Nissan To Restores ‘Datsun Baby’ Miniature Car For Kids – Mar 27, 2015– Yokohama, Japan (Techreleased) – Nissan will display a restored “Datsun Baby” miniature car, together with a special photo exhibit, at its global headquarters in Yokohama in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1965 opening of the popular children’s park “Kodomo no Kuni.” The display vehicle is one of 100 specially-built small children’s cars, called Datsun Baby, that were donated by Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. in 1964-65 to the Kodomo no Kuni (Children’s Land) park, located near Tokyo. The Datsun Baby display and photo exhibit at Nissan’s HQ gallery will be for one month beginning on March 28.
The Datsun Baby was designed and developed by Nissan specifically for Kodomo no Kuni. Of the 100 cars that were donated to the park, Car No. 100 has been carefully preserved inside the park grounds. Aside from the donation of the cars, Nissan also provided training materials for automobile traffic education at Kodomo no Kuni and supervised the design of its children’s automobile driving course.
Founded to commemorate the marriage between then-Crown Prince Akihito Shinno Denka (now, His Imperial Highness) and Crown Princess Michiko, Kodomo no Kuni was established in northern Yokohama on National Children’s Day, May 5, 1965, to help educate and mold the next generation of children in a fun, recreational setting. The presentation of the children’s cars was a result of Nissan’s strong support for the park’s purpose and its mission.
The concept behind Nissan’s involvement was to use the Datsun Baby to educate children about real-life traffic conditions and safe motoring. The car was based on the Cony Guppy, a 200cc two-passenger utility truck from Aichi Machine Industry Co., Ltd. that was specially redesigned by Nissan to allow children to be able to sample a full-scale, fully-structured vehicle unlike any other of that time.
Features of the Datsun Baby included:
- A racecar-like 4-wheel independent suspension system with a double wishbone setup up front
- Automatic transmission with a torque converter made by a company (Okamura Corporation) that implemented Japan’s first domestic torque converter
- A speed limiter that kicks-in at 30 km/h
- Headlamps that complied with the real traffic regulations of that time
- A spring-actuated self-turning feature on the steering wheel
- An alluring body style that incorporated the design trends of the sports cars of that time
Handling the restoration project is Nissan Technical Center’s active volunteer group, the Nissan Great Car Restoration Club, comprised of current staff members working in Nissan’s research and development division. Since the club’s inception in 2006, it has been imparting knowledge about technologies used on renowned cars of yesteryear; inheriting and transmitting automobile culture, the club has restored one to two historic cars each year. The Datsun Baby is its tenth project. Similar to other cars restored by the club, the exact specifications of the Datsun Baby were carefully studied before the team set about replacing the degraded parts and began restoration. With cooperation from various suppliers, the Nissan Great Car Restoration Club has completed the project in just over nine months.
With the Datsun Baby car fully restored, it will be on display and made available for various upcoming events in the coming year, including the 50th anniversary event for Kodomo no Kuni.