I pushed my yellow 160J SSS into my workshop while I was having a move around this week in order to give it a once over to see what was required to get it back in working order. As I’ve mentioned before, I have owned this car for 18 years and it’s been off the road for 15 of those! In 2001 I started doing the work to get it roadworthy again as I wanted to take it on a road trip to Finland, only to discover it was way rustier than I had anticipated and so, minus it’s engine and gearbox which I had removed in order to do some welding, it was left under a cover in the shed as I took a different Datsun to Finland. Sadly, that’s where it’s stayed ever since and in the intervening years its engine got pilfered for another Datsun too.
I guess the good thing about this is that back in 2001, a Datsun 160J SSS wasn’t worth much in the UK, especially one in rough condition, but today it’s a very desirable model and even a really rough one would probably make over £1000. Had I parted with this car in 2001 it would most probably have ended up as scrap, so ironically, 14 years of neglect in my shed has probably saved it…
So just how grim is it? The answer is pretty grim indeed, although there are some fairly solid areas. The back half of the car is quite decent apart from one rear arch and a little rust in the boot floor. The real nasties are up the front.
Most of the worst rot is on the right hand side of the car. The front of the sill, the inner wing strengthener,front floorpan, inner sill and the chassis leg this side are all really horrible. Both inner wings are a bit frilly and there’s some bad rot along the scuttle below the screen, which would lead me to believe that once the screen is out, there will be quite a bit more rust to fix in the surround. Fortunately, I have a brand new scuttle panel as well as new inner wings and chassis legs. I also have a new front panel, valance, bonnet and front wings so most of the bad bits can be replaced. What I don’t have is any inner wing strengtheners so unless I can find some new old stock, I am going to have to fabricate those. Remarkable the sills are actually quite solid as are the sill closing panels under the rear arches, a favourite rust spot on these cars. The doors and bootlid are all serviceable and other than the drivers floor pan, the floor is sound so it’s not all bad news.
Having taken a bunch of pictures and made some notes, the car is going back under its cover for another few months while I try to find the parts needed to complete it. In the meantime, I have another 160J SSS, a 1600 SSS and a Dodge van to finish!