A Trip to Yesteryear in a 1984 Nissan B720

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Pop quiz time: Who remembers how the Japanese automakers first made inroads into the U.S. market, all those years ago? The fuel-efficient Japanese subcompact cars of the 1970s that led to the more mainstream cars of the 1980s were only part of the story. The other part was light trucks like the Nissan you see pictured here: compact pickup trucks with tiny engines that had to be made in the U.S. if they were sold here, since they were subject to a 25 percent import tariff if they were made abroad.

So, with the truck I recently drove, not one like it but with this actual truck, Nissan began manufacturing vehicles in the U.S. in 1983. This model-year 1984 Nissan B720 pickup was the first vehicle to roll off the assembly line in Smyrna, Tenn., officially making it the first Nissan of any type made in North America. It's part of Nissan's heritage collection, stored not far from the company's North American headquarters in the suburbs of Nashville, at the superb Lane Motor Museum.

This truck exited the plant and went straight into storage, being trotted out for special events and the occasional drive by fortunate automotive journalists such as myself. When my derriere graced the truck's bench seat in September, the odometer had just 713 miles on it. When I left the seat, it had just 723. It is essentially a brand-new 1984 Nissan compact pickup, and it is fantastic.

Yes, 10 miles isn't really a lot for a test drive, but then this is a very special truck, and I wanted to minimize my impact on the truck's odometer as well as subjecting it to the insane public streets of Nashville, where the unofficial motto, according to a frustrated local, is: "Where Florida Trains Its Drivers!" So a lengthy spin around the block was in order, and it was just enough to get a sense of how far the industry has come with pickup truck tech.

Early Japanese Trucks

Fire up the Nissan B720's stalwart 2.4-liter inline-four-cylinder engine and listen to it purr. Even 34 years ago, diminutive Japanese engines were smooth and engineered to a particular standard. The Z24 engine (which later became the KA24 model when the truck was redesigned as the Hardbody pickup during the late 1980s) cranks out just 103 horsepower and puts it to the rear wheels via a three-speed automatic transmission. Obviously, you won't be doing any tire-smoking burnouts in this truck or hauling anything more massive than mulch for planter beds. Towing? With a 1,000-pound towing capacity, you probably shouldn't. By today's standards, this thing is a scrawny weakling, and it wasn't exactly viewed much differently back in its day. But it did introduce some elements that weren't found in domestic trucks of the day — notably, fastidious build quality, reliability and fuel economy.

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Part of the reason for its excellent fuel economy is the fact that it barely weighs anything. Tipping the scales at just about 2,600 pounds, this workhorse weighs just touch less than a new Toyota Prius. That's good, because 103 hp doesn't exactly set the pavement on fire. Nor is the gearing in the three-speed automatic really all that useful for anything but sedate around-town scooting, delivery work or mild light industry.

And yet, it's still an absolute joy to drive. Remember when you were a kid, and you'd make a "car" out of half of a big cardboard appliance box? Slice the top off, cut some fold-open doors, draw on some wheels and off you go onto the mean streets of your imagination? Sitting in the B720 feels a lot like that. There are no modern safety systems in here, no thick side-impact door beams, no airbags beyond the nickname for the driver himself, no antilock brakes, no stability control — it's just a simple, basic, honest truck. I genuinely miss vehicles like this.

The Good Old Days

Open what feels like a paper-thin door and drop onto the pristine bench seat done up in a patterned blue vinyl that's quite unlike anything you'll find in a truck today, adjust fore-and-aft position as necessary, and you're ready to rumble. The steering wheel is thin to the point of wispy and boosted to the point of video-game numbness. The steering ratio is sloooow, so you'll be twirling that wheel repeatedly in three-point parking lot turns. Directional lane stability is more a suggestion than anything, due partly to the tires that have a tread pattern like that of a riding lawnmower. Yet strangely, the tires don't kick up a lot of road noise, and the truck putters along without drama or complaint — until you come to a hill, where a necessary stab of the accelerator drops you down a gear, sending up a roar from the engine bay accompanied by the barest improvement in forward motion.

It's relatively comfortable inside, too. The visibility is excellent, since there just isn't a whole lot of truck to block your view. The pillars are super slim and likely wouldn't stand up to today's rollover protection standards. Everything is in easy reach, and even my big, bulky frame fit easily and comfortably on the front bench. There's no radio to distract you from driving, and climate controls are quite basic — but the purity of purpose of this little truck is fantastic. It feels almost delicate, like you should be afraid to slam a door or twist a knob a little too hard, yet used examples of similar trucks continue to ply the streets of Southern California with steadfast durability.

After my spin around the block a few times, I parked the B720 and lamented once again that basic appliances such as these are no longer offered in our domestic market. You can buy simple compact work trucks elsewhere in the world — Toyota still makes a simple HiLux in Brazil, for instance, and the old Land Cruiser 70 is still for sale in some limited global markets like Australia — but the advent of modern safety systems and the desire for bigger trucks with more creature comforts has made relics of simple trucks like this Nissan B720.

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And that makes it all the more important to preserve the old ones, as Nissan has done with this one. Sadly, Nissan's collection at the Lane Motor Museum is not open to the public, but don't let that prevent a visit. Founded by businessman, philanthropist and automotive enthusiast Jeff Lane, the museum has one of the most amazing collections of eclectic vehicles I've ever seen, and it's growing almost daily. The focus is primarily on unusual (and usually failed) ideas in automotive transportation from all over the world, with a focus on obscure European brands that most Americans (and many Europeans) have never heard of. That emphasis is branching into Japanese and select American automakers as well, but the idea remains the same: To be acquired by the museum, a vehicle must be somehow interesting from an engineering perspective.

As Nissan's stored collection in the basement grows, however, one hopes that one day the vehicles will be displayed for the public to enjoy. There's a lot of other neat stuff down there, from a collection of Nissan's 1990s concept cars to more historic vehicles from its production past. My spin in the first Nissan built in North America was a rare treat and an excellent reminder of what trucks used to be — and in many ways, what some of us wish they could be again.

Cars.com photos by Aaron Bragman

 

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Comments

You can almost smell the pizza!

For all that you pan this thing, it was a very popular small truck; it served the purpose for light duty better than full sizers simply because they were easy to load and economical to drive. The Nissan/Datsun, Mazda, Isuzu and Mitsubishi trucks offered inexpensive convenience, which is what made them so popular. If it would fit in the bed, people would carry it, even if it was a little slow. But then, back then everything was 'a little slow' so its 'weak' engine really wasn't all that weak.

Papajim mentions "smell the pizza" but honestly these weren't pizza delivery trucks unless, maybe, they had a cap over the bed. On the other hand, pickup and delivery of home electronics, washing machines, refrigerators and other appliances was very common with these little trucks--again because they were so easy to load and unload. And their payload was good enough to carry engines for rebuilds and other small but moderately heavy loads of 500-800 pounds. Trying to do the same in modern mid-sized or full-sized trucks practically requires a crane to lift the load high enough to even get it into the bed; or a fork lift.

Don't forget: Ford has teased a true compact pickup truck to come out somewhere around 2022-2025. I think some, here, will be surprised by how quickly they sell if Ford actually follows through with that.

The good old days when you could easily reach into the bed or lift a refrigerator easily into the back. Try lifting a refrigerator into the back of an F250, the tailgate is 5 feet off the ground.

Base price for the Sport Truck 4X4 is $9,745 which includes a nice level of trim and equipment. The test vehicle had a price tag of $11,320 including a delivery charge of $195 and the vehicle's only three options $580.

An optional diesel engine which measures 152 cubic inches (2.5 liter) and is rated at 70 horsepower at 4,000 rpm and 115 foot pounds of torque at 2,000 rpm is available.

https://www.cars.com/reviews/the-morning-call-and-mcallcoms-view-1420689106789/

Nissan today announced U.S. pricing for the 2019 Nissan Frontier mid-size pickup, which is on sale now at Nissan dealers nationwide. The starting MSRP of $18,9901 is unchanged from 2018,

https://nissannews.com/en-US/nissan/usa/releases/nissan-announces-u-s-pricing-for-2019-frontier


18990-11320=7670
1984-2019=35
For 35 years - if you want a basic pick up truck - more bang for your buck.

I bought a brand new 1974 Datsun pickup, it cost $2,085 with the optional AM radio and steel rear bumper. It had a 1.7ltr motor putting out , I think, 96hp. Raised it up a couple inches, put larger tires on it and drove it for 75,000 miles with nary a problem, I used it to tow my VW-sandrail and my fishing boat, plus all my duck-n-goose decoys and a few deer.

Every now and then I look on the web to see if any are for sale. I did see a cherry 1978 Taco the other day driving down the road...

all these trucks were was stamped really thin steel bodies with a drive train, no frills...

@Vulpine--Agree. I miss the compactness of my 85 Mitsubishi Mighty Max with its 4 speed manual and 8 foot bed. Very easy to reach into the bed or even to climb in the bed. Very inexpensive and functional. I put 200k miles on the Max which I had for over 14 years. Anyone could afford to buy a new Japanese compact truck and many bought them as 2nd or 3rd family vehicles to use as the weekend warrior for Home Depot runs, to dispose of unwanted things, and to pick up appliances, furniture, mulch, top soil, and 2 by 4s. You still can get a decently equipped base midsize truck but you have to do some internet research. Manufacturers would not be allowed to manufacturer these compact pickups of the past because of safety and pollution standards. Also the profit margin is very slim on these.

I do think there are enough unibody front wheel drive crossovers on the market that a manufacturer could adapt to be compact pickups. It remains to be seen if the manufacturers decide to make a compact pickup.

Had an '82 S/T model. It was a good little truck. The AC sucked but other than that it was fine.

Had an '82 S/T model. It was a good little truck. The AC sucked but other than that it was fine.

Usually on these small trucks the air conditioning was a dealer add on until the late 80's early 90's. My Mighty Max had an add on Mitsubishi air conditioning and a sliding rear window. I had the rear bumper, bed liner, stereo tape deck, mud flaps, and side tie downs added (got those from J C Whitney and put those on my self). The air in my Max did just fine. I more than got my money's worth out of the truck with all the hauling I did with it.

All the things you need in a truck. Steering wheel, a seat and some heat. my 90' toyota was the same.

My first car in high school was a truck. 1986 Hardbody single cab short bed white with a Z24 engine with two plugs per cylinder. Kenwood pull out and a 15" bass speeker 100 watt amp. I used it to haul my Honda CR 125 out to the trails. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6i1K5xey-o0

There does exist a market for open bed payload capabilities, without all the baggage that comes with a modern truck. Mfrs and marketing have drilled it into us that we need mid-size trucks that tow 7000lbs, even though most mid-size trucks are limited to 3500lbs unless specially equipped.

Give us a compact truck with open-bed payload capabilities, towing be dam ed. Those who want to tow can live with one of the available trucks. Still waiting for the Santa Cruz....Hyundai seems to be taking longer than Ford when bringing a small truck to market.

@Vulpine, Jeff S, Hemi V8
This Nissan interior and bed length was color and bed length 6' 2.5" wise identical to my 84 Mazda B2000 SE5. I've mentioned before my automotive skills enabling me to keep it going for 320kmiles. Then the tranny and engine blew and I said it was time to part, only 5 years ago. Except for towing, I did a ton of real work with it. Dirt and rock for landscaping, appliances for rentals, rental misc stuff.....Two full-length dirt bikes in the back, up to Lake Tahoe from Silicon Valley too. Yah, it was gutless, but it made it to Tahoe loaded. Yah, I miss it. Oh, yah, I remember $6k out the door when I was a senior in high school.

@Hemi V8
My bikes were KX125 and nephews CRF230. The CRF230 is lots shorter than KX125. Me and nephew were under 160lbs for trip up to Lake Tahoe. And because of the low tailgate, I could get a rentals washing machine in the bed All by myself!
Oh forgot to mention the standup jet ski in the back to the lake numerous times.

@Hemi V8
My bikes were KX125 and nephews CRF230. The CRF230 is lots shorter than KX125. Me and nephew were under 160lbs for trip up to Lake Tahoe. And because of the low tailgate, I could get a rentals washing machine in the bed All by myself!
Oh forgot to mention the standup jet ski in the back to the lake numerous times.

@Longboat
Yah, 7000lbs is quite beyond most peoples needs.

Article photo shows "LONG BED". 84 Mazda B2000 had one bed 6' 2.5" long measured at the top of bed. This is why I'm so verbal about false marketing from Chevy saying 6'2" bed when it is only 6.0", and Ridgeline too 5' xx" when their's is only 4'11.5". I measure this stuff myself. And the new ranger not even being 5.5'. Sometimes I just shake my head at this new generation of everything.

I liked Nissan until I found out about the nissan.com website.

Bad business practices to me.

I just sold one of those. It was still all original. The AC quit a few years back and the radio never was much count but it was a handy truck for running errands. I upgraded to a 2010 Ranger. The Nissan had a bigger bed but the Ranger drives much better and the AC still works.

@Angelo--I got my 85 Mighty Max in 87 in Houston from a Cadillac dealership for $3,550 with only 31k miles. The dealership was using it as a parts delivery vehicle because they could not sell it. Originally they wanted $5,900 for it and then it went down to $3,900. It didn't have a scratch or dent on it including the bed. I drove it to Kentucky when I moved and used it constantly for hauling 2x4s, rocks, tiles, sand, gravel, dirt, mulch, appliances, lawn equipment, and anything else you can think of including pulling out a tree stump. I ended up giving it to my mechanic. The body was in perfect shape but it needed some engine work and I had been using it as a farm truck for several years after I bought my S-10 new in 99. I still have my S-10 and I have hauled a lot of things in it but it has had an easier life compared to the Mitsubishi.

Explains the popularity of cab chassis utes car trucks in Australia at the height they had a 2700 lb cargo capacity for the cab chassis versions but you can bend over and pick up anything from the bed towing was limted to5000 lb

There’s a car club in my town that only does 70’s and 80’s Japanese pickups. Some of them have been customized quite a bit. But what most of the owners will quickly tell you is that many of them have their original engines and or transmissions. While the American manufacturers were chasing capacity, the Japanese were pushing reliability.
Queue the complaints on rusty frames that haven’t been an issue in years!

Most of the old Japanese trucks have long since rusted out long before their drive trains went. If you live in the Midwest or East the Winter road salt would have dissolved most of these trucks. You are more likely to find old Japanese vehicles in the West. These would be great trucks for those wanting to make a hobby out of them--simple mechanics and engines and drive trains that can go on and on with reasonable care.

All of the nostalgic comments about these flimsy old Asian pickups cracks me up. They were death traps if you were in a collision with anything bigger than a tricycle.

At least the Ranger and the S10 were solid (albeit heavier) and offered some protection in a crash. Admittedly the Asians had more experience with small engines than the Big 3 but their extended cab models were way too fragile to be taken seriously. Even Consumer Reports panned their long wheelbase pickups as dangerous.

It actually weighs 400lbs less than a Prius.

84 Ranger was $6.7k and had no rear bumper, sport rims, sport stripes or sport door mirrors for towing. The 84 Mazda SE5 had all those upgrads and was $6.0k. So the purchase was a no brainer, so driving it home was a treat. Even gave me a full tank of fuel. It was my father's truck for hauling custom cabinets he made. I loaned him the money because he had money tied up in a CD. I eventually drove it more n more and did all maintenance. Death trap maybe, but with all the bad airbag recalls, these big corporations can't get it right. I would still not hesitate to drive it to this day because I think Death trap lingo is all a ploy to convince people to pay for all the safety options in cars.

With all the freeway barriers separating north bound from south bound traffic, I would not hesitate to drive an old truck even today since high speed head on is minimized. But then again my lifestyle is much more adventurous than most.

Nostalga talk YES. Countless numbers did a heck of a lot of real work and play with these trucks over a long period.
How about those Corvettes are they still not death traps in fiberglass?

Angelo. Respond to my comment instead of going-off like some high school chick.

The old asian compact trucks were very light, had ZERO safety equipment, no passive restrains, utterly unsafe by even the standards of 20 years ago.

In contrast, the Ranger and S10 were solidly built and offered some chassis rigidity and security in a crash.

Right?

High school chick here: Funny, it's just the 50 and older guys responding to this article.

Clearly, the corvette is a fine sports car, but at one time the AC Cobra was dominating. Off topic, but death trap's invite discussion on corvette material:
https://media.gm.com/media/us/en/gm/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2012/Aug/0816_corvette.html

Within this article: "The new 2013 427 Convertible model also uses lightweight carbon fiber in the hood, fenders and floor panels."

How I understand it: carbon fiber is just fiberglass. They make bicycle frames out of it too and good luck straightening anything out once it gets hit because it can't be straightened.

High school chick here: Funny, it's just the 50 and older guys responding to this article.

Clearly, the corvette is a fine sports car, but at one time the AC Cobra was dominating. Off topic, but death trap's invite discussion on corvette material:
https://media.gm.com/media/us/en/gm/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2012/Aug/0816_corvette.html

Within this article: "The new 2013 427 Convertible model also uses lightweight carbon fiber in the hood, fenders and floor panels."

How I understand it: carbon fiber is just fiberglass. They make bicycle frames out of it too and good luck straightening anything out once it gets hit because it can't be straightened.

I guess if the corvette gets a good safety rating who cares what material is used. Now I kind of wonder what the safety rating of a 2018 corvette is.

https://www.autoblog.com/buy/2018-Chevrolet-Corvette/safety-ratings/

"Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS have crash-tested the C7 Corvette, but its rigid structure, many airbags, and stability control inspire confidence. The best way to stay safe in a Corvette is don't lose your judgment. "

How I understand it: carbon fiber is just fiberglass

@Angelo

Do you ever think before you start flapping your mouth?

Since plywood and fiberglass are both laminates, does that mean that fiberglass and plywood are the same? Why not build fighter planes with fiberglass and plywood?

Or brake rotors. Fiberglass?

In 20 to 40 years today's new vehicles will be considered death traps. I don't want to drive an old Japanese truck from the 70's and 80's everyday, but I wouldn't mind owning one just as a toy. I am not going to apologize for owning one because it was affordable and did exactly what I needed it to do. I doubt that I would have ever bought a truck without first owning one of these Japanese trucks. I don't consider air bags to be 100% safe with all the recalls and the injuries cause by air bags that deploy prematurely or that spray fragments when they deploy. Seems that there should be a better safety system. Also I don't believe have less visibility from smaller windows in most of today's new vehicles is all that safe. I do believe that the manufacturers could make a safer compact truck based on the platform of most of today's smaller crossovers and it would meet most buyers needs that want an affordable small truck. I agree that the S-10 and Ranger especially the later versions were safer and had a full frame under them. I prefer my S-10 over the Mighty Max except I miss the longer bed of the Max.

What is wrong with a little nostalgia? You can reminisce about the cars and trucks of the past without owning one. Is it wrong to reminisce about the first car or truck you owned or first drove without being judged. What's wrong with having fond memories of the 63 IH with 3 on the tree that you learned to drive on and reflect upon its simplicity. It was a death trap as well and I have no desire to drive it day to day but I would mind having it back for a Sunday drive. Seems some on this site wish to erase those fond memories like some wish to revise history. Sometimes it is good to reflect on the past to appreciate what you have today. No need to apologize for that.

@jeff s

I don't know what YOUR International Harvester was like but the one I drove so much back then was a 1-ton and colliding with a VW Beetle would not have even scratched the paint on that truck.

My point was NOT about air bags.

The Asian trucks back in the 1980s were so flimsy that even Consumer Reports told its readers to avoid the extended cab models and questioned whether any of them were worth the added risk of driving such a flimsy truck.

@papa jim--Agree the metal was thin on those Japanese trucks, but at the time there was nothing that could match them price wise and they got many into trucks that might have never considered owning one. If you remember it took Ford, GM, and Chrysler years to produce their own smaller trucks and they imported Mazdas, Isuzus, and Mitsubishi. Without those imports it would have taken years for the Big 3 to have a competitive compact truck for sale. Yes my International was built like a tank and you could have built more than a couple of Japanese compact pickups out of the metal it had in it. It was a great old truck and I have fond memories of it.

Again I prefer my 99 S-10 to my 85 Mighty Max but I appreciate the service I got out of the Max and what it was at the time. Great little affordable truck that more than paid for itself.

I got T boned in my 88 S10 on the Interstate. I walked away. Bad bump on the head but ok. If I'd been driving one of the Toyotas or Nissans from those days the result might be different.

@papajim--Glad that you walked away from that.

The point of suggesting that these 80's Asian trucks were death traps appears to be based mostly on opinion more so than fact. I recently read that out of all the different types of vehicle accidents, 20 percent are roll overs. It is within that 20 percent that 80 percent of the fatalities occur. Guess which type of vehicle is more prone to a rollover. However, given the light weight nature of the truck pictured above along with it's relative lower center of gravity and track width, it would be much less likely to rollover compared to let say, an 80's FORD Ranger which did have that reputation.

@gmsrgreat

You need to wash your hands because you just pulled those "facts" straight out of your backside.

Imagine being in a collision in an old 1980s Mitsubishi or a Toyota. If you're T boned your dead. What's rollover got to do with it?

@gmsrgreat

You need to wash your hands because you just pulled those "facts" straight out of your backside.

Imagine being in a collision in an old 1980s Mitsubishi or a Toyota. If you're T boned your dead. What's rollover got to do with it?


Posted by: papajim | Oct 22, 2018 12:02:34 PM

First, it is good to see you survived a t-bone accident. However, not knowing the specifics of your accident, I think you would agree that being t-bone on the opposite side of where a passenger is sitting greatly increases the survival rate of that passenger. I'll leave it up to you to research the accuracy of my comments above via Google search of vehicle accident characteristics which will certainly enlighten you. With respect to your question what rollovers got to do with it, I assumed your blanket comment of death traps would have included all types of accidents.

I'm talking about the integrity of the cabin and passenger seating. In those days trucks had no passive restraint systems. The wreck I was in the F!50 that hit me struck the driver side door and crushed the door completely into the doorframe but the doorframe retained its integrity. The truck would still drive in a straight line, but it had no windows after the wreck.

I was in a wreck in a VW beetle once back in the 1960s and that car was completely smashed. Everybody walked away.

Papajim:
T-bone crashes are very scary and very often deadly depending on the vehicle match-up and speeds involved. I unfortunately, have seen too many crashes of different size vehicles back in the 70's and 80's with unfavorable results for the passengers no matter what the car size. Vehicles from that era had vehicle little crash safety features outside of lap belts, tempered glass and collapsible steering columns.

@Papajim,
Please enlighten me on the differences between Fiberglass and carbon fiber since it seems from online material they are both very similar and very different at same time. I've read that fiberglass is more of a laminate structure.

However, I did see a PBS special on the making of the Boeing joint strike fighter and the delta wing was a laminate of carbon fiber, and the first attempt showed pockets of air trapped between certain layers so it made the development process extra difficult and time consuming.

However, if you don't care to take the time to enlighten on the subject, I'll understand since in actuality it is a bit off topic.

"I got T boned in my 88 S10 on the Interstate. I walked away. Bad bump on the head but ok. If I'd been driving one of the Toyotas or Nissans from those days the result might be different." ---- Posted by: papajim

--- 'Might have' doesn't mean, 'would have.' I had an '83 Mitsubishi Sport and it was surprisingly well planted, if a little tail-light when empty. (Stuck a sawn-off piece of old, abandoned railway track I found in a creek in the back of the bed by the tailgate for winter driving.) Loved the fact that little Mitsubishi had low tie-down bars to help hold that piece of rail in place. Never once worried about its crashworthiness.

@Vulpine--I had an 85 Mitsubishi Mighty Max as well and mine was very stable as well. I never worried about the crash worthiness as well. I believe without these compact Japanese trucks we would not have had the Ranger, S-10, or the Dakota which the same can be said for the compact Japanese cars. Detroit was not going to change from large V-8 powered cars and trucks until the Japanese wave of small cars and trucks. Detroit's attitude was that the customer was going to buy whatever they put out whether it was large and the quality was marginal. "Take it or leave it" was the attitude of Detroit . Detroit didn't introduce the first compact pickup and they will not re-introduce them. It is more likely that an Asian manufacturer would re-introduce one in the US.

I don't recall any of Detroit's vehicles from the 70's and 80's being the paramount of safety. If we want to get in a discussion of safety then the Saab was the safest vehicle made and the US vehicles were death traps. One only has to remember the exploding gas tanks in Pintos and the side saddle gas tanks on 73 thru 87 Chevy and GMC trucks.

(Stuck a sawn-off piece of old, abandoned railway track I found in a creek in the back of the bed by the tailgate for winter driving.) Loved the fact that little Mitsubishi had low tie-down bars to help hold that piece of rail in place. Never once worried about its crashworthiness....Posted by: Vulpine | Oct 22, 2018

Now it's obvious. You're a moron. In a collision that piece of rail could literally cut you in two, or fly out of the bed and kill a bystander. Tie down bars? Are you kidding. No brains.

The absolute dumbest thing I've ever heard. You win the golden turkey!

I don't recall any of Detroit's vehicles from the 70's and 80's being the paramount of safety.

@jeff s

I only spoke about the structural rigidity of the S10s and Rangers compared to the mickey mouse Mazdas and Nissans of that day. Your sarcasm does not flatter you.

My S10 got creamed in a bad crash--glass broken out of the windows and door crushed completely into the frame.

The truck could still be driven away. In a straight line. The little Nissans in those days would have been sent straight to the scrapper---and the driver to the morgue.

However, if you don't care to take the time to enlighten on the subject, I'll understand since in actuality it is a bit off topic.
Posted by: Angelo | Oct 22, 2018

See wikipedia.com. The article on "composites" Carbon fiber can be laminated in combination with materials that make it VERY strong for its weight.

Developing fighter aircraft is a cut-and-try process, not the fault of the composite technology.

Off topic but darned interesting since carbon fiber has been stated to be a bigger part of car material in the future.

Boeing X35 delta wing development:

https://gizmodo.com/the-fighter-jet-we-could-have-built-instead-of-the-f-35-1603031982

"One of Boeing's key innovations was going to be saving significant costs by producing the major structural component, the carbon fiber delta wing, as a single unit. The wing measured 36 feet across and could hold more than 20,000 pounds of fuel. Its severe 55 degree sweep angle served to limit transonic drag, while allowing for a thicker wing section. Unfortunately, this component would prove difficult to fabricate, much less cost-effectively produce at scale."



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