Welcome to episode four of the series that Newsweek has quoted “…is to the world of Car Brochures what the violin is to classical music”.
In the late 1970’s and the early ’80s there were myriad small family cars each trying to persuade the masses from the big beasts of burden that Mum and Dad had formerly crammed their kids ‘n junk into. They were all much of a muchness, really. But that’s not what the manufacturers wanted us to think.
Today we’re turning Japanese, albeit with a distinct Antipodean accent. It’s the Datsun Pulsar.
The Pulsar, we were led to believe, was:
“….A new breed of hatchback”
“….there hasn’t been a hatchback that put sportscar enjoyment into such a luxuriously practical, safe and inexpensive form”.
Now, back in the early 90’s my Auntie had one of these, albeit in UK market “Nissan Cherry” form. She never noted it as luxurious and certainly never stated that it put her in mind of a sports car. She would use terms like shitbox and crappy little rust-bucket; and not long into her ownership of said conveyance the suspension mounts rusted from the chassis rails, the floor fell out and she would soon sweep the remaining pile of orange dust into a skip and try to forget the entire episode.
And that was the crypto-exotic “Coupe” version, which this brochure suggests that New Zealanders were never blessed enough to receive. However, what they did get featured:
“…sporty, wind-cheating styling…..(that)….brings a whole new dimension to this class of car”
Yup. By the time this 1982 model came about there were only, oh, about infinity different five-door hatchback cars with front-wheel drive on the market, so clearly Datsun had stumbled across a formula they did well to keep to themselves. It was sheer one-upmanship that saw them go ahead and take the trouble to give the Pulsar;
“…Sleek lines. Sheer style. Solid construction. And inside, luxury, comfort and space in a combination you won’t find anywhere else.”
Yeah, except in cars. Lots of cars. Few of which, though, could claim to match the Pulsars interior beigeness. Not to worry, though. There’s all that sporting prowess to dwell on, remember:
“Performance buffs will thrill to the sporty exhaust note of the new Pulsar. And revel in its uncomplaining response to the demand for instant acceleration in each of the five gears”
Yes, the 1.3 litre, 74hp four-cylinder, overhead-cam engine was:
“A new breed of engine…..(that)…drives Pulsar with the punch of a sportscar”.
I can’t remember the last time I saw one of these machines trundling around. It’s surprising that more haven’t been preserved, being that Datsun were so sure that Pulsar marked a pivotal moment in car design.
But hey, at least I own the brochure.
<Disclaimer:- All photos were taken by the author and are of genuine original manufacturer publicity material, resting on the bonnet of a 1998 Audi A4. All copyright rights remain in the possession of the manufacturer, who in this case is desperate to leave these dark days behind them>
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