The Nissan 720, Datsun 620, and prior versions are all but generations or series of the Datsun Truck, a small pickup truck manufactured by Nissan from 1955 until 1997. Its generations, except the last, were all Bluebird-based. They were considered as the load-transporting versions of the passenger-carrying Nissan Bluebird sedans, coupes, and wagons. Thus, the Datsun Truck series codes are aligned with the Bluebird nomenclature system, as shown below:
- Datsun 120 – based on the Bluebird 110
- Datsun 220 – based on the Bluebird 210
- Datsun 320 – based on the Bluebird 310
- Datsun 520 – based on the Bluebird 510
- Datsun 620 – based on the Bluebird 610
- Datsun/Nissan 720 – based on the Bluebird/Datsun 710
A seventh generation, the Nissan D21, was released in Australia as the first-generation Navara; thus, we find it more fitting to include it in our Nissan Navara article.
Datsun 120 (1955-1961) & Datsun 220 (1957-1961)
Nissan introduced its new truck series in 1955, parallel to the Bluebird 110 Series (1955-1957) of sedans, cabriolets, and wagons. The 120 was produced as 2-door utes, (single and double cab) and 3-door panel vans. The same range of engines was available for both the Datsun 120 and Bluebird 110 lineup, including the 860-cc D10 engine used in the 110 models.
The 220 series caught up in 1957, again released in the same year as the Bluebird 210 Series (1957-1959). The 220 didn’t differ much in appearance and build from the 120 but introduced the 988-cc C and 1,189-cc E engines from the 210 sedans. Depending on which of these engines was used, the Datsun Truck had ‘Datsun 1000’ or ‘Datsun 1200’ badges on the side and dashboard. The 220 debuted at the 1958 LA Auto Show, which signalled Datsun's entry into the American market.
Datsun 320 (1961-1965)
The 320 inherited most of the 120 and 220 architecture but also gained some alterations to its bodywork. The new body styles included a 2-door coupe ute, 2-door double-cab pickup, and a 3-door panel van or van. The 320 was powered by a 1.2-litre E-1 inline-4 engine and had a load capacity of ½ ton.
Datsun 520 (1965-1972)
It would be quite logical to assume that the 520 was based on the 510 Series, but nope. Nissan based it on the 410 Series and began producing it in 1965, two years before the 510 Series came out. The 520, however, continued production long after the 410 Series was phased out and aligned with the 510’s timeline. Also, the later versions of the 520 strongly resembled the 510 sedans at the front-end, the same way that the earlier 520 versions mimicked the 410 sedans from the front. The 520 sported twin headlights, an altered grille, and a redesigned exterior in 1967, the same year that the 510 came out. Its engine choices also now include the 1.6-litre L16 inline-4 engine that powered the 510 Series.
Some markets called this series as the Datsun 1500, but in Australia, it was available as the Datsun 520, a light commercial ute, powered by a 1,485 cc 1.5-litre J15 I4 engine (59 kW, 118 Nm) mated to a 4-speed manual gearbox.
Datsun 620 (1972-1979)
The Datsun 620 was now built as a 2-door pickup, 2-door long-bed pickup, 2-door extended-cab pickup (aka King Cab), 4-door pickup, 3-door delivery van, and 2-door coupe utility (U620). Load capacity increased to 1 ton, and several new engines were offered depending on the market. Australia, however, continued using the 1.5-litre J15 engine for its 2-door, 3-seat Datsun 620 ute, offering this same model from 1972 to 1979.
This series received several innovations, including the first long-bed and extended-cab configurations in 1975 and 1977, respectively. However, these body styles were not available in the country at the time.
Datsun 720 / Nissan 720 (1979-1986)
The Datsun 720, aka Nissan 720 in Australia and most markets, was the first series to introduce 4WD and diesel variants. Several drivetrain, body configuration, and engine combinations were available for the Aussie-spec 720 utes from 1980 to 1985.
- 4x4, 2-door/3-seat ute – 2.5-litre SD25 inline-4 diesel engine (57 kW, 162 Nm), 5-speed manual gearbox
- 4x4, 4-door/5-seat ute – 2.5-litre SD25 inline-4 diesel engine (57 kW, 162 Nm), 5-speed manual gearbox
- 4x4, 2-door/2-seat ute – 2.2-litre Z22S inline-4 petrol engine (71 kW, 172 Nm), 5-speed manual gearbox
- 4x4, 2-door/3-seat ute – 2.2-litre Z22S inline-4 petrol engine (71 kW, 172 Nm), 5-speed manual gearbox
- 4x4, 2-door/2-seat ute – 1.8-litre L18 inline-4 petrol engine (59 kW, 133 Nm), 5-speed manual gearbox
- Base, 2-door/3-seat ute – 2.3-litre SD23 inline-4 diesel engine (54 kW, 143 Nm), 5-speed manual gearbox
- Base, 2-door/2-seat ute – 1.8-litre L18 inline-4 petrol engine (59 kW, 133 Nm), 5-speed manual gearbox
- Base, 2-door/3-seat ute – 1.8-litre L18 inline-4 petrol engine (59 kW, 133 Nm), 4-speed manual gearbox
- Base, 4-door/5-seat ute – 1.8-litre L18 inline-4 petrol engine (59 kW, 133 Nm), 5-speed manual gearbox
- Base, 4-door/5-seat ute – 2.2-litre Z22S inline-4 petrol engine (71 kW, 172 Nm), 5-speed manual gearbox
The base models adopted an FR layout. In 1983, the Nissan 720 received a facelift that transformed its front-end with a larger grille and a new bumper and corner lights. The interior gained an updated dashboard with round instruments replacing the previous square gauges.
The Nissan D21 or Navara replaced the Datsun Truck 720 series in 1986.
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