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[Datsun 1200 encyclopedia]

Driving School

From Datsun 1200 Club

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Categories: Tech Section | Magazine Articles

Magazine article from

The Driving School Datsun
Published by: ddgonzal, On: Nov-15-2006
originally published on Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, Nov 23, 2003

Datsun 1200 was a great car for driving schools with a smooth, unburstable engine of simple design, light clutch and snick snick gear shift.
5598390529_03ef60d29c_z.jpgflicker click to view

The Driving School Datsun

text BY: By Shamsul Yunos 
Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2003 Financial Times Ltd. 
(From New Straits Times (Malaysia)) 

IF you took your driving lessons in the early or mid 1980s in places like Sungai Petani [Malaysia], chances are your first legal experience behind the wheel would have been behind a Datsun 1200 otherwise known as the 'Driving School' Datsun.

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This was the second generation Sunny in Japan and sported MacPherson strut front suspension and the A-series engine had grown to 1171cc.

The body had attractive, simple styling and achieved great success worldwide.

Referred to internally as the B110 range, it included both two and four door sedans, a coupe and a wagon.

The wagon actually came in three versions - a standard four-door wagon, a two-door wagon and a van. The van version had the rearmost side windows paneled in and was based on the three-door wagon.

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The B110 always came with the A12 engine and although there were many different specifications, the cars remained relatively unchanged throughout production.

This car was popular with institutions of driver learning because of its simplicity. If a learner driver should damage anything, it would be so simple to repair and this was generally due to its basic front-engined rear-drive layout.

A simple carburettored four-cylinder engine mounted longitudinally drove a live axle at the rear and the steering wheel was connected to the wheel without any hydraulic power assistance to complicate matters.

Most mechanics would be able to service the car with one hand tied behind their back and parts are also cheap.

Being a small car, it was obvious that its makers were pitching it as an economy machine and it really does sip petrol as if a Greenpeace activist is watching with a cane in hand.

In fact, one of Datsun's advertisements in the United States said that it would cost drivers in the late 60's 29.85 cents in petrol to cross the country from New York to Los Angeles. Of course petrol was probably around 10 cents a gallon then.

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I had a friend whose father drove an immaculate white 1200 and he seemed so contented driving that little car.

Of course when I went for my driving lesson the car was still available to train me and I asked the driving instructor why his school did not change to a newer model. He said that the 1200 was popular because it is easy to drive.

Among the reasons why learner drivers found the car easy to handle is the light controls and tight turning circle.

The light controls made it easy for drivers to balance the clutch on the slope while the tight turning circle made manouvering a doddle. Three- point turns and parking sections of the test was passed easily by those driving the 1200.

I flunked my first driving test driving a Nissan March because the driving school swapped cars and I found the manouverablity not to be as good as the 1200.

It will make a perfect starter classic car for anyone willing to dip their toes into the murky waters of slow-lane motoring. Prices start below.

RM1,000 and hardly ever goes far beyond that, unless you find a mint condition kept by a sentimental owner.

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Also See

* Datsun 1200 fans in Malaysia (2006)
* POST Datsun 1200 fans in Malaysia (today) 

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