This guide has been written for the Datsun 610 Series 180 B SSS hardtop coupe (known in some markets as the Datsun 610 Hardtop, Bluebird Hardtop or Bluebird-U Hardtop). This guide primarily focuses on the original specifications of the Australian market vehicles. The information in this guide has been generated from research and observation, but not all information here will be 100% accurate. We appreciate any assistance and additional information from experts and enthusiasts that can contribute to this guide for the benefit of restorers.

Although the Datsun 180B sedan was manufactured in Australia for the local market, the hardtop SSS was a fully imported ‘higher-end’ performance version built in Japan, with SSS meaning “Super Sport Sedan”.

Launched in the Australian market in late 1972, the 180 B SSS hardtop focused on luxury and exclusivity for a brand that had traditionally offered fairly simple products (with the exception of the 240z). The 180B SSS sold very well in the Australian market, with today’s scarcity more a reflection of how the vehicle have been treated, and their susceptibility to severe rust.

At the time of launch, the 180B SSS was subject to significant import tariffs, yet managed to retail at $3,395 in Australian dealerships (a touch below the Toyota Celica which retailed at $3,400) – no doubt a strategic decision by Datsun. Other competitors of the time included the Toyota Corona MKII Hardtop, the Mitsubishi Galant Hardtop, and the Mazda 929 Hardtop, to name just a few.

180B SSS Production period and production numbers

The 180 B SSS hardtop was offered in the Australian market from 1972, with runout models likely available in 1977 when it was replaced with the 200B SSS hardtop. Unfortunately there is no clear production or import data freely available for the 180B SSS hardtop in Australia.


1. Exterior features: Datsun 180B SSS (Bluebird 610)
  • The 180B SSS was available exclusively in the 2-door hardtop body.
  • A facelift occurred during 1974, which introduced a changed grille design, and incorporated wrap around front indicators on the corner edges of the headlights (pre-facelift cars had side repeaters fitted to the mudguards.
  • Badging: “Datsun 180B” appeared on the rear guards, and “SSS” badges appeared on the rear pillars on the black flange window frame which became thicker as it wraps up the C-pillar. Central “Datsun” text badge between the tail lights at the rear (the Datsun text is sometimes red), and a “Datsun” text badge on the front left grille. Automatic transmission cars had a badge on the rear left of the trunk lid reading “Nissan full automatic”.
  • Chrome blanking plates were fitted to the front guard edges (formerly where Japanese spec side-view mirrors were fitted). In the Australian market, a single square stainless steel side view mirror was fitted to the RHS door, but many owners have since installed Japanese spec mirrors on the guards.
  • 7 and 9-slot matt black/stainless wheel covers/hubcaps were fitted as standard to the 180B SSS in Australia, covering 13 x 4.5” styled steel rims. The steel rims were an unusual 4-slot design, usually finished in black or a two tone finish. Often, hubcaps were deleted and a chrome dress rim was fitted to the rims, with a Datsun centre cap. Tyres fitted were 4 ½ J 165SR13 radials.
  • Front mudflaps were optional (these were the 70s style that also ran for along/under the rocker panel. See example in the image gallery.
  • On the rear lower quarter panels (just in front of the rear bumper) either clear reflectors or turn signals were fitted to the lower rear side of the mudguards. Different lens colours have been sighted over all production years, and there does not appear to be a distinct year of change or consistency for this feature.
  • Popular aftermarket options include a rear window louvre, and vinyl roof kit. See image gallery for examples.
  • The car’s antenna was mounted on the front driver’s side A-pillar.
  • The chrome front bumper in the Australian vehicles integrated indicators and parker lamps (as opposed to purely indicator lamps in some other markets).
  • A stainless steel trim piece was fitted to the rocker panel (sill panel) between the front and rear wheels.
  • Stainless trim surrounded all windows, and was also fitted to the border of the tail lamp panel / fascia.
2. Paint colours / codes: Datsun 180B SSS (Bluebird 610)

A number of original colours have been identified from a Japanese 610 SSS brochure, translated using an image recognition software (so the name translation are not 100% correct). We have included the Japanese brochure in the images for reference. There are also a couple of additional colours which we know to be original from Australian Datsun marketing brochures. Unfortunately, we have not been able to identify accurate paint codes (such as PPG / DuPont codes). Any assistance with this from fellow enthusiasts would be appreciated.

  1. Silver metallic (JDM brochure translation: Parley Silver Metallic - Code 012)
  2. Purple metallic (JDM brochure translation: Misty Purple Metallic - Code 014)
  3. Blue metallic (JDM brochure translation: Starlight Blue Metallic - Code 015)
  4. Orange metallic (JDM brochure translation: Englerplons Orange Metallic - Code 016)
  5. White (JDM brochure translation: Sherry White - Code 018)
  6. Yellow (JDM brochure translation: Habibid Yellow - Code 019)
  7. Green (JDM brochure translation: Meadow Green - Code 021)
  8. Red (JDM brochure translation: Floral Red - Code 905)
  9. Dark Green (JDM brochure translation: Arcadian Olive – Code 939
  10. Maroon / burgundy
  11. Non-metallic orange
3. Interior features: Datsun 180B SSS (Bluebird 610)
  • The Australian market 180B SSS appears to have been fitted with two different dashboard and steering wheel designs.
  • Steering wheel designs included:
    • Wheel 1: 3 spoke design with a vinyl wrapped rim (each spoke having two rectangular holes) with a circular central Boss and “SSS” badge in the middle.
    • Wheel 2: 3 spoke design with wooden rim, the spokes were flat plastic finish, and had a “D” badge in the middle and twin horn buttons on the upper spokes. This wheel was fitted to the vast majority of 180B SSSs in Australia.
  • Two types of dashboard were applied as follows
    • Type 1: The instruments on this dashboard were contained in circular surrounds in the cluster. A separate triple cluster to the left of the main cluster contained Fuel, oil pressure and temperature gauges. On this dashboard design, the radio was mounted lower on the dash below the air vents. This dashboard was always accompanied by Wheel 1 (described above)
    • Type 2: The more commonly fitted dash had more rectangular gauge surrounds, and did not have the separate cluster to the left of the main instruments. Instead, a radio was located to the left of the instruments, and the RHS instrument incorporated fuel and temperature, but no oil pressure gauge was included. This dashboard was always accompanied by Wheel 2 (described above)
  • A metric odometer was applied from September 1973.
  • Additional warning lamps were also applied to the SSS, including a Brake pressure warning (illuminating when fluid is low), and a Low fuel warning light, illuminating when fuel reached below 8L.
  • 3-speed wipers were fitted as standard.
  • A woodgrain vinyl laminate was applied to the instrument panels and central console. A Datsun badge was applied to the woodgrain panel above the glovebox lid. The rest of the dash was a black vinyl finish.
  • Seats had nylon cloth facings and “leatherette” vinyl bolsters which incorporated a pattern embossed in the material. The seats were unique to the hardtop (ensuring sufficient headroom given the reduced roof space.
  • Like the seats, door and rear quarter trim cards were vinyl embossed with decorative patterns and trimmed to match the seats. The door mounted arm rest / handle was always a black vinyl finish. Windows were manual wind-up.
  • Australian vehicles were available with a cassette player as an option. A 1974 model brochure confirms a Clarion player was available. Other systems may have been available in different years.
  • Fresh air ventilation (not air conditioning) was fitted as standard. Air conditioning was optional.
  • Other standard features included an anti-glare rear vision mirror, electric rear window demister and laminated windscreen.
  • 180 B SSS trim colours in the Australian market included Brown (tan), blue, black and creme. Brown appears to be the most common trim fitted. Carpets were trimmed to match the seat trim colour. 180B SSS trim did not preserve well, and we’ve struggled to find good image examples. If anyone can assist with good images of their original trim colour, please contact the author by clicking the button at the top of this page.
4. Mechanical features and specifications: Datsun 180B SSS (Bluebird 610)

The motor in the 180B 610 SSS was higher compression than a standard L18 motor fitted to the standard Australian 180B. It had an enhanced head, with larger valves and performance cam, which combined with twin carbs gave the engine between 10 - 13 more horsepower than the standard sedan.

  • Engine and performance: The 610 / 180B SSS was fitted with the L18 L-series Nissan inline 4-cylinder engine with the following properties:
    • Single OHC 1,770cc. The cam shaft on a 180B SSS should have “B1” stamped in it.
    • Engine outputs (HP & KW):Early engines with twin SU round top carbs had 84kw/115 bhp at 6000 rpm. Later cars with the Hitachi flat top carbs had 77kw /103 bhp @6,000 rpm. Refer to the 180B SSS carby specifications below for further details. There was also a version of the engine that put out 110hp (note, original engine power output was stated on the vehicle's data plate fixed to the centre of the engine bay bulkhead).
    • Engine outputs (NM Torque): Early engines with twin SU round top carbs had 112 ft./lbs Torque at 4,000 RPM (up from 108.5 on the 180B Sedan). Later cars with flat top Hitachi carbs had 147 Nm / 108.5 ft-lb torque.
    • Bore/stroke: 85x78 (3.346 x 3.071);
    • Firing order: 1,3,4,2;
    • Compression ratio: 8.5:1;
    • Factory valve clearance: 0.25 / .010 (intake) and 0.30 / 0.012 (exhaust);
    • Top speed of 112 mph at 5000 rpm
  • Fuel tank capacity: 55 litres;
  • Suspension and handling: The 180B SSS borrowed its suspension and drive train from the outgoing 510, with some minor modifications. It retained independent rear trailing arm suspension, with nitrogen gas shock absorbers. From 1974, offset strut tops were introduced to the front suspension. A front sway bar was also fitted as standard.
  • Wheels and tyres: 13 x 4.5 inch wheels were standard, fitted with radial ply tyres.
  • Carburettors:
  • Early cars had twin SU carbs. Early models had round-top 1.5” inch SU’s, later models had square top ones (not sure what year the cutover was). Twin Hitachi Carburetors/Nikki 2-barrel (note, a JDM specific model called the SSS-E was available with fuel injection (Bosch licensed), but was not exported outside of Japan).
  • Twin 38mm (1.5 inch) side draught carburettors were fitted to the 180B SSS. Early cars were fitted with British design SUs, which were eventually replaced with Hitachi twin carbs (built under licence from SU, and very similar in overall design).
  • Early 180B SSS cars fitted with twin SU carbs are identified by the rounded edge of the SU dash pot tops. These are generally referred to as “round tops”. These early round top carbs had part number prefix “HJL38W”.
  • It is suggested on enthusiast forums that from September 1973, Twin Hitachi “flat top” carbs were fitted (again, a reference to the change in the top of the dash pot). These later carbs are considered inferior to, the earlier SUs, offering slightly reduced performance, but improved pollution control.

For transmission specs, see the next section.

5. Transmission specifications: Datsun 180B SSS (Bluebird 610)

The Australian 180B SSS was available with three transmission options:

  • Three-speed automatic (JATCO model number 3N71B). 
  • Four-speed manual (Option code OP010): available up to 1974.
  • Five-speed manual (Option code OP071): available from as early as June 1976 and replaced the 4-speed manual. This was a dogleg style box with reverse at the top left and 1st at the bottom left. This gearbox will have the number 63A cast in the gearbox casing. – the “63” part number refers to the distance between the mainshaft and countershaft (63mm), whereas most other boxes ar a “71” type (71mm between shafts, so oviously there is more room for “meatier” gears.

Manual SSS transmissions had baulk-ring synchromesh fitted. Gear ratios and speed range for the SSS 4-speed and 5-speed gearbox are as shown below:

5-speed manual transmission:

Gear

Ratio

1

3.382:1

2

2.013:1

3

1.312:1

4

1.000:1

5

0.854:1

Final drive ratio

4.111:1 (R160 differential)

Reverse

3.57:1

 


4-speed manual

Gear

Ratio

1

3.382:1

2

2.013:1

3

1.312:1

4

1.000:1

Final drive ratio

3.700:1

Reverse

3.364:1

 

3-speed automatic:

Gear

Ratio

1

2.458:1

2

1.458:1

3

1:1

Final drive ratio

4.111:1

Reverse

3.700:1 (early cars up to mid-1974) / 2.182:1 (from mid-1974)

 

6. VIN and Engine number: Datsun 180B SSS (Bluebird 610)

180B SSS original engine number:

The 180B SSS was fitted with the L18 motor. The engine block for this motor can be identified by the code “L18”, followed by a six-digit unique engine number, stamped into the face of the side of the engine block (where the head meets the block below the spark plugs, directly behind the oil dipstick funnel).

That engine number should be identical to the engine number that appears on the “Nissan Motor Co Limited” Tag, that is screwed to the bulkhead directly behind the engine rocker cover.

180B SSS original VIN / chassis number:

The VIN is stamped in several locations, and commences with the code “P610-“ followed by a 6 digit unique identifier. This number is placed in the following three locations on the vehicle:

  1. Stamped on the “Nissan Motor Co Ltd”, next to the heading “Car No.”;
  2. Stamped directly into the bulkhead (to the left of the Nissan Motor Co Ltd” tag); and
  3. On Australian cars, it will also appear on the vehicle’s aluminium compliance plate (descriptions of the vehicle can differ as shown).

With the above information, it is easy to verify a “matching numbers” car (i.e. a vehicle with its original engine). Several examples of the locations with relevant labels have been included in the image gallery. Interestingly, the design of the vehicle's data plate appear to have changed (the contrasting black/silver changed). We've included a couple of examples for reference..
 

7. Race and rally history: Datsun 180B SSS (Bluebird 610)

This section of the guide provides a snapshot of the race and rally achievements of the 180B SSS,  focusing mainly on Australian events. The 180B’s performance on the race and rally track was competitive, but it faced plenty of quality competition at the time from many other manufacturers.  Also worth mentioning is the fact that Datsun was quite busy racing many other variants such as the highly successful 160J (Violet), the 240/260z, and the 240K.

Below we’ve listed a number of events and results from the 180Bs race and rally career, and in the gallery we’ve included a mash of images from some of these events (as labeled):

1. Bathurst 1000 (Hardie Ferodo 1000)

The 180 B SSS competed in Class “B” (1300cc – 2000cc), against vehicles such as the Ford Escort and Alfa Romeo GTV and GT Junior, and the Mazda RX3. In 1973, the 180B SSS finished 14th outright (4th in its class behind the Alfa GTV, Mazda RX3 and Twin-Cam Escort). In 1974, unfortunately the 180B entry was a DNF.

2. Southern Cross Rally

The 180B SSS competed every year from 1972 through to 1977. Its best result was 3rd place in 1975, 4th place in 1972 and 1974, and 6th place in 1973.

3. Repco Reliability trials – 1979

Although conducted some years after the 180B SSS was discontinued, it competed in this rally and achieved 10th place out of 69 entrants.

4. 1973 East African Safari Rally

The 180B SSS finished fourth and 12th outright, with 4th position giving the SSS a class win.

5. 1977 London to Sydney Rally

The 180B SSS finished the rally in 18th place (out of 47 entrants), completing the rally in 89 hours, 29 minutes and 21 seconds.

7. Original documentation and brochures: Datsun 180B SSS (Bluebird 610)

Attached is an assortment of brochures and original documentation for the 180B SSS in Australia (and from some international sources).

If any enthusiasts out there have additional documentation for the SSS that could contribute to this section, please don't hesitate to contact the author so we can share it with others.

References: Datsun 180B SSS (Bluebird 610)

References TBC