The Malaise Era Japanese cars are just about all gone by now, and it's especially obvious with Datsuns. The Datsun-Nissan changeover happened during the early 80s, just as digital engine controls and less restrictive catalytic converters signaled the end of the Malaise Era and the beginning of the Turbo Mullet Era (feel free to start throwing that name around). Today we're going to look at one of the last of the rear-wheel-drive econo-Datsuns, sold during the crazy gasoline price spikes of the 1979 Energy Crisis. Yes, back when disco was king and the echoes of Jimmy Carter's Malaise Speech were still reminding us of the diminished expectations that lay ahead.
Malaise or not, the B310 Sunny (as it was known in Japan) got the job done. You got the gas-sipping 1.4 liter A14 engine and pretty solid reliability. It was crude by the standards we've come to expect in an econobox these days, but you weren't paying to haul around 800 pounds of sound insulation and fake wood interior trim.
Not only is this one of the last of the rear-wheel-drives, it's one of the last of the import station wagons; the Turbo Mullet Era was more about minivans and proto-SUVs than wagons.
I suspect this car has spent some of its life in an area with salty roads, because this isn't California-style rust (we tend to get top-down rust here, starting around the windows). OK, time for our Datsun poll! What's your favorite DOTSun so far? I'm including the '83 Sentra because it's got Datsun emblems in addition to Nissan ones.