What is about the 1982 Cherry that continues to captivate? The virtually unique N12 Datsun Cherry conforms fully to Nissan´s forward-thinking approach to car design. This ties for seventh place with tomorrow’s 7b.
The 1982 Datsun Cherry (N12) carried on the success of the 1970-1977 version which helped establish Datsun’s presence in Western Europe. In particular it was able to capitalise on the appallingly designed and badly made products being offered in the United Kingdom, a situation that persisted until BLMC’s last fragments were closed. Datsun discovered that features mattered more than previously had been believed and customers flocked to explore the possibilities offered by a long options list partnered with the Cherry’s smooth, easy driving.
The N12,as its fans know it, could be purchased with a blizzard of engines: a peppy 988 cc and a torquey 1270 cc unit (they battled Minis, Fiesta and Polos) and a 1488 cc L-4 which took on the likes of the dated Escort, drab Golf and the Kadett. In part due to the intermediate size of the elegant, sharply cut body and a huge range of trim levels the Cherry could be placed in two important market sectors at the same time. Thus it was possible for one nameplate to gain sales at a time when so doing could have been considered a tough-task. Further, as a Sunny, the same mechanicals could be had as a fetching saloon or practical estate.
By the time 1986 came around the Cherry name gave way to the Sunny and the world had changed. Austin and Triumph were on the way out and names like Mitsubishi, Toyota and Mazda were taking their place in the affections of European motorists. In no small part this has to be due to the sterling combination of the effortless driving, appealing styling and durable build of this quintessentially Japanese motor car.