Back to the Sunny page 1968-1970 (B10) 1970-1973 (B110) 1973-1978 (B210)

The first models arrived in August 1978, and seamlessly took over the sales success of the 120Y. The B310 offered the exactly the same body options as before with more interior refinement, but in a squared off body style echoing that of the Violet. The 1397cc version of the A series engine was now offered and supplemented the smaller 1.2 litre unit for all body shapes apart from the Fastback estate. The 1.4 litre coupe version initially featured a 5 speed gearbox, which was curiously deleted from the post 1979 versions. Despite this models relatively short import 20 month run, it sold even more than the previous model. Motoring journalists praised the car for its showroom appeal, reliability and ease of driving would add that the Sunny range was on the whole a conventional design with proven mechanics. This was a relatively common trait in mid sized Japanese cars, but despite the presses reoccuring comments regarding the neutral driving experience, the cars success continued with exactly what people expected of the cars. The 1.2 litre estate version still showed its commercial vehicle roots, sold at a cheaper price with a more austere specification. An additional body shape with semi-hatchback fastback estate version was introduced in mid 1979 and allowed the sunny range to appeal to those who needed a more creature comforts, such as fabric seats, carpets and a more powerful engine. Nissan continued to offer 2 sunny estate models into the UK until 1992. Total UK sales for all B310 models was 114,682.

 b310_31980 UK spec 2 door saloon Datsun 120Y
 b310_11979 UK spec Datsun Sunny coupe

Early UK versions would still sport 120Y or 140Y badge depending on the engine size, but all models were soon badged as the Sunny, with later models adorning a GL trim level badge. Mechanically similar to the previous model but now with multi-link rear suspension, with exception to the 1.2 litre estate model which retained rear leaf springs. The final RWD incarnation of the sunny was a facelifted model, with an updated instrument panels, rectangle front headlamps, restyled tail lights on the saloon and coupe and a new range of 1488cc engines – the final evolution of the hardy A Series engine. As before the Sunny was also available and imported as a panel van.

 b310_41981 UK spec Datsun Sunny saloon
 b310_21980 UK spec Datsun Sunny estate
 b3101981 UK spec Datsun Sunny fastback estate

The JDM Sunny Excellent, which had previously utilised the L series engines were no longer produced but the equivalent models used the A series engines with fuel injection and were badged as the GX-E or SGX-E. North American Sunny models were badged as the 210, carrying on the previous models name tag. The 3 door estate version also continued in this guise, both with metal rear side panels or glass. The Taiwanese Yue Loong (YLN) company had long been assembling Nissans for their own market, and chose to continue producing the B310 (as the Sunny 303S) well into the 90’s as a budget alternative to the newer Sunny models. These later models also featured styling elements that were not generally available in the rest of the world, with black plastic wrap around bumpers, larger rear lamps and sloping headlamps and grill.

Model History

120Y/Sunny (1978-1982)
A12 4 Cylinder 1171cc OHV
2 door saloon, 4 door saloon, 5 door estate
140Y/Sunny (1978-1981)
A14 4 Cylinder 1397cc OHV
2 door saloon, 4 door saloon, 5 door fastback estate, 3 door coupe
Sunny (1981-1982)
A15 4 Cylinder 1488cc OHV
2 door saloon, 4 door saloon, 5 door fastback estate, 3 door coupe
August 1978
1171cc 120Y 2 door, 4 door saloons, 5 door Estate and 140Y 1397cc 5 speed 3 door coupe launched in the UK
October 1978
Automatic gearbox option for 2 and 4 door saloons, only with 1397cc engine
February 1979
5 Speed gearbox on coupe deleted
May 1979
5 door Fastback estate with 1397cc engine launched, estate production continues with 1171cc
April 1980
Models revised with 1.2 and 1.4 designations, new grill, restyled rear lights, square headlamps, redesigned dashboards and plastic bumpers.
June 1980
1.4 GL 4 door saloon available with 4 speed gearbox, automatic available on fastback estate, 5 speed gearbox now an option on the 1.4 GL coupe
January 1981
1397cc replaced by 1488cc on the 2 door saloon auto, 4 door saloon (both auto and manual), fastback estate and coupe. Automatic gearbox option deleted on fastback estate
October 1981
5 Speed gearbox on coupe standard
May 1982
Discontinued. Replaced by FWD B11