User Login    
 + Register
  • Main navigation


Lost Password?

Register now!
Fast Search
Slow Search
Google Ad

[Datsun 1200 encyclopedia]


From Datsun 1200 Club

Datsun 1200 encyclopedia | Recent changes | Edit this page | Page history | Switch to MediaWiki mode

Printable version | Disclaimers | Privacy policy
Category: General Information

A broad overview of Datsun 1200 Performance

NOTE: Power ratings vary by country and year. Check the underhood plate in your 1200. Most plates have the SAE* rating (see below) of 68 or 69 hp.

1947.jpgAlbum 1947


Datsun 1200 Performance

Engine Ratings

Like all auto manufacturers, Nissan rated their HP at the engine using an engine dynamometer. Car manufacturers do not measure HP "at the wheels" (RWHP).

JAPAN B110 (source: 1971 B110 Parts Catalog C-173)
* 68 PS @ 6000 RPM
* 9.7 kg-m @ 3600 RPM
A12 GX
* 83 PS @ 6400 RPM
* 10.0 kg-m @ 4400 RPM
A12A JAPAN 1980 (H8500)
70PS @ 6000 RPM
0.12 torque

1972: 68 HP
12226.jpgAlbum 12226

1971: 69 HP
9233.jpgAlbum 9233

Factory dyno chart | A12 versus A10 | A12 shootout
13935.jpgAlbum 13935 24403.jpgAlbum 24403 25733.jpgAlbum 25733

yearengineHPrwhpKw@rpmtorque (lb-ft)N-m@rpmNotes
1971A12694051600070973600rear-wheel HP
 A12 used 25  30 (est)  Supertune Dyno
 A12 tuned 38  44 (est)  Supertune Dyno
1971A12 USA69 51600070973600SAE Gross HP (?)
1972A12 USA68 51600069963600SAE Net HP (?)
1972A12GX83 62640072100440033 JIS hp rating
1973A12SSS905567    rear-wheel HP
1973Datsun Rotary120 8965001161604400Wheels Magazine
1976A14T92  640011.7 kg-m 44001976 factory pub
1976A14 FED70 52    1976 USA ad, 4-speed
1976A14 CAL68 51    1976 USA ad, 4-speed
1980A1465 485600   US Wagon (from plate)
1980A14 FED80 606000   US model (from plate)
1974A12GX63 46.86224608332731200GXman
 A15 race114 85696590 (est)124 (est)6600Steveo1000's A15
 A15 race111 83790086118.9385900Steveo's A15
1997A1463 476000   B140 Review
2004-2006A1463 47600070972500Nissan South Africa
 A14? 99     Dattoman_1000's engine
 A14+ 104 7248   Rally1200's A
 A12 turbo 69     stock block turbo
 A15ETT 10276rw    twin-turbo
 A15 69 5370 (est)   mild build-up

4971.jpgPost click for topic
Supertune 1200
RPMRWHP StockTorque lb.ft. (est)RWHP TunedTorque lb.ft. (est)

58kw (78 hp) @ 12:1 AFR
13005.jpgAlbum 13005

156 HP Dave Patten's A15 SCCA race engine

  • The 156HP pull was without the restrictor SCCA requires. The engine has around 15:1 compression and runs dual 45 Weber DCOE carbs w/32mm chokes.
  • The Low HP run was with the required 25mm restrictor, it was with a slightly cold engine and we were getting some pinging on that set-up. When we switched to the 24mm restrictor it was the 3&4 pulls with a more evenly warmed engine, no pinging and that netted the 142HP pull.

Dave Patten 1200

A15 74hp of NZ_datto
55.1kw @ 5982 rpm, 278 Nm @ 3800 rpm (74hp)

POST 207 HP - Maximum A-series engine horsepower w/o forced induction
Start with an A15 block and bore it to 80 mm, stroke it to 88 mm for 1700cc total, re-engineer the cylinder head and rev it to 8500 RPM, then rebuild it after every race. Cost only about $20,000. See discussion: POST A15 engine - Whats the limit HP wise atmo roughly???
26389.jpgAlbum 26389

Sunny Truck

A12 J-B121
最高出力      68 PS @ 6000 RPM
最大トルク 9.7 kg-m @ 3600 RPM
13001-H5000 installed straight up
9.0 Compression
A12 R-B122 
最高出力      52 PS @ 5400 RPM
最大トルク 8.5 kg-m @ 2800 RPM
13001-H5000 installed 3 degrees advanced
9.0 Compression

Acceleration Performance

Quote:turns 0-60 in less than 15 seconds 20.jpgAlbum 20

0-60 mph15.1 secs
1/4 mile19.6 secs @ 67 mph
80 mph stop302 ft

POST Road & Track Road Test (November, 1970)

ACCELERATION [1200 SSS] (Standard 1200 as tested October 1971 given in brackets):
.. 0 - 60mph ............. 11.9s . (14.0s)
.. Standing quarter mile . 18.1s . (18.8s)
MOTORMAN magazine

Consumer Reports 1971 September Road Test

  • 1/4 mile ... 21.5 sec @ 66 mph
  • 0-60 mph ... 18 sec

Mechanix Illustrated 1973 article

  • 0 to 60 mph: 19.8 sec.
  • 1/4 mile: 21.6 sec.

Datsun 1200 Salesman Book page 52, Nissan 1970

  • SS 1/4 mile: 18.6 seconds

Ddgonzal's timeslip (stock engine, but smaller diameter tires)

  • SS 1/4 mile: 19.887 seconds

0-60 Comparison to Other Vehicles

Comparison to Contemporary Vehicles

The Datsun 1200 was not slow in comparison with other economy cars of the period. For example, it was faster than all these cars in 0-60mph:

1973	Datsun 1200         16.5
1971	Chevrolet Vega 2300 16.5
1972	Dodge Colt Wagon    16.7
1976	Datsun B210 (4spd)  17.2
1976	Datsun B210 (5spd)  17.4
1976	Renault R-5         17.4
1972	Volkswagen Wagon    17.7
1974	AMC Gremlin         17.8
1975	Datsun B210         17.8
1974	Datsun B210 sedan   17.9
1979	Volkswagen Rabbit (Turbo Diesel) 17.9
1971	Ford Pinto 1600	    18
1976	Chevrolet Chevette Rallye 19.7

... Yet slower than these:

1974	Honda Civic         15.7
1980	Chevrolet Chevette  15.8
1972	Fiat 128 SL         16
1972	Ford Pinto Wagon    16
1972	Opel Wagon          16
1974	Toyota Corolla 1200 16.1

Comparison to Modern Vehicles

What about the Modern Era? To bring the 1200 into the modern performance era, 0-60 times would have to be improved. These are among the slowest cars of the '90s (yet their 1/4 mile times are similar to the 1200's):

1993	Subaru Impreza L Wagon 12.7
1995	Geo Metro LSi          12.7
1990	Hyundai Excel GLS      12.5
1991	Toyota Previa LE       12.5
1996	Plymouth Breeze (auto) 12.5



A13 engine, 4-speed
0-60 mph 19.15 seconds
60-0 braking 156 feet
curb weight: 1915 lbs
F/R distribution: 54.3/45.7
Popular Science July 1974


USA Datsun B310 (210) 
A14 engine 
65 HP @ 5600 RPM
75 ft-lb @ 3600 RPM
curb weight: 1975 lbs
f/r weight distribution: 53/47
0-60 MPH: 18.0 seconds
60-0 braking: 196 ft
Popular Science February 1981

Top Speed

Per the Datsun factory parts catalog C-231 top speeds are:

160 km/h GX
150 km/h 
145 kh/h AUTO
140 km/h VAN

I would guess the top speed is about 90 mph (144 kmh). The speedometer error in the Road & Track test vehicle was 7% off. It read out faster than the actual vehicle speed. This inflates speed, fuel mileage and distance traveled (if you go by the speedometer). My first 1200 speedo was off about 10%. My current speedo is off ~7.5%.

Top Speed: 90+ mph

Mechanix Illustrated 1973 article

The FIA docs states a top speed of 140 kph, and 150 kph for the high-compression engine.

To test the top-speed you need a long (5-mile) track or a banked oval. Mechanix Illustratedin 1973 tested a stock but broken-in 1200 on the Daytona Internationl Speedway:

Quote:topping out at a shade over 90 mph

MOTORMAN magazine out of New Zealand tested both a regular 1200 and a 1200 SSS and note this:

Quote: We didn't take the 0-90mph time with the standard car because it was near the Datsun's top speed, but the SSS version took half a minute to reach this velocity, and continued to pull strongly to its maximum of 100mph.

Braking Performance

The disc-brake Datsun 1200 had decent brakes:

FROM 60 MPH ... 160 feet ...
with some or all wheels locked ... 140 feet

Consumer Reports 1971 September Road Test

It had significantly better braking performance than the Datsun 510. It was similar to the 240Z (the 1200 beat the 240Z when fully loaded).

Stopping distance in feet from 60 mph: 190-195 feet

256.jpgAlbum 256
USA 1971 Nissan Consumer Information document

Braking Comparison with Period Cars

Compared to its time period, the 1200's brakes weren't necessarily bad:

disc-brake Datsun 1200: 190 ft
1964 Pontiac GTO: 197 ft
1970 LS-6 Chevelle: 194 ft

It was also better than the Fiat 850 and the same as the Opel Kadette.

1973 Vehicle Stopping Distance

Source: 1973 Datsun Consumer Information

Stop from 60 mph
Light Load
* 179 ft 240-Z
* 176 ft 610
* 190 ft 610 Wagon
* 195 ft 1200
* 226 ft 510
Heavy Load
* 194 ft 240-Z
* 200 ft 610
* 216 ft 610 Wagon
* 190 ft 1200
* 196 ft 510

Braking Comparison with Modern Cars

The braking performance doesn't compare well with todays vehicles:

disc-brake Datsun 1200: 190 ft
2002 Mitsu Lancer: 144 ft
2002 Toyota Camry: 118 ft


Main: Weight

Fuel Economy



Datsun 1200 has a coefficient of aerodynamic Drag (Cd) of 0.42, which is typical of most cars before the 1980s.

General Information

How much horsepower does my engine have?

Engine ratings can vary from the engine in your car:

  • Different countries, different ratings
  • Different emissions controls, camshafts and other parts
  • Production tolerances. Your engine might have a little more or a little less than advertised
  • Manufacturer reports may not have been accurate
  • Ratings prior to 1971 cannot be compared directly to newer ratings (to get a ballpark comparison, subtract 20% from the gross rating)

The best way to measure your engine is to put it on a dynamometer. Use the same air cleaner and exhaust and all accessories, or use a correction factor to estimate the Net hp from the Gross hp.

Hp can also be estimated from top speed (if a lot of other things are known, like the aerodynamic numbers or the car), or from 1/4 mile drag race elapsed time.

Horsepower Ratings Standards

Note that engines are not rated by independent testers -- it's the manufacturer's word. They are supposed to follow a standard though, or they could be held liable for false advertising.

  • PS - DIN HP, derived from the German word Pferdestärke (literally, "Horsepower"). This is net metric HP. This is slightly higher numbers than SAE (for the same engine. 70 DIN = 69 SAE). DIN tested the engine fitted with all ancillaries and exhaust system as used in the car
  • BHP - brake horsepower, the HP measured from the engine crankshaft
  • Japan: In Japan, the DIN standard was used, now using JIS
  • Europe: The DIN rating was used in Europe
  • US: In United States, SAE ratings were without alternator, water pump, and other auxiliary components (Gross HP, see below). Later NET HP was measured by SAE standards
  • Metric: Since 1972, Kw is used. 69 hp = 51 kw

What is horsepower?

Horsepower is a measurement of the engine's ability to perform work. For example, the work of accelerating a car through a 1/4 track.

Note that the horsepower "number" is independent of weight. It is simply the measure of work over time.

Horsepower is a computed factor based on the torque measured on an engine dynomometer. Torque is just the force of the engine, but doesn't say how much work is getting done. Horsepower is the work made possible by the rotating engine, so RPM is also a factor along with the torque in determining power.

The HP "rating" is a static setting for a certain condition (like full throttle, maximum engine load at a certain RPM) and so only tells a little bit about the engine. An engine performance curve, generated by by taking torque readings at a sequence of RPMs, will give more insight into the performance of a car.

For a detailed discussion of horsepower and torque and how they relate to cars, see Vettenet's Torque and Horsepower Primer

Power and Top Speed

It takes a certain amount of power to push a particular car through the air due to aerodyamics, and friction of the tires agains the road. For a Datsun 1200 coupe or sedan, it takes about 35 rear-wheel-horsepower to push the car along at 90mph (140 kph).

This means that in order to go faster your can increase the engine HP — or improve the aerodynamics — or reduce tyre friction.

Torque and HP conversions

Nm = ft. lbs. * 1.38273
SAE HP = kW * 1.341
Torque = Horsepower x 5252 / RPM

What is SAE?

SAE is the Society of Automotive Engineers. Their standard is used by the auto manufacturers. Prior to about 1972, SAE gross ratings (aka bhp — brake horespower) was used. This was the engine without accessories and was was not standardized, so different manufacturers rated it differently. Since 1972 in America the Net SAE rating has been used per standard J1349. This is the engine with all accessories (alternator, air cleaner, etc) as fitted in the car, so it is more realistic. Both SAE net and gross ratings are based on an engine dynamometer (not a rear-wheel dyno). The "brake" is referring to the dyno's putting a retarding force on the engine.

SAE NET HP is more powerful than Gross HP. So be cautious about comparing old advertised HP ratings to modern advertised ratings.

In 2005, the SAE introduced "SAE Certified Power" with SAE J2723. To attain certification the test must follow the SAE standard in question, take place in a ISO9000/9002 certified facility and be witnessed by an SAE approved third party. A few manufacturers such switched to the new ratings immediately, which raised the HP for some engines, but fell for most.

To Recap:

  • SAE Gross HP - used by american auto manufacturers prior to 1972, HP at flywheel without engine accessories (unrealistic)
  • SAE NET HP - used from 1972, which is actual HP at flywheel as fitted in the car (realistic)
  • SAE Certified HP - used by some since 2005 (accurate)

For more details, see wikipedia:Horspower in the section Society of Automotive Engineers.

Rear Wheel Horsepower

With rear-wheel HP there are standards sometimes used, but the "chassis" dynos which measure rwhp are notoriously uncalibrated. So comparing rwhp figures is to be taken with a grain of salt.

If the horsepower is measured according to certain standards, then it tells you something about how the HP number was arrived at. For a long time, new car manufacturers have been using JIS, DIN or SAE measurements to ensure the number is accurate even on different engine dynos. For 2007, a new improved SAE standard is making the measurement even more precise. A lot of engines were de-rated about 5 HP (e.g. Honda) while Fords were generally unchanged and a few even were uprated a touch.

This means you can generally have good faith in new-car manufacturer's power number (as least in USA where the new standard is used).

When measuring rwhp, the dyno operator needs to factor in an appropriate loading weight for the dyno rollers. If done correctly, the resulting HP number should theoretically stand alone, independent of weight.

Another way to look at it, theoretically 200 HP is 200 HP, whether put out by a turbine engine, rotary engine or piston engine. Or even an electric motor. Yet as others pointed it, the HP alone doesn't tell you how fast a car will accelerate. For that you need other factors, especially weight (lighter cars accelerate faster than heavy cars with the same engine). And then suspension setup has a huge effect on the first 60 feet of acceleration (cars that spin the tires too much accelerate slower, all else being equal). For top speed, HP alone is a good indicator, while the "power band" (average hp over a wide RPM range) affects acceleration: for example a supercharged engine which typically makes high power at low, medium and higher RPM will out-accelerate a modified engine of the same size -- even when both make the same peak HP (this is because modified non-turbo/non-blower engines make little HP at low RPM).

Size Comparison

Size is not a performance item, but it is the single most important factor for weight, which is directly related to performance. Less weight = Faster acceleration. Top speed also decreases due to aerodynamic drag in the form of area.

Overall Length (Coupe, USA models)

  • Smart Fortwo: 2499 mm, 98 in (8' 2")
  • Mini Hatch: 3630 mm, 143 in (11'9")
  • Mini Hatch: 3700 mm, 148 in (12'4") (2007 model)
  • B110: 3825 mm, 150 in (12'6")
  • B210: 4065 mm, 160 in (13'4")
  • B310: 4190 mm, 165 in (13'9")

Overall Width: (Coupe, USA models)

  • Fortwo: 1514 mm, 59.6 in (5'0")
  • B110: 1515 mm, 59.6 in (5'0")
  • B210: 1545 mm, 60.8 in (5'1")
  • B310: 1580 mm, 62.2 in (5'2")
  • Mini: 1690 mm, 66.5 in (5'6")

Retrieved from ""

This page has been accessed 90,678 times. This page was last modified 22:55, 16 February 2022. Content is available under Datsun 1200 Club.