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I’m still very busy digging holes and laying concrete here at home at the present, so I’ve not had much free time to put together material for the site. However, I did make time to scan this fascination Japanese trade catalogue from 1952. Issued by the Motor Trade Association of Japan, this thirty eight page catalogue lists quite a variety of vehicles including trucks and heavy plant machinery. It comes from a time when the Japanese motor industry was still in recovery from the Second World War and so many of the vehicles on offer had a distinctly pre-war look to them such as the Datsun DC-3 Sports, yet a few others, such as the Toyopet sedans look quite up to date for 1952. Also included are the quirky looking Datsun DB series and Thrift models which were very short lived and exceedingly rare today.

Also interesting are some of the weird specialist vehicles shown, in particular the bizarre looking Nissan ‘Sound Car’ and Service Car’, both based on a Nissan 390 bus. It’s interesting to see the long extinct Japanese make ‘Ohta’ shown too. Ohta built a number of cars from around 1934 right through to 1957 after which the company was absorbed into Kurogane. There’s also a Datsun connection with the company as Yuichi Ohta designed the aforementioned Datsun DC-3 as well as the later, fibreglass bodied S211, forerunner to the Fairlady series. Click through to have a look… Continue Reading

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clymer_coverLate in 1959, renowned automotive publisher Floyd Clymer took a trip to Japan and the 6th Tokyo Motorshow. Upon his return to the US, he put together this book, the ‘Complete Catalog of Japanese Motor Vehicles’ which was published in 1961. This 270 page book takes a very in depth look at the state of the Japanese motor industry at that time and covers everything from scooters to buses and microcars to heavy trucks from just about every manufacturer. The book has a wealth of photos (around 600 black and white images) and there’s plenty of data as well as chapters about the Japanese Industry, their Motorsport endeavours and advances in automotive technology as well as a variety of snaps from Clymer’s trip. I found this original, somewhat dog-eared copy of the book at a swapmeet many years ago and until now it’s been quite hard to find. But the good news is that VelocePress made it available once more from October 2013 and copies are available though the usual sources such as eBay and Amazon for around $40.

Click through to take a peek at what this book has to offer…

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I bought this 1989 Nissan Prairie Anniversary II via eBay in August last year, primarily because it was cheap and I figured it’d be useful for spare parts for mine. It had a little bit of road tax and some MOT left so I drove it for a few weeks before laying up. It went well and with 91,000 miles on the clock, it’s done some 70,000 less than my red Prairie but also it had pretty bad rust around the rear arches and was had also been converted for wheelchair use. These two factors alone meant that I had no intention at all of returning it to the road. However, rather that it being cannibalised for parts as I had planned and the remainder getting shredded and shipped off to China to become next year’s new Chery, it’s back on the road instead!

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Three weeks have slipped by without me making a single post. I feel kind of bad about that but the truth is I have been working pretty hard and haven’t much felt like sitting here editing pictures and writing in the evenings.

One of the downsides of living in the sticks and having a little land is that now and then you need to do a bit of maintenance. The last couple of winters, we have been having problems with rain water drainage (or the lack of it), resulting in a fields behind our house partially flooding along with that of our neighbour every time we had heavy rain. It turned out that the problem was caused by the drainage ditch which runs along the rear of the field. It hadn’t been cleared for at least 20 years and in one place was blocked completely. Thankfully, I was loaned just what was needed to remedy the problem… a 3 tonne mini digger. So I set to work and since then I’ve been able to make use of this machine to do a couple of other jobs as well… Continue Reading

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Unbelievably, it’s been 3 years and 9 months since I last wrote an update on this, my Dodge van and only non-Datsun project.  That’s not to say I haven’t done anything on it in that time, it’s that I’ve just done so little that I didn’t bother to document any of it. I’ve completed a few things like re-installing the dash, getting the steering column housing polished and re-fitting the windscreen (which was a nightmare!), but the real major bodywork has taken a back seat for a while. Most of the bodywork is actually done, but I still have four of the six doors and the bonnet to mend, all of which have varying amounts of rust. I want this van on the road for summer so I’m now back on it and I started with the front doors…

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I can’t imagine that there are many 910 Bluebird Hardtop coupes left in France let alone ones as nice as this example from 1981. Incredibly, it’s covered less than 14,000 miles from new and from the couple of pictures in the listing it looks to be in amazing condition. It’s about as far south as it’s possible to get in France but the dry Mediterranean climate will have no doubt helped keep the usual rust away. The alloy wheels look like they are of  C210 Skyline or possibly C230 Laurel origin but I guess it’s possible that 910’s may have been available new with this type of wheel in France. There’s no mention in the ad as to whether this is an SSS or not. In the UK all hardtops coupes were SSS but in Japan that wasn’t the case so it’s possible France may have got non-SSS 910 hardtops, which also may explain the different wheels. It may have even come with steel wheels originally. It’s not that cheap at 6200 euros but then where else are you likely to find a Bluebird Hardtop with such low mileage? Check out the advert on Leboncoin.fr

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I don’t think there ever was such a thing as a DU-5 as described by this American magazine in 1955 but as this was prior to official exports to the US by Nissan, they could be forgiven for having little information available to them. I believe that the model shown in this short piece is a Datsun 6147 which went on sale in Japan between 1953 and 1954. This model was very dated looking and owed much of its design and styling to the pre-war Datsun 13T of 1936.

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The 6147 came as a regular pickup but this version had a double cab making it a four seater, albeit a very cramped one. I’ve also seen this body style referred to as a ‘Ranch Sedan’ by another American publication from the late 50’s, although I doubt it would have been known as that in Japan.

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I’m pretty sure I have never posted any Datsun literature from Belgium before so this might be the first. This marketing material is in the form of a Magazine (this is issue Nr.1) and it dates from Autumn 1974. The range shown is pretty much the same as that sold in the UK and most other Western European countries with the exception of the C110 Skyline hardtop, a model which never made it to the UK. There’s a little bit in there about the Datsun ESV too, about which it says something like;

‘Not just a safety prototype, but additionally looks very nice also. The front visibility is optimal by construction without windscreen pillars. The special bumpers play a dual role: a collision softener for passengers, but on the other hand they protect the pedestrian as much as possible. Steering wheel and dashboard are specially refined and moreover reflect the same safety philosophy” .

I’m collecting some info together to write a piece about Nissan’s ESV projects so watch for that in the future.

 

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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.

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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…

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Having decided that later this year I will attempt to return my yellow Datsun 160J SSS to the road, I took the opportunity to have a good look at it and decide what it requires. Apart from a considerable amount of welding (more on this tomorrow) it needs an engine and gearbox fitting which I was lucky enough to to acquire recently, some carpet which I’ll have to make and some decent bumpers which I think I have among my parts stash. It also needs some new badges which, although I have some, they’re destined for my black 160J SSS. The rear quarter panel ‘Datsun 160J’ badges I can live without if I can’t find any but the round SSS emblems on the rear pillars are essential as they look really bare without them. So I bit the bullet and paid out for some brand new ones which arrived a couple of days ago, all the way from Kuwait. Feast your eyes on these beauties!

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My thanks to Saad, who is a Kuwait based eBay seller (ukstar76) selling new old stock Datsun parts. Everything I have bought from Saad in the past has arrived in great condition and the delivery has been very fast too.

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