Back to the Violet page 1977-1981 140J 160J Violet (A10)

Datsun brought the new Violet range of cars into the UK, shortly after its introduction in Japan. Initially only the 140J (1.4 litre engine) saloon was brought into the UK, with the 160J (1.6 litre engine) SSS twin carb coupe only model following a few months later. A single carb 1.6 litre saloon model was brought in around the same time which meant there were 2 different 1.6 litre 4 door saloons available in the UK Datsun line up but curiously the smaller Violet was priced higher than the larger 160B Bluebird. Because of the model placement in between the 1.2 Sunny and the 1.6 Bluebird, sales were considerably lower than that of the Sunny and Bluebird but filled a small gap for those wanting a better equipped Sunny with more powerful engine options.

 7101975 UK spec Datsun 140J
 710_31975 UK spec Datsun 140J
 710_11977 UK spec MK2 Datsun 140J

The car should be considered as one of two Datsun models that replaced the 510 model, the other being the 160B/180B (1.6 and 1.8 litre engines) Bluebird model. Designed to maintain the family resemblance to the Sunny, the styling was a contrast to the previous generation of cleanly styled cars. After the independent suspension design of the 510 which had been noted for its handling, the rear leaf sprung set up on the 710 saloons was somewhat a disappointment and the press reported that the car did not drive particularly well but this didn’t seem to deter sales, mainly selling on its equipment and price merits but European versions of the SSS coupe models did feature coil suspension all round. Towards the end of the cars life, Nissan chose to redesign the whole rear half of the saloon, mainly to improve the rear vision and access to the rear seats. For the last year of 710 imports Nissan UK imported the 160J saloon with the same engine as the bigger 610 Bluebird, however the 160J retailed at £1000 less than it’s more upmarket 160B sibling.  All models continued to the end of 1977, when it was replaced by the square rigged 510 influenced A10 Violets in the new year.

 710_coupe1977 UK spec MK2 Datsun 160J


The wide body styles available suggests that the car developed a firm reputation, no doubt capitalising on the long running Bluebird and smaller sunny ranges. An estate version was also available but never imported into Europe – the 1.8 Bluebird estate was primed as Datsuns medium sided family car.

 710_estateJDM spec Datsun Violet estate
 710_2JDM spec Datsun Violet 2 door saloon

At the time, Datsun were establishing the 160J SSS in rallying and racing circles, so it made sense to import the model to help establish and promote the new generation of models. The car took off where the 510 had left and the 160J SSS coupe managed a 2nd and 4th in the 1973 WRC safari rally, with the 240Z winning the event and 3 710 models in the top 10 on the 1975 Safari rally. The car appeared in several other top 10 finishes throughout its career.

 710_racingUS spec Datsun 160J SSS race prepared coupe
 710_rallyDatsun 160J SSS Rally

Model History

140J (1973-1977)
L Series 4 Cylinder 1428cc OHC
4 door saloon
160J (1973-1977)
L 4 Cylinder 1595cc OHC
4 door saloon, 2 door coupe
October 1973
4 door 140J 1.4 litre saloon introduced into the UK
January 1974
2 door 1.6 twin carburetor 160J SSS coupe introduced into the UK
January 1975
anti-dieseling solenoid on carburator
April 1976
MK II version introduced, 4 door changes include restyled side and rear windows, previous fastback styling becomes a notchback. Coupe has restyled rear styling, and now has 5 speed gearbox as standard. Mechanical improvements to steering, brakes and suspension.
October 1976
160J saloon introduced with gearbox refinements
Dec 1977
All models discontinued. Replaced by the A10 series