The inherent problem with making each new model slightly larger than the last one is that you can loose sight of what the original concept of the vehicle was, and that was the problem Nissan encountered in the mid-1960s when the little Datsun 320 truck jumped up in size to the 520 series.
While the decision to go bigger with the 520 was the right thing to do, as the sales of the 520 proved, they were suddenly faced with a gap in their model line when they no longer had a small truck. Particularly in the Japanese domestic market the need for a small truck was high, and after the 320 went out of production suddenly vehicles like the Mazda Familia 800 pickup, Daihatsu Compagno pickup and the Toyota Corona pickup started to sell in greater quantities and Nissan had no vehicle to meet this niche in the market.
The Datsun Sunny B10 sedan had gone on sale in April 1966 as Nissan's entry level passenger car, and it was decided to build a small truck based on the B10. The B20 truck went into production in February 1967 and continued through until February 1971.
The B20 used all the mechanicals from the B10 sedan, including it's suspension, which bizarrly for a late 1960s vehicle, used an ancient transverse leaf spring front suspension design. The engine used was the new Nissan A10 engine, which was a 988cc pushrod 4 cylinder engine that produced 62hp. The A series engine was an all new engine based loosly on the old E series "Stone" engine, but vastly improved, with it's alloy head and four intake ports. The A series engine was a little gem, it was smooth, it reved way past 6000rpm, and most importantly it was totally reliable. These little engines are virtually indestructable.
Badges on the Japanese market versions of the B20 say Sunny on the side, and there is a shield shaped badge in the grille with a large S. In most export markets the side badges say Datsun and the grille badge has a D rather than an S. In most markets it was sold as the Datsun 1000. The grille on the first model has seven thin horizontal bars. The next model has a slightly wider bar top and bottom, with four thin horizontal bars in between. The last of the B20s has a grille with three wide horizontal bars.
The B20 sold reasonably well in Asia and Australia, but no attempt was made to sell the B20 in the United States. Whilst the B10 was reasonably successful, the sales of it's replacement, the B120, went balistic. It was a massive seller for Nissan, who kept it in production in Japan until 1994, and incredibly it was still in production in South Africa in 2007.
The original model had a grille with seven horizontal abrs.
Sometime in 1968 there was a styling update of the B20, with the only significant change being a new grille. The new grille has a slightly wider bar top and bottom, with four thin horizontal bars in between.
In 1969 there was another styling update, with another new grille. This model's grille has three wide horizontal bars in the middle.
The truck version, which had a 1800mm x 1400mm cargo area.
A delivery van version was also actually introduced at the same time as the original Datsun B10 sedan, in 1966, a year before the B20. It had a rear seat that folded down to give it a full length flat floor. Nissan seemed to be unsure about how to market this vehicle and they constantly altered their description of it. Some years it was sold as a commercial vehicle and it was marketed as a delivery van, at other times it was sold as a passenger car 3 door station wagon. The reality is that it did both jobs equally well.
A panel van version of the VB10 was also available, with blank panels where the side windows usually go. This version had a flat cargo floor and no rear seat.
Length - 3815mm
Width - 1450mm
Height - 1385mm
Wheelbase - 2280mm
Weight - 615kg
Top speed - 130kph
Final drive - 4.11:1
Model - A10
OHV 4 Cylinder
Capacity - 988cc
Bore & Stroke - 72x59mm
Power - 62hp@6000rpm
Torque - 61ft/lb@4000rpm
Compression - 8.5 : 1
Transmission - Floor change 4 speed
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