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Datsun Sunny

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Datsun

Datsun Sunny

1979 - 1986
Country:
Japan
Engine:
4 cyl.
Capacity:
1200 / 1400 cc
Power:
51 kW
Transmission:
4 spd. man / 3 spd. auto
Top Speed:
n/a
Number Built:
n/a
Collectability:
1 star
Datsun Sunny
Datsun Sunny
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 1

Introduction



The fully imported Sunny was introduced in early 1979 as a successor to the outgoing Datsun 120Y model, and to supplement the locally built Stanza which had failed to produce the expected sales figures for Nissan. But following in the 120Y’s footsteps would certainly be a hard act to follow, particularly when the 120Y’s two major attributes were that it was both low priced an inexpensive to run.

In contrast, the Sunny was more expensive to purchase and marginally less economical to run – so the formula for success was certainly not adhered to. Nevertheless the Sunny was in many respects an improvement over the 120Y, offering improved suspension, handling, appearance, and finish, and it being a distinctly more attractive proposition in the small-car market to many of it’s competitors.

All models (except the manual-only wagon which came with the more powerful 1400cc engine), retained the 1200cc overhead valve four-cylinder engine which powered the 120Y. Performance was about what could b expected from a conventional 1.2 litre engine developing a rather insipid 51 kW at 6000 rpm – although the Sunny demonstrated a willingness to rev hard, reaching 43, 74, and 114 km/h in first, second, and third gears respectively.

Top speed was around 140 km/h, for those brave enough to give the Sunny a good flogging on the open road, traveling slightly downhill and with a tail-wind. This relatively modest performance required the driver to work hard to keep up with normal traffic flow, and punish it hard if wanting to extract anything nearing spirited performance. By contrast, the wagon, with its larger power-plant, was a more competitive starter in its class than the sedan or coupe.

The rear suspension and ride were improved by replacing the semi-elliptic leaf springs with coils, however unfortunately this did little in removing the rather choppy under-steer common to Datsun’s. The standard recirculating-ball steering was not really direct and offered very little road feel, although the tight turning circle was well suited to city parking. In fact, normal use in city conditions did not expose any real handling deficiencies, and after all, that is where the Sunny’s were expected to spend most of their time.

The Sunny range was not unattractive, especially the neat functional coupe, though the sedan looked rather like its main rival, the Toyota Corolla. There were no obvious flaws in the finish outside or inside, and in typical Japanese tradition the standard equipment was generous, it including steel-belted radial tyres, reclining front bucket seats, cloth upholstery, trip meter, quartz clock, rear wash/wipe on coupe and wagon, hazard warning lights, and rear window demister.

The instrumentation was also comprehensive; oil and pressure gauges, all warning lights for the handbrake, brake-fluid level, battery charge, choke, and high beam, however a tachometer was standard on the coupe only. For those looking for cheap, reliable and somewhat stylish motoring, and who didn’t care about unexciting performance, poor rear leg room, and vague on-centre steering, the Sunny represented a good choice at the time. They are rarely seen on the road today.

Visitor Rating:


Also see:


Datsun Cherry
Datsun Heritage
Datsun/Nissan Production 1934 - 1979
Reader Reviews page 1 of 1
Click here to add your review
bowy
Posted 1234 days ago
do any one have any 1979 sunny car badges
Sonny
Posted 1550 days ago
Anyone have any info on the Bluebird SSS (910) from 1979?
L0WDAT
Posted 1755 days ago
i love my 79, ca18det pushing 296kw at the wheels through a full 180sx drivline.
bob
Posted 2003 days ago
Oh yeah these cars are great, take the exhaust off and thrash it in the bush, they luv it and just keep going haha
glenn spee
Posted 2167 days ago
top small car i have owned both 120 ys and sunnys and they have never let me down cant go wrong with either
mukesh chandra
Posted 2180 days ago
Wow what a car,This car is my first Mrs, than come my wife, it is lovely nothing went wrong what so ever, fantastic machine, Now i have got three 1969 1000 sunny, 1980 2 door coupe, and 1981 sedan ( this modified with SR20 DET) SUNNY COUPE IS NET TO BE MODIFIED IN SUMMER FROM DEER PARK
 
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