NISSAN or datsun


Except for the Datsun derivatives, Nissan Motor Co. called their commercial vehicles Nissans in and outside of Japan, also when in the later 1960s the Nissan passenger cars became ‘Datsun’ in the export, but mostly in developed markets, all light commercial vehicles (and sometimes even medium trucks over 3.5 ton gross weight) were then called ‘Datsun’ as well.  This refers to the Patrol off-road vehicle, and the cabovers (with forward control) Caball, (ex-Prince) Homer and E20 (later called Urvan as a Datsun).

The Datsun Sunny and Datsun Bluebird derived pickup trucks and vans started as Datsuns in Japan, with the latter eventually taking the Datsun name there as second name to the Nissan marque by 1980, when also the Nissan Datsun Vanette and Nissan Datsun AD Van arrived to be sold at Nissan Jidousha stores, which were rebadged variants of similar Sunny and Cherry/Pulsar models.

The earlier Datsun Sunny Cab lasted under this name for only one year (1969/1970), and was not exported; nor were the mid-1950s Datsun-derived Cablight cabover (with front steering) and its successor Cabstar, sold as Datsun in Japan until 1976.

The ‘Nissan Patrol’ can be regarded as the oldest persistent car brand/nameplate combination in the world (though across different markets), after production started in October 1951.  This authoritative name was probably decided upon after the Tokyo police had ordered 70 units that summer.  In Japan, police cars are generally called ‘patrol car’.  So, for the Japanese market, the third generation of 1980 was called ‘Safari’, likely after Nissan's success in the Safari Rally with the Datsun 160J.

Patrol W60

The Jeep-type Patrol was initially fitted with a 1929 Graham Paige 6-cylinder 3.7-litre side-valve engine, later bored out to 4-litre, and by 1960 fitted with overhead valves.

Two-wheel-drive models were made from 1956 to 1959.  Up to early 1957 4-seaters were available in Japan, but then the models typically had 2 seats in front with or without side benches for 4 passengers at the rear, accessible through two half-sized back doors.  For the export, the 4-seaters continued, with the spare wheel mounted at the back, instead of the side as earlier.  By 1959, an all-steel wagon with 8-passenger side benches was made for countries like the Philippines, adding a quarter to its length, preceded by a shorter one for domestic use with 3 seat rows.

Yue Loong in Taiwan started making Datsun and Nissan passenger cars in the early 1960s under YLN designations, but didn’t make the 6-cylinder Patrol, as the original 4-cylinder Willys Jeep was made there as YL from 1956.

Patrol 60/61

This model tried to look more like a Land Rover though it kept the Jeep form stylized in the front fenders.  It normally had rear side benches, but a cross bench was available, with a horizontally hinged rear gate.  Most of the time, the doors of the canvas top model were detachable.  The door handles initially were recessed, but, except for the van/wagon, became exposed for the export by 1966, and for the Japanese market in another form by 1968 (later used in the export as well), widening the vehicle beyond the 1.70 meter.  In 1974 in Japan, a protrusion was placed above the front wheels also protecting the side turn lamps, which were added by 1970. 

In 1961 an export 2-door wagon (with integral body) arrived with 3 seat rows, following a windowed van in Japan with 2 seat rows.  A version with 4 doors was also known, as well as one with one door at the driver’s side and 2 opposite closing doors at the passenger side.

The Nissan Patrol 60 series was exported to the USA until 1969, by 1964 marketed as ‘Datsun’ Patrol.  In Australia so-called utes (integral bed pick-ups) were developed, as well as lwb hardtops, which would be factory-built only from 1976 model year.  New Zealand assembled it from 1970 and kept calling it the Nissan Patrol.  South Africa started assembling the ‘Datsun’ Patrol (truck bed an guard-frame local content) by 1974.  In Europe in the mid-1970s, the major market was Switzerland and included the Nissan Patrol wagon.  Colombia imported Nissan Patrols since June 1960 (W60 series) in exchange for coffee to Japan and soon added hardtops with windows over the rear edges, with two, or one door in between, for both swb and lwb models, incl. the 1980s 61 series.  Nissan Patrol and Junior far outsold the manufacturer’s passenger cars here.  Carabobo in Venezuela assembled Nissan Patrols in the 1970s.

In 1975, the van/wagon was deleted, and replaced by a ‘deluxe’ hardtop with a conventional forward-facing rear seat, plus two jump seats, all foldable.

By 1979 for the general export, Nissan finally added ‘opera’ windows at the back for improved visibility, while the familiar horizontal bar in the grille was minimized by bold NISSAN letters in the center, and turn lamps were placed above the parking lamps besides the headlamps, done for the other markets already five years earlier.  Within a year, the 60 series hardtops would be superseded by the 160 series hardtops.  The 1980 export Nissan Patrol 61 (canvas top only) got blackened grille bar ends, further stressing the NISSAN letter badge and took advantage of the amenities of the Patrol 160 series, such as a 4-speed gearbox, a single lever for the 2/4-wheel-drive transitions, variable ratio recirculating ball and nut steering, wider front tread and standard power brakes.  The ‘Datsun’ Patrol 61 series kept the original familiar horizontal bar grille, with the usual Nissan badge on the hood.  The 160 series canvas top would succeed on the 61 in 1983.

The Patrol 60 series for the Japanese domestic market received a cleaner engine with code 61 in September 1979 and was replaced by the 160 series the next year, after it was reduced to just a long-wheelbase canvas top model without back seats (for fun riding) in 1975, and fitted with a 3-blade wiper (optional in the export) and power brakes.

Some 170,000 Patrols W60 and 60/61 series were made, next to over 200,000 Jongas that were built in India for the army until 1999.



selected specifications


Far East Auto Literature

13 December, 2018