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HISTORY to offer the King Cab option, Datsun was leading the compact truck revolution. This brings us to the 720, the last pickup to wear the Datsun name, at least here in North America. Along with the loss of the Datsun name, we also lost the true Datsun truck, as Nissan chose to continue compact truck production in Tennessee to bypass the ridiculous Chicken Tax. Since then, Nissan trucks just haven’t had the same feel as the robust go-anywhere character of the Datsuns. Ironically, there is talk that Nissan is in the midst of reviving the Datsun name. Likely reserved for overseas markets, the Datsun brand will represent a budget brand. Regardless, we pay tribute to the first, the original, the compact that led the way, the stout little Datsun Pickup. 620 the idea of a compact pickup didn’t seem so crazy after all. So much so that Toyota came to market with the Hilux, Ford with the Courier, Mazda with the B-Series and Chevrolet with the LUV. To counter these products, Datsun launched the 520 that saw a sales jump of then-historic proportions from a few hundred units per year to more than 15,000. The 520 was more of a traditional pickup, now packing the new 67-horsepower 1.3-litre four-cylinder. Later years saw the 520 increase horsepower to 77 with a new engine architecture, making the 521 the first half-ton compact pickup sold in North America. 1972 would see the 521 give way to the 620, which also had a list of firsts. The first to offer a long bed and the first

FEB / MAR 2013

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