Back to the Sunny page 1970-1973 (B110) 1973-1978 (B210) 1978-1982 (B310)

The Sunny name was instigated by Nissan for a public naming competition when the car was released in 1966. The car used traditional engineering, devised to directly compete with the then new Toyota Corolla which led the sales tables in Japan. In this respect it offered the customer much of the same experience of the Corolla – echoing the same body options, similar engineering and clean uncluttered styling. The car was never designed to be demanding for the user, thoughtful design and development was implemented to allow ease of maintenance, combined good fuel economy and reasonable acceleration.

b101968 UK spec Datsun 1000 4 door saloon

The very first model to reach the UK shores was the Datsun 1000 in late 1968, 2 years after the the first examples rolled off the production line. Coequally known as the Sunny, it offered UK owners a glimpse of the attributes that Japanese cars would offer. The car arrived in the UK with 2 body styles, a 4 door saloon and a 3 door estate. An attractive coupe model, with sporting pretentions was available in Japan and Australia, but not officially imported into the UK. It was the first car to use the A series engine (which incidently owes nothing to Austin’s A series engines) and its reputation soon spread as it was clear to see that these hardy strong engines were one of the secrets of the cars success.

 b10_estate1969 UK spec Datsun 1000 estate

Initial UK road tests were positive but typically dismissive despite its ease of driving, equipment and consideration to user experience. Much had gone into the thought of practical usability and the use of quality materials, which would soon become an appeciated aspect of the model. The UK market sector for the Sunny was particularly tough going, competing against the established British offerings. The engineering and build quality was noticible enough for the public to realise that Datsun were confident of their products but the marketing was still somewhat tentative in the UK, essentially targeting first time new car buyers, perhaps those who were already familiar with foreign cars. There may have been uncertainty with potential parts availability, resale values, high insurance premiums and a lack of dealer coverage but this was all counter balanced very quickly by Datsun, or rather more specifically Datsun UK when the range was replaced by the popular 1200 model in 1970. As a side note the very first official Datsun import to be registered in the UK – a red 4 door pictured above, was kept at the AF Tann Datsun dealer in Surrey for over 20 years, when the dealer became a Rover dealer the car subsequently passed into private hands and still exists.

Model History

Sunny 1000 (1968-1970)
A10 4 Cylinder 988cc OHV
4 door saloon, 3 door estate
October 1968
1000 4 door and 3 door Estate launched in the UK
November 1968
Revised grille
December 1969