Datsun Bluebird

1963 - 312 Series

The Datsun Bluebird 312 went into production in August 1962, and was the last model of the body shape that began with the 1959 Bluebird 310. It was also the last Datsun sedan to be built with a seperate chassis, the Fairlady sports car continued to use a seperate chassis until 1970, but after the Bluebird 312 all sedans would be unitary construction.   


Even though the general appearence of the 312 is very similar to the previous mode, the 312 featured several substantial changes. The new 312 has a different grille design to the 310 and 311 models. The early Bluebirds had a narrow grille that sat between the front indicators, on the 312 the grille is much wider and now partially encircles the indicators. The grille features a wide bar top and bottom with six narrow bars inbetween. Above the top bar there is a raised section with four horizontal slots. A square section of the grille in the middle protrudes slightly from the rest of the grille. The new grille design required new front guards, which are a different shape at the front.
On the 310 and 311 models the fold that runs along the side of the car, just under the side strips, drops downwards dramatically at the back of the car, on the 312 this fold no longer drops down and instead continues all the way to the back of the car.

The tail light design is significantly different. On the early cars they have a small kidney shaped tail light design, on the 1962 312 the tail lights are a very tall shape, similar in appearence to the 30 series Nissan Cedric. They feature a one piece lens that has an amber indicator on top and a red stop light below. The 312 has full length strips that run down the side of the car, on standard models the strips are narrow and on the deLuxe versions the strips are twice as wide. DeLuxe models have stainless steel door window frames and stainless trim around the windscreens, the Standard versions do not. Badges on the side of the car say Bluebird, and at the back of the car they say either Datsun 1200 or Datsun 1000, depending on which engine was used.

 Inside the car the dashboard is completely new. On the previous models the dash slopes at about a 20deg. angle, while on the 312 the dash is almost vertical. It also has a lip ath the top the protrudes outwards. The 310 and 311 had a flat plane steering wheel, while the new 312 has a slight conical shape. Mechanically the car is the same as the previous 311 model, using the 1189cc 60hp E1 engine or the 988ss 45hp C1 engine on the base model.

In September 1962 there was a change made to the Bluebird 312, which involved a change to the grille and tail light design. The new grille again partially encircles the indicators, but now no longer has the square section in the middle that protrudes slightly. The grille again has six horizontal bars set between two wide bars, but on this model bars number 1 and 2, 3 and 4, and 5 and 6 are set closer to each other, with a wider gap between 2 and 3, and 4 and 5. Above the top bar there is a raised section that has eight horizontal slots, the previous 312 had 4 slots in the same place.

 The tail lights are very different, and feature a much larger chrome area. They now have a two piece lens design with the red stop light on top and a square amber indicator below. There is a chrome section seperating the two lenses.

 In late 1961 Nissan became the first car manufacturer to built a car specifically for a female driver, the car was called the Datsun Bluebird Fancy deLuxe. What they built was a car full of all the features that a man probably thought a woman would want in a car, the result would be considered condescending by most 21st century females. 


The Fancy deLuxe was painted pale yellow and had a pale yellow and grey interior. It had a high heel shoe holder under the dash, a drivers side vanity mirror on the back of the driver's side sun visor, an indicator flasher relay that played music box sounds instead of simply just clicking, curtains, an automatic clutch, and just to insult female drivers a bit more, it had bigger mirrors. The Fancy deLuxe must have been something of a success, as a 410 model Fancy deLuxe was built after the 312 ended production.

The last of the Bluebird 312s were built in September 1963, when the car was replaced with the all new unitary construction 410 series Bluebird.

A Daewoo Datsun ?

312 Bluebirds built under licence as Nissan explores new markets






Yue Loong YLN-704

As unlikely as it may sound Datsuns are related, by marriage, to a Daewoo. We all have this image that the Korean car industry emerged from nowhere in the mid 1980s with the arrival of Hyundai on the international scene in that decade, but the reality is that the first Korean cars were built in 1937 when a Korean businessman named Kim Young-joo set up Guksan Automobiles. Rather worryingly Guksan means 'home-made' in Korean. In 1944 Kyeongseong Precision Industry built a small number of cars and trucks, but instead concentrated on building bicycles. In 1952 Kyeongseong changed it's name to Kia, which derived it's name from the Korean word "ki", which means "to come out of", and "a" representing "Asia", to mean "to come out of Asia". Kia started building motorcycles in 1957, and started building trucks in late 1962 and cars in 1974.

 In 1955 the first mass produced Korean vehicle was built, called the Sibal. The Sibal was basically a locally built version of the Willys Jeep fitted with an ugly grille. (What is it with Korean cars and their ugly grilles?) The Sibal was built in small numbers until they went broke in 1962. The next car manufacturer on the scene was a company called Saenara, who were a much more serious concern.

   Saenara was started by a Korean-Japanese businessman called Park No-jeong. With assistance from the Korean government a factory was built in Bupyeong that was capable of building 6000 cars a year. No-jeong singed a licencing deal with the Nissan Motor Company in 1962, and in November 1962 Saenara started building their own version of the P312 Datsun Bluebird sedan.

 But the project was doomed from the start. As was the case with many Asian governments in that era, government officials were more interested in lining their own wallets rather than doing their job properly, and as a result the amount the government charged Saenara for their new state-built factory was over double the original cost. As a result the selling price of the Saenara Bluebird was made substantially higher than originally planned in an effort to recoup the additional costs, and because of this the car sold very poorly. The situation the company was in worsened in early 1963 as they entered into a dispute with the government. This, combined with worsening sales spelled the end for the fledgling company and they shut down in May 1963, having built only 2773 cars.

In 1957 a company called Sinjin was set up by a man called Kim Chang-won. Initially they concentrated on repairing and remodelling old Jeeps left in the country by the Americans during the Korean War. After Saenara collapsed Sinjin decided to expand and they ended up taking over the Saenara factory and started building the Bluebird under the name of Sinsung-ho, which means "New Star". The Sinsung-ho was very different to the original Saenara, which was a straight copy of the Bluebird. All Sinjin knew was Jeeps, and as a result the Sinsung-ho ended up being a Bluebird with a Jeep engine. This was a less than staggering success, and only 322 Sinsung-hos were built.

 Sinjin eventually signed an agreement with Toyota and started building their own versions of the Toyota 700, the Corona and the Crown, though this time with Toyota engines rather than Jeep engines. In 1972 the company changed it's name to Saehan, and when the Toyota deal expired they got desperate and bought the licence to build the god-awful LJ Holden Torana, which was sold as the Saehan Camina. After that they built their own version of the Holden/Isuzu Gemini, and then in 1978 they started buying CKD kits from Holden of the VB-VC Commodore, which they fitted with a 59hp 4 cylinder engine and called the Saehan Royale. In 1983 Saehan was taken over by the Daewoo group, who were an electronics and shipbuilding company, and the cars were then sold as Daewoos. Daewoo means "Great Universe" in Korean, in case you were wondering.

Also at the same time the Yue Loong Motor Co. in Taiwan also started building a 312 Bluebird in Taiwan. The arrangement with Yue Loong continued for many years after this with the company going on to build 410 Bluebirds, 31 and 130 Cedrics and various commercial vehicles as well.


Model Variations


Datsun 312 Standard Model  

 A standard model of the 312 was also available. The standard 312 had stainless steel strips that run along the side of the car, but they are a narrow profile and are only about 1cm wide, the deLuxe models have strips that are at least twice as wide. The Standard model also has painted door window frames, where the deLuxe has stainless steel frames. The Standard does not havestainless steel trim around the windscreens.  


Datsun WP312 Wagon  

A wagon version was also built. It featured a two piece rear door, where the glass section lifted up and the metal section folded downwards. Early WP312s continued to use the same tail lights as the WP311, which were an odd kidney shape, later versions used the tall tail lights from the 1963 sedan.  


Datsun P312 deLuxe Model  

 The deLuxe version had blue tinted glass, wide stainless steel side strips, gold badges, stainless steel door window frames and whitewall tyres.  

Model Variations


Datsun DP312 Fancy deLuxe  

 The 312 was available as a "Fancy deLuxe". The Fancy deLuxe was fitted with a whole lot of accessories that a 1960s man thought a 1960s woman would want in a car. These included bigger mirrors, a vanity mirror on the driver's side sunvisor, an under-dash stilletto shoe holder, an automatic clutch, bigger inside door handles, and an indicator that plays music box music instead of just making a clicking sound. They were all pale yellow with a pale yellow and grey interior.  


Datsun 320 Pickup  

 The Datsun 320 pickup was based in the design of the 312 sedan. A lot of parts were shared between the two, including the bonnet and doors, and the engine, but the two vehicles were very different in their chassis and suspension design. More information about this vehicle can be found on the Datsun 320 page.  

1963 Datsun 312 Specifications

Length - 3910mm
Width - 1496mm
Height - 1460mm
Wheelbase - 2280mm
Weight - 870kg
Top speed - 1000 110kph
- 1200 125kph
Transmission - Column change 4 speed
Final drive
1000 - 5.125 : 1
1200 - 4.625 : 1

C-1 Series Engine Specifications

1000 Engine
Model - C-1
OHV 4 Cylinder
Capacity - 988cc
Bore & Stroke 73x59mm
Power - 45bhp@4600rpm
Torque - 7.2kg/m@4000rpm
Compression - 8.0 : 1
Carburettor - Nikki dual throat down draught

E-1 Series Engine Specifications

1200 Engine
Model - E-1
OHV 4 Cylinder
Capacity - 1189cc
Bore & Stroke 73x71mm
Power - 60bhp@4800rpm
Torque- 67ft/lb@3600rpm
Compression - 8.2 : 1
Carburettor - Nikki 2D-30C dual throat down draught  

Created with Mobirise ‌

Free Offline Site Creator