Datsun’s B210 Honey Bee: All Bee And No Honey


By Jeff Stork

Special-edition cars were all the rage in the 1970s, with many successful entries like the Continental Designer’s Series, the Pierre Cardin Javelin, the Spirit of America Chevrolets, Levis’ Edition Gremlins, and even a special-edition Chevette Sandpiper. Most featured unique color combinations, interiors, and extras that commanded a premium over the base version, and they were often eagerly snapped up by a motoring public hungry for some visual distinction.

Then Datsun joined in. Looking for a way to create a demand for the stripped-down price leader B210, Datsun deleted the carpets and the wheel covers, substituted blackwall tires, eliminated the reclining seats, removed the armrests, yanked off the moldings, and, once dockside, slapped on a sassy side stripe and a little bee on the fender. Thus, the Honey Bee was born.  It was the least expensive offering in the 1976 B210 lineup, and the only special-edition model of the era that eliminated special features instead of adding them. It truly offered less in an era of more.

But it was cute. The ads played up the friendly cartoon bee, the impressive fuel economy and the sporty side stripe. Offered in youthful colors of bright yellow or white, it drove buyers into Datsun showrooms, although most of them drove out with a regular B210 with
sumptous details like carpeting, whitewalls, and the automatic transmission that the ‘bee didn’t offer. But it still causes many a chuckle at a car show these days, even though in reality it was all bee and no honey.

About Richard Read

Richard Read covers a range of topics including LGBT issues, advertising, technology, pop culture, and, of course, cars, for Gaywheels, The Car Connection, Green Car Reports, Motor Authority, and other publications. Previously, he's written for Gawker, Fodors, and many other outlets, both on the web and in print. In his spare time, Richard is a marketing consultant, with a focus on small businesses and nonprofits. Born in Laurel, Mississippi, he holds degrees from Millsaps College, Tulane University, and the University of New Orleans. He lives in New Orleans, Louisiana with his husband and four mostly well-behaved hounds.
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