Sunny Skies – 1973 Datsun 1200

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.

1973 Datsun 1200 right front

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.

1973 Datsun 1200 right rear

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.

1973 Datsun 1200 engine

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.

1973 Datsun 1200 interior

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.


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4 Responses to “Sunny Skies – 1973 Datsun 1200”

  1. Martin Auriemma Says:

    I own this car now. if you have any questions.

  2. Martin Auriemma Says:

    According to the 1200wiki forums, this car came from Washington, was sold to someone in Livermore California a decade or so ago for $1500. I was able to negotiate the seller in this ad from $3400 down to $2700 due to the car’s sad condition.

    The interior was half blue parts, half tan. I re-upholstered it in black in my driveway.

    The floor was “solid” –massive rust holes covered by poorly laid fiber glass. Cut it out & welded in floors myself.

    Painted the car, all pics above are taken from crappy angles to avoid showing the rust and destroyed paint. Also, no more mats in the interior, floors are beautiful.

    Rebuilt the carb, found the engine ran great, but the fuel pump wasn’t working right. Ripped out & replaced with fuel injection & a turbo charger.

    The first time i washed the rims, all the ****ity black paint flecked off revealing alloys. They were nice, but my larger front brakes forced me to replace the 12″ rims with period correct American racing ones.

    The outside of the car leaked like a siv. Replaced some body seals.

    • Chris Keen Says:

      Cool to hear it made it to a loving home – sounds like all your hard work has got it ready for the next 40ish years. Even though this site is, um, hibernating – if you’d like to share, I’ll post a current pic of the car, or a link to a forum thread.

  3. Martin Auriemma Says:

    Absolutely, I can send some pics when I get home & wash it this weekend. Aside from the old original plate in the photos, you won’t recognize the car. Since the new plates are California, the old plate was made into a heat shield;) for functional use.

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