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Nissan Bluebird

P910 Bluebird (Mk6)

1 May 1981

Absurdly launched as “The First Four Cylinder Limousine” while resurrecting the long dead (in Australia) Bluebird moniker, Datsun’s medium class 200B replacement righted most of its post-1600 predecessors’ wrongs nevertheless – thanks to elegant styling, more space, Australian-designed seats and rack and pinion steering.

The four-door sedan and wagon GL and GX, as well as the new luxury LX sedan, were the designations, and each was powered by a revised version of the L20B 70kW/152Nm 2.0-litre OHC four-cylinder engine.

A four or five-speed manual, or three-speed automatic, were the gearbox options.

A limited run of late-’81 100 Bluebird GL Sports Special packs predated the youth-orientated TR-X sedan of June ’82, which boasted the usual firmer suspension and sports wheels, stripes and instrumentation addenda.

A stripped-out fleet special simply called Bluebird also debuted, along with 2500 family-orientated Venturer packs, which added air-conditioning and heavy-duty cooling.

In September ’83 the Series II facelift saw new bumpers, a redesigned grille, tail-lights, wheel covers and paint options.

It also included a more powerful version of the venerable 2.0-litre engine (with 72kW of power and 155Nm of torque), some minor suspension revisions, the availability of digital instrumentation, updated seats and cabin trim, interior boot access and the addition of an LX wagon.

A 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Bluebird GX added fancy wheels and trim to 500 cars in June ’84, while the Venturer pack returned in late ’84. The Series III facelift of April ’85 was the final.

It resulted in an all-new 73kW/162Nm 2.0-litre CA20S four-cylinder engine for improved performance and efficiency, while new headlights, revised trim inside and out, an auto gearbox recalibration and model designation changes (now GL, GXE and GXE Ultra) completed the changes.

Such updates were necessary, since the rear-wheel drive Datsun, already two years old in Japan at launch here, found the going tough.

While the original Mazda 626, Mitsubishi Sigma, Toyota Corona and Ford Cortina were also rear-drive in ’81, by ’83 the newer front-wheel drive 626 Mk2, Ford Telstar, Holden Camira and – eventually – the ’85 Mitsubishi Magna soon dominated.

Consequently this was the last rear-drive Bluebird. Its U11-series front-wheel drive replacement – virtually identical in appearance – was passed up for the R31 Skyline and its four-cylinder Pintara sibling.

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