The Nissan King Cab was an extended cab pickup truck produced from 1977 to 1997.
Datsun Truck Background and Nissan King Cab Introduction
There is a deep history of Datsun and Nissan trucks that stretches back to the pre-war era and early beginnings of the Datsun brand. One of Datsun’s best-known trucks was released in 1955, known as the Datsun 120, bringing the automaker into competition in the post-war era. These relatively small pickup trucks onctginued production for many years, hitting a major redesign in 1961 when it switched to the Datsun 320 and again in 1965 with the Datsun 520. Eventually, the Datsun 620 was released as a 1973 model year. And this model is where the first King Cab edition hit the markets. King Cab is Nissan’s trademark for their extended cab pickup trucks. In Japan, Nissan used the Custom designation for the extended cab trucks. Earlier versions of Datsun trucks did have double-cabs and even 3-door panel van layouts, but the King Cab moniker wasn’t used until the release of the extended cab 1977 Datsun 620. The US market sold the 620 under the Little Hustler name where it was used more as a personal vehicle rather than work truck. Canada knew it as the Sportruck.
Specifications and Engine Options
The Kind Cab Datsun 620 had a cabin that is 10-inches (24 cm) longer than the usual cab, and is placed on the longer wheelbase option, measure 109.6 inches (2,785 mm) instead of the 100.2 inch (2,545 mm) shorter wheelbase option. The 1977 through 1979 models of the King Cab used the 2.0L L20B inline-4 gasoline engine. It produced around 110 horsepower and was a fairly capable truck. This engine was used in a variety of Nissan models, making it one of the most versatile powerplants in Nissan’s history. Datsun’s competition department produced Solex twin-choke carburetor kits that could provide nearly double the power from this robust little engine. A 4-speed F4W71 was standard equipment, but an optional 5-speed manual transmission was also available. This was the first series to offer automatic transmission. Front disc brakes came to the Datsun 620 in 1978, as did electronic ignition that same year.
1980 Updates: 720 Introduction
In 1980, the Datsun 720 replaced the 620 truck. It still offered the King Cab extended cab version and some markets now saw a larger 4-door cab version too. This was not sold in North America. US models of the 720 started off using the 2.0L L20B engine as found in the previous generation. But in 1981, it changed to the 2.2L Z22S Nissan NAPS-Z engine, which included Nissan’s Anti-Pollution System to reduce emissions and appease regulators. A redesign hit the Datsun 720 in 1983, providing a larger grill, bumpers, and corner lights. The regular cab version was extended, but the King Cab stayed the same. Also in 1983, the 2.4L Z24 engine was introduced featuring twin-spark design on the four-cylinder engine, producing 103 horsepower. Some markets including the Middle East saw other engine options, such as the 1.8L L18 engine and an optional 2.2L SD22 diesel engine. The diesel engine sold quite well in markets where it was available, often paired with the 4WD drivetrain for the ultimate durable, capable package.
The 1990 Nissan D21 Hardbody Debut
In 1990, the Nissan D21 Hardbody pickup truck was released. It was available in two body styles, with the King Cab variant using the “S” body design exclusively, as compared to Japan’s “A” body that was available in single and dual cab offerings. Engines now included a variety of inline-4 and V6 options, with a 2.4L Z24i producing 106 horsepower and a carbureted Z24 with 100 horsepower in markets with less emissions controls. The US models moved to the 2.4L KA24E in 1990. A 5-speed manual transmission was the most commonly fitted, but an automatic transmission was available. The D21 truck was available in rear-wheel and four-wheel drive, with a limited slip differential being offered on the top SE trim level. Other options include larger wheels and tires, air conditioning, and sliding rear window. Sales of the Nissan D21 Hardbody and its King Cab variant did exceptionally well across the globe and many can still be found roaming the streets, used for personal and commercial applications. Nissan switched over to the Frontier model name for its trucks in 1997 in the US, but the D21 continued to be built in some markets such as Mexico until 2008 and Venezuela until 2014.