Pitching the Datsun 510 at the flower power generation somehow seems incongruous but maybe that’s because to us the 510 seems less like a product of the 1960s and more like one of the 1970s. Regardless, it is a 60’s car so this ad from ’69 does just that, attempting to lure peace lovin’ hippies away from their VW Beetles with some added flowers and a neat set of Empi wheels, a favourite of VW fans. As with other early 510 ads, the car is curiously referred to as the “Datsun/2″…seemingly in reference to it being a 2 door.
Prince Motor Company products are not common in Europe these days at all despite being sold in a number of European countries back in the late 1960s. In their day, PMC produced really well engineered and rather advanced cars and they brought a great deal of know-how to Nissan when the companies merged in 1966. For example, the 410/411 Bluebird in which arrived in 1963 had what was basically a 1950’s OHV engine as well as drum brakes, wishbone front and leaf spring rear suspension. This was superseded by the 510 Bluebird only 4 years later which came equipped with a modern OHC engine, disc brakes up front and four wheel independent suspension! That late 60’s period, after the PMC merger, was really Nissan’s golden era where there was a stream of technically advanced and really well made cars such as the 510 Bluebird, C30 Laurel, C10 Skyline and the S30 Fairlady Z. Ultimately, I think without gaining the engineering expertise of PMC’s designers and engineers, Nissan’s first front wheel drive production car, the E10 Cherry, would not have arrived as early as 1970.
The only PMC car I have personally driven was an S40 Gloria such as the one shown in the Australian advert below. Despite that particular example having spent it’s life as a taxi and thus covered very high mileage, it was still a joy to drive!
In the early 70’s Datsun UK were pushing very hard to expand their market share. The growth from Datsun UK’s first full year of sales in 1971 was staggering. In 1971 they had sold 6,900 Datsuns but in 1973 they sold over 60,000! By the time a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ was made in 1976 between the British government and the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) to limit imports, Datsun were outselling Toyota by three to one and they had over 6% of the entire UK market. This was helped in part by their marketing efforts at that time which were quite extensive. The adverts below featuring the Datsun UK range were part of a multi-page advertisement feature from Autocar magazine in 1973…
The Italian Datsun market remains something of an enigma to me. There seems to have been remarkable few sales in Italy back in the 70s and 80s and indeed, the ill fated collaboration between Nissan and Alfa Romeo in the 1980s although primarily intended to save Alfa Romeo, was surely also a way for Nissan to circumvent any import restrictions on Japanese cars. There certainly must have been Datsuns on the Italian market in the 1970s as illustrated by the three Datsun 1200 (B110) adverts below. I’d be very interested to see more Italian market literature if anyone has any.
This Japanese [car] has already conquered America!
She comes to France to seduce you…