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THE WEEK THAT WAS: Dustbin is Go again

By Graeme Roberts | 19 July 2013

How many of us fondly recall Datsun

How many of us fondly recall Datsun

Up until this week, the only product I recall being called the Go was a trusty and, in my case, just-retired, TomTom portable navigator. TT has just launched a brand new Go line but, unperturbed, Nissan Motor has also grabbed the nameplate for its revived Datsun brand.

That brand was one of the first from Japan to make its way to my native Antipodean land, appended to the little Bluebird sedan and a 1500 pickup. It was also known locally as 'Dustbin' (I can't, on a family website, tell you what Mitsubishi was reworked into) but that was largely affection as, body rot common to all cars right up into the '80s apart, the things were reliable and easy to fix if they did go wrong, with almost indestructible engines. Which, unlike the Austin motors, on which they were so obviously based (post war, Datsun assembled Austins under licence into the 1950s), did not leak oil all over your driveway.

I'm not surprised Nissan is bringing Datsun back, albeit for emerging markets this time, as the brand still has value, and it was, after all, used to launch a major Japanese automaker into export markets decades ago. There must still be many of us out there who recall owning a Datsun with pleasure. I sure do.

Refrigerant wars have broken out in Europe, or at least in Mercedes v France. This is all to do with the EU-directed plan to get rid of the hydrofluorocarbon HFC134a, introduced early in the 1990s to replace allegedly nastier chlorofluorocarbon CFC12 used almost since the beginning of time in car air conditioners. CFC12 was used because it was very efficient at producing icicles on the end of your nose when it was 40C outside the car; 134a is less so but was thought a bit more environment friendly. But now, it too has been deemed nasty to polar bears, etc.

CO2 has been touted as a replacement but HFO1234yf has got the nod although some industry views suggest it could catch fire in an accident (I have seen butane used in domestic appliances and that seems really dangerous). Whatever, we have published several other articles this week, including this summary comment by our, conveniently French-speaking, Man on the Case.

And, just for a change, I have been out to drive an actual car, for once. There's a whole line of very stylish C-segment wagons on sale here in Europe and Toyota's Auris - with added hybrid - is just the latest, with more to come.

Have a nice weekend.

Graeme Roberts - Deputy Editor - just-auto.com