Datsun in Australia

Datsun is a car company that has a very unique history in the automotive world. Originating from Japan, the Datsun vehicle competed with the top names in the Japanese automotive industry. In the year 1911, Masujiro Hashimoto created the Kwaishinsha Motor Company. Hashimoto was an American trained engineer and was interested in developing the first Japanese automobile regularly produced and available for sale on the public market. The automobile had been in Japan since 1904 when a massive steam-drive vehicle was first developed. The gasoline powered automobile came along three years later, but there was still no way to produce the automobile for the general public. After three years of development, Hashimoto built the prototype for what would become the DAT model 31.

Hashimoto named the fledgling vehicle DAT, taking a part of each investor in his company. The word translates in Japanese to mean fast hare. From 1916 to 1925, DAT model 31 saw mass production and a fair amount of success in Japan. Its predecessor, the DAT 41 was built with the luxury car buyer in mind. Since the vehicle was still made by hand and was sizeable enough to seat five adults comfortably, the production numbers for the model 41 were understandably small. These small production numbers worked out to be in Hashimoto’s favor due to the extensive rail system relied upon by the Japanese public. For this reason, cars were confined to the large cities.

As the company began to falter, it was restructured and sprung to life again with the development of the model 51. This company was nicknamed Datson, of son of Dat. However, the word “son” in Japanese means loss, so the spelling was altered to Datsun. Under this name, the company began to flourish and produce cars that would be shipped all over the world. Although the production of the Datsun did not leave Japan, the popularity of the automobile quickly reached Australia and the car’s sales figures began to rise.

The Datsun Phaeton was the first automobile by Datsun to make it to Australia. This vehicle became increasingly popular in the country. In addition to being built sturdy and durable, the Phaeton was attractive and stylish. The Phaeton ruled in the 1930s, but Datsun quickly came to realize the potential in racing cars as the decades began to pass. Speed, weight, and aerodynamics played a large part in developing a Datsun race car that could beat the other cars in the field. In fact, a Datsun 210 won the grueling 1958 Mobilgas around the country.

Datsun eventually merged with Nissan, although cars were still produced under the Datsun name. Nissan began manufacturing vehicles in Australia in 1966, and importing vehicles many years before. Using the Datsun name and designs, Australians were finally able to purchase the vehicles as a much cheaper cost since they were manufactured in country. Today, there is still a huge following of Datsun fans in Australia, especially for those zippy sports cars manufactured by the Japanese automobile company.


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