Datsun Truck 720

Datsun Truck 720

Year of production 1980 - 1986

Model: Truck (1955 - 1986)


The Datsun 720 came in regular cab and "King Cab" models, with regular and long bed options. The King Cab proved very popular. There was also a four-door variant offered in some overseas markets. A covered utility body style like that of the early Toyota 4Runner was also available as an aftermarket conversion by a company called Matrix3. This was available as a "dealer option" in the United States from 1984–1986 and was called the Bushmaster. In mid-1986 a factory-built version was introduced and was named Pathfinder. Other US model variations besides KC (King Cab) were the GL (long bed), DX (deluxe), ST (sport truck aka "Li'l Hustler" shortbed) and Cab-and-Chassis models (2wd only).

The 720 was manufactured in the newly built Smyrna, Tennessee plant from the 1983.5 model year until 1986.

Early (1980–1983) models had single wall beds with outside rolled lips and rope ties, two faux hood vents (some had real vents), and tail lights on the lower rear valance (similar to the 620).

For a limited period, 1983.5-1984 models built in the USA had the single wall beds with rope ties, yet used tail lights on the rear bed corners with amber turn signals over the red stop/tail lights while the backup lights remained under the tailgate. The front end underwent transformation as well, with a larger grille, bumper, and corner lights. There was also a revised dashboard with round instead of square gauges. At the same time, the regular cab was lengthened slightly and the air extractor vents behind the cab doors changed from the high "flag" look to long, narrow ones that matched the height of the window opening. The cabs of the King Cab versions were unchanged.

Finally, the late model trucks produced from 1985 - 1986.5 (first half) utilized double wall, smooth sided beds, with revised tail lights on the corners which resembled those on Chevrolet/GMC S-series trucks. Some overseas models continued with the early style beds. Model years 1986.5 (second half) and later were called Nissan Hardbody Trucks, chassis code D21.

In most parts of the world (other than North America), one could purchase a four-door crew cab version of the 720. The Datsun 720 was available in both 2WD and 4WD configurations, the latter having a divorced transfer case. The long wheelbase 2WD trucks (King Cab, short bed, and regular cab, long bed) had a two-piece driveshaft with a center support bearing.

In 1979.5 and 1980, models were powered by Datsun's 2.0L carbureted L20BI4 engine, but soon after switched to the Nissan NAPS-Z engine line for 1981 (Z20S). "NAPS (Nissan Anti Pollution System)" was the terminology Nissan used to describe their pollution control technology as a result of emission regulation laws having been enacted in Japan starting in 1975. In the Middle East it was powered by Datsun's 1.8 L carbureted L18 engine. The 1981-1982 models used the Z22 carbureted 2.2 L engine and an optional SD22 diesel of the same displacement. In mid-1983 Nissan introduced the Z24 2.4 liter twin spark four-cylinder motor, producing 103 hp (77 kW), 2.3 L SD23 OHV diesel four, and the SD25 diesel; this happened at the same time that the 720 series was marketed as a Nissan (the Datsun name, which had disappeared entirely after 1984, was now only seen below the Nissan name on the left corner of the tailgate). The diesel engines were sourced from the Nissan Diesel division, which Nissan Motors acquired in 1960. In the American market the diesel engine was only available in the 2WD 720 (from 1982 to 1985). The Z24 was upgraded to Z24i single-point fuel-injection (optional) for the 1986 models. Buyers in the rest of the world also received versions with the smaller 1.5 L J15, 1.6 L J16 or 1.8 L L18 carbureted engines. The 720 Series was never available with any of the Z22E or Z20E multi-port fuel injected engines. These engines are, however, easy to adapt and integrate into the chassis and can be found with the genuine appearance of being original equipment.

The United Kingdom only received the longer wheelbase, as a standard bed 1-tonner with the L18 engine or as the four-wheel drive 2.2 litre King Cab with 96 hp (72 kW).

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Datsun Truck 720
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1980 Datsun Truck 720
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