Datsun 200B

Send This Page To A Friend

Datsun 200B

1977 - 1981
4 cyl.
1952 cc
72 kw
4 spd. man / 3 spd. auto
Top Speed:
Number Built:
1 star
Datsun 200B TV Commercial
by Dominic Franco

The Datsun 180B was replaced in October of 1977 with the 200B, the car that Nissan hoped would continue the great sales success that its predecessor had enjoyed since its introduction in 1976, and spearhead the company’s move to become a fully fledged Australian manufacturer.

Continuing with the Japanese styling, the first 200B’s were all fully imported in Sedan, Wagon and Coupe, the latter retaining the SSS badge.

In January 1978 local assembly began for the sedan, followed shortly by the wagon. The sedan trim levels were GL and GX, while the coupe remained as a hardtop, however unlike the previous model, Datsun added an "Opera" window in the rear pillar. Unfortunately the coupe was discontinued in Australia in 1979.

Almost immediately the 200B became Australia’s top selling four-cylinder car, a position it held until it was displaced by the Sigma. Its popularity however remained strong right through the production run, family buyers appreciative of the plentiful interior room and standard features.

It may have been somewhat conservatively styled, but the effort Nissan had put into the engineering of the car made it reliable and tough, qualities most Australians rated higher than a more advanced design.

The engine for the 200B was a larger version of the L series engine from the 180B, dubbed the L20B its capacity was increased to 1952cc, making it good for 72 kW.

Only the early fully imported 200B sedans and coupes retained the independent rear suspension from the 180B, locally assembled 200B sedans instead switching to coil springs with trailing arms, while the wagon had a live rear axle with leaf springs.

Undoubtedly a giant step backwards, the reason for the change was certainly not a cost cutting measure, but simply the need for Nissan to reach an 85 per cent local content quota that the then Federal Government demanded of Australian car manufacturers.

The biggest downside to the 200B was the noise the driver would have to endure. The 2 liter overhead cam engine could be very loud when pushed up through the rev range, and to make matters worse there was always plenty of drive line vibration. These issues prompted an exhaustive correction programme to be undertaken by the parent company in Japan, and thankfully later models were somewhat improved.

A sportier version of the 200B sedan was released in June 1978. The new SX featured a revised grille, front spoiler, alloy wheels, revised door and seat trim (striped seat inserts) and tachometer, while the suspension was altered to improve handling. The colors available for this model were simply blue, white or red, and the only transmission available was a 4-speed floor shift.

Significantly the SX was a unique model to Australia, the added input from Nissan’s Australian design engineers signified a step away from just assembling cars. This in turn led to the locally built Datsun’s, and later Nissans, being re-engineered to better suit Australian conditions, with many components being sourced locally – a tradition that would continue right up until 1991, when Nissan ceased local manufacture.

The first significant change came in October 1977, with the introduction of the NAPS-Z (Nissan Anti Pollution System) engines, and a change to large bumpers with rubber end caps. In October 1979, the 200B was revised with a new grille, bumpers, seats, trim and dashboard. The seats were a unique Australian design for the locally built cars. In 1978 the range was updated with new dual rectangular headlights and a new grille - although this update did not appear in all markets.

In 1980 a limited edition 200B Aspen GL sedan was released, it featuring distinctive shadow tone paint available in green, blue or grey. Both the 180B and 200B models were extremely popular with Australian motorists, although it is rare to see one on the roads today. The time is fast approaching when 70's nostalgia buffs will lust for a good clean example, only to find there are none.

Visitor Rating:

Also see:

Datsun 200B Model Lineup
Datsun 200B Brochure
Datsun 200B Technical Specifications
Comments page 0 of 0
Click here to add a comment
There are currently 0 comments to display.

Unique Cars and Parts USA - The Ultimate Classic Car Resource