Datson 10

1930 - 10 Model

Before the very first Datsun was built, the 1932 Datsun 11, there was the Datson 10.


The history of the Nissan Motor Company, and the origins of Datsun, is a ludacriously complicated tale of mergers and takeovers, but the shortened version of what happened is that in 1912 a gentleman by the name of Masujiro Hashimoto started a business called Kwaishinsha Motors, with the aim to produce a Japanese built car.
His first prototype met with little success, so he went about building a second prototype, which was completed in 1914. This car, the 31, was deemed good enough to put into production. Hashimoto had trained in the United States as an engineer, and was certainly qualified and talented enough to build this new car, but he lacked the finances to do it alone. He sought investers to get the company up and running, and managed to find three people willing to invest. The first was Kenjiro Den, who helped set up the original company, second was Rokuro Aoyama a friend from childhood, and thirdly was Meitaro Takeuchi, who was a cousin of a former prime minister who helped arrange the finance.


To honour his financiers Hashimoto decided to change the name of the company from Kwaishinsha, which wasn't exactly an inspired choice of name, to DAT, which is the initials of the surnames of his three investors, Den, Aoyama and Takeuchi. 

DAT continued to build cars and trucks through the 1920s. DAT was also the Japanese word for hare, or fast rabbit, which gave it a nice automotive link to a quick animal. The DAT cars were fairly large, and were aimed at a more upmarket clientele. In 1929 DAT decided to try their hand at building a small lower priced car, and built a prototype model called the DAT 91. Because this car was going to be a 'baby' version of the big DAT, they called this model the Datson, meaning "son of DAT".

The DAT 91 prototype was completed in 1929, and was deemed to be a success, and in 1930 the production version went into production as the Datson 10. The car was designed by a DAT engineer called Takayoshi Gotou. The car was a fairly conventional design for it's time, and was powered by a 4 cylinder side valve DAT engine with a displacement of 495cc. It produced 10hp at 3700rpm, but it moved along well due to the fact it only weighed 400kg.

 The DAT 91 prototype featured a polished alloy bonnet, which was painted on the production Datson 10. The 91 also sported a leaping greyhound radiator emblem that was purchased from Lincoln in the USA. This didn't make it onto the production version. The 91 had huge chariot wheels with six massive spokes, the 10 had much more attractive smaller wheels with eight slots. Because the 10 had smaller wheels it also had smaller front guards, that were much lower. As a result the headlights were mounted lower as well.The Radiator grille on the 91 and the 10 is completely vertical. It has a chrome surround and the corrugated insert top and bottom is painted the same colour as the body. The 10 has no badge on the radiator, the later Datsun 11 has a Datsun badge on the top corrugated section. The 91 has a DAT badge under the corrugated top section. The body on the Datson 10 is all but identical to the one on the Datsun 11, the only major difference being that the bonnet vents on the 10 and the 91 are horizontal, while the ones on the Datsun 11 are vertical.

 The Datson 10 was not a success at first, with only ten being sold in it's first year in 1930. Figures aren't available for 1931, but production increased significantly. It wasn't until the Datsun 11 was released that sales really took off.

 The Datson name didn't last for long. 'Son' in some dialects sounded like the word meaning loss. This was taken as a bad omen at the time, and when a hurricane destroyed the factory in 1931 it became obvious that it was a really bad omen, and the name was changed. The -son suffix was replaced in 1932 with -sun changing the name to Datsun. No longer the 'son of DAT', the sun part of the name paid hommage to the rising sun symbol of Japan. The possitive connotation of the sun in it's name was hoped to act as a good omen as well.

 The Datson 10 was in production during 1930 and 1931, it was replaced by the Datsun 11 in 1932.


Model Variations


Datson 10 Phaeton

 Most of the Datsun 10s built were with a four seat open top phaeton body.  


Datson 10 Delivery Van

 A commercial vehicle version of Datson 10 was produced the following year in 1931. No truck version was built, but this delivery van was built. Later vans had the cabin moved further forward to give a larger cargo area, these datson 10 vans were little more than a box on the back of the phaeton version. The bonnet vents on the van were placed vertically to increase cooling, unlike the phaeton model with horizontal slots. This was carried over onto the next generation Datsun 11 models.  


DAT 91 Prototype

The production model and the prototype were very similar, the 91 had different 6 spoke wheels and a greyhound radiator emblem that didn't make it onto the 10.

1930 Datsun 10 Specifications

Length - 2710mm
Width - 1175mm
Height - unknown
Wheelbase - 1880mm
Weight - 400kg
Top speed - unknown
Transmission - Floor
change 3 speed

Engine Specifications

Model - DAT
Side Valve 4 Cylinder
Capacity - 495cc
Bore & Stroke 54x54mm
Power - 10hp@3700rpm
Torque- unknown
Compression - unknown
Carburettor - unknown
Final drive - unknown

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