1981 Datsun 810, aka 1981 Nissan Maxima

Welcome to Down On The Street, where we admire old vehicles found parked on the streets of the Island That Rust Forgot: Alameda, California. Today we've got Exhibit A in the Datsun/Nissan Rebranding Story.

1981 Datsun 810, aka 1981 Nissan Maxima


It seemed like utter madness when Nissan decided to ditch the Datsun name they'd spent so much to build up, but that's what they did in the early 1980s. At first, they just added an inconspicuous "By Nissan" to their vehicles' emblems, and apparently they figured that, while they were at it, they'd also do a gradual transition for the model name of their big six-cylinder machine. So, for 1981, the full-luxe top-of-the-line 810 was sold in North America as the "810 Maxima."

1981 Datsun 810, aka 1981 Nissan Maxima


I found this car, with its brake lights in 24/7 "on" mode, parked on the same commercial strip that gave us the 1968 Mercedes-Benz 280SL. It's rough, but it's the first non-junkyard 810 I've seen in years.

1981 Datsun 810, aka 1981 Nissan Maxima


The 810 Maxima for '81 came with a smaller-displacement version of the Nissan L engine found in the 280Z. With 120 horsepower moving 2,800 pounds, the car performed reasonably well for the Late Malaise Era. The price tag? $10,379, which was more than three grand costlier than a new '81 Chrysler Cordoba (though a couple thousand cheaper than a BMW 320i).

1981 Datsun 810, aka 1981 Nissan Maxima

1981 Datsun 810, aka 1981 Nissan Maxima

1981 Datsun 810, aka 1981 Nissan Maxima

1981 Datsun 810, aka 1981 Nissan Maxima

1981 Datsun 810, aka 1981 Nissan Maxima

1981 Datsun 810, aka 1981 Nissan Maxima

1981 Datsun 810, aka 1981 Nissan Maxima

1981 Datsun 810, aka 1981 Nissan Maxima

1981 Datsun 810, aka 1981 Nissan Maxima

1981 Datsun 810, aka 1981 Nissan Maxima

1981 Datsun 810, aka 1981 Nissan Maxima

1981 Datsun 810, aka 1981 Nissan Maxima

1981 Datsun 810, aka 1981 Nissan Maxima


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