Produced between 1965 and 1968, the Datsun 520 truck was the successor of the wonderfully adaptable 320, and sold in great numbers before being ‘face-lifted’ in 1968 to become the Datsun 521.
Powered by a 1.3-litre inline-four engine designated the ‘J13’ the Datsun 520 could be found all around the world, and is often credited as being the first Japanese pickup to truly ‘crack’ the North American market.
Famed for its reliability and surprising ability considering its small size, the 520 has earned its place as not only a milestone vehicle for Datsun, but also as a niche ‘cult classic’ among both Japanese and commercial vehicle enthusiasts.
This particular example is a 1966 Datsun 520, which is among the more desirable models due to the single-headlight grille design. This was replaced with the double-headlight design during 1967, and retained throughout the facelift 521 production years, making these singe-headlight examples very rare indeed.
Purchased by the vendor during 2016 as part of a collection of small commercial vehicles, the vehicle was imported from South Africa by a previous owner, and has a NOVA certificate from HMRC.
Having been laid up for a number of years, this plucky little Datsun will require a light recommissioning before being road-registered and used once again.
The paperwork present with this 520 is minimal, due to the import process. The South African registration document is present, along with the NOVA certificate obtained from HMRC during import to the UK.
Despite its utilitarian heritage and target market, the Datsun 520 was praised for having a genuinely comfortable and (by the standards of the time) rather plush interior, especially for a work truck.
This particular example is starting to show its age, with the most notable issue being a large tear in the bench seat on the driver’s side. Other than this tear and a few other small marks, the rest of the seat looks to be in great condition with minimal signs of sagging, suggesting only the rear part of the seat would require re-covering.
The carpet is beginning to sag and shows signs of heavy use, however it is perfectly usable in its current condition. The door cards would require re-trimming due to the material peeling off of the backing, with the cards themselves becoming unstuck from the door frame.
The rest of the interior has minor age-related wear and patina which is to be expected from the vehicle’s age and milage, and there are no reported faults with any of the instruments.
The exterior of the vehicle is finished in a wonderful mint green colour, which despite its heavy life presents in good overall condition, and it certainly catches the eye.
The bodywork appears to be mostly straight, with a few dents noticeable on the tailgate and a small mark on the nearside rear wing, just behind the passenger door. Despite this, the patina is only part of the truck’s story, and we reckon that many owners would choose to keep the current paintwork on the vehicle.
The desirable single-headlight front end is in great condition, though the chrome would benefit from a refurbishment if the new owner wanted to bring the car back to pristine condition.
Surprisingly for a utilitarian vehicle, the pickup bed looks to be in great shape, with no signs of damage to the bed itself - a great sign for any potential purchaser.
Currently, the vehicle is not ready for use on the road due to having been in long-term storage.
The engine bay itself looks to be in good condition, and would simply require a thorough cleaning to bring it back to its best. There are no signs of leaking fluids that we can see, suggesting that this truck may have been maintained well by its past owners.
The vendor reports that when they last drove the truck, the gear linkage and front suspension required attention, but otherwise the vehicle started, stopped and turned as expected. A full mechanical inspection and overhaul is advised before using the vehicle on the road, just for safety’s sake.
With its classic lines, rare single-headlight front end and eye-catching mint green paintwork, this Datsun 520 is a rare vehicle, and one that is sure to catch the eye of any passer-by or Japanese car enthusiast.
Thanks to its practical nature, classic trucks such as this make a great basis for an advertising or promotional tool, which will no doubt prove reliable and useful once a recommissioning has been undertaken.
Are you looking for a way of setting your business apart from the crowd? Or are you simply a fan of rare Japanese or commercial vehicles? Well, step right up - this is the one for you.
** The photos in this listing have been provided to us by the seller **
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