Small, compact, nimble, useful, competent, efficient…this little 1971 Datsun 521 has a lot going for it before you get into it’s classic Japanese appearance or it’s modest mini-truck appeal. I’m known to be partial to the 620, the bullet-side Datsun that followed the 521, but for the same reasons I like the later model truck, I like the earlier model truck, the sum of which can be determined with the adjectives I started out with. I’m a fan of little trucks like Datsuns, Toyotas, Ford Couriers, Chevrolet LUVs and Dodge D-50s…they are what I cut my teeth on driving. Small little trucks that nobody had a problem letting the kid loose with because it made nearly no power and most people didn’t really care what happened to them.
The L16 four isn’t going to set your world on fire, but at least the four-speed will make driving fun…it’s the same mill that was installed into the 510. The interior is a mix of different ideas, but it isn’t trashed. The wheels and tires work for useable stock, the paint looks like a recent respray, and the yellow-tint headlights and removed bumpers clean up the look. A tune here, a tweak there and you’d either be a mini trucker’s best friend or would have the attention of the local JDM fanboys.
You would also have a very useful little truck on your hands that doesn’t suck.