Nissan to showcase heritage at Japanese Classic Car show

Produced for only one year, the VG223 had the dimensions of a compact wagon. It was a rare sight in the U.S. market, with only 269 Datsun trucks imported in total, and most of those being pickups. Surfboards were not included with the purchase price.
Produced for only one year, the VG223 had the dimensions of a compact wagon. | Photos courtesy of Nissan

Nissan will participate for the first time in the 11th annual Japanese Classic Car Show, scheduled for September 19 in Long Beach, California. The automaker will include the show in its heritage summer tour by showing several vehicles from its corporate collection.

“The Japanese Classic Car Show is the biggest Japanese heritage event in the country,” said Pierre Loing, vice president for product planning for Nissan North America, “ Nissan is proud to be both a participant and an event partner.”

The Japanese Classic Car Show is dedicated to showcasing “old-school Japanese cars” and Nissan’s mint-condition 1967 Datsun 411 and 1972 Datsun 510 will be prominently placed alongside other Nissan vehicles at Queen Mary Event Park.

1967 Datsun 411, saldrán del museo para el recorrido de casi 500 kilómetros por la costa de California.
1967 Datsun 411

The Datsun 411 was produced from 1965-1967 and featured a body design by Pinifnarina of Italy. The Datsun 510 was honored by Road & Track magazine “one of the most important cars of the 20th Century,” an attractive, economical, fuel-efficient, 5-passenger sedan that was fun to drive.

Other cars in the Nissan display will include a 1975 Datsun Bluebird 2000GTX, the first Nissan product to adopt the popular “coke bottle” styling, and a 1997 Nissan R390 GT1 racer, which features a mid-engine design housing a 641-horsepower twin-turbo V6 engine; the car had a two-year racing career which included the Le Mans. Both vehicles are from Nissan’s Heritage Garage in Zama, Japan.

Also making an appearance is a 1960 Datsun 1200 Van, which was only produced for a single year. The 1200 Van will betowed by a 2016 Nissan Titan XD pickup, which will be making its first public showing.

The 610 series was launched in 1971 and was badged as the Datsun Bluebird-U, for "User Oriented." This signified higher comfort levels than offered by its predecessor, the 510. The 610 was one of the first Nissan products to adopt a popular "coke bottle" styling appearance.
The 610 was one of the first Nissan products to adopt a popular “coke bottle” styling appearance

“Good cars will always be appreciated,” said Tim Gallagher, senior manager for Nissan Corporate Communications. “It was inevitable some of the Japanese cars would, too, many are classics in their own way.”

According to Gallagher, collectors seek pristine, unmodified cars, however, “tastefully done, period-correct mods can still generate a lot of collector interest and increase value, too.” He said there also is great potential with barn-found Japanese cars.

Gallagher told Classic Car News that for Nissan, the show provides a “Pretty cool connection between past and present,” given the diversity of Japanese classic car enthusiasts; they are “multi-generational, not gender-specific and certainly multi-cultural, all of which relates to our current customers.”

“The interest in vintage and classic Japanese branded cars and trucks is growing every year and is moving far beyond its West Coast roots,” added Loing. “While the Datsun 510 and Datsun 240Z remain the most well-known for most enthusiasts, events like the JCCS really bring out some great forgotten models like our 411 and Bluebird. And who knows, maybe someday the 2016 Maxima and TITAN XD will achieve classic status, too.”

According to Nissan, its vehicles were first sold in the U.S. under the Datsun name plate in 1958 and the company’s first U.S. headquarters were located just up the 405 freeway from where the Japanese car show takes place.

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