The Complete Guide to Classic Datsun Cars and Trucks

1959 Datsun 220 Model

The Datsun 220 went into production in October 1957 and continued through until September 1958. In an odd marketing move the new 220 was released at the same time as the new Datsun 124 truck. The 124 was the direct replacement for the previous Datsun 123, and the Datsun 220 entered the range as a higher specification version of the 124. The new 124 model truck continued to use the old side valve 860cc engine that had been used in previous 113 model, while this new up-spec 220 model featured the new overhead valve C series engine. 
The body of the Datsun 220 is pretty much identical to the one used for the previous Datsun 123 model, the only major difference being a slightly altered grille support panel at the front of the car that allows the new grille to protrude forward slightly. The new grille design features three large horizontal bars, and a raised section at the top that incorporates a red DATSUN badge. 
 Side mounted badges in the car say DATSUN 1000. There is a round badge in the centre of the dashboard that says DATSUN 1000. The 220 continues to use the bullet shaped indicators mounted to the top of the guards that were used on the 123 truck, the Datsun 221 truck that followed the 220 didn't have the bullet indicators and instead had conventional indicators either side of the grille. 
 Mechanically the 220 was very similar to the previous Datsun 123, running the same chassis, steering and reverse Elliot I beam front suspension, but the big changes were made in the engine bay. 
  The 220 was the first Datsun truck to have a relatively modern engine. The old 860cc side valve D10 engine, which was little more than a mildly updated version of the pre-war Datsun engine, was replaced with the new 988cc over head valve Datsun C series engine. The new engine developed 37hp, a substantial jump up from the 25hp produced by the old side valve engine. 
The fact that the new C series engine looked a lot like the Austin A series engine was no coincidence. In 1953 Nissan signed a licencing agreement with Austin, allowing Nissan to build and sell Austin A40s and A50s in Japan. Nissan based their next generation of engines on these Austin designs. 
 Although it was based on the Austin engine, it wasn't a direct copy. In the late 1950s Nissan hired an American engineer by the name of Donald Stone to work on the C series engine, and he made several modifications to the Austin engine, improving oil seals and head designs, resulting in substantial performance and reliability gains over the Austin design. These early C series engines were known in Japan as the "Stone engine" in honour of their designer. 
 The Datsun 124, which continued to be built alongside the 210, continued to use the old D-10 side valve engine. 
The Datsun 220 also became the first Datsun truck to be fitted with 12 volt electrical systems, all previous models had 6 volt systems. 
 The Datsun 220 truck was in prodution until September 1958, when it was replaced with the upgraded Datsun 221.

A Japanese sales brochure for the Datsun 220.

1958 Datsun 220     
Length - 3752mm   
Width - 1466mm   
Height - 1625mm   
Wheelbase - 2220mm   
Weight - 915kg   
Top speed - 103kph 

Transmission - Column change 4 speed

Engine Specifications 
OHV 4 Cylinder  
Model - C   
Capacity - 988cc   
Bore & Stroke 73x59mm   
Power - 37bhp@4600rpm   
Torque - 49ft/lb@2400rpm   
Compression - 7.5 : 1   
Carburettor - Hitachi Solex VA-26-6 26mm single throat down draught 

Model Variations
Datsun 220 
The 220 was the standard truck version.
Datsun U220 
The U221 was a double cab version of the 221 truck. It featured two rows of seats and a substantially smaller cargo area. The U221 uses a different grille to the 221 truck, and instead uses the grille from the Datsun 211 sedan. The U221 has no side strips at all.
Datsun V220 
The V220 was a delivery van version of the 220 truck. Just like the previous AV123 model the V220 has a pillar above the rear wheels, which is close to being vertical. On the next model ov vans based on the 221 truck this pillar slopes at about a 20deg. angle on one model, and on anther version there is no pillar at all.
Datsun 124 
 The 124 series was released at the same time as the Datsun 220 series and was marketed as a more cost effective version of the 220. Instead of having the new C series engine the 124 continued to use the old D-10 side valve engine.
Datsun 210  
The 220 truck was based on the same chassis and mechanicals as the Datsun 210 series, which included a sedan and a wagon. More information about these vehicles can be found in the Datsun 210 section.

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