Saturday, December 23, 2006

Random Retro Detailing: Datsun Sunny 120Y

Ahhh, the 120Y. One of the best selling cars of the 1970s in the UK, yet hardly any survive. Indestructable mechanicals, rot-prone bodywork - so typical of Japanese cars from that era. But what a magnificently styled machine!

Datsun Sunny 120Y

The exterior is a work of art. The grille alone is a wonderful tribute to the art of plastic moulding, featuring lots of fake chrome and intricate detailing. Check out the flattened-football hubcaps (the greatest wheeltrim design of all time?), the curious rising sill-line, the little indentations in the rear wings (not visible in the pic, but they are there), and that's the regular four door - the two door coupe is a whole other thing altogether, worthy of an essay all to itself.

My favourite touch is inside:

Check out that dashboard! Millions of people spent many, many hours sat behind that, trundling along in a world of flared trousers and the Bay City Rollers. The square dials are immediately obvious, but the highlight lurks near to the radio:

The control-knob for the fresh air vent is in the "D" shape of the Datsun typeface. I assume it's an air vent anyway, I shall have to do some research and find out!

Simply magnificent. Not even Maserati, with their famous gold clock, come close.


Matt said...

Hi there,

As far as I can remember, the "D" badge on the dashboard wasn't a vent - more a styling feature. The air vents were circular, and only provided one each for the driver and passenger - this can be seen behind the steering wheel, at about 2-o'clock.

My parents had one of these vehicles for many years (a turquoise one!), and as it was the first car that I can really remember, I loved it. I actually saw one on the road yesterday, which prompted me to log on to find some more info, and so stumbled on your site.

All the best,

Southsea UK

Anonymous said...

I should clarify the D in place of a clock. If you had a higher/sportier spec model if came with a rev. counter which replaced the clock / dials to the left of the speedo. This then made it necessary to move the clock.

My Mum had a 120Y Coupe. Wow... sort of a Japanese Ford Gran Torino (in my 10 year old head at the time). We had a read one and I wanted the white stripe!

Anyway, the (pointless) rev counter was left of the speedo and the TINY clock was where the D badge is.

Anonymous said...

The D vent was actually a 'blank' that was used for models that had a clock next to the speedometer. In the coupe the D blank removed and was replaced with a clock as that model had a tachometer

Unknown said...

it was quite brave in 70's to have a japanese car as it was considered unpatriotic! crazy now ....... must admit you dont see many nowdays though