Every holiday, M2 Machines sneaks a shot of either a new tool or a new take on an existing one. This past Mother’s Day (May 2019), an image of a raw Datsun 620, featuring fender mirrors, a lowered chassis and a front bumper guard, was shared. On Father’s Day, a month later, M2 showed another 620, this time as a vintage tow rig in the bed. Finally, just over a month after that, M2 released the artwork for their Hobby Exclusive Li’l Hustler set, due out in September 2019. I immediately placed an order for a sealed case, hoping to score myself a chase.
Unforeseen delays meant orders didn’t start shipping until 2020 and I finally received my order at the beginning of this month. All six regular cars were inside; I wasn’t #blessed with either a 1 of 750 Chase or a 1 of 250 raw Super Chase. No worries, as I’m not a staunch chase collector. As a bonus to this release, Jimmy from SURPLUSgoodies sent along the stand-alone Hobby Exclusive, which I’ll showcase here as well.
It appears to me that the castings M2 chooses to introduce adhere to certain criteria. How many variations can be made? Is it obscure enough, yet still garner widespread acceptance amongst (and ultimately, be purchased by) the masses? Will the Coca-Cola logo look good on it? I mention the last one in jest, but the first two make sense to me. M2 is a small company and needs to get the most mileage from each casting in their database. It’s easy for an outsider to deride them for constantly flooding the market with the same cars in different costumes, but wouldn’t you want to realize your return on investment quicker rather than over a long period of time? Perhaps this paragraph should be shelved for another post as I’m curious to get some solid answers from the source instead of speculating.
So let’s cozy up with the newest installment to M2’s JDM catalog, the Datsun 620. Please note this is only the 6-piece Hobby Release, plus the single Hobby Release. It doesn’t include any Chases or the SEMA release. Also, spring is right around the corner, so rest assured a dash of green will be added to my otherwise drab dilapidated back porch imagery.
Let’s Go! I think it’s only appropriate to start with the 1978 tow truck, featuring the vintage Yokohama Tire ‘Smile Drive’ logo. While the hook doesn’t articulate, the deco does fit in nicely with previous releases (Auto Haulers and Auto Club). And who doesn’t like a good old fashioned work truck lite?
Next up is another worker, the 1979 stake bed, dressed in classic Datsun colors. And another one that will look great with the Auto-Haulers 1957 Mack Model N painted in the familiar blue. And for those thinking the stake bed is just an adaptation of the one previously fitted the Fords and Studebakers, prepare to be surprised as it’s a unique mold. The black steel wheels with silver caps complete the look, one that’s worthy of hanging out in anyone’s collection.
There are two 620s released on the lowered chassis, a satin green 1976 model and a black 1974. Both are powered by a modern SR20 in place of the stock engine, have bucket seats, and are rolling on Wantanabe wheels. The black one’s racing deco matches the livery of contemporary Skyline racers nicely, and would make a great support truck for any diorama.
The model name is cleverly incorporated into the door decal, with the meatball acting as the ‘0’…or at least that’s how I interpret it. Despite each cardboard box proclaiming the “Li’l Hustler” name, the satin green truck is the only one to wear the eponymous door stripes. Though I’m sure they’ll adorn many a future release.
Finally, my two favorites represent stock versions of the 620 in both RHD and LHD. In fact, the orange stocker is the only left hooker of the group (not including the Chase model). While the orientation of the windshield wipers won’t help disclose the steering wheel position, the presence of fender mirrors give away the game.
The all-blue 1973 tickles my fancy with fender mirrors and a color-matched rear window bar. The tailgate is devoid of any markings, and the hood opens to reveal the factory wheezer, although I’m not sure exactly which one it is. Overall, it’s a looker, but I still prefer the orange 1977 USDM release, bulky rear bumper and all. Up front, the chromed bumper guard protects the early grille, and perfectly period stripes liven up the sides and the hood. The blue and orange share the same wheel style complete with thin whitewalls. The only shortcoming on the orange one is the lack of side mirrors, since M2 hasn’t figured out how to incorporate ones that won’t be affected by delicate construction. One day.
As I mentioned, Jimmy from SURPLUSgoodies surprised me with a few Hobby Exclusives in a recent package, including the 620 (and some Dodge van which I’ll save for another time). M2 did a brilliant job combining both street and strip styles in an almost DMX does J-POP mash-up. The white into green gradient stripes go great with the black base coat, and the black Wantanabe wheels sitting under the lowered chassis seal the deal on this midnight racer wannabe. Bucket seats, black sport fender mirrors, and a chrome rear window guard round out the collaboration.
At the end of the day, I’m glad M2 decided to strike out into the JDM truck wilderness in a Datsun 620. It’s a good vessel to compliment the other Nissans they’ve already tackled, including the Skyline, the Bluebird and the Fairlady Z. Plus, the casting should also capture a lot of attention from a wider audience, including those who are into JDM, trucks, Datsuns…the cross-collecting possibilities are limitless. As you can see, it fits right in with the other pickups in M2’s database, including the 1952 Studebaker 2R, the 1959 Chevy Apache 4×4, 1969 Ford F-250, and the 1970 Chevy C60.
With the lid peeled back on Japanese pickups, I am looking forward to see what the next holiday sneak may be. Fingers crossed it’s a Trooper…