Mike was my best friend in high school and for my first several years in college. There’s a lot I could say about him because he was one of the most interesting people I have ever met, and he changed my life in so many ways. He was also a little bit nuts, which suited me fine.
His job at that time was as a delivery driver for Domino’s Pizza, and he never, ever took care of his cars at all. When I’d get in his car, the passenger seat floor area was so full of trash, that it was up to the seat, and frequently on the seat. He’d leave his windows open most of the time, rain or shine, and it was in upstate NY so, there was plenty of inclement weather to choose from. Actually now that I think of it, he’d park it and leave the driver’s door open a lot of the time too. Possibly from getting used to doing so while on deliveries, probably out of laziness. The interior light had burned out long ago, so it didn’t draw down the battery. That was Mike.
At one point, there was water, trash and garbage in the passenger footwell that became a sort of swampy biological experiment. He wasn’t the most courteous or conscientious of drivers either. He’d frequently go way over the speed limit in residential areas, pull U-turns pretty much anywhere, drive erratically. You name the law, and he disobeyed it. Not because he was a rebel so much as he just didn’t really care. Strangely, he could drink a whole lot of beer and it really didn’t affect his driving skills or judgement, mainly because he didn’t exercise much of either.
So the perfect car for him was not particularly sexy, inexpensive, easy to maintain, hard to kill, completely forgiving when not maintained, and had spectacular fuel economy. Thus, the Datsun B210. So perfect was this car for him, that after he demolished the first one, he bought a nearly identical replacement. They were both the same color as this B210: maroon. One of them was a 2-door and one was a 4-door if my memory serves me.
The second one even had air conditioning, however the condensate of which was one of the factors which also contributed to the soup brewing in the footwell. He also burned out the windshield washer fluid pump, so in order to get his windows clean, we’d go into New York City and look for a street urchin who made their living accosting drivers at stoplights by spraying and wiping down the windshield with a dirty rag before they could move or do an evasive maneuver. He would call them over and made sure they did a “good” job, and even had them do the back window and side mirrors too. As was his custom, he always tipped well.
As I said, he was a bit nuts.
As soon as I saw this B210 it instantly took me back to those days of heading down to NYC to catch some jazz-fusion band coming through town, and have the windows cleaned. We’d always take his car because if it got dented, he didn’t care. If it got stolen, it wasn’t a big loss. We always left it unlocked anyway. I don’t recall him ever even getting an oil change.
One thing I do recall is that the car took enormous abuse and yet kept on going. At one point I remember something mechanical going very wrong and he just kept driving it like that. He drove it that way for so long it stopped happening. Kind of like worn clothes that aren’t washed for so long they don’t smell like your nasty self any more. Magically they somehow become “clean”. He said that the car healed itself. Whatever it was that was going on never happened again after that. Inexplicable, but then those old Datsuns were bulletproof cars.
This particular 1979 Datsun B210 has maroon paint over black interior, is a 4-door sedan variant, and has what I’m guessing is a 3-speed automatic transmission. The engine is likely the 1.4 liter 65 HP Nissan A engine which could propel the car to 60 mph – if necessary – in approximately 3 days. Just kidding, it took 4 days. No really it was about 16-17 seconds, but who’s counting? On the flip side, it could be counted on to get in the 27-31 mpg range.
This remarkably well preserved example has only 55,000 miles on the odometer, has brand new tires with rims, and has been kept stored in a garage. The heat and AC both work, and it has a clean title.
Should you require an economic runabout that can take a beating, or require a small sedan to deliver pizza or other items in, this may be the perfect car for you. I would recommend doing regular maintenance and keeping your passengers happy by throwing your trash somewhere other than where they sit. You can contact the seller HERE at the original listing on craigslist.
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