In 1967, Datsun was still an unknown quantity to the American motoring public. Car & Driver reviewed the 1967 Datsun 411 in both sedan and wagon form – they proclaimed several of its virtues, while bemoaning other characteristics. Either way, it’s a great read for early Datsun enthusiasts!
The following is a listing of books pertaining to Datsun vehicles over the years. Some may be out of print, but can often be found by searching ebay, Amazon, used bookstores, or even your local library!
Author: Bill Fisher & Bob Waar
Publisher: HP Books 1973
Author: Bob Waar
Publisher: Steve Smith Autosports 1984
Description: A trimmed down version of the book above.
Author: Frank Honsowetz
Author: Tom Monroe
Author: Colim Messer
Publisher: John Muir Publications
Publication date: June 1986
Publisher: Rex Jennett
Description: This is the complete collection of newsletters published by Rex Jennett, founder and president of the United Five-Ten Owners Club (UFO) from ’81 to ’89. This three-volume set contains over 600 pages of technical articles, photos, etc.
(Autobook 744), subtitled: 510 Series 1300, 1400, 1600, 1600SS
Author: by Kenneth Ball
Publisher: Autopress Ltd (England) 1973
Author: Alan Ahlstrand
Publisher: Clymer Publications 1978
Author: Paul Young
Publisher: Ten Speed Press, copyright 1980
Description: This Datsun tuneup manual has been specifically designed to teach a person with absolutely no knowledge of auto mechanics exactly how to do a major tuneup on their Datsun (all models, 1968-1979). Each of the major steps of a complete tuneup is covered in detail. This book describes, step by step, what to do, exactly how to do it, and in addition, clearly illustrates each step with easy-to-follow diagrams.
Author: by John B. Rae
Author: by John Matras
Author: by Sylvia Wilkinson
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Co. 1973
Author: by David Halberstam
Publisher: William Morrow & Co. 1986
Description: History of Nissan and Ford
Author: by Michael Cusamano
Publisher: Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard Univ 1985
Author: by Marco Ruiz
Publisher: Portland House 1986
Author: Edited by Al Hall
Publisher: Petersen Publishing 1975
Author: Edited by Al Hall
Publisher: Petersen Publishing 1977
Publisher: Grand Prix (?)
ISBN: 87687-149-3 C2053 P1800E
Author: Edited by Hans Tanner
Publisher: Petersen Publishing Co. 1972
ISBN: (no ISBN)
Description: Has a few articles on ’72 model Datsuns plus a couple pages with pictures on BRE tuning.
Author: Edited by Miles Schofield
Publisher: Petersen Publishing Co. 1972
Library of Congress Card Catalog # 72-89053
Description: Has Datsun model roundup, maint/tuneup specs, 510 and 240Z carb rebuilds, 4 pages of BRE racing/parts w/ pictures
Author: Edited by Miles Schofield
Publisher: Petersen Publishing Co. 1972
Library of Congress Card Catalog # 62-53185
Author: Edited by Stuart Yale
Publisher: Copyright 1971 Phase III Publications, LTD NY
Author: Paul Davies
Publisher: Speedsport Motorbooks (England) 1978
Author: Jack Doo; Henry Rasmussen
Publisher: Motorbooks International Publishers & Wholesalers, Inc. 1989
Description: Interesting book with lots of nice photos of early Japanese cars, Toyota 2000GT, 240Z, Roadster, and an outstanding two-page shot of the BRE 510
Author: Compiled by Trevor Alder
Publisher: Transport Source Books, Ltd. 1995
Description: Reprinted articles from Britain’s Motor magazine, one article on the Datsun 1600 sedan, and two articles on the factory works 1600SSS rally cars
Author: Ben Hsu
If you run across a book that’s not listed here, please let us know – We’d love to include it in our listing. Email us at [email protected]!
“They don’t make ’em like they used to…”
As Datsun enthusiasts, we all know that the chances of finding an early Datsun 510 that is stock and unmolested is usually pretty impossible. While there are several examples of well-preserved stock 510’s in North America, there is one particular car that really stands out. We’d like to tell you more about this amazing car… but more importantly, we’d like to tell you the story that goes along with it.
On November 9, 1971, Arthur Hughes purchased a 1972 Datsun 510 4-door sedan from Brasso Datsun in North Vancouver (Canada’s largest Datsun dealer). The car was intended to be driven by his aunt, who, due to her age, could no longer drive a larger car. The 510 came with most of the available options: Automatic transmission, tinted glass, rear window defroster, AM radio, dual side mirrors, engine trouble light, complete undercoating, and radial whitewalls and several other options.
In January 1979, Arthur’s aunt passed away, but bequeathed the 510 to Arthur in her will. At that time, she had only put 7,000 miles on the odometer. Amazingly, even the factory-installed clear protective vinyl was still on the rear door panels.
This factory-issued manual contains all the information you need to troubleshoot, maintain and service the fuel injection system on your 1975 to 1980 Datsun.
The manual covers fuel injection systems for the Datsun 810, the 200SX, and the 280Z and 280ZX.
The manual is broken up into sections for ease of use – Click the link for the section you wish to view.
Section 1 – Principles of Operation
Section 2 – Datsun EFI Troubleshooting
Section 3 – Adjusting EFI Settings
Part 2 of “Datsun Competition Parts Catalog 1976” – Click here to return to Page 1!
Katayama himself knew that from their point of view there had been too many American articles about this wonderful entrepreneurial Japanese businessman in Los Angeles who had made Nissan such a success, who had become so Americanized. and who was, it seemed, an honorary sheriff in half the counties in Texas. Too many people had said that it was Katayama’s company and that the 510 was Katayama’s car. All that, he knew, would hurt in Tokyo, but he did not care. He knew that they thought he had gone too American, that his clothes were considered too sporty and his manner too informal, and that every request he made to modify the car, no matter how valid, and no matter that Tokyo followed up on it, would eventually help to undo him back home. There he was seen as a spokesman for America against Japan, a man who had been implicitly critical of the existing Datsuns. He had had no illusion about his position from the start. “Everything I do right here,” he told his closest American associates, “will be considered something I did wrong by Tokyo.”
When he bought a house in Palos Verdes, he knew it would be held against him, that he would be charged with high living. He knew he would never be able to make Tokyo understand that whereas in Japan – because housing was so bad and perhaps because women were not a part of the business world – businessmen entertained by taking one another out for extravagantly expensive nights on the Ginza; in the United States, with its wonderful housing, Americans entertained in their homes. He paid a mere $25,000 for the house, and he loved entertaining there, barbecuing steak like an American but serving sushi beforehand. By American standards the house was very nice, but by Japanese standards it was extraordinarily grand, far grander than those in which his superiors lived at home. The house was always a sticking point. Tokyo never really accepted the idea of the house. A steady stream of high Nissan executives passed through California, looked at it, and held it against him, concluding that if Katayama had a house this splendid, he was in some way ripping off the company. When Katayama retired, his successor sold the house at a profit of about $50,000, and if he had held on a few years more, it would have been nearly $2 million.
The end for him began when Hiroshi Majima showed up in 1975. Majima became president, and Katayama became chairman. Japanese executives had arrived in the past, and Katayama had always been able to deal with them. Majima was different. He was Ishihara’s man, an executive with clout and connections. It was clear from the start that he was there to replace Katayama and that his coming signaled the close of the era. lt was an uncomfortable time for everyone. Katayama, of course, knew a lot more about America and doing business there, and Majima, just as clearly, outranked Katayama by lightyears and was under orders to take the company back from him. Majima did not speak English, and to the Americans at headquarters his manner seemed chilly and evasive. It was hard to get a quick and clear answer from him. He was not comfortable with Americans, only with other Japanese, and he brought more and more of them into the Los Angeles office. For some of the Americans it was their first real recognition that they were working for a Japanese company.
Katayama knew his time was running out. He had stayed on in America past retirement anyway, and now Tokyo was catching up. In early 1977 he received a cable imperiously summoning him home, without explanation. It was as if he had suddenly disappeared. On arrival in Tokyo he was informed that he had retired a few days earlier. His friends back in Los Angeles did not know what was happening but feared the worst. Mayfield Marshall, probably Katayama’s closest friend in the company, cabled him in Tokyo. “Hope they give you more than a gold watch,” he said. A few weeks later Katayama returned. He looked at Marshall and held up his wrist. On it was a gold watch. It was about the only thing they gave him.
He did not particularly want to return to Japan and for a time considered staying on in America in a different business. But he did go back, and in Tokyo, Nissan wanted to hide him. It was almost as if he had come home in disgrace. There was no reward for the job he had done. He was not put on the board. He did not make vice president. He was given a minor job in an advertising subsidiary – “I was farmed out,” he wrote his friends in America. “At least I am beyond the reach of the union.” Nissan tried to minimize any publicity in Japan about the role he had played. When American writers wanting to talk about the American operation showed up, the Nissan public relations people would come up with a short list of names, and though Kawazoe’s was on the list, Katayama’s was notable by its absence.
Not everyone ignored him: In April of 1977 Katayama was awarded a blue ribbon by MITI for his work on behalf of Japanese trade in America. That was a particularly high honor, and it pleased some of his friends back in America, for to them it was as if he had won it in spite of Nissan. But he took little pleasure in the award; to him it had a slightly bitter taste. He sensed that the Nissan people, embarrassed by his success in America and their own failure to recognize it by putting him on the board, had gotten MITI to do their work for them. It was partly a scam, he thought, and he felt oddly detached on the day of the presentation. Later he could not even remember whether or not he had celebrated with a few friends that night. A few months later, there was a party in his honor given by about 150 of his friends and colleagues; they had had to pay for the party themselves, he noted acidly.
In America, Nissan moved quickly against those who had been his nearest associates. Within a few months it got rid of John Parker, whose agency had handled the Nissan account since the first commercial.
But in a way Katayama got his revenge. For in America he had become not just popular, not just admired, but mythic. In 1983, Car and Driver, lamenting that Nissan products, though still durable, had become boring (“Nissan remains innovative only in financial matters,” the magazine noted), published a special tribute to Katayama as a human being and as a car man. By dint of a rare human vision, he had helped make a small, incompetent Japanese company an exciting one, pushing it relentlessly to produce its best. What Nissan needed most now, Car and Driver asserted, was another such man. The title of the article said it all: “WHERE HAVE YOU GONE, YUTAKA KATAYAMA?”
If the first oil shock, after the Yom Kippur War in 1973, enraged and discomfited the Americans, who suddenly had to pay more for gasoline, then it truly frightened the Japanese. For it was not some temporary inconvenience: it was a crisis imperiling their society. The Japanese economy was entirely built upon oil, of which Japan, unlike the United States, had minuscule domestic supplies. What followed was pure panic. There was immediate hoarding of nearly everything, stores were mobbed, and the government had to promise that there would be enough toilet paper for everyone. A quickie book entitled The Oil ls Cut instantly became a best seller. Companies decreed emergency measures to conserve energy; the paint ovens at most of the auto factories, for example, were redesigned so that they needed less heat. Throughout the world of business, faucets in the lavatories produced only cold water. The recovery came slowly. But it soon became clear that Japan was going to be the beneficiary of this crisis. Some Nissan executives claimed it was actually a blessing, because it had badly shaken the younger workers who had taken the company’s success for granted and had become arrogant and spoiled, and it had made them properly grateful for their jobs. Above all, there was now a greater need for smaller, gas-efficient cars.
Soon after the Arab embargo began, the people at Nissan found out that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had completed its first mileage test and that the Datsun 1200, the company’s smallest car, one that had been around for several years and that the executives were anxious to phase out, had scored the best mileage. John Parker and Maytield Marshall, sensing that a very good commercial might be made from this, took a crew and started filming the 1200 going from California to Maine, where it finally drove up to a lobsterman standing amid a pile of lobster pots. A team of independent authorities went along to check how much gas the 1200 used. The EPA had rated it at thirty-three miles to the gallon; the independent officials certified that on this trip the 1200 had gotten forty. The last line of the commercial was simply: “Datsun Saves.”
Even if there were few 1200s left to sell, Datsun was able to push its low-cost replacement, the 210. Fifteen years of hard work and constant upgrading of both performance and quality were now paying off. The Germans, because they had stayed with the Beetle, appealed to only a fraction of the new market and were unable to exploit the new opportunities. For the American auto companies, production in 1974 was down 23 percent. In the beginning, the Japanese had trouble, too, in finding the oil to keep their factories going, coping with depleted steel production, and shipping the cars they were making. But in due course the first oil shock allowed the Japanese to solidify their position in America. The real benefits came in 1975. That was the year Toyota passed Volkswagen as the leading import car. VW fell behind Toyota 268,000 to 284,000 and was only 15,000 units ahead of Nissan. (ln fact, Nissan was some 67,000 vehicles ahead of VW if truck sales were included.) Even more significant, imported passenger cars went to 18.3 percent of the market in 1975, and more than half of those cars were Japanese.
Yutaka Katayama watched this startling success and knew that it marked the end of his freedom. As long as Nissan America was small, profitable, and making progress (but not too much progress), he was relatively safe in his job. But, if anything, his growing accomplishment and the considerable publicity he was receiving were reminders back home that he was getting out of control and accepting credit that was not, it was felt, rightly his. He had no sponsor in Tokyo, no one to speak up for him. Over the years, as he had begun to do well in America, friends had begged him to go see Ichiro Shioji, the powerful Nissan labor boss, during his visits to Tokyo and pay homage. The phrase they used, for in the old days the labor office was right across the river from the old Nissan headquarters, was “go across the bridge.” Shioji was susceptible to courtship, they said; the relationship could still be patched up. But Katayama stubbornly refused to try. His East Coast counterpart, Soichi Kawazoe, was not doing as well in sales, but he had maintained his strong connection with Shioji and thus was still well thought of. (Kawazoe, Katayama once said, had always had a gift for playing poker with the right people.) Finally, somewhat reluctantly, on one trip home, Katayama went across the bridge to see Shioji. Shioji was an hour late for the meeting. In a country where people are extremely prompt, there was no doubt of the lesson Shioji was teaching Katayama.
As the American operation became increasingly successful, more and more bright young men began to arrive from Tokyo to help Katayama. He was extremely wary of some of them. “This one,” he might say, “is here to spy on me. Watch out for him. Tell him nothing.” At first some of Katayama’s American associates thought he was being a little paranoid – later, as they learned more of the complexity of the company’s politics, they were not so sure. When Kawamata or Ishihara showed up in America, they seemed cold and disapproving, and Katayama, in turn, usually so exuberant, became reserved. The Americans in the office thought Katayama was doing a brilliant job, and they found it odd that when they took these visiting officials out to some appointment and, making small talk, mentioned something about how well Mr. K was doing, the visitors never responded, never said a kind word about him. For Katayama had been much too visible in America, had taken too much pleasure in what he had done, had not played the role of the modest Japanese businessman who owes all to his superiors. They would not lightly forgive him for that.
Next – Datsun’s success comes at a price: How Datsun Discovered America, Part 8
Katayama finally got an extraordinary break. In the fall of 1965 a man named Keiichi Matsumura joined Nissan. He came over from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, where he had been MITI’s man on automobiles. There was a tradition of this in Japan. A high MITI official, his career completed, would go over into the industry that he had served – the Japanese called it amakudari, “descending from heaven.” In the spring of 1966, Matsumura visited and he and Katayama began a series of conversations about problems the company was having. Katayama knew immediately that this was his best chance to upgrade the engine, so he pushed as hard as he could with Matsumura about the need for the 1600cc. At the end of their first long session Matsumura said, “Write a letter for me, and I will sign it.” Then he changed his mind. “Make it a telex,” he said. “There’s a board meeting coming up soon.” The next day a long, impassioned telex message, which everyone at Nissan knew was from Katayama, went out over Matsumura’s name. Almost immediately Katayama got an angry message from Yuji Shimamoto, who was a key man in the export department. Shimamoto had been his chief tormentor in the past and had strenuously fought him on his repeated requests to upgrade the engine. This time Shimamoto was complaining bitterly and publicly of Katayama’s failure to ask him for the 1600 cc engine any earlier. That night, April 8, 1966, Katayama wrote in his diary: “I do not know how many times I have asked the head office for more [engine] power. In fact l have been begging for it, but we always had to shut up because their answer was that it was impossible. Now Shimamoto tells me that everyone including Kawamata was shocked by Matsumura’s telex. It is we who should be shocked, not him.”
A few days later Kawamata arrived in Los Angeles with his wife. Katayama was nervous that the president might be angry with him, but Kawamata seemed not to mind the telex at all: indeed he affected to take it as a normal request. It was, of course, immediately approved, and the 1600cc engine went into production, which made it ready for the new 1968 model called the 510. It was a remarkable car, in any real sense Yutaka Katayama’s car, a personal victory of exceptional magnitude in any auto company and particularly in a Japanese one. The 510 marked the beginning of the end of the Japanese small car as a clumsy, flimsy econobox. It was the fulfillment in that sense of Katayama’s vision, of taking the best of modern European engineering and marrying it to Japanese manufacturing expertise.
In the months when the car was in its final engineering design, Katayama was on the phone to Japan constantly; one of his American associates thought he was more like an expectant mother than an auto executive. He went sleepless the night before it arrived, and when the ship was finally docking in San Pedro he was more nervous than anyone had ever seen him. As soon as the first one came off the ship, he himself drove it out of the parking facility. “Finally!” he exclaimed to the friend riding next to him. “Finally they did it! I thought it would take ten years, but they did it in seven!”
For the first few months he was like a kid with a new toy. He made everyone drive it, first his colleagues at the office, then journalists, then anyone who walked near the showroom. He loved the car, and it was inconceivable to him that anyone who touched it would not be equally excited. In essence, as one high Nissan executive admitted at the time, the 510 was a brilliant knockoff of the BMW 1600, the main difference being that the BMW cost roughly $4,000 and the Nissan 510 about $1,800. The 510 had four-wheel independent suspension, an overhead camshaft, and a 1600 cc engine with 96 horsepower. It was very strong, well put together, fuel efficient. It was almost immediately a hot car. The professional auto magazines were unusually enthusiastic. Car nuts loved the new Datsuns. Dealers could not keep them on the floor, and for a time there were the inevitable charges that some dealers were taking bribes in order to save cars for customers. In Detroit, few of the people at the top of the auto companies took the 510 very seriously, though among the engineering people there was a sudden realization that the Japanese could be more than functional, they could be good.
ln 1971, Datsun jumped into third place among the importers, with 150,000 pieces sold. The 510 alone sold more than 300,000 pieces in five years, and to anyone paying attention it was a sure sign that the Japanese had arrived. It had always been a part of the basic theology of Detroit that it could roll back the foreigners anytime it wanted. The idea had always been that the imports could have 5 percent of the market, nothing more: if the foreigners went above that magic figure, Detroit would strike back. But in 1968 the figure neared 10 percent, with VW getting 54 percent of the total import market. Detroit executives were not really worried, they were making too much money for that. All they had to do whenever they wanted, they assured each other, was tool up some small cars. Soon the Detroit companies were bringing out their new compacts and subcompacts; Ford had the Maverick in 1969 and the ill-fated Pinto in 1970, and GM had the equally ill-fated Vega in 1970. But the import sales did not, as in the past, collapse. What Katayama and others had suspected was becoming true. Bonds of loyalty were being severed. It was no longer, as in the past, just an issue of size and price. The issues now were also quality and integrity.
Next – The oil crisis vaults Datsun to success: How Datsun Discovered America, Part 7