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This is my first post and it is fairly likely that variations of queries I have will have been covered in some part in other threads. But what I am seeking is very much personal opinions of whoever happens to look at my post, not so much accurate technical data so I hope it is okay for me to ask these typical newbie queries here.


I have recently discovered Datsun 620 trucks for the first time while looking for a classic vehicle to purchase. I have pretty much fallen in love with the way they look (especially the style on which they tend to be modified coming out of South East Asia ) and the idea of having one.


This will actually be my first car altogether. So tips on what to look for in a Datsun 620, comparisons between engine types etc or tips about similar non Datsun trucks would be appreciated.


What makes me want to get an extremely rare old truck as a first car?


I have very little or no need to drive anywhere so have never needed a car. Plus keeping a car on the road in the UK is expensive (insurance, tax, not, fuel etc) so only worthwhile if you are driving it every day. 


Recently I have become increasingly interested in hobby crafts and mechanics. Everything from welding/metal fabrication to carpentry. So a vehicle to ocassionally pickup or deliver things locally would be useful. 

Plus more so, I would like a vehicle to tinker with both as for the hobby engineering aspect (learning to rebuild engines etc) and to have something to "express myself" with however corny and poseurish that sounds. 

The UK recently updated the law, meaning that vehicles at least 40 years old neither require Tax or MOT (safety inspection certificate). Making a 40 year truck ideal as an occasional use leisure / hobby vehicle. If you leave a car lacking MOT or tax parked outside even your own house here, it can and is likely to be impounded.


This type of truck seems to be extremely extremely rare in the UK. The oldest trucks I have seen here even decades ago as a child, were 5th generation Toyota Hilux'es. Which were rare even back then and I've not seen any on the road since. Or land rover defenders, which are fairly common in a SUV shape with tarp/cloth back end. 


Pickup Trucks really only started to appear in late 90s with overbuilt mitsubishi monstrosities driven by the ocassional farmer or construction worker. And still even those are not common.


There seems to be a small handful (5 or so) companies importing a very small number of classic 1980s Japanese brand vehicles from SE Asia or Australia. Things like MK1 Toyota land cruisers. And those type of companies might bring in one of these Datsuns once in a blue moon. I spotted one such recently and was smitten.


I would appreciate thoughts and opinions on how to go about buying one. Whether I should jump on the first one I have access to because they are so hard to find here or to be more picky, ensuring I see it in person and look through potential faults with a fine tooth comb? (What things should I look for if so?)

Are there better and worse variants? Diesel or Gas/petrol ?


The only modifications I am likely to want to do, is;


making sure it has good functioning suspension. Whether that is by servicing/renewing its original style of leaf springs or by installing coilovers or even air suspension if it is practical. (The kits seem very affordable but I have no idea if they still work as suspension or are a low rider type gimmick).


Making sure it has good functioning brakes, either by servicing existing type (I presume drum brakes) or improving them.


Repair any corrosion and fully weatherproof underside of truck. (It is wet here for most of the year and roads salted for most of winter) 


Maintenance of existing engine and drivetrain. No engine swaps or anything ambitious.


Lastly, I plan to visit Thailand this year for unrelated reasons. Should I make an effort to look at many examples this type of truck in person? Are there groups out there, Facebook pages, IG etc you can suggest?


Many thanks in advance.





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Well here in the west the '73 620 had a 1.6 liter (L16) engine, '74 was an L18 and the '75-'79 was a 2 liter L20B.


Through '74 a regular cab and short wheelbase was standard. Starting in '75 a standard cab with a long wheelbase and longer box was available. Beginning half way through the '77 model year a lengthened, deluxe (or King Cab) with long wheelbase and regular size box was an option.


Through '77 all four wheels were drum brakes, ignition points, king pin steering and an alternator that used an external voltage regulator.  From '78 on, there were disc brakes on the front, a solid state electronic ignition (EI) ball joint steering and an internally regulated alternator. Half way through the '77 model year a 5 speed was optional where a 4 speed or 3 speed automatic was standard before.


All 620s had torsion bar front suspension so forget coil overs. The torsion bars are adjustable for height though.


All front fenders, doors, hood, grills, front windscreens, will exchange. Short wheelbase boxes and Deluxe (King Cab) boxes are the same. Regular cab and King Cab rear windscreens are different. Parking lights, side marker lights and rear tail lights are the same.


If buying one, get one as nearly perfect and complete as you can afford. It's horrendously expensive to buy or even find missing parts.


Nissan partnered with an auto maker in Taiwan that imported assembled and sold Datsuns in Asia called Yue Loong. If you find a Datsun in Thailand this is probably the maker.





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Thanks Datzenmike, that was exactly the type of advice I was hoping for but I wasn't expecting a single person to give it to me in such a concise manner 🙂


Do you know how to tell if a truck is made by Taiwanese yue loong or Nissan?

I think the few 1970s Nissan's that may have existed in the UK were scrapped or rusted away 20 years ago. Any nice example is going to be imported from somewhere, typically a rhd country. 





I am after a rhd (for driving on the left side of the road) and even before datzenmike emphasised it I was planning on avoiding rustboxes but thanks for the offer. 


Perhaps when/if I actually get a 620, spares from that could be useful but it's unlikely to be any time soon! 

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This info is what we got in N America, possible there were different engines used elsewhere in the export countries.


Yue Loong imported, assembled and marketed them I think. They might have a Yue Loong badge or emblem on them?


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