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All posts for the month April, 2009

Despite the efforts of British tuning companies in the 1970’s such as Old Woking Service Station, Janspeed and Samuri Conversions, Datsuns never really caught on with British car modifiers. Competition in the small car market was considerable and tuning favorites such as the Ford Escort and Mini ruled the roost. As any Datsun fan will know, the cars are eminently tunable and offer the potential to be highly competetive on the race track as Janspeed in particular knew. Janspeed not only raced Datsuns back in the day, they also offered a wealth of ‘hot’ Datsun parts for the public right through into the 1980’s, many of which came direct from Japan. This article from Hot Car magazine in 1981 takes a look at what was available from Janspeed for the Datsun A series engine…

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I loved Matchbox cars as a kid and have no doubt that they played a large part in developing my obsession for all things with engines and wheels. But it wasn’t just the miniature die-cast cars that fired my imagination in the early 70’s, it was also the boxes they came in. For the 1970’s, Lesney Products, manufacturers of Matchbox toys, saw fit to replace the rather staid box designs of the 50’s and 60’s with colourful and dynamic ‘Superfast’ box artwork, most likely in an effort to compete with the then new Hotwheels cars from America. I think I particularly like the way the illustrations, whilst often adding realism such as chrome details, headlights and occasionally, lifelike backgrounds, are clearly pictures of the models themselves complete with ‘superfast’ wheels. Right through the 1970’s and into the start of the 80’s the cars continued to come in these wonderful picture boxes but they were not to last, as with the sale of the Matchbox brand to Universal Toys, the classic Matchbox packaging was replaced with dull light blue boxes with a clear plastic window though which the toy car could be seen. Later, the boxes themselves gave way to the familiar, modern blister pack.

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Most Nissan and Datsun fans will be familiar with the existence of Nissans own heritage collection housed in the old Zama factory in Kanagawa, Japan. Many of the galleries of images to be found on the Internet tend to focus a little more on classic Skyline GTRs, Fairladys and race cars with few making note of any of the less significant models, particularly those from the 80’s and 90’s. The clips here courtesy of highmileage.org take a look at some of the design aspects of cars from that era. Second clip after the jump…

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The traditional old British scrapyard where you could wander about freely and remove parts from rusting old cars is really a thing of the past but here and their, a handful have so far escaped the EU legislation which has done so much to change the vehicle dismantlers trade. Yards that have cars much older the 10 years are few and far between so it was quite a surprise to see what old machinery still remained in this Shropshire yard I visited earlier in the year. As is invariably the case there were few old Japanese cars of any description but still quite a number of other old cars, some available for sale complete for restoration. Full gallery after the jump…

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