1973-1977 140J 160J (710) 1977-1981 140J 160J Violet (A10)

By the time the 5th (1972 610 series) generation of Bluebird was announced, it was clear to see that the model had grown in size with each new incarnation. So Nissan introduced a new model line to bridge the small gap in between the Sunny and the Bluebird – it used styling traits from the Sunny and shared much of the Bluebirds engines and running gear.

The car sold reasonably well, helped by the sporting coupe and subsequent and successful rally competition pedigree but unlike the smaller Cherry and Sunny never appeared in the top 10 selling cars in the UK. Like many of the Datsuns of the period the 710 Violet recieved a fair amount of criticism for its handling and styling, which again didn’t affect sales too adversely. This was partly addressed in 1977 when the A10 Violet was updated to a square rigged, cleaner, more glassy, less ornately designed bodyshell for the last generation of the Violet, but still retained the same floor pan, engine and running gear as the previous generation.

710_assemblyViolet assembly

The Violet competed in a rather crowded sector of the market, with competition not just coming from a similar styled range of Japanese cars, such as the Toyota Carina, Mazda 616, and Colt Lancer but also directly within the brand itself, with the 1.4 Sunnys and 1.6 Bluebirds competing for sales. Both Datsun and Toyota tended to market several different model lines in the same model sector, so there was overlap between models. Datsun UK ambitions was for the car to compete in the lower medium sized markets – against bigger engined Escort, Marinas and Vivas. The car was another global success, with production ranging from Mexico, Taiwan, South africa and Australia. All the of the UK cars were sourced via Japan. The coupe was offered in the UK with the 1.6 L series engine, it was independently sprung, unlike the leaf sprung saloons. An estate and later a 5 door hatchback model was also available, and sold in most countries apart from Europe – again the closeness in engine size would have meant it would have had inhouse competition with the 610. Interestingly, the 710 shared a platform with the E10 model, suggesting that like the E10, the Violet might have started off as a Prince design project but perhaps taken over by Nissan in later stages. The Violet formed the basis of the works rally team throughout the 70’s and 80’s, which helped keep the car in the public eyes. In Japan, the Violet name was used for the base models, while the higher spec versions where badged Auster and Stanza. The UK only ever recieved the base Violet models, the cars were still initially badged as the 140J and 160J. Furthermore the A10 was badged as the 510 in the states, to help associate the new design with the much loved original. The replacement car, the T11 Stanza was a brand new design, with new FWD engines and almost no carry over from the Violet and for a brief period in 1982, the car appeared in the top 10 best selling UK cars too.