Salvador Dali and the Datsun 180B Wagon

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

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Salvador Datun Ad crop Salvador Datun Ad crop
Salvador Datun wagon Salvador Datun wagon

A look back at one of the more unexpected automotive partnerships

Automotive history is littered with obscure and unexpected collaborations, including Aussie originals like Reebok Nissans and the Sportsgirl Barina.

But Jalopnik may have uncovered one of the weirdest occasions, back in 1972 when Datsun USA commissioned the famous Spanish surrealist, Salvador Dali, to publicise their new Datsun 610 wagon, or the humble Datsun 180B as we knew it.

As Jalopnik explains, Dali’s fame and fortune saw his lavish expenses pile up by the 60s and subsequently to an era where the famous painter was not at all shy about putting his name next to paid commercial work.

He touted everything from chocolate to indigestion medicine, as well as one charming Japanese econo-box.

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Complete with his signature melting clock motif, "6:10" was painted in 1972 by Dali for Datsun America’s use as a promotional poster.

He also featured in the American TV ad for the humble 610 wagon, and was gifted an orange example which is currently on display at the Castell Gala Museum in Catalonia; the former homestead of Dali’s wife Gala.

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Launched around the world in 1972, Datsun’s mainstream range was known in Japan as the 610 Bluebird, in America as the 610, and in Australia as the 180B.

Originally, Australia only had access to the 180B coupe and sedans from the model’s launch, and only gained the wagon in 1975 and 1976.

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Salvador Dali’s automotive history was almost as flambouyant as the man himself. He was born shortly after the advent of the motor car in 1904, although it wouldn’t be until 1941 until he acquired his first car, a Cadillac (pictured with Gala above); one-of-five built with an automatic transmission – according to Dali.

He even sketched a radical concept (on a hotel notepad) for GM, and coined the name ‘Cadillac de Gala’ for them; a name of which appeared on a Cadillac the very next year. In response, he demanded $10,000 from GM for use of the name – a cheque they sent the very next day.

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Cars were also common theme amongst Dali’s artwork, from his Automobile Clothed paintings, to his surrealist sculptural exhibits like 1938’s Rainy Taxi.

He was certainly a character, which makes his connection to the humble Datsun wagon so much more contrasting.

 

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