If you want the long and short answer as to why Americans never got Japanese light-duty trucks in the 80s and 90s, we have two words for you: chicken tax.
Yes, that wonderful little devil of a law designed to tax imported potato starch somehow led to a 25 percent tax on perfectly good Japanese trucks that Americans could have made great use of.
Thankfully though, ham-fisted legislation can only hold a good truck down for so long, and this 1981 Datsun 720 King Cab for sale at GR Auto Gallery in Grand Rapids Michigan is the first time many Americans have even seen this plucky little truck.
Unlike most famous Japanese pickup trucks like the Toyota Hilux, the 720 did see a limited release in the United States and Mexico. So few trucks from this U.S. production run survive today that this example here could still look exotic among a sea of imported Japanese Iron.
This particular example comes equipped with a 2.2-liter inline-four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission and full-time four-wheel drive. With just under 66 thousand miles on the odometer, this truck designed to last for hundreds of thousands of miles is still barely broken in.
Inside the truck, all the amenities that truck buyers of years gone by would have drooled over are present. AM/FM radio, air conditioning, an integrated roof rack, fog lights, and a gun rack of all things. That’s one sure-fire way to tell this was a truck intended for the U.S market.
This little nugget of Japanese magnificence can be yours for $18,900 or a financed payment plan of $235 per month. Considering a base-spec Toyota Corolla or Mitsubishi Mirage costs around the same kind of money, it’s safe to say this eye-catching Datsun 720 truck is a far more exciting investment.