STREETSIDE: 1984 Nissan and/or Datsun King Cab 4×4

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From a pivotal time in Nissan’s history comes this double-branded and well-preserved Nissan King Cab Pickup, which we came upon in the Castro district in San Francisco.

Datsun was a force in the 1970s American-car market; as Toyota and Honda penetrated the cities and suburbs, so too did Datsun with its 510 sedan and 620 pickup.

Then came the 1980s, and the time was right to pull Datsun further into the mainstream as the company began assembling its vehicles in the US.

Find a Nissan Pickup near you with BestRide’s local search. 


The 1983 Pickup was the first Datsun that began the branding transition to Nissan, the name of the mothership back in Japan, and it was the first of its products to be assembled at Nissan’s plant in Smyrna, Tennessee.

In this case, the company thought it was best to introduce the new name as you’d introduce new dog food to your pup, with old gradually mixed in with the new. Still, the emphasis is on the future – you could see those NISSAN letters from space.


Up front, there’s less ambiguity.


The boxy shapes of this Pickup are very of its early-’80s time.


The high ride height leaves no question as to this truck’s off-road emphasis.


Neither do the stripes.


More ’80s geometric patterns back here.


If you were to lock the hubs for extra traction, you’d want to do it before you’re clambering out in the mud for the wheel dial.


Another utilitarian touch is the row of nautical tie downs.


King Cab referred to the extended cab area behind the front seats. There were two jump seats that folded up to provide protected space for cargo.


More ’80s items include the A-spoked steering wheel…


…while the seats were still firmly anchored in the 1970s, with their simple shapes…


…and narrow, rock-hard headrests.


The wide-view mirrors are ready to help you see around the trailer you’re towing.


What comes around goes around, and the name Datsun was reintroduced a few years ago for basic transportation in emerging markets like India and Indonesia, much like Datsun was in the US in the 1970s.

The name served its purpose then, and it’s doing it again today.


Tell us in the comments – what do YOU think of the Nissan King Cab?

Find a Nissan Pickup near you with BestRide’s local search.