Back in January this year, the last Nissan 1400 Bakkie rolled off the production line at Rosslyn, South Africa and so ended one of the longest production runs for any Nissan. The little pickup, based on the B110 model Datsun Sunny (Datsun 1200) was originally launched way back in 1971 as the model B120 and later became the B122. The original specification was very similar to the Datsun Sunny, with the same 1171cc A series engine and four speed and the same basic suspension layout but in a neat little monocoque pickup body. A long wheelbase version was added to the range (GB122) and late changes such as a larger A14 engine and a 5 speed were introduced. In South Africa the trucks were on sale right from the start but local content laws meant that gradually a larger and larger percentage of each vehicle had to be locally manufactured. Initially known as the Datsun 1200 Bakkie the pickup outlived it’s saloon, wagon and coupe brethren whose production ceased in 1974.
It was re-named as the Datsun 120Y Bakkie when the Datsun 120Y model replaced the Datsun 1200 and remained so until around 1978. The original B120 chassis became the B140 when the larger engine was introduced around 1982 and by around 1985 the Datsun Bakkie was entirely South African built. It was to remain in production for 22 years at the Rosslyn plant near Pretoria. In the 1990’s the model adopted square headlights and black bumpers amongst other updates but underneath the truck was still basically the same vehicle that was introduced in ’71.
Sadly the B140 finally fell foul of modern legislation and emissions restrictions so production had to end, even though sales of the most recent incarnation, the 1400 Champ were still strong. Although production has ceased, Nissan South Africa still have plenty of 1400 Bakkies available until it’s replacement arrives. Nissan are planning a replacement half tonne Bakkie to take it’s place which could possibly be based on the Renault/Dacia Logan pickup. Let’s hope not. For more info on the legendary Datsun 1200 pickup, or any other variation of the Datsun 1200, take a trip over to Datsun1200.com