Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Twofer Tuesday represents with a couple of Honey Bees!

I spent a mere 3 hours in San Francisco on my recent visit but still found time to drive around Russian Hill to revisit some of those famously beautiful views. What I hadn't banked on was this little nugget:
Nestled between more modern and unadorned rides was this 1977-1978 Datsun B210 hatchback. Was it blue to begin with? Who knows but at this point is seems to be mimicking a partly cloudy day.
Datsun in the '70s was at the top of their game with styling unlike anything else. Besides the almost horizontal hatchback angle and completely useless rear side windows this thing was a marvel in efficiency. Print ads of the day claim that this car when mated to a manual transmission was good for over 50 miles to the gallon! Makes modern automakers look a bit foolish bragging heartily about 30 miles to the gallon.
The louvers over the rear window make this thing look like an early '70s Mustang Sportsroof which does have a similar body. In more practical terms those louvers help to keep the interior cool in a state such as California where the sun is beating down on your huge rear window.
The angled taillight/turn signal combo is cool and helps date this ride. 1976 and earlier had a solid lens on each side as opposed to these angled square segments.
Here's a close up of that rear window that does nothing except look cool. The middle side window just behind the door is on hinges and pops-out as opposed to rolling down.
Let's get one thing straight in case I sound like I'm knocking this car in any way; I've loved these since I was a kid! They look so bizarre and came in bright colors like orange and yellow. There was even an edition called the Honey Bee which was yellow with black stripes and a cartoon bee. Any car that came with a small character on it (like the Gremlin, Road Runner, and Demon) is fine by me.
For those of you who haven't been to San Francisco take a good look at the back ground. Those doorways and steps are level. This little Datsun was parked on one of the steepest paved roads in the world just blocks from the famous zig-zagging Lombard Street.
The grill is also helpful in narrowing down the vintage; '76 and earlier had round turn signals as opposed to these rectangular ones.
Whoever wielded the can of blue spray paint wasn't concerned with lines or constraints.
You'd have to be in a pretty tough neighborhood to install hood locks on your B-210. Not only that but they look like the sort of lock you'd find on an old refrigerator.
Representing America and DATSUN B-210. Even the decals are beat!
These original wheel covers are bonkers. The design department might has well have been given the orders "make it look like nothing that could ever come from the U.S.". You've gotta admire the fact that it looks like they remembered the owner would need to check the air after final design had been approved.
About all I could get from this failed interior shot attempt is that it has a manual transmission and a radio (not to mention the mighty Club!).
She's been around for sure. This emblem isn't supposed to have screws going right through it but I suppose it's better than nothing if they were coming off. Upon further inspection this car has managed to rust through the body in places, an achievement perhaps only '70s Japanese cars can pull off in California.
I just had to finish with a close up of somewhere on the surface of this calamitous beast.
Now on to the opposite end of the spectrum:
Here we have another B-210 from the same '77-'78 era but this one is the 2-door sedan version in what I believe is Signal Orange. It also happens to be just about flawless! The only issue on this side is the emblem hanging sideways near the gas filler door. Since there are no holes near it I'm guessing they were just attached using adhesive. This would explain why the cloudy blue beater had its emblems screwed on.
Here is an example of the different taillight treatment that the sedan came with. Earlier versions of the hatchback/fastback body had these as well.
This little ride was parked in Corvallis Oregon where 37 year old cars can just remain perfect forever.
The only damage on this entire car is where paint has worn off from either washing and polishing or just the cruelty of the West Coast sunshine.
*Big shout-out to the 2 diagonal indentations behind the rear side reflector. The only purpose they serve is to be awesome as they hide away unnoticed.
I didn't want to get right up to the glass as it was parked in front of a row of busy shops but this pic is sufficient to show off one important detail; this car has the automatic transmission. I've ridden in a few '70s Japanese subcompacts with automatics and they are SLOW. Performance is about as terrible as can be; the factory claimed a zero-to-sixty time of 19.6 seconds and a top speed of 87mph! When purchasing this car new you basically forfeit the right to pass anyone.
A really nice example of those honeycomb wheel covers.
I think the design of these little Datsuns holds up beautifully. In their native Japan these cars were known as the Sunny. This seems appropriate as they're some of the least threatening cars ever.
Beneath this hood lies the diminutive 1.4 liter 4 cylinder A14 engine, good for 65-85 horsepower. At least the entire car weighs less than 2,000lbs.
You can't tell but it was a solid 100 degrees when I took these shots which made me wonder if this car has a/c. If so it would be even slower than normal! The temperature also makes me wonder if this ride was losing its last emblem right then and there.
Well that about completes my only-possible-on-the-West-Coast Twofer Tuesday. I haven't seen a B-210 anywhere on the East Coast for years as they've all rotted away to nothing at this point.
This would be one of the coolest classics to have at a car show since they're super economical and reliable to run, all the while managing to look like nothing else. With the 5 speed manual and some subtle mods you could coax some usable performance out of this ride as well (at least enough to get out of peoples way). If anyone out there sees one for sale cheap let me know or snatch it up yourself!

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