New Datsun Old Datsun

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” – Chuck Dickens

I’m not entirely sure how that works into this post or the upcoming video by Petrolicious, but I like it and it fits (maybe?).  Regardless of my efforts to find deep meaning and highlight the obvious juxtaposition here,  this is a great video.  It a video that, I think reflects part of what is great about Beater Life.

“Every car has a story, not just the pretty ones” has been our motto from Day 1. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Saab, and Angry Sofa or a Ferrari or sick Datsun like the one in the video, if it’s got a story, if it’s used , loved , and beat on, we’ll love it!

Petrolcious, which is one of my personal favorite blogs to watch, usually produces videos about concourse level cars that you will only see at Amelia Island or Pebble Beach, but every once in a while they put something out that’s pretty relatable. They’ve done their fair share of BMW 2002’s and Alfa’s, but this one from their archives is one of my absolute favorites.

Check it out:


Jumping A Datsun



There’s just something about Datsuns that makes you smile when you see. one. They’re cheap to purchase, cheap to maintain and cheap to get rid of. If you have gotten lucky and your Datsun hasn’t rusted out underneath you, they’re pretty stout little things. By no means are they an old Impala, but they’ll “Take a licking and keep ticking” as it were.

Old Datsun 720 trucks are a sort of guilty pleasure of mine. I’ve owned an old Z-car, and have lusted after countless 510 coupes and wagons over the years but something about the 720 and lesser trucks speak to me.  They were simple and honest.  They were a truck. That’s all they were. That’s all Nissan Datsun wanted them to be.

Without a doubt the pickup is the semi-official car of North America.  Like an old Toyota Corolla, everybody has owned a pickup at one point. You can still get a basic pickup but those are usually made for fleet auctions and bulk sales instead of the basic dealership consumer. That’s where we lose the simplicity of the old Datsun.  farmers truck are behemoths. They’re complicated, massive beasts that can run as much as $80k or more once you get trigger happy with with options boxes.

Have we lost touch with the simplicity of old trucks, old F-series, old Datsuns and Toyotas?  Jake’s short story about his old Datsun truck is a good case for simplicity and “cheapness” of old Datsuns.  Both values that are important to those that rely on a beater to get them where they’re going.

Jake has a Datsun and put it through its paces with his buddy Blake. Check it out:




I got my beater as a parts truck in a deal with another 720. They were gonna swap the motor into the 4×4 but I couldn’t let that happen she had to much character.

She has yet to leave me stranded anywhere, despite always giving it hell.

The funniest time I had with her is when I first got her and we went jumping speed bumps and blew the shocks out.

Well me and my buddy Blake had been out gooning around. Throwing some circles in field and tried some burnouts. As we were headed back to my house we saw one of our buddy’s turn into his neighborhood. So we busted a right and tried to catch him. The first speed table I hit kinda slow, It wasn’t to rough, so the second one i hit with more pep. We bounced in the cab and stopped at the stop sign,  and made the right turn. The next speed table was in front of our buddy’s house. I ran through first and hit second never backing out of it. Hit the bump bottomed out and flew at least half a car length. From there back home it felt like we were riding on a park bench on a skateboards. With sore backs.

Remember kids: “Just because it has to start in the morning doesn’t mean you can’t have fun in it.”



The “Oh Shit Kit”

Let’s face it, your beater is going to break down.  Your beloved daily driver, the car that’s taken you on so many adventures, is going to leave you stranded somewhere.  When your beater kicks the bucket are you prepared?

Many new cars come with roadside assistance services and road hazard kits tucked neatly in the trunk.  Not your beater.  It is a bare bones, rugged and noble steed.  Somewhere inside your beater is a set of tools specifically tailored to its most common problems.  Somewhere in your beater you probably carry an “Oh Shit Kit.”

Some classic OSK’s from Amelia. These were original and were fetching $300-$500!!

The “Oh Shit Kit” or OSK is unique to to each beater.  Its a collection of tools amassed for one singular purpose; to get you off the shoulder and back on the road, or at least onto the flatbed.

I had an old Datsun back in high school that had melted through it wiring harness and kept blowing through fusible links (old school fuses).  Instead of forking over my hard earned caddyshack money for a new harness, I spent $20 on a roll on 10 gauge fusible link wire and a cheap soldering kit.  I became a master of roadside (and car wash) electrical repairs.

I also kept an old broomstick in the hatch area. The hydraulic hatch dampers had long since expired, and a broomstick was cheaper and did the job much better than some cheap-o new dampers. Open the hatch. Hear the rust crunching under my fingers and find a hole to shove the broomstick in and prop the hatch up. done. Who needs hatch dampers anyways?

I currently am not using an “Oh Shit Kit”, but here’s what I kept in both the Datsun and the Sentra.

Show us your “Oh Shit Kits” in the comments section!


8mm-19mm wrenches

Stubby Phillips and Flathead screwdrivers

Lug nut socket

My Z
Sorry for the quality. This was my crap-can Datsun.

Breaker Bar


Bottle jack

Butane soldering torch

100ft roll of fusible link wire

Used windshield wiper blade

Extra light bulbs


PB Blaster



8mm-19mm wrenches

Stubby Phillips and Flathead screwdriver

Lug nut socket

It took more than an OSK to get me out of this mess.

Breaker Bar

Pocket knife


Scissor jack