This Classic Datsun Found Its Owner
Owner: Kent Y.
Year, Make, and Model: 1969 Datsun 1000 B10 2 Door Sedan
Location: Richmond, BC, Canada
Photographer: Andrew Tsang and owner
During my elementary school years, my good friend’s uncle ran a local speed shop that specialised in RX7s and Datsun 510s. We would spend our time after school at the shop looking at cars and watching dyno runs. I was always surrounded by old cars and something about the shape of old Datsun sedans really did it for me. I used to ride my bike past a local gas station to buy hockey cards and there was always a rusty Datsun 510 in the parking lot. I promised myself that I would own one some day…
This is a 1969 Datsun 1000 B10 2 Door Sedan (Sunny) or the Nissan Sentra as we know it today. The car was never sold in the USA and even though it was available in Canada, it was pretty rare even back in the ’70s. The car came with an A series one-liter engine that produced 63hp mated to a 4speed manual gearbox, rear-wheel drive and a cross-leaf spring suspension. It also only weighs about 630kg (under 1400lbs)!
It now has an A15 (1.5L) engine that looks identical to the original A10 motor. It includes side draft carbs and electronic ignition. The car was originally purchased right here in Vancouver, BC back in 1969 and was then traded to the previous owner for a computer. It was stripped, the floors cut-out and replaced, new engine imported from Japan and repainted GM Red. I purchased the car the day I turned eighteen, which was almost ten years ago now. I’ve spent those years looking for the missing optional accessories this car had when it was new, in Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the UK. Unfortunately, the Citizen dash clock is one of the rarest options ever offered by Datsun but I managed to find one.
Besides having been a huge Datsun fan before, I love how beautiful and unique this particular example is. It’s very small, even compared to a modern compact. Additionally, the intake sounds, the smells, and the simplicity of a 1960s Japanese car are something very special to me. Driving it with the windows down, sun on your face, wind in your hair and the sound of the side draft carbs snorting away produces a feeling that I can’t describe.
The funny thing is that I was actually dead set on buying a Datsun 510 and had been looking around for the perfect one for close to a year. My father cut out an ad in the local newspaper (I know right, not craigslist?) and advertising this 1000. I did a little research and knew it was something special, it had spent half its life in Steveston (about five minutes away from me). We met the seller the very next day and it was in my driveway two days later. It’s as though the car found me. Funny enough, my dad’s first car was a Nissan Sentra. I won’t ever sell this though.
Also, it starts every time. In fact, it is probably more reliable than the brand new VW Jetta I bought in 2006. The only problem the Sunny has ever had was due to me blowing up the transmission from being a little too aggressive. Nowadays, I really enjoy driving the Sunny around Steveston fishing village. It’s an old, historic Japanese fishing village that retains much of the heritage buildings right by the Fraser river. On a hot July day, what could be better than cruising around with the windows rolled down?
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