The 1964 Datsun 410 marked a quantum shift in car design for Nissan, in both design and construction.
Production began in September 1963 of what was to be a radically different Datsun. Nissan had been involved in a technological colaboration with the Austin Motor Company of England during the 1950s, and as a result all the cars in this series, from the 110 to the 312, all had a definate Austin appearance. All that was about to change with the introduction of the 410.
In an attempt to come up with a more contemporary shape for the 312 replacement Nissan sub-contracted the design work for the new Bluebird to the Italian design house Pininfarina. Pininfarina were best known for their work with Ferrari and Fiat, and not what you would call a natural choice for an upcoming car company from Japan. Yet what they came up with was a very pretty, and very modern design. It had very obvious Italian looks, and yet at the same time they managed to give it a definate oriental feel.
Structurely the 410 was a big change from the 312. The 312 had a seperate chassis, while the 410 now featured a monocoque design, with and intergrated body and chassis. This saved weight and saved construction costs.
The overall length of the car was fairly close to that of the 312, but it was significantly lower, and had a longer wheelbase with smaller front and back overhangs, all of which made it look longer and sleeker than it's predecesser. The large glass area gave the car an airy feel, which was exagerated even more on the deLuxe models with their stainless steel window frames. The recess in the panels that runs the full length of the car draws attention to the marked curvature of the profile of the car, which is why these cars were colloqually known here in Australia as the "Banana Bluebird".
These early 410 Bluebirds are easilly distinguished by their large round badge in the grille. The 1964 grille badge is a beautifully ornate piece with a thick chrome ring with a blue centre and an anodised gold D in the middle. The grille itself consists of four groups of three closely grouped horizontal bars. The other distinguishing feature of these early cars is that the models fitted with overriders have very wide chrome 'bull nose' overriders, from 1965 onwards the 410 and 411s had narrow overriders with a vertical rubber insert.
Taillights on this model consist of a large round stop light with a rectangular indicator attached to the stop light. Depending on where in the world the car was sold the badges on the side either said Bluebird or Datsun. At the back of the car on the right hand side of the boot lid there was a Datsun badge, if it was a deLuxe model it would have a deLuxe badge on the left. All the badges are in a fairly delicate running writing font, and are an anodised gold finish.
There were various trim levels available, but the various deLuxe models all had stainless steel door frames and windscreen frames, and also a stainless sill strip. DeLuxes also had blue tinted glass.
The interior was also much more modern. The dash had a padded black top covered in vinyl, with a painted steel section below. It featured a black plastic instrument binnacle that rose up above the dash. A radio and a top mounted clock were an option on most models.
Engine and gearbox both carried over from the 312 unchanged, with the 410 using the 1189cc 60hp E-1 engine. A base model with the 988cc 45hp C-1 engine was also available in Asia.
The majority of cars were shipped with a 3 speed column change gearbox, but a 4 speed floor change unit was also available. An interesting option in Japan was an 'autoclutch'. I have no idea how it works, or how well it worked. Floor change cars had bucket seats, the rest had a front bench.
The 410/411 series Bluebird had a massive effect on Nissan's global sales. In 1963 Nissan sold 260000 vehicles, by the time the 411 ceased production in June 1967 Nissan were selling 726000 vehicles a year. Most of those were Bluebirds.
Production continued until August 1964, when the facelifted 1965 model went into production.
An entry level model was also available. These had no shiny stainless steel trims on the door frames, or the windscreen frames. They also have no trims along the sills and no over riders on the bumpers. The badges on these models are silver instead of gold coloured. Instead of having hubcaps that cover the whole wheel they instead have tiny discs that only cover the wheel centre.
A wagon version of the 410 went on sale at the same time as the sedan. The wagon had a one piece rear door that was hinged at the top, the previous 312 had a two piece door arangement. Wagons have a Wagon badge on the tailgate door on the right hand side. A deLuxe and standard version were available.
The Datsun P410 is the deLuxe version of the Datsun 410 sedan. Amongst other differences it has stainless steel door window frame trims and wider strips along the side of the car.
As with the previous 312 model, the 410 was available as a "Fancy deLuxe". The Fancy deLuxe was fitted with a whole lot of accessories that a 1960s man thought a 1960s woman would want in a car. These included bigger mirrors, a vanity mirror on the driver's side sunvisor, an under-dash stilletto shoe holder, an automatic clutch, bigger inside door handles, and an indicator that plays music box music instead of just making a clicking sound. They were all pale yellow with a pale yellow and grey interior.
Meet Nissan's first ever performance sedan, the 1964 Bluebird SS. Essentially the same as the deLuxe version of the 410, except that the SS has a pair of 38mm Hitachi side draught carburettors, very similar to those used on the Datsun Fairlady sports car. This increased the power to about 65hp. The SS had a 4 speed floor change gearbox and bucket seats. The only external difference is the SS badges on the C pillars.
The SS went into production much later than the regular sedan, in March 1964.
Other Model Variations
There were several different model variations for the 410 series, and these can usually be identified by their model code.
W = If the model code begins with a W, then the vehicle is a wagon.
P is the code meaning 'power up', which is Nissan speak for a larger engine. If a 410 series car is a P410, then it has an E-1 series engine, if it is just a 410 (no P), then it has the C-1 series engine.
D indicates it is a deLuxe version
L indicates that the car is a left hand drive version.
-R signifies that it is the 2 door model
-L is a Fancy deLuxe
-M means that the car was fitted with twin carbs
-N indicates that the car has the auto-clutch option
-T shows that the car has the 4 speed floor change gearbox
-U indicates that it has the 4.375:1 ratio final drive. Only export models had the 4.375 final drive, so the -U also indicates that it is an export model.
Many of these codes, particularly the suffixes, are internal codes used by Nissan themselves and are not printed on the vehicle anywhere.
Length - 3910mm
Width - 1496mm
Height - 1460mm
Wheelbase - 2280mm
Weight - 870kg
Top speed - 1000 unknown
- 1200 125kph
Transmission - Column change 4 speed
1000 - unknown
1200 - 4.625 : 1
Model - C-1
OHV 4 Cylinder
Capacity - 988cc
Bore & Stroke 73x59mm
Power - 45bhp@4600rpm
Torque - 7.2kg/m@4000rpm
Compression - 8.0 : 1
Carburettor - Nikki dual throat down draught
Model - E-1
OHV 4 Cylinder
Capacity - 1189cc
Bore & Stroke 73x71mm
Power - 60bhp@4800rpm
Compression - 8.2 : 1
Carburettor - Nikki 2D-30C dual throat down draught
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