13 Sep 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Nissan/Datsun
Nissan Datsun


Club Guest Join Date Feb 2004 Location Spokane/PF Age 33 Posts 565 Vehicle 720 truck

I know the first truck was the 320. Was the first car the 1200 roadster?

Well, I was close, for US anyway. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 58 Datsun sedan. Seen plenty of 59 320’s. Straight from NissanUSA’s website:


The first Datsun is built.


Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. is established in Japan.


The Datsun Type 15 is the first mass-produced Japanese vehicle. Other Type 15 models include a mini-pickup and delivery van.


The first Datsun sedan arrives in the United States. The strong, heavy 1200 Sedan packs a 48-hp 1200-cc engine encased in thick body panels.


The first Datsun compact pickup is sold in America. Originally imported with a modest 37-hp 1000-cc engine, the upgraded model features a 48-hp 1200-cc version. This quarter-ton pickup firmly establishes Datsun in the American market.


Nissan Motor Corporation U.S.A. (NMC) is established in Gardena, California. The model year witnesses the birth of Datsun’s first sports car, the SPL 210. This high, narrow, 4-seat roadster features a fold down soft top with side curtains, 4 on the floor, and a 48-hp 1200-cc engine (soon replaced by an 85-hp version).


Focused on American driving needs, the Bluebird is the first Datsun with a full synchronized 3-speed transmission. It also sports classic two-tone paint, wide whitewalls and optional bucket seats. Off the road, Nissan’s first utility vehicle, The Patrol, makes its debut, with TV hero Roy Rogers as its spokesman.

Pitched as the world’s most powerful, most advanced 4-wheel drive, the Patrol’s brawny 145-hp 4000-cc 6-cylinder engine develops enough torque to climb trees.


The first Japanese-owned production facility in North America, Nissan Mexicana (NMEX) manufactures its first vehicle.


The Datsun most-desired by collectors, the 2000 Roadster, is also the first Japanese production sports car to come with a 5-speed. That, plus its robust 150-hp engine, makes it extra fun to drive. Production is limited to 1,000 and the first 10 are lightweight versions for racing.

The 2000 Roadster wins 10 SCCA National Championships between 1967 and 1987.


Nissan launches the first car styled for the U.S. market, the Datsun 510 sedan.


Datsun introduces the Z as a 1970 model. By offering European performance, plus creature comforts like roll-up windows and a heater — all at an affordable price — the 240Z becomes the best-selling sports car in the world. The Corvette took nearly twenty-five years to sell 500,000 units; the Z does it in fewer than ten.


Annual sales in the United States pass the quarter million mark. Nissan also establishes itself on the racetrack: the BRE 510 wins the SCCA 2.5-liter Trans-Am Championship in 1971, claiming Nissan’s first professional racing championship. It proceeds to dominate the series, winning 15 out of 21 events.

Meanwhile, another 510 wins the East African Safari, while yet another wins the American Rally Championship in 1971. Today, the 510 enjoys a cult-like following and is still active in SCCA club racing.


The civilian 510 introduces a new concept: a 4-door sports sedan. This good-looking, 5-passenger family car is fun to drive, economical, and sells over 300,000 sedans and wagons. As a result, race-bred sportiness remains very much part of Nissan today.


The one-millionth Datsun vehicle is sold in America.


Datsun becomes the top U.S. vehicle importer.


Nissan expands the idea of how much work a truck can do by introducing the King Cab, the first extended cab pickup.


Nissan Design International (NDI) is established in La Jolla, California, to provide American concepts and style to Nissan vehicles. Among their many creations (including today’s popular Xterra SUV) is the out there Gobi Truck concept. Developed in the late 1980s, it is a direct extension of the very first Datsun truck.


Nissan Motor Manufacturing Corporation (NMMC) is established in Smyrna, Tennessee to fulfill the growing demand for Nissan vehicles.


Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation (NMAC), Nissan’s financing division, is established in Torrance, California.


Nissan’s rich off-road truck-racing history includes 19 championships from 1982-1992. A King Cab desert racer, competing as an HDRA/SCORE Class 1 Unlimited Vehicle, packs a sand-scorching 380 hp. It has full-time 4WD, a radical mid-engine design and a 4-wheel fully independent suspension.


Worldwide marketing of vehicles using the Nissan name begins. And the first truck produced by Nissan in America rolls off the line in Smyrna, Tennessee. Nissan Research and Development (NRD) is established in Michigan.

Nissan Datsun


Legendary Hollywood actor Paul Newman races the Newman/Sharp Trans-Am 300ZX to an SCCA GT1 championship in 1985 and 1986. Particularly noteworthy is the 1985 win, which is Nissan’s 50th national SCCA championship. Meanwhile, the first Sentra rolls off the line in Smyrna, Tennessee.


Nissan driver Geoff Brabham wins the first of four consecutive IMSA Camel GTP Drivers Championships. The streak includes eight straight races, breaking the American road record. Almost unbeatable, the IMSA GTP Race Car dominates with a breathtaking top speed of 200 miles per hour.


It’s a year of remarkable milestones: Nissan launches the Infiniti line of luxury vehicles. NMMC produces its one-millionth vehicle. And Nissan begins the Summer Institute for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.


Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA) is established in Torrance, California, to oversee all Nissan operations in North America.


Nissan unveils a $490 million, 1.7 million-square-foot expansion of the Smyrna, Tennessee plant. It builds an $80 million Research and Development Technical Center in Farmington Hills, Michigan. And on the environmental front, Nissan lends its Alternative Fuel Vehicle to a California testing program, unveils the Future Electric Vehicle concept car, and receives the Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award from the Environmental Protection Agency.


As the Sentra surpasses two million sold in the U.S. the first Nissan mid-sized sedan produced in the U.S. — the Altima — rolls off the assembly line in Tennessee. Nissan wins the IMSA GTS Manufacturers Championship, with David Loring winning the IMSA GTU Drivers Championship in a Nissan 240SX, and Steve Millen winning the IMSA GTS Drivers Championship in a Nissan 300ZX. Nissan also establishes the Nissan Foundation, with a five-year, $5 million endowment.

Nissan Quest becomes the first Nissan vehicle jointly produced with a U.S. manufacturer, Ford Motor Company.


Nissan celebrates its first 10 years of manufacturing in the U.S. with authority. Altima becomes the best-selling new nameplate in the United States, while the Maxima surpasses one million sold.


Nissan introduces the all-new 200SX and fourth generation Sentra, both assembled in the award-winning Smyrna, Tennessee plant. Nissan was recognized as Most Distinguished Partner by the Los Angeles Urban League in 1995.


After more than 26 years, the Z car was retired. In 1999, Nissan announced an all new Z car will be built for release in 2002. Nissan served as a corporate sponsor of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, specifically the Official Import Vehicle of Choice for Truck, Sport Utility, and Minivan. NMMC is named the most productive plant in North America in The Harbour Report for the third consecutive year.

On a more creative front, Nissan’s Toys commercial is named the best commercial of the year by Time and Rolling Stone magazines. The last 300ZX is imported into the U.S. inducted into the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.


Nissan was named Best of the Best by the Environmental Protection Agency. In 1997, Nissan received the Smithsonian Inaugural Corporate Leadership Award. The Nissan Foundation celebrates its fifth anniversary.

NMMC names the most productive automotive plant in North America by Harbour and Associates for fourth year.


Nissan Motor Corporation in U.S.A. (NMC) and Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA) consolidated into one company Nissan North America, Inc. effective December 31, 1998.


March 26, 1999, Nissan and Renault sign a global partnership agreement allowing both companies to take advantage of their respective strengths and expertise. Nissan introduces the Frontier Crew Cab, the first compact truck with four real doors. The Xterra also launches a trend in no-nonsense SUVs for outdoor enthusiasts.

Frontier, Xterra, and Pathfinder are named official vehicles of the Los Angeles County lifeguards and become a hit on the TV series Baywatch. Rhys Millen drives UPRD Nissan Skyline GT-R to victory in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb near Colorado Springs, Colorado, on July 4.

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