Sometimes, the rarest version of a car is the stock one. And that’s the case with many Japanese classics – between the cars that died because Japanese cars were considered cheap throwaway appliances (and quite a few still are), and the surviving ones are popular for modifications for drag racing, vintage racing, and showing. So it’s exciting when you find a stock survivor, whether you see it as a blank canvas or just an example to be loved, preserved and brought back to factory spec. So let’s check out this 1973 Datsun 1200 for sale for $3400 in San Francisco, CA.
Finished in a pretty shade of blue, this one looks like it’s already had some love – many dry-state Japanese survivors are sun-baked, or at least faded, and have rust to go with their fading. The front bumper and trim looks very straight for a car that’s parked on a city street, and from this rather distant perspective it looks good. It’s not clear whether the mentioned 12″ wheels are stock black steel units, or perhaps alloys finished in black – with the stock wheels you’d want to ask if any hubcaps are included. Either way, they wear near-new Kumho tires, but as always, check the date stamp to be sure.
The 1200 came as 2- and 4-door sedans and wagons, a pickup and a coupe, but in North America they were only available as a coupe or 2-door sedan. At various points, the 1200 was sold as the most fuel efficient and cheapest car on the market, and the car’s very light weight (1609 lb.) was likely a major factor contributing to that. Funnily enough, one of the taglines sold it as a miniature muscle car, though with 69hp and that light weight, performance was no doubt respectable, if not actually fast. The rear view on this coupe is actually quite attractive, and trim appears to be complete and in good shape here too. Unfortunately, the photo quality doesn’t allow for a good assessment of the condition of the paint.
Looks like a driver – perfect! The old A12 is still in place – period ads touted its “high cam”, which presumably means something less than overhead cam. Fortunately, the power is routed through a 4-speed manual transmission, though at the moment, there’s not much power – the car is said to need a new fuel pump or carburetor. The seller mentions a new brake master cylinder, and very limited rust, including solid floors. Note the crack in the grill visible in this more detailed shot.
Don’t you hate it when you’re going to photograph your car and you forget the keys in the house? Fortunately, the listing mentions a crack-free dash and clean headliner, and what’s visible here shows a good passenger door panel and seat base in tan, which pairs well with the blue exterior. While there’s not much in the way of description or detail photos, the initial impression is good enough that this is worth a closer look.