It is hard to believe that it is 30 years since Datsun’s parent company Nissan started to phase out the use of the Datsun brand name from global markets at an estimated cost in the USA alone of some US$500.
So it was a surprise to learn that Nissan are to reactivate the brand for base models that will capture markets in India, Russia and Indonesia from 2014 in an effort to win an 8% global market share.
The Datsun name is a derivative of the Datson model that was marketed in 1931 by the DAT Jidosha & Co.,Ltd, a name born in 1925 out of three financial backers of the Kaishinsha Motorcar Co (1918) and it earlier incarnation Kaishinsha Motor Car Works (1911) founded by Masujiro Hashimoto called Kenjiro Den, Rokuro Aoyama and Meitaro Takeuchi .
At the time the company sold two models the larger DAT and smaller Datson, son translates as son in Japanese. Because son also means ‘disadvantage’ in Japanese the name was later changed to Datsun in 1932. Following a couple of mergers Datsun was taken over in by Nihon, Sangyo Co., Ltd 1934 who changed the corporate name of the manufacturer but continued to use the Datsun brand name particularly in export markets.
The second generation 120A F-II was known in Japan as the Cherry and marketed through ‘Nissan Cherry Shop’ Dealerships.
120A F-II refers to the A12 4 cylinder motor with a capacity of 1,171 cc 71 cui, a smaller version 100A was also produced, production of the 100A continued in New Zealand until 1980.
While the styling of the 120A F-II was a tad wayward by contemporary European standards the reliability of the 100A & 120A meant that by the time they hit the scrap yards they usually had much higher mileages than the better looking European models of the time. The 100A and 120A F-II models were in production from 1974 to 1977.
The Vauxhall XVR, seen here at Goodwood Festival of Speed, was the first Concept Car ever exhibited by Vauxhall Motors, it appeared in public at the Geneva motor show in 1966.
Wayne Cherry who had been involved in the design of the Chevrolet Camaro / Pontiac Firebird and Oldsmobile Tornado was transferred from GM central in Detroit to GMs English manufacturer Vauxhall Motors in 1965 and with is credited with the Stingrayesque styling of the XVR alongside the Director of Styling David Jones.
3 XVR models were built powered by 71 hp twin carburetor 1594 cc / 97 cui 4 cylinder motors as used in the performance VX 4/90 variation on the Vauxhall 101.
The XVR was built on a custom built chassis with independent suspension and disc brakes all round.
Gull wing doors were part of the futuristic XVR package, even though they had already been seen on the production Mercedes 300 SL dating back to 1954, though unlike the Mercedes the doors on the XVR also form the unusual for the period split windscreen.
It is not known why Vauxhall halted production of the XVR concept which is known to have been put through trials at Vauxhall’s Research and Test center after it’s public debut in Geneva.
Elements of the concept are said to have found their way into the design of the Vauxhall Firenza including the styling of the dashboard and tail lights.
Although as we shall see next week the German chapter of GM, Opel, would build a car that took it’s styling from it’s own Opel Experimental GT concept dating from 1965 it would take another 34 years before the Vauxhall brand name would appear on a two seat sports car namely the Vauxhall VX220.
Thanks for joining me on this XVR edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !
Like the recently featured South African Chevrolet Firenza Can Am the High Performance (HP) Firenza was a top of the range Viva HC Coupé model but built for the UK market and though intended to be produced in far larger numbers, 30,000 projected units, only 204 HP Firenza’s were built along with a further 197 estate / station wagon variants.
The distinctive ‘Droopsnoot’ grp nose was restyled styled by Wayne Cherry and based on the nose of a well known Dealer Team Vauxhall Firenza raced by Gerry Marshall called ‘Old Nail’ that will it’s self be the subject of a future GALPOT blog. The twined headlights are interchangeable with the Renault Alpine A310.
Under the unusual for the period aerodynamic nose was a 131 HP 2297 cc / 140 cui slanted 4 cylinder engine enough to power the HP Firenza with a drag co efficient of cd 0.4 from rest to 60 mph in 8 secs and to a top speed of 120 mph.
Though the paint work of this particular car built in 1975 is not the original ‘Starlight Silver’ this car carries similar decals to those carried by a small series of vehicles for a one off publicity race organised at Thruxton to launch the model, a race won by Barry ‘Whizzo’ Williams.
The HP Firenza was undoubtedly a styling triumph for Vauxhall yet the car was also an unmitigated marketing disaster thanks to the after effects of the ’70’s fuel crisis, though design elements of the nose did find their way into future Vauxhall products notably the Chevette and Cavalier which were in essence badge engineered Opel models.
Thanks for joining me on today’s Droopsnoot edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at another performance saloon carrying a blue oval badge. Don’t forget to come back now !