Home » Lots Of Parts Included: 1984 Nissan 720 King Cab vs 1991 Chevrolet S10 Blazer

Lots Of Parts Included: 1984 Nissan 720 King Cab vs 1991 Chevrolet S10 Blazer

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Good morning! Today’s choices take us to the dry desert air of Phoenix, Arizona. Two trucks, both manuals, and both with lots of new parts, some of which you need to install yourself. But let’s wrap up our Southern sedans first:

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Well, it looks like the best used car in Atlanta can’t beat out a cream puff from Florida. Hopefully the Intrepid new owner can Dodge a bullet with the potential engine troubles.

Today’s choices come from Arizona, the southwesternmost state of the Four Corners, home to the Grand Canyon, Roger Clyne, and millions upon millions of scorpions, many of which end up encased in Lucite and offered for sale as paperweights. (Seriously – every single gas station sells those damn things. What’s with that?) They’re both old trucks with beefy tires, perfect for the desert. Both run and drive, both need some work, and both include all sorts of parts to cure what ails them. Let’s take a look at them.

1984 Nissan 720 King Cab 4×4 – $2,000

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Engine/drivetrain: 2.4 liter OHC inline 4, 5 speed manual, part-time 4WD

Location: between Tempe and Scottsdale, AZ

Odometer reading: 167,000 miles

Runs/drives? Yep

I love the old Nissan/Datsun 720 series. As I think I’ve mentioned before, I used to have one, and I remember it fondly. And I’ve had good luck with Nissan trucks since then. These old King Cabs just exude little-old-truck cool: the shape, the stance, the rope hooks on the sides of the bed… it all just works.

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Another thing that “just works” is the twin-spark NAPS-Z engine in these trucks. They’re chain-driven overhead-cam engines that just last and last. This one appears to have a Weber carb installed, which improves drivability and reliability, but may cause some issues with emissions testing, so keep that in mind. The seller says this engine has developed a tick in the top end. A valve adjustment is the first place to start; hopefully that’s all it is.

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Inside, this truck looks nice and clean. The jump seats have been removed from the back cab area, but they’re included, as is all the missing exterior trim. It has air conditioning, but sadly it doesn’t work at the moment. Outside, there is a little rust where these all rust, at the seam between the bed sides and floor, but I don’t see much else. It has nice aftermarket wheels and cool white-letter tires, but there’s no indication of their age or condition.

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The seller is including new polyurethane suspension bushings as well. That’s not an easy job, but it should make a nice-driving truck afterwards. A bunch of other parts are listed as well, but it’s unclear which of them are actually installed in the truck. Still, it’s less stuff you have to buy.


1991 Chevrolet S-10 Blazer – $1,500

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Engine/drivetrain: 4.3 liter OHV V6, 5 speed manual, RWD

Location: Moon Valley, AZ

Odometer reading: 257,000 miles

Runs/drives? Sure does

Let’s get it out of the way right up front: Yes, this Blazer is two-wheel-drive. It has been lifted, and has bigger-than-stock tires, but 4WD isn’t really necessary for bombing around in the desert in most cases; ground clearance is more important.

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Regardless of the number of driven wheels, it has the good engine and transmission: Chevy’s 4.3 liter V6, here with throttle-body fuel injection, spinning a Getrag 5 speed manual transmission. The seller, who has apparently owned this truck for a long time, says that it runs and drives well, but the clutch is “a little iffy.” A test drive would be necessary to find out how iffy. For some strange reason, the AC and heater components under the hood have been removed, but it sounds like they’re included.

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Inside, things are kind of a mess: the center console doesn’t match, the driver’s side door card is missing, and everything is covered in a fine layer of that desert dust. The outside is sun-bleached, but straight and rust-free. The seller says the tires are newish, and it comes with a folder full of service records and receipts, a stack of repair manuals, and a hatch full of parts, including what looks like a fuel pump, brake pads, and an alternator, among other things.

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A truck like this you can’t really call good-looking, but it has a rough, weathered charisma that’s hard to deny. It’s like Edward James Olmos in truck form. And for fifteen hundred bucks, it seems like a decent deal, as well.

Vehicles don’t rust in the desert, but that sun beating down does give everything a characteristic weathered look that goes well with big knobby tires. Both of these trucks have their charms, but which one is the better deal? That I leave up to you.


(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)

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30 Responses

  1. Such a tough choice here, so I asked myself, “Which truck would Leisure Suit Larry drive?” So I picked the Nissan. Not totally ratted out, but still has a timeless design.

  2. Normally I would go for the extra interior room but not between these two, it’s gotta be Nissan. Used to live in Arizona, don’t worry about inspection or emissions. My DD didn’t require anything but a check. My older 1974 Jensen I was warned might require level 2 inspection. Took it in for level 1 the DMV guy didn’t get within 20 feet before passing it. It’s not just the sun but high winds and sand will destroy a paint job.

  3. Look at that Nissan interior! How the hell has it survived like that for this long? Even if it was a little ratted out like the Blazer, it’s still the obvious choice. Almost 100k less on the odometer on an engine that probably won’t die until after everyone reading this does. It’s issues are minor in comparison.

  4. I’ll go waaaay against the grain here and take the Blazer. I have more faith in my ability to replace a worn clutch than I do in sorting out a ticking noise from the engine. Both of them are solid deals though in this extremely screwed up used vehicle market.

  5. Damn Mark, you must be reading my DMV record. The Intrepid, now the Nissan truck. 1984 (84.5 I think) King Cab 4×4 that I tried and tried and could not get stuck. A real wall-crawler. I LOVED that truck. Selling it was one of my life’s worst decisions. Right up there with breaking up with that HOT redhead…..

  6. Had an ‘87 Blazer as a baby car in ‘92. Did its job: I didn’t hate it. But, only reason I can think of for having a 2wd in the Blue Ridge is to do the v8 swap on it. Voted Nissan.

  7. Nissan all day. I didn’t read a single thing but I know that Nissan will be driving for a long time to come. To be fair the Blazer was a workhorse but 80’s Japanese cars? You’d be a fool to bet against them.

  8. I love those Blazers, and I’d love to have a 2wd one with a 5-speed. Although I would lower it, and rallycross it. Unfortunately that one is pretty beat-up, while that Nissan is REALLY clean. The Nissan is the hands-down winner here. That’s a lovely little truck.

  9. Could you have stacked the deck any more for the Nissan? I am a big fan of the old 4.3, but that Chevy wins in zero objective categories. Also – it is pretty lame to brag about the car coming with a bunch of parts when those are the parts you took off the damn thing and never set it right.

  10. I am going with the Nissan. I used to have a ’76 Datsun Lil Hustler in red and man that was a good little truck. I sometimes miss it, but man that thing really did fall apart. By the time I scrapped it, it looked almost as bad as that Valiant Ute that David Tracy decided not to fix down in Australia.

    Man, but it was a good truck while it lasted.

  11. I don’t even like Nissans, but I’d take that one over the Blazer without hesitation. My brother-in-law had an ’87 S10 Blazer, but his had a 4-banger and a 4-speed, and it was just such a pile of shit. Clean, straight, rust-free, didn’t break all that often, but still just terrible to drive, terrible to look at, terrible to work on, terrible to ride in, just the worst.

  12. My handle leaves little doubt who got my vote 🙂

    That interior is NICE. I took good care of my hand-me-down, exchanged-for-a-Celica ’81 King Cab. But the seats were hosed. Replaced them with a set from a 280Z sourced from a Datsun/Nissan-specific salvage yard (which is a very old thing to say). A/C still worked. What broke for me was the blower. The truck refused to start one Saturday because of a little build-up on the leads on the ignition. It went through a few clutches, but was never undrivable. Blew a head gasket once (always torque the head at regular service intervals!). Survived me drilling a hole in the gas tank when I was installing an amp (yes it was d-u-m-b… thank goodness for JB Weld). Needed a leaf spring rebuild after it was loaned out to a family friend for a year (no idea how they did it, either). But for all the stories, it was remarkably reliable for a 400k-mile truck driven for most of its 28-year history in the family as a working vehicle. And the only real time it let me down led to me meeting my wife. Never did again after that. To this day, I think it was faking it for me. Miss it to this day and regret giving it back to my dad.

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