I’ve had a bit of a break over Christmas but now I’m back it’s time to look forward to the coming year and think about what will be happening through 2015.
This is going to be a year of major work on my projects and I am aiming to finish as many as I can. Having spent the last two years clearing out and selling off the bulk of my un-finished (and un-started!) projects I’ve lightened my workload considerably. In fact I now only have five projects to do and of those, it is possible that only four will actually get done as one may become a parts donor.
The first task to tackle this year will be finishing my Dodge van as I could do with it out of my workshop. This thing is HUGE and takes up far too much space in there! This project slowed to a standstill in 2011 and although a few things have been done since then, there’s been little real progress. As it stands, the main body repairs have been completed and it’s all in primer, the roof scuttle and front door shuts are painted and the side doors are done, primed and fitted. The dashboard and all the switches are back in and the windscreen has been re-fitted. So what’s left to do? Well, the remaining four doors all need some welding as does the bonnet, then they need to be prepped and primed. The insides of the doors and the door shuts need painting then I mask the whole thing up with the doors closed and paint the outside. Once the paint is done it’s just a matter of refitting some windows, bumpers and lights and installing the exhausts. Sounds easy huh?. Hopefully it will be as I’m starting on it on Monday. I plan to have the paint done by February.
The next project that has been dormant for far too long is my black Datsun 160J SSS. All the welding and major body repairs on this car are finished so it now needs prepping and paint. The plan is to send it off to be chemically dipped to remove all the old paint and rust inside and out so it will need to be stripped right back to a bare shell. I will be making a rotisserie to mount this (and my 510) on to make the job easier so watch out for a post on that in the spring along with some plans for making your own. The chemical stripping is a fairly costly process but it’ll save a huge amount of work, especially as I want to paint this car inside and out.
By the end of summer I hope to get started properly on my Datsun 1600 SSS. This is the car I bought in France back in April. I have done some work on this which already I haven’t documented on here but it’s mostly been limited to engine work and the re-plating of components and fasteners. Like the 160J SSS, it’ll go off to be dipped but unlike to 160J, I expect it’ll have more holes than a tea bag when it comes back. Thankfully I do have quite a lot of new old stock panels for rebuilding a 510 and if necessary, I am willing to use my other 510 as a donor, although I’d hate to have to do that. With this in mind, all work on my other 510 has been stopped. Sentimental attachment to it has to take a back seat as I feel that restoring a genuine European spec 1600 SSS is of greater priority and for me, owning a real 510 SSS is something of a Holy Grail.
Then there’s my other 160J SSS. This car hasn’t been mentioned much on this site as for almost the entire time that Ratdat.com has been online, this car has been off the road and in storage! I have owned this car for 18 years and at one time used it as daily transport. These days it is looking a bit rough but I recently checked through the parts I have stashed and have decided that I have enough parts to put this back on the road. I won’t aim for a high end restoration like my black 160J SSS but I will aim to make it solid and tidy. Quite when I’ll tackle this I don’t know but when I do, I plan to do the entire job in one hit, working on it every day until it’s ready for the road. I reckon I could have this on the road inside of a month.
And what of the others? Well, my Nissan Prairie will remain as my daily driver as it’s such a trustworthy and useful car. Having topped 160,000 miles, it’s engine is feeling it’s age but I have a 90,000 mile engine from my spares donor to go in it when I get time. I also have the Hyundai Pony pickup which I repaired recently (yes, I know I never posted about that either!). That is currently doing duty as a parts hauler and general workhorse, although it may go up for sale in the summer to raise funds for the Datsun projects. My Mazda MX5 is just waiting for me to do a few jobs on it then it’s going up for sale as I don’t use it enough any more to justify keeping it.
Aside from needing a good tune-up, my Nissan Cherry Europe GTi is ready to use as soon as the good weather returns. It got a lot of use last year but by the end of last summer, it was starting to run a little lumpy so I think I’ll need to invest in a balancing tool to adjust it’s two twin choke Dell’Orto carbs. ‘Ol Bluey, my 1962 Datsun Bluebird Wagon, is also good to go apart from needing a new exhaust system. I’ll be taking it to a specialist to get a new Stainless Steel system made for it, probably around March so it’ll be on the road in time for Summer.
Of course, as always it’s not just car work I have to do in the coming months. This year I need to re-clad and re-roof my workshop, lay a new driveway and some new drains and demolish two buildings. Plus my garage needs new roof trusses installing and a new concrete floor. It’s going to be a very, very busy year!