Sunday, October 25, 2015

1974 Datsun B-210

"Datsun. A lot of miles per gallon. A lot of miles per car."

Quite a few owners of vintage cars in Cuba swear to god that theirs is the only one existing on the island. If the driver of our pictured Datsun would tell such thing, we'd believe him right away. This quirky Japanese car is a truly singular sight on the island.

The B-210 was already the third generation of Datsun's compact "Sunny", and it's a nice example for the sometimes pretty quirky Japanese designs of the era. According to Nissan's Service Bulletin, Vol. 188 of 1973, the B-210 was developed "to be more likable and satisfactory to a greater number of people", by sporting a "Streamline and a Cut" exterior design theme and an "Oval Scoop Cockpit". Sounds funny today, but the relentless analysis of customer needs made the previously irrelevant Japanese imports so successful in the American market.

It was fortunate timing, too, when the Datsun Sunny B-210 was presented in 1973: the first oil crisis was ramping up, and the frugal Japanese econobox soon became extremely popular. Datsun even introduced an extra-frugal 2-door sedan edition, called "Honey Bee": a bright yellow hue with contrasting black deco strips and labels made the "Honey Bee" truly look like a caricature version of Dodge's "Super Bee" muscle cars. Well, at least it grabbed attention.

More attention grabbing, however, was the Datsun's fuel economy, on which the advertisement happily focused: "Datsun's gas economy is nothing new. We've been building economy cars for 43 years, and we seem to get better with age. Take our 1976 Datsun B-210. The latest EPA fuel economy tests record the B-210 at 41 MPG at the highway, 29 MPG in the city. (*EPA dynamometer estimate with manual transmission. Actual MPG may be more or less, depending on the condition of your car and how you drive.) Better than last year!"

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