The Complete Guide to Classic Datsun Cars and Trucks

1948 Datsun DB Model

 In March 1948 Nissan unveiled a car that was unlike anything previously seen in Japan. The car was the new Datsun DB, and it was the first modern looking car built by any Japanese car maker since the start of the Second World War. Unfortunately for Nissan there were some Americans who had seen something like it before, and they weren't too happy.  The reason some Americans had seen something like it before was because the Datsun DB was a near perfect copy of a 1947 Crosley.  
Crosley was an American car manufacturer that was started by Powel Crosley in 1939. In 1947 Crosley released a very distinctive new model with an unusual dorsal fin that ran down the bonnet and right down the front of the car, between it's two seperate grille openings. History doesn't record exactly how and when Nissan got their hands on a 1947 Crosley, but it was more than likely something imported by the US occupying forces stationed in Japan after the end of the war. The Datsun DB was a shameless copy, although none of the panels are exactly the same as the Crosley it is quite obvious where the design came from. The only significant differences were to the grille design, the bonnet length and the windscreen shape. The gap between the back of the bonnet and the windscreen is shorter on the Datsun, because they needed a longer engine bay to fit the Datsun Type 7 engine, as a result the overall bonnet length is shorter on the Crosley. The windscreen opening is a rectangular shape on the Datsun DB with right angle corners. This allowed Nissan to use less expensive flat glass with straight edges, the glass edges on the Crosley were curved. 
 The Crosley had it's rather unique CoBra engine, which had a copper braised sheet metal block. (Don't ask me how that worked, I haven't fully figured it out myself !) For the Datsun DB Nissan used the old pre-war 722cc 15hp side valve Type 7 engine that had powered most Datsuns since 1935. The Crosley, rather conveniently, had almost exactly the same wheelbase as the Datsun 2124 truck the DB was based on, with the Crosley wheelbase only 26mm longer than the Datsun. 
 Powel Crosley let it be known that he wasn't too happy about the whole thing, though no legal action was taken. The US occupying forces were working hard to get Japan's economy back on track, and were hardly likely to allow Nissan to incur any more financial strain while the company was in a delicate rebuilding phase. Plus Powel Crosley had enough other things to worry about, as his own car company was in serious financial trouble. In 1949 Nissan changed the design of the front of the DB to make it look less like a Crosley, though from side on it was still unmistakable. The new model would be called the Datsun DB-2. 
The green car pictured above is a 1947 Crosley.

A Japanese sales brochure for the Datsun DB

1948 Datsun DB Sedan Specifications  
Length - 3150mm   
Width - 1330mm   
Height - 1570mm   
Wheelbase - 2006mm   
Weight - 520kg   
Top speed - unknown 

Transmission - Floor
change 3 speed

Engine Specifications 
Model - Type 7 
Side Valve 4 Cylinder  
Capacity - 722cc   
Bore & Stroke 55x75mm   
Power - 16bhp@3500rpm   
Torque- 27ft/lb@2000rpm   
Compression - 6.2 : 1   
Carburettor - unknown   
Final drive - 4.11:1

Model Variations
Datsun DB  
 There were no other versions of the Datsun DB, the two door sedan was the only model made.

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