Datsun 520 Truck

1965 520 Model

The Datsun 520 went into production in May 1965, replacing the previous Datsun 320 model. For reasons unknown Nissan went from the 320 series to the 520 series, completely missing the next obvious 420 designation. 


Unlike the rather old fashioned 320 series that came before it, the 520 was a thoroughly modern little truck. It's styling was loosly based on that of the 410 series Datsun Bluebird sedan, but unlike the 320 none of the panels from the sedan were used on the truck. The 410 sedan was designed by the Italian styling house Pininfarina. Whilst Pininfarina did not design the 520 variant as such, the in-house Nissan design for the 520 borrowed heavilly from the sedan design.

The result was a very modern and attractive truck. It's Italianate lines, it's much bigger cabin and it's bulletproof mechanical design ensured the 520 would go on to be a sales success for Nissan.

 It's modern shape gave the impression that it was longer and lower that the old 320, but it was in fact slightly taller, and also marginally longer. The new design featured flush fitting door handles and a new dash with a padded top section for the first time on a Datsun pickup. These early Datsun 520s can be easilly identified by their headlights. The 1965 model has two headlights, while all the following model 520s had a four headlight design. The grille consists of nine thin horizontal bars. In 1966 there was a slight change, the grille remained the same but it now had a narrow D badge in the middle. The badges on the side say Datsun 1300 and there is a wings shaped Datsun badge on the bonnet. In the cargo area the wheelarch wells on the 1965-1966 models are a rectangular box shape, from 1967 onwards they have tapered edges on the top.

 The chassis and suspension of the 520 is very similar to that of the previous 320, with height adjustable torsion bar suspension, though the chassis, steering and suspension design are all new. Also new is the engine. The new 520 features the new J series engine, which is a development of the old E-1 engine. The new J engine is a 1299cc 67hp OHV design which was first used on the 411 series Datsun Bluebird sedan. A lot of the performance gains are due to the impressive new exhaust manifold, which is cast in the shape of a set of extractors. The 1965 model 520s had a 4 speed gearbox with synchromesh on 2nd, 3rd and 4th. The 1966 models had a 4 speed with synchros on all forward gears. The 520s with the D badge in the grille are the all-synchro models.

 The early two headlight design 520 was in production until late 1966, when it was replaced with the four headlight model.


Grille Variation


1965 Model

When initially launched in 1965 the 520 had a plain grille with no badge or emblem. These early models had a 4 speed gearbox that did not have synchromesh on 1st gear.


1966 Model

In early 1966 the 520 got a full synchro gearbox, these full synchro trucks had a D emblem in the middle of the grille.

Model Variations


Datsun 520

The 520 was the standard truck version. It's cabin section was seperate to the cargo section, with about an inch gap between the two. It was also available as a cab/chassis version without the steel cargo section, which allowed the buyer to fit his own body.   


Datsun U520

The U520 is a 4 seat version of the 520 with a smaller cargo area. It has a one piece body, the cabin and the cargo sections are joined together, there is no gap between them.
The front bench seat has a one piece base and a 2 piece backrest. Each side of the backrest hinges both forward and towards the middle to allow access to the rear seat.


Datsun V520

The V520 is a light van version of the N520.
The V520 was marketed as either a light van, a delivery van or as a heavy duty station wagon. It had seating for 5 people, but the reat bench seat would fold down to give it a full length flat cargo area.
It was similar in appearance to the WP410/WP411 Datsun Bluebird Wagon of the same era. The Bluebird Wagon had 5 doors and was based on the lighter sedan chassis with double wishbone front suspension. The V520 was a 3 door that was based on the 520 chassis, giving it the same height adjustable torsion bar front suspension, and load carrying capacity, as the 520 Pickup. The ride quality and handling was not as good as the Bluebird Wagon though. It was avaialble with glass side windows and also as a panel van, as shown here.
The front bench seat has a one piece base and a 2 piece backrest. Each side of the backrest hinges both forward and towards the middle to allow access to the rear seat.

1965 Datsun 520 Specifications

Length - 4280mm
Width - 1575mm
Height - 1545mm
Wheelbase - 2530mm
Weight - 960kg
Top speed - 125kph
Transmission -
1965 Model - Column change 4 speed, synchro on 2nd, 3rd and 4th
1966 Model - All Synchro

Engine Specifications

Model - J
Capacity - 1299cc
Bore & Stroke 73x77mm
Power - 67bhp@5200rpm
Torque- 76ft/lb@2800rpm
Compression - 8.2 : 1
Carburettor - Nikki dual throat down draught
Final drive - 4.875:1

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