Nissan 180

1941 180 Model

If all else fails then copy someone else.

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The previous model Nissan 80 truck was less than successful for Nissan. The 80, which was an American Graham Paige truck design built by Nissan, failed to be durable enough for the rigours of military use and suffered reliability issues, mainly in it's undercarriage. The production of the 80 ended in 1941, by which time Japan was under military control.
The replacement for the Nissan 80 would be a very different truck, and a design Nissan had forced upon them by the military. From 1941 onwards Nissan were required to build a standardised specification truck, which was a more conventional long bonnet type truck. This truck was little more than a copy of the American 1937 Chevrolet truck, with a more basic grille design. At the same time Toyota were required to build exactly the same truck in their factory. Toyota's version of this truck would be called the Toyota GB, and Nissan's would be called the Nissan 180.

The major difference between the two trucks would be the mechanicals. Toyota would use it's own engine and gearbox on it's GB, while Nissan would continue to use it's type A 3670cc 85hp side valve 6 cylinder engine, which was the old Graham Paige engine used in the Nissan 80 truck. Whilst the steering and suspension on the old Nissan 80 may have been unreliable, the engine was fine, and would serve the 180 well. Rather confusingly, Toyota's engine was also called the type A, though it was smaller, at 3389cc and only produced 62hp.

 The Nissan 180 was in production from 1941 until January 1952, and it changed considerably during it's long production run. The first ones to roll off the production line were a rather nicely finished truck. Most of the design was pretty much the same as the Chevrolet truck, but the Nissan 180 had a grille that was a semi-cylindrical shaped pressed steel panel with thirteen horizontal slots, where the Chevrolet had a much more ornate chrome plated grille. As the war drew on steel was becoming increasingly harder to find, and as a result they started to leave off any panels deemed unnecessary, including engine covers, bonnets, side steps, and even guards. Eventually the supply of steel became critical and Nissan began to build the majority of the cabin and body section from timber.

 After the end of hostilities Nissan restarted production again building the original version of the Nissan 180. By the end of the 1940s most materials were available in Japan again, and for the final few years the 180 sported a bold chrome plated grille with a Nissan badge cast into the top bar.

 At the time the 180 went into production a bus version was also built, designated the Nissan 190. The 190 bus was built up until 1949 when it was replaced by the Nissan 290 bus. No Nissan 280 model truck was built, the 180 was followed by the 380 in January 1952.

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Model Variations

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Nissan 180 - 1941

The first Nissan 180 had a grille in the form of a semi-cylindrical front panel with 13 horizontal slots.

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Nissan 180 - circa 1943

As the was progressed, and materials became harder to find, many "unnecessary" panels were left off.

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Nissan 180 - circa 1944

In the final stages of the war, when steel was becoming impossible to source, Nissan took to building much of the truck bodies out of timber and plywood.

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Nissan 180 - 1950

The final version had a fairly elaborate chrome plated grille, with 10 horizontal bars, with the top one incorporating a Nissan badge

1941 Nissan 180 Specifications

Length - 5895mm
Width - 2000mm
Height - 2005mm
Wheelbase - 4724mm
Weight - 2631kg
Top speed - 75kph
Transmission - 4 speed Floor change

Engine Specifications

Model - A
SV 6 Cylinder
Capacity - 3670cc
Bore & Stroke 82x114mm
Power - 85hp@3400rpm
Torque- unknown
Compression - 5.7 : 1
Carburettor - unknown
Final Drive - 6.167:1