At face value it may seem strange for a hot rod shop like Gas Monkey Garage to undertake a JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) car, but truthfully the path of the hot rod and the Datsun do not stray so drastically.
To fully understand the Datsun you have to first know that it’s a part of Nissan and while you may not know much about Nissan, odds are good that you’re familiar with WWII and the role the Japanese played. Well, like practically any other country involved in the second World War Nissan dedicated themselves to the war effort and not only did they lose the war, but the Nissan name and brand suffered greatly. Bad news for Nissan, but good news for their lesser known Datsun line post-war.
On the allied side, young American troops returned home to a surplus of ’30s era cars and, arguably, a lot of adrenaline; the perfect combination for the birth of the hot rod. Back across the Pacific, Nissan would take years to return to making cars as they did pre-war, but when they did soldiers in the U.S. were hitting an age where a second car was needed, an energy crisis was looming and an affordable, stylish and fuel efficient Datsun was primed to capitalize.
Since that time Nissan discontinued the Datsun name in the ’80s, but has since relaunched in in certain markets. However, the ’70s era Datsuns remain a favorite of customizers and collectors alike.