Dear Mr Ghosn

Swade180B.jpg

Me, circa 1978, with my brother-in-law’s Datsun (Nissan) 180B.

Around 9 or 10 years later I learned to drive in this car. You could have it in gear and the gearstick still moved around like it was in neutral.

If it’s alright with you, Mr Ghosn, I’d rather keep those days behind me.

Thanks.

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12 Comments

  1. What’s with the turtleneck in Australia? I thought that you always had warm weather. Noice pic, by the way. My folks have a similar picture of me in front of my dad’s 1961 Oldsmobile Cutlass.

    Little known fact: the Oldsmobile Cutlass was available in turbocharged form in 1962!

  2. Oh boy that brings back memories of my early childhood in Taipei, Taiwan. Private car ownership was not really necessary as gas price and insurance rates were high (not to mention horrendous congestion) and taxis were everywhere and dirt cheap to take. The taxis were primarily Toyotas and Datsuns 210Bs. I recall always liking to ride shotgun to the taxi driver and watch him manually shift the column “three-on-a-tree” shifter. They were crappy cars even then, but I suppose good enough for the hundreds of thousands of miles the taxis accrue.

  3. Ken:

    That’s a great reminder that reliability does NOT directly correlate to precision manufacturing. Reliability DOES correlate to good design. Therefore, a number of the unsophisticated cars that we drove 30 years were actually designed to operate even when the condition of the vehicle wasn’t good. More of an industrial approach, but effective.

  4. Agree. And although mechanical tolerances and precision may not be as good as modern era (no CAD/CAM back then), generally speaking products were made of more durable materials. This varies of course by product, but we all know that things made in the days of yore tend to be sturdier and more robust (and heavier/bigger/slower/uglier …….)

    Cheers

  5. Hate to disagree but my Nissan experiences have been great.

    My uncle had an original 280Z. What a blast that car was. I’ve owned a Maxima for 7 years now. It’s been perfectly reliable and is still comfortable and fun to drive.

    I don’t like the way Nissan sells. They force you to buy options you don’t want to get to the ones you do. Manual transmissions are scarce on new Nissans. They seem far more focused on luxury than performance with most of their current models in the U.S.

  6. Bram:

    The package deals are a part of the ‘efficiency’ that Nissan is famous for. Fewer configurations = fewer mistakes.

    Saab USA was the worst about this back in the day. When I bought my first Saab (a 900S) in 1986, you had exactly 6 models to choose from: 900 Turbo, 900S, base 900 and each was available with a manual or automatic transmission. That’s it. 6 combinations, no options. If you wanted the turbo, you had to buy leather, an electric sunroof and the top stereo. Heck, if you wanted black, silver, malachite green or rose quartz you had to upgrade to the 900S or turbo — those colors were not available on the base 900!

    Nissan may not be as flexible as you might like, but neither is Saab!

  7. “I’d rather keep those days behind me” but that doesn’t mean they’re not fond memories. I grew up in this car. And no complaints about it’s fundamental reliability either.

    It was my brother-in-law’s car in that photo, but after he and my sister married it became hers. She eventually sold it to her brother-in-law, who restored it and still owns it now as a runabout. The restoration was cheap as they’re a big family and have a panel beater and machanic amongst them.

    Here in Oz, a lot of 180B engines ended up in Datsun 1600’s as amatuer rally vehicles.

  8. Buying a Saab was wonderful compared to Nissan. We got the stuff we wanted and none of the junk we didn’t.

    When I bought my Nissan, you could not buy side air bags without first buying leather seats, and you could not get leather seats without also getting the electronics package. What a pain!

  9. Robin,

    My sister had a 60’s Morris of some description when this car arrived. They got married in March 78 and the Morris was offloaded shortly thereafter. It’s name was Bugalugs and it had no seatbelts in the rear if I remember correctly.

    Crap cars, but good times.

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