Nissan Bluebird

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Nissan Bluebird
Nissan U13 Bluebird SSS ATTESA.jpg
Manufacturer Nissan
Production 1957–2001
Body and chassis
Class Mid-size car
Body style 2-door coupe
4-door hardtop/Sedan/wagon
Successor Nissan Primera (Europe)
Nissan Cefiro (Asia and Australian)
Nissan Teana
Nissan Altima (North and South America)

The Nissan Bluebird is a medium-sized car launched in 1957. It has been Nissan's most internationally recognized sedan, in multiple bodystyles, and is known for its dependability and durability. The Bluebird's traditional competitor was the Toyota Corona from almost the very beginning of the product line. The Bluebird was originally developed to compete with the Corona, as the Corona was developed to continue offering a sedan used as a taxi since Toyota Crown was growing in size. Every generation of the Bluebird has been available as a taxi, duties that are shared with base level Nissan Cedrics.

It is one of the longest-running nameplates from a Japanese automaker. It spawned the S130 Fairlady Z/280ZX, which in turn spawned the Maxima (originally 910 Bluebird/S130 Fairlady Z based), the 160J/710/Violet/Auster/Stanza line, and the U.S.-built Altima line.

Export and foreign-built model names[edit]

Export versions were sold variously as the Datsun 510, Datsun 180B (with 160B and 200B versions) and the Datsun Bluebird. The Nissan Bluebird nameplate began appearing around 1982 as the Datsun marque was phased out in favour of Nissan.

From 1981 to 1985, Australia followed the Japanese convention by calling its car the Bluebird, and had a unique, facelifted rear-wheel-drive version for 1984 and 1985. That car was replaced in 1986 by the Nissan Pintara. It would be replaced by the successive Bluebird, also called Pintara, until 1992; then the range was brought in line with the Japanese model, for the U13 series from 1993 to 1997. In an unusual twist, brought about under the short lived Button Plan, the Pintara was also rebadged for Ford Australia as the Ford Corsair, reviving a Ford UK nameplate last used in the 1960s.

In the United States, the Bluebird was eventually sold as the Nissan Stanza. In 1992, the Stanza became the Nissan Altima. Currently, the Bluebird is not sold in North America; in 1998, the Altima was completely redesigned, becoming a model unique to the North American market.

The Bluebird sold in Europe between 1986 and 1990 was in fact a rebadged Nissan Auster—this was replaced by the Primera in Nissan's European line-up in 1990.

A six-cylinder version called the Maxima was released in the 1980s and became a separate model.


210/211 series[edit]

Datsun 1000 (210 series)
Datsun 1000 Fuji-Go 001.JPG
Manufacturer Datsun
Production 1957-1959
Body and chassis
Class compact
Body style sedan
Layout FR layout
Engine 988 cc C I4
Transmission 4-speed manual
Wheelbase 2,220 mm (87 in)
Length 3,860 mm (152 in)
Width 1,466 mm (57.7 in)
Height 1,535 mm (60.4 in)
Curb weight 925 kg (2,039 lb) max

Although Nissan's own materials indicate that the Bluebird name emerged in 1959, some records show that the name first adorned a 988 cc, 34 hp (25 kW) four-door sedan in 1957, which was part of the company's 110/210 series. Its engine was based on an Austin design, as Nissan had been building the Austin A50 Cambridge under licence in the 1950s.

The 210 was known for doubling Nissan's production at the time and was the first Nissan to be exported to the United States. In some markets, this model was exported as the Datsun 1000. It was the first passenger car to be built in Taiwan, by the fledgling Yue Loong works, as the 1960 YLN 701 Bluebird.[1]

The 210 established an early reputation for reliability, with two of them winning the 1,000 cc class in the 1958 Australia Mobilgas Rally.

The 210 had succeeded the 110 series, sold as a two- and four-door sedan and offered from 1955 to 1957. This model bore the Convar or A110 model names and was powered by an 860 cc, 25 hp (19 kW) Nissan D10 four-cylinder engine. In some respects, the A110 is the forerunner of the modern Bluebird line. Incremental changes were denoted by 112 and 113 codes (the 111 designation was skipped), with the last model a 113 with the 210's 1-litre C engine. The Datsun 114 was introduced in October 1957 as a low cost option to the 210 (the 114 used the 210's body except for the grille and exterior trim combined with the old D10 engine). Another low cost alternative was the Datsun 115 (lower specification version of the 211) and was similar to the 114 with the exception of a bigger rear window and slightly redesigned front turn signals. The same engine was used, but was improved to produce 27 hp (20 kW).

Subsequent models included the 211 (October 1958) which featured cosmetic changes. There was also the 220-series of small trucks based on the 210.

1956 Datsun 1000 (series 112)
The Datsun 1000 series U220 truck was based on the series 210
1959 Datsun 1000 (series 211)

310 series[edit]

Datsun Bluebird 310
Datsun Bluebird (310) 001.JPG
Also called
  • Yue Loong Bluebird 704
  • Saenara Bluebird
  • Sinjin Sinsung-ho
Production 1960-1963
Assembly Hiratsuka, Kanagawa, Japan
Body and chassis
Body style
Layout FR layout
Related Datsun 320
Transmission 3-speed manual (fully synchronized for 1961)
Wheelbase 2,280 mm (90 in)
Length 3,915 mm (154.1 in)
Width 1,496 mm (58.9 in)
Height 1,470 mm (58 in)
Curb weight 900 kg (2,000 lb)

The Datsun Bluebird which debuted in August 1959 was an all-new car, and was available in Japan at the dealership sales channel Nissan Bluebird Store. The 310 series had a 1 L engine from the 210 model. The 310 was built from 1960-1963. There were three models built: 310 (1960), 311 (1961), and 312 (1962–1963). In Taiwan it also replaced the 701 and was known as Yue Loong Bluebird 704. The Datsun 312 was also sold in Korea.The 310 series was also built in South Africa at a factory in Rosslyn Pretoria in CKD form during 1962 and 1963. The model was also sold in New Zealand and was one of the first Japanese models available there, beginning in May 1962.[2]

In July 1960, a five-door station wagon was added (WP310). The P310 was powered by the 1.2L Nissan E engine. A smaller engine version (simply called "310") was powered by the 1.0L Nissan C engine. The P311 and P312 (powered by the 60 hp 1.2L Nissan E-1 engine) also had smaller engined versions ("311" and "312") that were powered by the 45 hp 1.0L Nissan C-1 engine. The 310 and 311 were equipped with a 3-speed manual transmission (fully synchronized for the 311 and 312). The station wagon was also available for the 311 and 312. The 312 was also available in a deluxe version (DP312). A trim model called the "Fancy Deluxe" (model code DP312-L) was marketed for the female driver; it featured a pale yellow exterior, pale yellow/grey interior, high heel shoe holder under the dash, a vanity mirror on the back of the driver's side sun visor, a turn signal relay that played music, curtains, automatic clutch, and bigger mirrors. By February 1961, a 1.2 L overhead-valve engine (codenamed E-1) became an option on a higher-trim DX model.

Styling tended to mimic larger American cars. A very small number did make it to the United States. This generation of Bluebird became one of the first Japanese cars to be sold in significant numbers in Europe, after Finland fully opened its doors to automobile imports in mid-1962. 700 were brought in, and by the time the 410-series had arrived, Datsun had passed SAAB and Triumph in registrations. Although not very fast, the sturdy Datsun was well-suited to the rugged Finnish roads of the time.[3]

Datsun Bluebird 310

410/411 series[edit]

Datsun Bluebird 410
Also called Yue Loong YLN-705B (TW)
Production 1964-1967
Body and chassis
Body style
Layout FR layout
Related Datsun 520
  • 3-speed column shift manual
  • 4-speed close ratio floor shift manual
Wheelbase 2,380 mm (94 in)
Length 3,995 mm (157.3 in)
Width 1,490 mm (59 in)
Height 1,415 mm (55.7 in)
Curb weight 915 kg (2,017 lb)

In September 1963, Nissan brought the Bluebird up-to-date with boxier styling (by Pininfarina), resembling European designs, particularly the Lancia Fulvia. The 410 was built from 1964-1967.

Two basic models were built: 410 (1964–1965) with a combination rear lamp set consisting of round and rectangular lenses, and 411 (1965–1967), which featured the same combination rear lamp set as the earlier 410 through 1966, changing to higher mounted rectangular tail light sets for 1967. On both, the rear direction indicators were red or amber, according to market – New Zealand, which allows either, took the 410 with both and the 411 with red only. This Bluebird was one of the first Japanese car lines assembled in New Zealand, initially imported under a tariff/duty arrangement allowing 300 cars a year (the so-called '300 Club') with CKD kits built up by Motor Holdings at Mount Wellington in Auckland. The 410 series sedan and station wagon plus a light delivery van was assembled in South Africa at a factory in Rosslyn Pretoria. These cars were all in CKD format.

A sporting model, the Bluebird SS, was launched in Japan in March 1964, with a tuned 1.2 L engine. The SS was originally available only in a four-door configuration (MTK), but a two-door (RTK) joined about a year later. Two versions of the SS were built: the DP410-MTK/RTK and the DP411-MTK/RTK. The DP410 was powered by a 71 hp (53 kW) version of the 1.2 L Nissan E-1 engine. The 78 PS (57 kW) double-carburetted version of the J13 powered the DP411. All SS models were equipped with a four-speed manual transmission.

Initially, only a four-door sedan and five-door station wagon were in the range, but a two-door was added in September 1964. The two-door SS was launched in February 1965. The 410 and 411 were also available in a deluxe version (DP410 and DP411). A "Fancy Deluxe" version was also available in the home market. A DP411 SSS was entered in motor sport by the Datsun factory in South Africa and was used as test car for Nissan Japan. A Datsun DP411 SSS was also entered in the 1964 Monte Carlo rally, where it was driven by a South African called Ewold van Bergen.

1967 Datsun 1600 Wagon(US)

In May 1965 the base engine was enlarged to a downtuned version of the 1.3 L unit already used in the SS, now with a single (twin-barrel) carb and developing 67 PS (49 kW) at 5,200 rpm. The transmission remained a three-speed.[5] The SS was downtuned somewhat, now with 72 PS (53 kW) but still with the four-speed unit.[5] More excitingly, a twin-carb 1.6 L SSS model was launched the same month, with no less than 90 PS (66 kW).[6] This begat a line of famous Nissans in Japan, with the Bluebird SSS a mainstay of the range until its deletion in 2001.

As usual, a pickup truck version was developed and sold in parallel. For some reason it broke with the earlier standard of simply changing the second digit of the chassis code to a "2", instead labelling it the 520. The commercial-use 520 marked the divergence of Datsun's Bluebird and truck lines, as it continued to be available until 1972. Later versions received a modernized front end, similar to the contemporary 510 Bluebird.

In the United States, only the four-door sedan and wagon were offered; the two-door was never available. The 1.6 litre, featuring the same R16 engine as the SP(L)311 Roadster, was only available in 1967. The 1.2 and 1.3 410 and 411 series' had a manual gearbox, while the 1.6 litre was available as either a manual or automatic. The cars were labeled DATSUN, with no mention of Bluebird either on the car or in the owner's manual.

Datsun Bluebird 410

In Taiwan the Bluebird 410 was built and sold as the Yue Loong YLN-705B.

510 series[edit]

Datsun Bluebird 510
Also called Datsun 510
Datsun 1600 (Europe)
Yue Loong YLN-706 (Yulon, TW)
Production 1967-1972
Assembly Hiratsuka, Kanagawa, Japan
Melbourne, Australia[7]
Body and chassis
Body style 2/4-door sedan
2-door coupé
5-door station wagon
Layout FR layout
Engine 1.3 L L13 I4[8]
1.6 L L16 I4[8]
Transmission 4 speed manual all-synchromesh[9]
Wheelbase 2,416 mm (95.1 in)[8]
Length 4,120 mm (162.2 in)[8]
Width 1,560 mm (61.4 in)[8]
Height 1,402 mm (55.2 in)[8]

Launched in August 1967, it was one of the most comprehensive Bluebird ranges in terms of body styles: a two-door sedan, a four-door sedan, a five-door station wagon, and a two-door coupé (added in November 1968). The "510" still enjoys considerable fame in the U.S.

Like its predecessors, the 510 Bluebird line was imported into New Zealand, this time as a single 1.6-litre, four-speed manual Deluxe model, assembled from CKD kits by Campbell Industries (later Toyota New Zealand Thames assembly plant). Local content included glass, radiator, upholstery, carpet, paint, wiring and numerous other items. A few automatic and twin carburettor SSS versions were imported built-up from Japan, primarily for buyers who had access to funds overseas and could utilise the country's 'no remittance' new car purchase scheme to avoid lengthy waiting lists.The P510 sedan and coupé were built in South Africa [Pretoria] from 1969 to 1974 and had the L16 engine, available as 1600 SSS (twin carbs) and as the single carbed 1600 DeLuxe. An automatic gearbox model was also available for the DeLuxe range. The factory also made two versions of the two-door coupé. They were a 1600GL and a 1800GL. The 1600GL had a single carburetor or twin carbs and 1800 cc cars had twin carbs. The 1600 SSS was also used in motorsport as test cars for Nissan Japan. The cars were used in numerous motorsport rallies by Ewold van Bergen from Pretoria, South Africa, who was a test engineer for Nissan Japan.

Datsun Bluebird "SSS" series 510 coupé
Datsun Bluebird 510 Wagon

610 series[edit]

Datsun Bluebird 610
Inline-six Datsun Bluebird Coupé (G610)
Also called Datsun 160B/180B
Datsun 610[10]
Production 1971–1976
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
2-door coupé
5-door station wagon
Layout FR layout
Engine 1595 cc L16 I4
1770 cc L18 I4
1952 cc L20B I4 (U.S.)[11]
1998 cc L20/L20A I6 (G610)
  • 2,500 mm (98 in)
  • 2,650 mm (104 in) (G610)
  • 4,215 mm (165.9 in)
  • 4,420 mm (174 in) (G610)
Width 1,600 mm (63 in)
Height 1,415 mm (55.7 in)
Curb weight 1,035 kg (2,282 lb)

The 610 series was launched in Japan in August 1971 and was badged as the Datsun Bluebird-U. The meaning behind the U suffix is "User Oriented", to signify the higher comfort levels than what the 510 predecessor could muster.[12] A (happily) short-lived domestic advertising campaign used the rather unfortunate catch-line "Bluebird U - Up You!" It was one of the first Nissan products to adopt a popular styling appearance, called "coke bottle" which appeared internationally during the 1960s and 1970s, an appearance shared with the larger Nissan Cedric, as both vehicles were available at Japanese Nissan dealerships called Nissan Bluebird Store.

For the Japanese domestic market, the 610 was pitted against the second generation Toyota Corona Mark II. Also in Japan, the 610 was initially sold alongside the 510 but eventually replaced the 510. 610's were available as a four-door, two-door hardtop (HT), and a five-door wagon. Trim levels in Japan were GL (Grand Luxe), SSS (Super Sports Sedan), DX (Deluxe) or STD (Standard). It borrowed its suspension and drive train from the outgoing 510, with some modifications. Likewise, the 610 four-door and two-door retained the class-leading, independent rear trailing arm design, while the wagon reused the rear live axle with leaf springs from the 510 wagon.

Whether four or six-cylinder models, all 610's were equipped with Nissan's L-series inline engines. In many export markets, including UK, Europe, and Australia, the 610 was badged as the 160B or 180B with respect to particular engine displacement. The Bluebird name also often appeared in advertising and in brochures. In the UK the popularity of the 160B/180B/180B SSS Coupe range further strengthened Datsun's position as the leading Japanese importer. As a result of Japanese Government passage of emission control regulations, Nissan introduced their emissions technology in 1975, using a badge that said "Nissan NAPS" (Nissan Anti Pollution System) on vehicles thus equipped.

From 1973-74, North America was the only market outside of Japan to have its 610 HT models equipped with the unique, six-bulb tail lights that covered the entire rear panel, requiring the license plate to be mounted below the rear bumper. Later American 610s received the larger (2 litres) L20B engine, although with only 97 hp (72 kW); this is less than what was claimed for a Japanese market 1.6.[11] Most 610s worldwide came equipped with either a four-speed manual or a three-speed automatic transmission, but a five-speed manual transmission was available in the Japanese & Australian markets.

As with the 510, the SSS trim included miscellaneous sport options and a higher output engine with twin-Hitachi carburetors. A Japan-only SSS-E model was equipped with Bosch electronic fuel injection, and so was one of the first, mass-produced Nissan vehicles to be sold without a carburetor. Another 610 never exported was the inline-six U-2000 GT and U-2000 GTX (nicknamed "shark-nose" in Japanese), which shows some visual similarities to the North American Pontiac GTO. Called the G610, it came with a stretched front end to accommodate the longer engine and featured a different grill and other aesthetic modifications. This model was not available as a wagon. The most powerful GTX-E received fuel injection and 130 PS (96 kW).[13]

1974–1977 Datsun 180B (P610) sedan (Australia)

The 610 Bluebird received a facelift in 1974, with prominent turn signals mounted on the front corners and with a more squared off grille, along with other changes. This means that the 610 was available with three different front ends: original, facelift, and the "shark-nose" six-cylinder front. A minor upgrade to the front suspension (offset strut tops) for the 610 led to slightly improved handling before the introduction of the 810.

Racing History

A 610 four-door participated in the 1972 & 1973 East African Safari Rally. Bob Sharp drove his 610 HT race car to second place overall in the American SCCA B Sedan Championship for 1973 and 1974. The same car achieved a first place for the 1976 SCCA B-Sedan Championship but with Elliot Forbes-Robinson driving.

Datsun 610 Sedan (US market)
New Zealand

New Zealand market cars initially were a single 1.8-litre 180B sedan, again with four-speed manual transmission and assembled from CKD kits under contract by Campbell's. A three-speed automatic – using a transmission made by Nissan Japan subsidiary JATCO – was later added as a factory option. Relaxed restrictions on car assembly kit imports and increasing affluence in NZ meant Campbell's, which also assembled Toyota, Renault, Rambler, Hino, Isuzu and Peugeot models over the years, could not meet demand so Nissan-Datsun (NZ) contracted Chrysler/Mitsubishi importer Todd Motors to assemble additional manual 180Bs at its Porirua factory alongside the Chrysler Valiant, Hunter, Avenger and Alpine model ranges and Mitsubishi Lancer sedan and Colt Galant coupe. The Todd-built cars gave Datsun dealers a new range of paint colours all different from those Campbell's offered.

710 series[edit]

Nissan Violet 710 series sedan

Shortly after the introduction of the 610, Nissan launched a new line of slightly smaller cars January 1973 utilizing parts and styling cues from the 610. This new line of cars was sold in various markets as the 140J/160J, Violet, or 710, evolving into the Nissan Stanza. In Japan, it was exclusive to Nissan Satio Store Japanese dealerships as a larger companion to the smaller Nissan Sunny, thereby giving Nissan the opportunity to sell a Bluebird-sized vehicle at a different sales channel. The use of the 710 name was a source of confusion because it implied that the model was either a larger, upscale version of the 610 (it was the opposite) or a newer model in the Bluebird line.This car was also built in South Africa during 1973 to 1978 at the Rosslyn Datsun plant in the form of a 160U deluxe and SSS and 180U deluxe and SSS. As the Bluebirds traditional cross-town rival, the Toyota Corona split into a new model called the Toyota Carina, the Violet appeared just under 3 years after the Carina did.

810 series[edit]

Datsun Bluebird 810
Datsun Bluebird 1979 Castle Hedingham 2008.JPG
1979 Datsun Bluebird 1.8 GL Sedan (810 series)
Also called Datsun 160B [14]
Datsun 180B [14]
Datsun 200B [15]
Datsun 810 [16]
Production 1976–1979
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon/sedan
2-door coupé
5-door wagon/van
Layout FR layout
  • 2,500 mm (98 in)
  • 2,650 mm (104 in) (G4/G6)
Length 4,260 mm (167.7 in)[9]
Width 1,631 mm (64.2 in)[9]
Height 1,389 mm (54.7 in)[9]
Curb weight 1,084 kg (2,390 lb)[9]

The 810 was introduced in July 1976. Engine options were carried over but a 1.4 L was reintroduced in August 1978. Styling was an evolution of the 610's, with slightly squared off features but retaining a slight "coke bottle" shape. No two-door sedan was available, but the four-door sedan, two-door hardtop coupé (SSS Coupe) and five-door station wagon were offered.

The Bluebird 810 was sold in export markets as the Datsun 160B, Datsun 180B, Datsun 200B and Datsun 810.[16] Australian magazine Wheels called the 200B 'a 180B with 20 more mistakes.' In Japan the range gradually received upgraded motors which could pass the 1978 emissions standards; these models carry 811 series chassis numbers. This process began in October 1977 and continued until August 1978. This meant replacing the earlier L-series engines with the new crossflow Z engines, based on the L.

At this time, with several UK auto-producers losing market share, Datsun had grabbed the headlines as the UK's leading car importer. The magazine Autocar road tested a 180B Bluebird and recorded a top speed of 101 mph (162 km/h) along with a 0-60 mph (0 – 96 km/h) time of 13.6 seconds.[9] The Datsun's overall fuel consumption for the test was 27.7 mpg (10.2 l/100 km).[9] For all three of these performance measurements, it was marginally better than the Ford Cortina 1600 GL which continued to dominate this sector in the UK, but both cars were beaten for speed and acceleration (though not for fuel economy) by the relatively crude Morris Marina 1.8HL.[9] It was probably more significant that the Bluebird had a manufacturer's recommended retail price, including sales taxes, of £2950 as against £3263 for the Ford and £3315 for the Morris.[9] The testers found the car matched the competition in most respects, though the brakes were criticised for being "not up to current standards".[9]

Bluebird 2000 G6 Hardtop (Japan)

In Japan there continued to be a six-cylinder version of the Bluebird available. As before, this received a longer wheelbase and nose, while retaining the rear end of the regular Bluebird range. Sold as the Datsun 810 in North America, this was the direct ancestor of the long running Nissan Maxima range. In August 1978 the Bluebird G4 was introduced (PD811), a 1.8 litre four-cylinder model fitted with the long-nose bodywork.[17]

Australia (200B)[edit]

Introduced in October 1977 in Australia,[18] the first 200B's were all fully imported in sedan, station wagon and coupe forms, the latter retaining the SSS badge. In January 1978 local assembly began for the sedan, followed shortly by the wagon. The sedan trim levels were GL and GX. While the coupe remained a hardtop, Datsun added an opera window in the rear pillar. The coupe was discontinued in Australia in 1979. The engine used is a larger version of the L series engine from the preceding 180B. Dubbed the L20B its capacity was increased to 1952 cc, making it good for 72 kW (97 hp).

Almost immediately the 200B became Australia's top selling four-cylinder car, a position it held until it was displaced by the Mitsubishi Sigma. Its popularity however remained strong right through the production run, family buyers appreciative of the plentiful interior room and standard features. It may have been somewhat conservatively styled, but the effort Nissan had put into the engineering of the car made it reliable and tough, qualities most Australians rated higher than a more advanced design.

Only the early fully imported 200B sedans and coupes retained the independent rear suspension from the 180B, locally assembled 200B sedans instead switched to coil springs with trailing arms, while the wagon had a live axle in the rear with leaf springs. Seen as a giant step backwards, the reason for the change was certainly not a cost-cutting measure, but simply the need for Nissan to reach an 85% local content quota that the then Federal Government demanded of Australian car manufacturers. However, in practice the live rear axle, being an Australian development, proved to actually benefit the car's overall handling dynamics.

The biggest downside to the 200B was the noise the driver would have to endure. The 2-litre overhead cam engine could be very loud when pushed up through the rev range, and to make matters worse there was always plenty of drive line vibration. These issues prompted an exhaustive correction programme to be undertaken by the parent company in Japan, and thankfully later models were somewhat improved.

A sportier version of the 200B sedan was released in June 1978. The new SX featured a revised grille, front spoiler, alloy wheels, revised door and seat trim (striped seat inserts) and tachometer, while the suspension was altered to improve handling. The colours available for this model were simply blue, white or red, and the only transmission available was a 4-speed floor shift. Significantly the SX was a unique model to Australia, the added input from Nissan's Australian design engineers signified a step away from just assembling cars. This in turn led to the locally built Datsuns, and later Nissans, being re-engineered to better suit Australian conditions, with many components being sourced locally a tradition that would continue right up until 1991, when Nissan ceased local manufacture.

In October 1979, the 200B was revised with a new grille, bumpers, seats, trim, and dashboard. The seats were a unique Australian design for the locally built cars. This facelift was penned by Paul Beranger, a former Holden designer - years later he would style the 2006 Toyota Aurion.

In 1980, a limited edition 200B Aspen GL sedan was released featuring distinctive shadow tone paint available in green, blue, or grey. The 200B was discontinued in May 1981, replaced by the Datsun Bluebird. Australian comedy band, Tripod, have written a song about the 200B, called "200B."[19]

New Zealand 160B/180B/200B[edit]

This model was also released to New Zealand in 1977, assembled CKD in 4-door sedan and 5-door wagon forms. A coupe model was also released, imported built-up from Japan. Unlike the Australian models the sedans used the independent rear suspension system of the Japanese specification models. This Bluebird was the first to be assembled in Nissan New Zealand's own brand-new assembly plant at Wiri, South Auckland. For the first two years of assembly the cars were fitted with a 1.8 litre unit, hence they used the 180B nameplate. Automatic transmission was optional for both. Nissan also added its first luxury ZX version with this generation – features included velour upholstery, 'luxury' cut-pile carpet sourced locally and tinted glass. There was also, for the first time in Kiwi assembly, a wagon variant with mid-range trim and equipment.

During 1979 a number of changes were made on the car, namely an engine enlargement to 2.0 (leading to a renaming of the car to 200B), and a mild facelift, using new dual rectangular headlights and a new grille. Due to New Zealand's favour for smaller engined models, a 1.6 litre 160B variant was also introduced.

Production of the New Zealand 160/200B continued until late 1980, when it was replaced by the Datsun Bluebird (910).

910 series[edit]

Datsun Bluebird 910
Also called Nissan Bluebird 910
Yue Loong Bluebird 911/912 (Taiwan)[20]
Production 1979-1993 [21]
Assembly Hiratsuka, Kanagawa, Japan
Clayton, Victoria, Australia [22]
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan [21]
5-door station wagon [21]
2-door coupé [21]
Layout FR layout [21]

The Bluebird 910, which was the last rear wheel drive Bluebird, featured simple clean-cut lines, unlike the "Coke Bottle" styling of its predecessor.[23] It did however retain the same engine range, the same McPherson strut suspension and the same 99-inch (2,500 mm) wheelbase as the 810.[23] Starting with this generation, in Japan the Bluebird returned to offering only four-cylinder vehicles, and the six-cylinder Bluebird was replaced by the Nissan Skyline based Nissan Leopard. Japanese Bluebirds of this generation were realigned with the Japanese Stanza/Auster/Violet sedans which were assigned to individual Japanese Nissan dealerships.

This car was also assembled in Australia (until 1993), in South Africa, in Taiwan, and in New Zealand. This generation was also the basis of the North American Datsun/Nissan 810 Maxima starting in 1980.

U11 series[edit]

Nissan Bluebird U11
Nissan U11 Bluebird SSS.jpg
Bluebird SSS-XG hardtop
Also called Yue Loong Bluebird 931 (Yulon, TW)
Production 1983-1990
Assembly Oppama, Japan
Auckland, New Zealand [16]
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon/sedan
4-door hardtop
5-door wagon/estate
Layout FF layout
Related Nissan Stanza T12
Engine 1,598 cc CA16 I4
1,809 cc CA18E/CA18 I4
1,809 cc CA18ET/CA18DET turbo I4
1,973 cc CA20 I4
1,998 cc VG20E/VG20ET V6
1,952 cc LD20 diesel I4
1,952 cc LD20T
Transmission 4/5-speed manual
3/4-speed automatic
Wheelbase 2,550 mm (100 in)
Length 4,360–4,500 mm (172–177 in)
Width 1,690 mm (67 in)
Height 1,370–1,430 mm (54–56 in)
Curb weight 1,080–1,215 kg (2,381–2,679 lb)

The Bluebird switched to front-wheel drive in October 1983 but retained the boxy styling of its predecessor. At the time, Nissan's design chief balked at curvy shapes and believed boxy ones would remain popular. With hindsight, that went directly against the trend and the market's obsession with drag coefficients. Even though every panel was changed and most details were considerably smoother, the Cx remained a fairly high 0.39.[24]

The range was offered in four-door sedan, four-door hardtop and five-door station wagon forms. The coupé was deleted, and the hardtop sedan is rarely seen outside of Japan.

This model was offered in Europe for only two years before Nissan began building the Auster as the Bluebird in England in 1986. Certain Bluebird models (diesels and station wagons) continued to be offered alongside the T12 "Bluebird" in some markets. As usual, the Bluebird received ample standard equipment in European markets. In some markets, the petrol 2.0 was only available coupled to an automatic gearbox.[25]

Although the U11 sedans were replaced for the 1988 model year, the station wagon continued to be built until 1990.

The range was available with 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0 L petrol engines. The VG20ET V6 was offered for the first time in Japan in 1984, in a model with an extended front end, called the Bluebird Maxima. This 2 litre V6 was available naturally aspirated or as an intercooled turbo. The U11 Maxima featured a larger 3.0L VG30E. There were also naturally aspirated or turbocharged 2 litre diesels. Counterintuitively, the turbodiesel had better gas mileage in standardized test cycles, presumably due to it being less stressed - as long as one did not take full advantage of its better performance.[25]

Bluebird 2.0 GL wagon (Europe)

Australia made do with the 910 series, which was facelifted in 1985. New Zealand marketing for the U11 proclaimed the vehicle as the 'Widetrack Bluebird', to differentiate it from its very similar-looking predecessor. Several Wiri-assembled models including a wagon were offered with 1.6 (base) or two-litre carburettor engines. The alloy head castings all had an unused location for a second spark plug per cylinder, as twin-plug, fuel-injected versions of the same engines were used in certain markets (US, Japan, Scandinavia) with stricter emission laws.

In the United Kingdom, the following versions were offered:

  • 1.8 DX (1984–86)
  • 2.0 GL/GL estate/SGL (1984–86)
  • 1.8 Turbo ZX (1984–86)

The U11 was sold as the Yue Loong Bluebird 921 / 923 i1798 c.c n 18N)Taiwan.

T12/T72 series[edit]

Nissan Bluebird T12/T72
1990 Bluebird2.jpg

The T12 and the later T72 Nissan Bluebird, is in fact a third generation Auster, rebadged and sold in Europe. However, its well known build quality and reliability and the influential role it had in what is now Europe’s most efficient car factory merits the T12/72 its Bluebird badge.[citation needed]

The T12 was introduced in Europe in 1985 as a replacement for the U11 Bluebird. From July 1986, the T12 was assembled from parts shipped in from Japan, at Washington, England. The saloon versions (four door) were available first and the hatchback (five door) became available in January 1987. This model of Bluebird was a particular favourite with UK mini-cab drivers throughout the 1990s.

U12 series[edit]

Nissan Bluebird (U12)
Nissan Bluebird U12 001.JPG
Also called Yue Loong Bluebird 941 (Yulon, TW)
Assembly Oppama, JPN

Nissan evolved the boxy shape of the U11 slightly, released in September 1987. This model was sold as the Nissan Pintara in Australia, replacing a larger Skyline-based model, from 1989 to 1993. There, it had been codenamed ‘Project Matilda’, leading the press to speculate it was a car developed uniquely for Australia—which was not the case. In Japan, a four-door sedan and four-door hardtop were offered, although Nissan of Australia did create a five-door Pintara 'Superhatch' model that was sold as the Bluebird in some export markets, including New Zealand. It was marketed as the 'Bluebird Aussie' in Japan, selling complete with a fluffy little koala, Aussie flag under the clock and other small touches.

Innovations for the U12 included the introduction of Nissan's mechanical four-wheel-drive system, called ATTESA and the ever popular SR20DET engine was introduced in the series 2 (HNU12) bluebirds (89-91). With the Maxima having been spun off into its own range, U12 Bluebirds were all four-cylinder models, with either a 1.6, 1.8 or 2.0 L petrol engine and also the option of an LD20 2.0l diesel. The sports and luxury versions came with a factory viscous LSD. Nissan made a turbocharged Bluebird from 1987 to 1990 named the RNU12, using the 1809 cc DOHC CA18DET that was sold in Japan and New Zealand. It also used ATTESA.

Australian models came with the CA20E SOHC 2.0l EFI and KA24E SOHC 2.4l EFI motors. Sadly for Nissan Australia, Project Matilda was not the success it had hoped, even with a twin built for Ford Australia called the Corsair, which was even less successful. This led to the collapse of Nissan’s Australian manufacturing operations in the early 1990s. Most of the early Bluebirds of this generation sold in New Zealand were again assembled locally from CKD kits, as had been the case with almost all NZ-bound cars since the first generation in the early 1960s. The Japanese-made, NZ-assembled cars were replaced by Australian made U12 sedans at 'facelift' time though the Kiwi-built wagon, a body variant not made in Australia, carried on. NZ trim levels included SGS and ZX; like rival Toyota Australia, Nissan Australia, which ceased local manufacturing in 1994, was willing to build uniquely specified and badged models for its trans-Tasman customer.

The U12 was also sold in North America as the Nissan Stanza.

Trim levels of the Australian U12 Pintara were as follows: GLi: 2.0L manual 5 speed, high mounted brake light, AM/FM radio cassette Executive: 2.0L auto 4 speed, as above plus, power steering, remote boot release T: 2.4L manual or auto, as above plus 4 wheel disc brakes, tacho, split fold rear seat Ti: 2.4L manual or auto, as above plus limited slip differential, cruise control, climate control, central locking, electric windows, graphic equaliser, fog lamps, alloy wheels TRX: 2.4L manual or auto, as above plus sports seats, sports suspension, body kit, alarm, 6Jx14" alloy wheels (all other models have 5.5Jx14" wheels) Note: All models were available as a 4 door sedan and 5 door hatch, except the TRX, which was only available as a 4 door sedan. Note 2: The Corsair was available as a GL (CA20) and Ghia (KA24, and similar features as the Ti).

U13 series[edit]

Nissan Bluebird (U13)
1993-1995 Nissan Bluebird (U13) SSS sedan 02.jpg
Assembly Oppama, JPN

The U13 series was launched in Japan in September 1991 as a four-door sedan and four-door hardtop. The two models were visually distinct: the four-door sedan had curves where its U12 predecessor had edges, while the hardtop, called the Nissan Bluebird ARX, had more traditional styling.

Several versions of the sedan, including the first local Bluebird to have standard factory-fitted air conditioning (automatic climate control in this case) and optional locally supplied leather upholstery, were assembled in New Zealand from CKD packs imported from Japan. At launch, some local motoring writers criticised Nissan NZ's decision to fit luxury equipment items instead of airbags in top versions but the company insisted there was not yet sufficient retail or fleet buyer demand.

Several Japanese models included an All Wheel Drive version (ATTESA).

This generation of Bluebird was used by Nissan USA as the basis for the first generation Nissan Altima.

U14 series[edit]

Nissan Bluebird (U14)
NISSAN Bluebird SSS.jpg

Nissan switched to boxy styling for the U14 Bluebird for January 1996. The American Altima had different front and rear ends, in keeping with its sports sedan positioning. But in its home market, the Bluebird was targeted more at buyers who favoured the formality of larger Japanese sedans. However, the SSS trim was retained, though it no longer referred to a truly sporting model in the range. To fit in with a lower bracket in Japanese taxation legislation, the U14 retained a 1,700 mm (66.9 in) width.

Only a four-door sedan was offered. The hardtop and the option of a 1.6 L engine were removed. The Nissan Hyper CVT automatic transmission was available in this generation. Some models had a 1973 cc diesel CD20E engine.

The Nissan Bluebird was replaced by Nissan Cefiro, Nissan Teana and Nissan Altima internationally.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Company History "Chronology". Yulon Motors. Retrieved 2011-02-01. 
  2. ^ Webster, Mark (2002), Assembly: New Zealand Car Production 1921-98, Birkenhead, Auckland, New Zealand: Reed, p. 78, ISBN 0-7900-0846-7 
  3. ^ Motor's "Finnish correspondent" (1964-10-12). "Japanese Datsuns in Europe". Motor. 
  4. ^ Nissan Manufacturers in Australia Retrieved on 11 April 2012
  5. ^ a b Quattroruote Speciale: Tutte le Auto del Mondo 1967 (in Italian). Milano: Editoriale Domus S.p.A. February 1967. p. 195. 
  6. ^ Tutte le Auto del Mondo 1967, p. 196
  7. ^ Davis, Pedr; Davis, Tony (1990). Volvo downunder: A Swedish success story. Blakehurst, NSW: Marque. p. 76. ISBN 0-947079-14-9. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f "OHC is the fashion: Japan's Datsun Bluebird in latest form as 1300 and 1600". Autocar. 127 (nbr 3747): Pages 25–26. 7 December 1967. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Autotest: Datsun 180B Bluebird". Autocar 147 (4217): 36–40. 3 September 1977. "Completely new body, with larger windows and improved visibility for Datsun's mid-range car. Average performance coupled with excellent economy and cheapest petrol. Handling improved at expense of ride, now almost harsh. Brakes not up to current standards" 
  10. ^ "Datsun 610 Hardtop", brochure (Canada), 1973, retrieved 2013-01-20 
  11. ^ a b World Cars 1976. Bronxville, NY: L'Editrice dell'Automobile LEA/Herald Books. 1976. p. 376. ISBN 0-910714-08-8. 
  12. ^ 自動車ガイドブック: Japanese motor vehicles guide book (in Japanese) (Japan: Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association) 20: 123. 1973-10-30. 
  13. ^ World Cars 1976, p. 377
  14. ^ a b Graham Robson, A-Z of Cars of the 1970s, Bay View Books, 1990, page 49
  15. ^ Datsun 200B brochure Retrieved on 14 August 2011
  16. ^ a b c d Nissan Bluebird (810) Retrieved on 14 August 2011
  17. ^ 自動車ガイドブック [Japanese Motor Vehicles Guide Book] (in Japanese) (Japan: Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association) 25: 112. 1978-10-10. 0053-780025-3400. 
  18. ^ "Datsun 200B technical specifications". Unique Cars & Parts. 
  19. ^ "Box Set Lyrics - 05 - 200B". Retrieved 2010-12-06. 
  20. ^ World Cars 1982. Pelham, NY: L'Editrice dell'Automobile LEA/Herald Books. 1982. pp. 335–336. ISBN 0-910714-14-2. 
  21. ^ a b c d e Nissan Bluebird (910) Retrieved from on 11 April 2011
  22. ^ Tony Davis, Aussie Cars, 1987, page 163
  23. ^ a b Martin Lewis, A-Z of Cars of the 1980s, 1994, page 102
  24. ^ "Nissan Bluebird: L'habit ne fait pas le moine" [The clothes do not make the man]. Le Moniteur de l'Automobile (in French) (Brussels, Belgium: Editions Auto-Magazine) 35 (793): 16. 1984-04-19. 
  25. ^ a b Le Moniteur de l'Automobile (no. 793), p. 18
This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the Japanese Wikipedia.

External links[edit]