A Datsun 1200 No Longer

If you dropped by a Datsun dealership in the early 1970s, you’d be greeted by a full line-up of cars that are now considered favorites by vintage Japanese car enthusiasts. At the top of the sports range was the 240Z, followed by the 510 – both of which would go on to become icons among the Datsun faithful. Then there was the 1200.

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The Datsun 1200 was the US-market version of the B110 Nissan Sunny, and while it lacked the sports car looks of the Z, and the sophisticated suspension and OHC engine of the 510, it’s still a great platform to have some fun with. It also happens to be one the lightest rear-wheel drive Japanese cars ever sold in the US.

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This particular 1200 is owned by Ricardo Ramirez, and as you can see, the old A12 motor is long gone. In its place sits a worked SR20DET setup that barely fits inside the 1200’s tiny engine bay. It might not be an easy swap, but when you consider the 1200’s diminutive size and light weight, you’ve got the recipe for scary-fast performance.

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Given that this car originally had less than 100 horsepower and the fact it’s now making around three times that, it’s a good thing Ricardo has added a full rollcage for some extra rigidity and safety. Other details in the interior include upgraded bucket seats, Sparco harnesses and a classy Momo Prototipo steering wheel.

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Needless to say, the little Datsun has also received plenty of updates underneath, including a full five-lug swap with four-wheel disc brakes to help bring all the turbocharged power to a stop when needed.

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Of particular interest are the wheels: 15-inch SSR Longchamp XR4s, which in five-lug configuration look much different than the more commonly seen 4×114.3 versions. The tires are super-sticky Nitto NT01s.

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Couple all of those amazing go-fast parts with an exterior that’s in absolutely beautiful shape and you’ve got one the coolest and fastest street cars displayed at JCCS this year. Hats off to Ricardo for this wonderful build.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: japanifornia_media



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Cool little car, those SSR's are mint and it looks scary fast well done


Ok, i want one of those asap!


I really dig all the crackle finish/truck bed liner in the engine bay


Lovely car and great details, but 5 lug XR4's look whack compared to 4 lug ones.....still, props for going a classic JDM wheel with the 5 lug swap.


Love it!


Omg the 1200 is not the same as the 510?! I've always thought 510s are rare in New Zealand, and assumed the 1200 was just a rebadged 510. Lol! Facepalm. I suppose I'll have to consider bringing one in from Japan if I ever want a 510...


There's just something about those wheels.


The wheels arnt xr4 longchamps
Longchamps have 6 spokes not 5


Good to see another B110, the second in a week too!

I have a big soft spot for the 2 door sedans, they're such a good shape.

I'm not a fan of everything on the car, but props to the owner for a well kept example.


Love it, that's badass!


Looks like so much fun. It's the one car that looks good both as a 2, 4dr or pick up.


Hell yes! This thing is perfect. Excellent work.


John Key NZ the 1200 or b110, b210, b310, 120y, sunny is the little brother of the 510
and whole lot cheaper than a 510.....recently picked up a 76 coupe myself


Lightweight+Powerful Engine=SILLY FAST.

This should be REAL FUN when taking up those winding canyon roads.

God I LOVE this little sleeper!


THIS is the best build I`ve seen on SH in a long time! Performance and looks without being overdone, stunning car. 
Great feature


There's some really impressive 1200s here in Portugal, running in the "under 1300cc" category of the National Classics championship. They're even beating the Minis and Escort GTs, all running 130+hp from their original engines. A lot of racing history for the 1200 around these parts.
Some pretty cool cars in the series:


JesseMurphy Look at the second to last image. It has 'longchamp' stamped into the wheel. The 5 Stud versions have only 5 spokes.


JesseMurphy Yes they are. The 5 lug versions are exactly as pictured(there are often design differences between 4 and 5 lug variants of the same wheel)....they may not technically be XR4's(but I think they are), but they're certainly Longchamps.


This is the dream right here, I've always loved the idea of those lightweight 70s Datsuns and squeezing modern Nissan engines in them. Would be absolutely bonkers to drive this thing.


In South Africa we received the 4 door sedan version and a fastback 2 door knows as the "GX Coupe". The coupe is very popular here for drag racing, with turbocharged Toyota 4AGE, Mazda 2 litre and Nissan SR20DET powerplants.

The super light weight and RWD makes for a fast combination.


@mememe Yep great balance all around!


Here's mine 71' 4 Door Sedan on 13" Hayashi Street Racing Wheels that I've been builting myself... These cars are soo much fun to drive, and I can't imagine having a SR20DET under the hood... But someday I'll surely will!


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