Back to Bluebird page 1968-1973 1300/1400/1600 (510) 1977-1980 160B 180B (810) 1980-1984 Bluebird (910)

The 160B and 180B ranges took over the 510 in the Datsun line up but achieved far greater success in the UK selling up to 55,000 examples. The 610 series was really the first import to benefit from the effective marketing, parts and dealer network set up by Datsun UK. The first models arrived in the spring of 1972 with a new range of L series 1770cc engines, supplementing the existing L16 in the 4 door saloons. The 5 door estate and 2 door SSS coupe were only imported into the UK with the largest engine option. Again, like the 510 estate, the 610 used leaf springs and featured a ‘standard’ equipment option but the level of interior refinements, sound proofing and finishing illustrated how Datsun wished to push the Bluebird name into a more upmarket light.

 6101975 UK spec Datsun 180B

The 610 occasionally appeared in the top 20 selling cars lists throughout the 70’s and was the 3rd best seller for the brand in the UK behind the Sunny and Cherry. The car shared much of its suspension and drive train with the previous 510 models, so retained some the character but due to the softer suspension it had a tendency to roll and pitch, and never quite recaptured the essence of the earlier model but was considerably better appointed. The range went through a minor facelift 16 months after the car was launched, mostly cleaning up the frontal design and trim and spec changes as well as minor adjustments to the suspension struts, visually it remained unchanged until the restyle in 1977.

 610_31976 UK spec Datsun 160B

Like the previous 510 series, the Bluebird name were not displayed on UK spec cars, but a new naming policy following the 240Z and 100A format followed, so throughout the 610’s life the cars either sported the 160B badge, for the 1.6 litre engine or 180B for the bigger unit.

 610_21975 UK spec Datsun 180B SSS

The 180B SSS coupe which maintained some vogue in the 70’s offered an affordable sporting element to the Datsun line up, with pillarless styling, twin carburetors, sporting equipment and a unique pseudo muscle car styling. While the SSS was certainly was not an outright drivers car, it was comfortable and smooth to drive and provided the range with some much needed glamour.

 610_11976 UK spec Datsun 180B estate

The Bluebird was an important car in Japan, having built up a legacy of the previous models and competed head on with Toyotas Corona models. The 610 SSS spec coupe also was available with fuel injection in Japan, one of the first Nissan mass produced cars to feature this. Typically the domestic range spawned many trim levels in Japan, and was available with 6 cylindered L series engines, known as the G610, badged as the U-2000 GT and GTX. These models had distinctively styled frontal areas, and were known as ‘sharknose’ and were available in saloon and coupe form only.

 610_4JDM spec Datsun U-2000 GTX

Several 610’s were tried and tested on the rally circuit shortly after the car was launched, but the rally works teams decided to concentrate on the newly introduced 710 Violet models. The 610 however was used with some level of success in rally competitions, with regular finishes on the Safari Rally. Several 610’s were also used with success competing in the Sports Car club of America.

 610_rally_1JDM spec Datsun 180B

Model History

Bluebird 160B (1972-1977)
L Series 4 Cylinder 1595cc OHC
4 door saloon
Bluebird 180B (1972-1977)
L Series 4 Cylinder 1770cc OHC
4 door saloon, 5 door estate, 2 door coupe
May 1972
4 door 160B and 180B saloon (SGXL), 180B SSS 2 door coupe introduced into the UK
February 1973
5 door 180B estate introduced in the UK
September 1973
All models have light restyling, larger rear lights, indicators now on front wings
November 1973
SSS coupe now has 5 speed gearbox and larger wheels
March 1977
Discontinued, replaced by 810 series