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
Late 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…
I don’t think there ever was such a thing as a DU-5 as described by this American magazine in 1955 but as this was prior to official exports to the US by Nissan, they could be forgiven for having little information available to them. I believe that the model shown in this short piece is a Datsun 6147 which went on sale in Japan between 1953 and 1954. This model was very dated looking and owed much of its design and styling to the pre-war Datsun 13T of 1936.
The 6147 came as a regular pickup but this version had a double cab making it a four seater, albeit a very cramped one. I’ve also seen this body style referred to as a ‘Ranch Sedan’ by another American publication from the late 50’s, although I doubt it would have been known as that in Japan.
I’m pretty sure I have never posted any Datsun literature from Belgium before so this might be the first. This marketing material is in the form of a Magazine (this is issue Nr.1) and it dates from Autumn 1974. The range shown is pretty much the same as that sold in the UK and most other Western European countries with the exception of the C110 Skyline hardtop, a model which never made it to the UK. There’s a little bit in there about the Datsun ESV too, about which it says something like;
‘Not just a safety prototype, but additionally looks very nice also. The front visibility is optimal by construction without windscreen pillars. The special bumpers play a dual role: a collision softener for passengers, but on the other hand they protect the pedestrian as much as possible. Steering wheel and dashboard are specially refined and moreover reflect the same safety philosophy” .
I’m collecting some info together to write a piece about Nissan’s ESV projects so watch for that in the future.
The popular Tomei powered Maruzen Technica Sunny coupe (KB110) on the cover of Japanese Autosport magazine, November 1974. Tomei built a perfect replica of this car which appears at various events in Japan such as the Nismo Festival. The Tomei built A12 OHV engine in this car is only 1303cc but puts out an astonishing 164ps at 8000rpm!
I spotted this in an issue of old Finnish technical magazine Tekniikan Maailma from 1976. This setup was installed on a Datsun 1200 (B110) being used for some kind of fuel test. Clearly this intake manifold is designed specifically for using a pair of twin choke side-draught carbs on a left hand drive model, angling them forward to clear the brake master cylinder. I don’t recall seeing one like this before but it’s an interesting solution to the problem of clearance on left hand drive cars!
A decade can make such a difference. In 1988, you would most likely have dropped your Datsun 620 pickup low to the ground, maybe fitted some billet rims, a Ratical roof conversion and gone for a pastel ‘cal look’ paint job. A decade earlier and it might have had the rear end jacked up sky high, some fat slot mags wrapped in white lettered ‘General Grabbers’ and a cab full of shag pile and buttoned draylon. Maybe a little metalflake too? Then again, you might have gone for the then contemporary IMSA look, much like this truck featured in ‘Truckin’ magazine in June 1978. While to our modern eyes, this might look a visitor from the era that good taste forgot, I kind of miss the days where really wild custom work ruled and people were less afraid to build something really crazy. Just look at this thing… apart from those huge IMSA arches, there’s suicide doors, a hefty roof chop and best of all, custom painted graphics in three shades of brown. Brown! Who these days would build a race car inspired pickup with brown stripes!? Click though for more of a look…
Nissan 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)…
From Hot Car magazine September 1978…
Well, sort of. This months Retro Cars Magazine has six whole pages devoted to the rusty, oily goings on here at Ratdat acres. And the Acty sneaks into a picture in the RRG report too! Plus there’s a 2.3 litre Reliant Kitten, a 320bhp Impreza WRX STi powered Brat and a W108 Merc with a 4.9 V8. It’s a great issue all round, so go and buy it if you don’t subscribe already! The mag is on the up! Big gratitude to the legend that is Bryn Musselwhite for hauling his ass out here to the middle of nowhere on a pretty grim day to take some very professional pics and for doing a nice write up. Thanks man!