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Nissan Bluebird
Out now: Autocade Yearbook 2024

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Nissan’s longest-running nameplate, Bluebird, dates back to 1959. It eventually became one of the company’s most successful lines, with 1960s’ export models, namely the 510 series, finding fame as the Datsun 510 in the US and the Datsun 1600 in other markets, particularly in competition. It was the Bluebird’s height: its successor, the Bluebird U or 610 series (exported as the 160B or 180B), was overstyled with an emphasis on comfort, and the two-litre 810, the Datsun 200B, was sharply criticized by Australia’s Wheels magazine as being ‘a 180B with 20 more mistakes’. A squared-off successor emerged in 1979 and represented a more modern Nissan image for the 1980s, but the company’s insistence on square designs that decade hurt the model line’s chances. The model was exported as the Maxima in the US and spun off its own line in the 1980s. The name graced a rebadged Nissan Auster in Europe, which proved successful there, but it gained a dowdy image. It also formed the basis of the Australian Nissan Pintara for a few years. Bluebirds continued into the 1990s, with a rounded U13 that formed the basis of Chinese Bluebirds into the next century. But by the middle of the decade, the U14 was for the domestic market only, related to the Altima of North America. The Bluebird nameplate existed on the Nissan Bluebird Sylphy, a model based around the Renault Mégane platform, before it finally disappeared in 2012. The Altima has continued as a stand-alone line in the US. The Chinese translation for Bluebird is now used for the Nissan Lannia (a Latinization of the Chinese word for bluebird, 藍鳥 or 蓝鸟).

Marque: Nissan | Predecessor: Datsun 210 | Successors: Nissan Maxima, Nissan Primera, Nissan Altima, Nissan Bluebird Sylphy, Nissan Lannia


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Out now: Autocade Yearbook 2024