light on what the text says, I would be very interested to know!

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterest

nissan390servicecar

I’m still very busy digging holes and laying concrete here at home at the present, so I’ve not had much free time to put together material for the site. However, I did make time to scan this fascination Japanese trade catalogue from 1952. Issued by the Motor Trade Association of Japan, this thirty eight page catalogue lists quite a variety of vehicles including trucks and heavy plant machinery. It comes from a time when the Japanese motor industry was still in recovery from the Second World War and so many of the vehicles on offer had a distinctly pre-war look to them such as the Datsun DC-3 Sports, yet a few others, such as the Toyopet sedans look quite up to date for 1952. Also included are the quirky looking Datsun DB series and Thrift models which were very short lived and exceedingly rare today.

Also interesting are some of the weird specialist vehicles shown, in particular the bizarre looking Nissan ‘Sound Car’ and Service Car’, both based on a Nissan 390 bus. It’s interesting to see the long extinct Japanese make ‘Ohta’ shown too. Ohta built a number of cars from around 1934 right through to 1957 after which the company was absorbed into Kurogane. There’s also a Datsun connection with the company as Yuichi Ohta designed the aforementioned Datsun DC-3 as well as the later, fibreglass bodied S211, forerunner to the Fairlady series. Click through to have a look… Continue Reading

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterest

clymer_coverLate in 1959, renowned automotive publisher Floyd Clymer took a trip to Japan and the 6th Tokyo Motorshow. Upon his return to the US, he put together this book, the ‘Complete Catalog of Japanese Motor Vehicles’ which was published in 1961. This 270 page book takes a very in depth look at the state of the Japanese motor industry at that time and covers everything from scooters to buses and microcars to heavy trucks from just about every manufacturer. The book has a wealth of photos (around 600 black and white images) and there’s plenty of data as well as chapters about the Japanese Industry, their Motorsport endeavours and advances in automotive technology as well as a variety of snaps from Clymer’s trip. I found this original, somewhat dog-eared copy of the book at a swapmeet many years ago and until now it’s been quite hard to find. But the good news is that VelocePress made it available once more from October 2013 and copies are available though the usual sources such as eBay and Amazon for around $40.

Click through to take a peek at what this book has to offer…

Continue Reading

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterest

Planeteauto1-200x261Nissan 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, coving some really obscure models. Unusually, it also has a ‘world view’ as well, rather than placing emphasis on the authors home market as if 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)…

Continue Reading

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterest

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 a Nissan designed car at all…

Continue Reading

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterest

These days we take it for granted that a 25mph shunt in a modern car would be not only survivable but unlikely to even inflict any injuries at all. Not so in the late 1960’s. Back in an era when the use of seatbelts wasn’t universal and crumple zones were but a glimmer in the designers imagination, even a relatively low speed crash could put passengers at great risk of injury and even death. Manufacturers at this time had started their research into making passenger cars safer as the first film below shows. Although the speed of the test of Datsun Bluebirds is quite low at just 40kmh (24mph) the scenario is actually quite realistic. It’s clear to see that whilst the cars remain relatively intact, the lack of any energy absorbing made for a rough ride to the crash test dummies! Films after the jump…

Continue Reading

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterest

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.

Continue Reading

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterest

Back in March, in part one I covered the pillarless hardtops built by Nissan up until 1975, so here in part two, I’ll take a look at the other hardtop models produced up until the company dropped the Datsun brand name on their export models around 1983. There was a distinct change in the appearance of Nissan’s hardtops after 1976. Gone were the swoopy lines and the miniaturised American Muscle Car looks, to be replaced with more sober, squarer styles. The cars certainly still had an American look to them, in particular the larger models, but they looked less altogether sporting than before.

Continue Reading

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterest