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Today’s pickup truck market is a pretty crowded space, with competitive entries from Ford, Chevy/GMC, Ram, Toyota, Honda, and Nissan.

But before the Japanese got into the full-size game, they were making compact light trucks that appealed to folks who wanted the utility of a pickup bed, but couldn’t spare the space (or expense) of a half-ton.

Given their economical, utilitarian origins (combined with their propensity to rust), these light-duty import trucks were often ridden hard and put away wet.

Nowadays seeing one of these early import haulers is akin to spotting a narwhal in your grocery store.

So we were pretty darn giddy when this classic Nissan/Datsun pickup ambled into the Summit Racing retail store parking lot for this week’s Lot Shots.

This particular specimen is a Datsun 620, which went under the name “Little Hustler” in the United States.

Into Datsuns? You’ll probably dig this.

We can tell that it’s a later 1970s version, specifically a 1977-79.

That’s because it’s got the rare “king cab” and five-speed options, which got introduced in 1977, before the 620 generation ended after 1979.

If you can provide more insight on the proper year, please let us know in the comments below.

Though it’s got some rust-through, this Datsun’s owner has clearcoated the whole rig, which will preserve the original patina while keeping the tinworm from finishing its feast.

Outside of a significantly lowered suspension, the dog-dish hubcaps, plaid seats, and faded baby-blue paint make this truck a rolling time capsule.

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Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or watching a 1972 Corvette overheat. An avid motorcyclist, he spends the rest of his time synchronizing carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.