May 28th is regarded as “National Hamburger Day” across the United States, but we’re in the mood to celebrate another kind of hamburger—the iconic Nissan logo.

nissan emblem on rear trunk of a silver sentra se-r spec v

Though it’s evolved over the years, the familiar bisected circle emblem has been worn by Nissan/Datsun cars since the company’s inception in the early 1930s. Though it was inspired by the Japanese rising sun, at some point an astute Nissan fan noticed that the logo’s silhouette also resembled a hamburger, with a slab of meat sandwiched between two buns.

The nickname “hamburger” quickly caught on, and has been used by Nissan/Datsun enthusiasts ever since.

So if you’re in the mood to chew on some tasty sports cars, vintage trucks, and rare racers, we’ve compiled a quick photo gallery of some of our favorite Nissans we’ve come across over the years of covering car shows and events. Grab an order of fries and a soda, because it’s time to chow down…


vintage datsun pickup truck scottsdale
Datsun entered the American market with small cars and trucks in the late 1950s. The earliest imports were branded exclusively as Datsuns, as seen on this 1964 320 pickup—but the name Nissan began appearing on Datsun hoods and fenders later in the decade. (Image/Summit Racing – Gioia Kurpik)
1967 Nissan Patrol
Just like the Toyota Landcrusier, the Nissan Patrol was heavily influenced by the Willys Jeep. Though it was introduced in Japan in 1951, it’s particularly noteworthy in the Nissan/Datsun timeline because, when it came stateside in the early 1960s, it was the first vehicle to exclusively carry the Nissan nameplate in the U.S. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
Datsun 620 pickup truck blue driver side lowered suspension
The Datsun name endured until the early 1980s, when the company formally rebranded as Nissan. This is a 1979 Datsun 620 “Little Hustler” pickup truck and you can get a better look at it here. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
1972 datsun 240z
Though it had been steadily building a strong performance resume for years prior, Datsun threw its sports car gauntlet down with the 1970 Fairlady, known as the 240Z in the States. Though this is a 1972 edition here, the early Z cars were all pretty similar. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
nissan datsun 2.4L OHC six from a 240z
As the name 240Z implies, the earliest cars came with a 2.4L straight six making around 150 horsepower. In 1974 displacement was punched out to 2.6L, accompanying a name change to 260Z. U.S. emissions controls meant that the 2.6L’s power slipped a bit, but Nissan responded by offering a fuel injected 2.8L option that made closer to 170 hp in the 1975 280Z. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
white nissan skyline gtr at a classic car show
Before the 240Z arrived, the Skyline was Nissan’s go-to performance car. Though it was a common sight at international race tracks and rally stages by the mid 1960s, the Skyline was never sold in the United States. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
Vintage Nissan Skyline GTR customized by Fatlace
The Skyline would solidify its performance pedigree with the introduction of the legendary GT-R trim in 1969. In gearhead circles, seeing the GT-R emblem on the grille is tantamount to seeing Z28 or Cobra badging on a contemporary Camaro or Mustang. (Image/OnAllCylinders – Dave Fuller)
1972 datsun nissan 510 brock racing enterprises race car
Using the iconic BMW 2002 as a benchmark, Nissan engineers designed the 510 family of coupes, sedans, and wagons. Not too long after that, 510s went racing—where they quickly achieved fame with folks like Peter Brock, John Morton, and actor Paul Newman. Fun Fact: In addition to being the eponymous head of Brock Racing Enterprises (BRE), Peter Brock also came up with the iconic racing livery worn by these cars. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
a pair of nissan datsun 510 autocross cars before a race
Speaking of 510s, we came across this fierce duo at a local autocross. They’re built by a pair of brothers and you can see these 510s in action here. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
custom 1973 datsun 240z with GM LS Engine Swap, passenger side front
And when they’re not working on 510s, that same family is LS-swapping Z cars. Read more on this LS2-swapped 240Z that was a former feature car in the Summit Racing catalog. (Image/Des Gower & Hannah Miller)
nissan datsun sd33 diesel engine in an international scout 2
Nissan also operates a diesel engine division, primarily for industrial and commercial applications. But it made several diesel-equipped cars and even offered its diesels to other automakers. Curiously, we found this one in an International Scout. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
1981 Datsun 280ZX
By the end of its first generation, the newly rechristened 280Z evolved from a featherweight sports car into a Grand Touring 2+2 with a small set of back seats. (Image/Championship Auto Shows)
1984 Nissan Anniversary edition nissan turbo Z car
The success of the Fairlady/Z resulted in a 1984 redesign, known by Z fans as the Z31 generation. The straight six was replaced by a V6 that could be optioned with a turbocharger good for 200 horsepower. This one in particular is the 50th anniversary model built to celebrate the five decades since the Nissan/Datsun company was born. (Image/OnAllCylinders – Matt Griswold)
1987 r31 nissan skyline passage gt sedan
Performance aside, the Skyline is a big part of the Nissan automobile portfolio, encompassing a mix of models and trims that range from traditional sedans to full-boil GT-R coupes. This, for example, is a 1987 Skyline R31 Passage GT with an RB20E six cylinder engine making about 130ish horsepower. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
vintage nissan pathfinder, passeger side
As the 1990s loomed, Nissan leaned into the expanding SUV market too. Introduced in 1986, the Pathfinder was based on the beloved line of “Hardbody” body-on-frame pickup trucks. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
z32 Nissan 300zx with hood up
The Z-car legacy got a big boost in the early 1990s with the arrival of the jaw-dropping Z32 300ZX. Though they were bigger and heavier than the outgoing Z31 generation, twin-turbo 300ZX models could run 13s and dance close to 150 mph—impressive numbers for the era. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
rear view of a z32 nissan 300zx
The Z32-era 300ZX also brought us what are, arguably, the best looking taillights ever attached to a motor vehicle. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
1995 nissan 240sx tuner car
Thanks to a favorable exchange rate and booming Japanese economy, Nissan was able to greenlight several performance-oriented coupes that landed on U.S. shores. Cars like the Silvia/240SX and Sentra SE-R would fuel the nascent import tuner scene that was exploding in the mid-1990s. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
nissan stagea wagon passenger side front
A close cousin to the Skyline was the 1996-2007 Stagea wagon. In addition to sharing many other mechanical parts, Stageas could be optioned with engines from the famed RB-series of inline sixes along with a sophisticated all-wheel drive system borrowed from the fearsome Skyline GT-R. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
r32 nissan skyline with rb 26 twin turbo engine
Outside of the United States, the Skyline nameplate continued to build its performance aura, with the R32 GT-R absolutely dominating both the Japanese and Australian Touring Car championships in the early 1990s. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
R34 Nissan Skyline GTR Nismo
Thanks to some screen time in a certain car-themed movie series and plenty of appearances in video games, the Skyline cemented itself as Nissan’s Halo car by the dawn of the 21st century. But for a lot of enthusiasts, at the top of the heap rests the R34 Skyline GT-R. Note the radiator here—NISMO is Nissan’s in-house racing and development shop, and it still makes several aftermarket performance parts available to consumers. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
1991 Nissan Figaro
An interesting chapter in the Nissan book is the so-called “Pike Cars” that arrived in the early 1990s. Predicting the retro-styling craze that would hit a decade later with cars like the New Beetle, PT Cruiser, and Thunderbird, Nissan produced a quartet of vehicles with a nifty vintage look: the Figaro coupe pictured here, plus the Pao, Be-1. and S-Cargo. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
custom nissan pao surf wago from pike factory
Nicknamed after the Pike Factory in which they were made, “Pike Cars” like this Nissan Pao were not sold in America, so if you spot one here in the States, take a picture. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
nissan gtr parked at summit racing
After years of waiting, Nissan finally brought the Skyline stateside as simply the “GT-R” in 2009. At the same time, the GT-R split from Skyline family, becoming its own standalone nameplate. Modern GT-Rs are powered by a 3.8L turbocharged V6 connected to a sophisticated AWD system. Even though it’s been in production for well over a decade, it’s still one of the most potent performance cars on the market. Read more about this GT-R—and Skyline history—in this post. (Image/OnAllCylinders)
nissan 400 z with fender flared
Nissan unveiled the seventh generation of its fabled Fairlady/Z a while back, and thanks to a twin-turbo 3.0L engine and six-speed manual, it carries on the storied legacy of Nissan sports cars. (Image/OnAllCylinders)


So, what do you think? Did we omit any noteworthy Nissans? Let us hear about it in the comments section below.

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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 roof leaks in an old Corvette ragtop. Thanks to a penchant for vintage Honda motorcycles, he spends the rest of his time fiddling with carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.