Tuesday, August 24, 2010

1982 Datsun 210

There really isn't much to say about this car as a car. It's not an interesting car, an exciting car or a rare car. There is nothing unusual about it.

The Datsun 210 was a huge seller back in its day. It was reliable, safe and useful. It was good, solid, basic transportation. Back then I knew a lot of people who drove one. None of them ever raved about the car unless the subject of reliability came up. (Which, given the cars I was driving 20 - 30 years ago, was a subject I avoided.)

This 1982 Datsun 210 has just 29,000 miles on it. It belonged to the seller's 84 year old mother. It doesn't look a lot different from when it was new.

The seller writes, "I have never seen one at any car shows that I have attended." I can say the same. I wonder of anyone even thinks about bringing a stock Datsun 210 to a show? Would anyone notice it? It's the kind of car that, if you're 40 years old or older, you probably wouldn't notice. There were so many around for such a long time, you tend to forget that most have been recycled into soup cans or Hyundais by now. If you're under 40, it's not a car of great interest. It's old-school basic transportation. You might have heard your mom and dad talk about one they owned - "It was the best car we ever had. It never failed to start and got 35 miles-per-gallon." - Ooooh, that's exciting.

My opening sentence was incorrect. This car is rare, unusual and interesting. It's rare and unusual not because few were made, not because it has unusual options (AM radio?), not because it's fast (it ain't), but because it still exists. It's interesting because it's a "type of car"...

The 210 is a type of car similar to one you might have owned, rode in, been brought home from the hospital in, maybe even conceived in. Nope, it's not exciting, but for most of us, a 210 - or a type of car like it - has somehow, some way, been a part of our lives.

This car does belong at some car shows. Let's hope the new owner preserves it and brings it to a few. If you see it, stop and look at it. It will more than likely bring back a memory of a time, a place, a person, or a story you heard. There's nothing wrong with that.

Located somewhere in Connecticut, click here to see the eBay listing.


Jon said...

Here are a couple of true stories.

Last year I had to cross town for a meeting. As I had to wait outside for a few minutes, I struck up a conversation with a young guy who had just finished mowing the lawn around the building. He soon tells me that he is "into classic American cars." He explained that he never "got into The Fast and the Furious thing" and that his group of friends avoided old Hondas and Toyotas.

He told me that he "owned a couple of really old cars" and "one of them - is like an antique."

I asked him what he had. "Oh, I've got an 1985 Buick and the really old one is a 1979 Pontiac Bonneville."

Before I could laugh I asked him his age.

He was 22 years old.

Next story... Over the summer I took the family on vacation to Quebec Canada. There was a huge car show at Montmorency Falls on July 4.

As one would expect, there were lots of muscle cars, hot rods etc. However after wading through rows of Mustangs and Camaros, the sight of a pristine Dodge Mirada T-Top was really striking. A lot of other cars that I had thought had fallen of the map were present too. Who would have guessed that an early VW GTI could be so damn interesting?

I used to think that "old cars" meant vehicles that were started by putting the key into a slot found somewhere on the dashboard, and not the steering column.

pickles said...

Dude- I LOVE that you posted a story about a Datsun 210. You're right on. It's not significant because it was dynamic or record setting- but because average people did incredibly average things in a 210 all over the world.. and somehow 'the simple' is the most interesting. As usual, you're making the car world more interesting through your perspective. Thanks.

Maxichamp said...

Growing up in Taiwan in the 1970s, all of the taxis were red Datsun 210s. This post brought back fond memories. Every time I went to the big city (Taipei) with my late grandmother, we would ride in the back of one of these. Thanks.

Andrew said...

I had one of these as my first car. Although in New Zealand it was called the Datsun Sunny. It was a great car.

Anonymous said...

The Datsun 210, shoot yea....
It was my first car. When everyone else had some hot-rod that didn't last long, my Datsun 210 kept on going. No speeding tickets (it wouldn't go over 60). But I did put a trailer hitch on it and towed trailers, boats, etc. That car got me through the last 2 years of high school, years of typewriter repair calls, and 8 years of college. I finally got another car and gave the Datsun to my brother. He drove it for another 10 years before finally DRIVING it to the junk yard.