Classic Datsun Tyres

On the following pages, Longstone Classic Tyres give classic tyre fitment recommendations for Datsun cars.

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Datsun History

Nissan owns the Datsun vehicle brand. Datsun's first manufacturing run started in 1931. From 1958 through 1986, only Nissan automobiles were labelled as Datsun. Nissan had phased out the Datsun name by 1986, but it was reintroduced in June 2013 as the brand for low-cost automobiles made for emerging regions. Before the Datsun brand was established, the Kaishinsha Motorcar Works in Tokyo's Azabu-Hiroo District produced an automobile known as the DAT car in 1914. The new car's name was an abbreviation of some of the firm partners' surnames.

Datsun 120 Y
Datsun 120 Y

Datto (pronounced "dat" by a native Japanese speaker) means "dash off like a startled rabbit" in Japanese, which was thought to be an appropriate name for the little car. Seven years after its founding, the company was renamed Kaishinsha Motorcar Co., and again in 1925, to DAT Motorcar Co. DAT Motors also built trucks in addition to passenger vehicles. In reality, because there was essentially no consumer demand for passenger automobiles at the time, their manufacturing was mostly centred on trucks.

In the summer of 1931, the first prototype Datson was constructed. The Datson Type 10 was the production vehicle, and "approximately ten" of these automobiles were sold in 1931. They sold about 150 automobiles in 1932, and the type is now known as the Datsun Type 11. When government regulations were changed in 1933 to enable 750 cc engines, Datsun raised the displacement of its microcar engine to the maximum allowable. Type 12s were the largest displacement automobiles. After Japan declared war on China in 1937, passenger vehicle manufacturing was limited, therefore Datsun's Yokohama facility focused on constructing trucks for the Imperial Japanese Army by 1938.

After the Pacific War, Datsun will supply vehicles to the Occupation troops. This continued until 1947 when automobile manufacture began. Datsun, like before the war, based their vehicles on current Austin models: afterwards, the Devon and Somerset were chosen. Datsun's smaller automobiles (and trucks), such as the DB and DS series, were based on pre-war Austin Seven designs. Meanwhile, the larger trucks were based on Chevrolet's 1937 design, with a Graham-Paige engine. Nissan also produced the 4WD60 Patrol, which was based on the Willys Jeep, and the 4WD70 Carrier, which was based on the Dodge M37. Datsun did not provide a totally indigenous design until January 1955.

The Occupation restored production facilities to Japanese authority that year, and Datsun released the 110 saloons and the 120 pickups based on the 110. Nissan began selling Datsun-badged vehicles to the United Kingdom in 1968, when foreign automobiles were uncommon, with just a tiny fraction of cars imported. Some of the more popular examples at the time included the Renault 16 from France and the Volkswagen Beetle from West Germany. Nissan's first European market entry was Finland, where sales began in 1962. Within a few years, it was importing vehicles to the majority of Western Europe.

Datsun found a lot of success in the British market. It sold just over 6,000 cars there as late as 1971, but sales increased to more than 30,000 the following year and continued to rise over the next few years, with well-priced products such as the Cherry 100A and Sunny 120Y proving especially popular at a time when the British motor industry was afflicted by strike action and British Leyland was beginning to gain a reputation for building cars with major issues with the build quality and reliability. Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, Nissan had the biggest market share of any foreign carmaker in the United Kingdom.

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