They were once everywhere, possibly as many as the amount of Protons plying the roads today. Owners swear by its maintenance simplicity, reliability as well as ability to run just on petrol fumes. Sales were so consistently good that it was sold more than 10 years with merely a couple of cosmetic updates throughout its lifespan.
The car in topic here is the legendary Nissan Sunny 130Y B11. First brought in by Tan Chong Motors in 1982, it replaced the equally popular Datsun B310 120Y. Priced below RM18K, it was Nissan’s first front-wheel driven mid-sized family sedan. Early versions had a ‘Datsun’ plaque portraying the Nissan – Datsun branding transition. Styling was probably done by someone with a ruler. The front was penned to be rakish with slanted nose and A-pillars. Nonetheless, the rear was more pleasing to the eye compared to the bigger cc Stanza/Langley. The most noticeable parts are the oversized absorber bumpers which serve by minimizing impact and damage.
Design was generally rather plain both inside and out. Inside, it’s an all grey affair. Even so, controls and meter readouts are straight-forward. The meter of initial 2 versions had yellow back-lights and was later updated to red for sporty appeal. Interior space was considered very generous, easily occupying 5 without fuss. One interesting feature was the amount of compartments namely the integrated ones in the door handles. Handy, when one needs to keep items concealed like wallets and handphones.
In the engine bay, the 1270cc SOHC 8-valve straight-four looks rather petite with plenty of space to spare. Nothing fancy with the carburettor fed unit that pumps out a modest 59hp. On the move, it picks up speed leisurely. However once up to cruising speed, the 5-speed long-throw gear ratio coupled with all round independent suspension made it an easy choice for long hauls. Even so, many did wish for better air-conditioning and dreaded the somewhat heavy steering. One of my friends even called it a tank once.
Along its production period, there were a handful of facelifts and versions. The first facelift or more popularly known as the Extra 1, came in 1983. It had a revised front grill, twin side mirrors as opposed to 1 previously, a centre console compartment, and covers for the rear number plate lights. The second facelift in 1984 (Extra 2) saw revised rear lamps, front grill and lights design, meter lighting, rear seats etc. This continued till the 90s where the bumpers had the option to be in body colour. Along the way there was a stationwagon version with its sporty-raked rear windscreen and a more budget edition with square head-lamps, partly exposed inner door panels, minus the inside door-handle compartment and rev counter.
Until today, it is still regarded as one of the most reliable fuss-free cars locally. Some simple repairs just required a pair of pliers and screw drivers. So it comes with no surprise that it was once the best seller for years during its heyday.
Pictures from Zerothundred.com, Wikimedia.org, Lowyat.Net and Nissan.com.jp