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1972 Dastun PL-620


A Little Datsun Truck History

    For the past decades, Nissan has shaped and reshaped the American truck market. It was roughly 40 years ago when a small Japanese automobile manufacture imported a new model to the United States. The Datsun Pickup was not just a new vehicle; it represented an entirely new concept, The compact or mini truck. And today the compact trucks are among the best-selling vehicles in the United States. It was in 1959 that Nissan introduced its compact truck amongst the gas-guzzling beasts from the domestic manufactures. With these giants powered by V8 engines came treble gas mileage amid a oil driven society. Emerged the Datsun 1000 compact pickup truck, the first truck of its kind. It was a vision opposite the beast. A vision of better things to come with it's 1000cc 37-horsepower four-cylinder engine and quarter-ton payload capacity. The truck was soon upgraded to a 1200cc 60-horsepower engine. The revised Datsun 320 pickup hit the American ports in 1961, but it wasn't until the introduction of the Datsun 520 that caused sales to jump to historic proportions.

     In 1965 Datsun broke into the top ten, in sixth place with passenger cars sales of 13,201. To this number should be added 5514 Datsun trucks, of a total of 18,715 vehicles altogether. This represented 2.3 percent of the import passenger cars and 39 percent of the import trucks sold in the United Stated for those years. It was a very rugged small unit and it appealed to a lot of dealers up in the Northwest area. It was the grow in this area that built the foundation for the Datsun name. It was the truck that started the whole company in the US. The truck business actually brought the company to grow into a passenger car business once the public and the dealers realized the durability of the Datsun products.

     The success of the Datsun compact truck drew the attention of other manufactures. To stay ahead of the competition Datsun continued to make improvements in handling, ruggedness. Comfort, and safety. The Company developed a series of breakthroughs innovations that have become standard in today's marketplace. In 1969, the Datsun truck became the first half-ton compact pickup. In 1975, the Datsun trucks offered the first long bed. In 1977, the Datsun trucks the first King Cab extended-cab compact truck was introduced; and in 1978, Datsun front disc brake along with electronic ignition became standard. The latter of the four options became available during the fourth generation of the Datsun truck, The Datsun 620 in production from 1971 of 1979.

PL-620 "Li'l Hustler"

     The introduction of the PL620, named the " Li'l Histler", was a vehicle with a four-cylinder, a 92-horsepower OHC L16 engine, and a weight of 2286 pounds. Its suggested list price was $2236 on it's release to the US in May 31 1972.

     This model was a immediate replacement for the very successful PL-520/521 model. It was embrace with open arms due to the energy crunch of the 70's. In 1974 the L16 was replaced with the L18 and was only to be replaced again in 1975 by the L20b. The 620 was available with either a standard 4 speed manual or 3 speed automatic transmission It wasn't until 1977 that a 5 speed became available.

     The 620 was often referred to by its owners as the Bullet or the Bulletside because of its unique body lines that began on the doors, just below the door window, and continue as bed rails down the bed and around the tailgate.

 
Page last updated on Tuesday, April 1, 2014
 
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