The Datsun DB: Crosley's Amerasian brother.
- 1948 Datsun DB Model
In March 1948, Nissan unveiled a car that was unlike anything previously seen in Japan. The car was the new Datsun DB, and it was the first modern-looking car built by any Japanese car maker since the start of the Second World War.
Unfortunately for Nissan there were some Americans who had seen something like it before, and they weren't too happy. The reason some Americans had seen something like it before was because the Datsun DB was a near-perfect copy of a 1947 Crosley.
In 1947 Crosley released the CC, its very distinctive new model with an unusual dorsal fin that ran down the bonnet and right down the front of the car, between its two seperate grille openings. History doesn't record exactly how and when Nissan got their hands on a 1947 Crosley, but it was more than likely imported by the US occupying forces stationed in Japan after the end of the war. The Datsun DB was a shameless copy. Although none of the panels are exactly the same as the Crosley. it's quite obvious where the design came from. The only significant differences were to the grille design, the bonnet length and the windscreen shape. The gap between the back of the bonnet and the windscreen is shorter on the Datsun because they needed a longer engine bay to fit the Datsun Type 7 engine; as a result the overall bonnet length is shorter on the Crosley. The windscreen opening is a rectangular shape on the Datsun DB with right angle corners. This allowed Nissan to use less expensive flat glass with straight edges.
The Crosley had its unique new CoBra engine. For the Datsun DB, Nissan used the old pre-war 722cc 15hp side-valve Type 7 engine that had powered most Datsuns since 1935. The Crosley, rather conveniently, had almost exactly the same wheelbase as the Datsun 2124 truck the DB was based on, with the Crosley wheelbase only 26mm longer than the Datsun.
Powel Crosley let it be known that he wasn't too happy about the whole thing, though no legal action was taken. The US occupying forces were working hard to get Japan's economy back on track, and were hardly likely to allow Nissan to incur any more financial strain while the company was in a delicate rebuilding phase.
In 1949 Nissan changed the design of the front of the DB to make it look less like a Crosley, though from side on it was still unmistakeable. The new model would be called the Datsun DB-2.
1948 Datsun DB Sedan Specifications
Length - 3150mm
Width - 1330mm
Height - 1570mm
Wheelbase - 2006mm
Weight - 520kg
Top speed - unknown
Transmission - Floor, 3 speed
Model - Type 7
Side Valve 4 Cylinder
Capacity - 722cc
Bore & Stroke 55x75mm
Power - 16bhp@3500rpm
Compression - 6.2 : 1
Carburetor - unknown
Final drive - 4.11:1
DB photos are posted here; check "New Photos".