One of my favorite tools here at Datsun Ranch… This solution saves a ton of time on tuning an old Datsun!
Setting float levels in your Datsun SU carburetors is critical to optimal engine performance. Power and fuel economy are sacrificed if float levels are set too high, too low, or differ in each bowl. Until now, there hasn’t been a tool allowing you to visually inspect both float levels at the same time, with the engine running. Float-Sync shows you precisely where your floats are set to ensure your engine is running with peak power and efficiency.
The level of fuel in the float bowl dictates the level of fuel in the jet nozzle. This is a big deal for SU carburetors because the fuel level in the jet nozzle directly impacts engine performance. When the engine is running, a vacuum is created in the SU carburetor venturi that pulls fuel out of the jet nozzle, mixing it with air and drawing it into the engine. If float levels are adjusted too high, fuel puddles at the top of the jet, allowing too much to be drawn into the engine, creating a rich condition. If the float is adjusted too low, it will be harder to pull fuel out of the jet, creating a lean condition.
A rich condition can cause plug fouling, poor fuel economy, gas fumes, diluted crankcase oil (contributing to blow by and reduced engine protection), and in extreme cases potential for an engine fire. A lean condition can cause the engine to stumble, backfire, ping and run hotter than it should, creating the potential to burn the valves.
Only Float-Sync allows you to see precisely where your floats are, and shows you the fuel level throughout the entire RPM range in each float bowl… all without opening the float bowl.
Setting floats by removing the float bowl lid and measuring the distance between the lid and top of the float is imprecise at best, because there are so many other variables.
To make float adjustments, remove the four screws on each float bowl and lift the cover off with float attached. The metal tabs on the floats can be bent slightly up or down to change the fuel level in each bowl. With the float hanging below the cover, bending the float tab down will raise the fuel level in the bowl. Bending the tab up on the float will lower the fuel level. To observe how your adjustments have changed fuel level in the bowls, replace and secure covers, then restart the car to inspect fuel levels. Be patient, it may take a few attempts to sync float levels precisely.
- Remove and set aside the air cleaner housing and filter.
- Remove 12mm threaded plugs on the front of each float bowl, taking care to collect the gasoline which will drain.
- Screw Float-Sync tools into each opening so sight glasses point up and neoprene washers compress slightly so they seal against fuel leaks.
- Start car and allow engine to warm up. View fuel level through each sight glass. You want the fuel level in each sight glass to be the same. The optimal level is 9/16” (14mm), measured from the top of the Float-Sync block to the fuel level in each site glass.
- If adjustments are necessary, disconnect the fuel hoses supplying each carburetor, remove the four screws on each float bowl lid and lift cover off, with floats attached. Metal tabs on floats can be bent slightly up or down to change the fuel level in each bowl. When the float is hanging below the cover, bending the tab down raises the fuel level. Bending the tab up lowers the fuel level.
- To observe how your adjustments have impacted the fuel level, replace and secure float bowl covers, reattach fuel hoses and restart car. Be patient, it may take a few attempts to sync float levels precisely.
- With both floats adjusted properly, remove Float-Sync units, replacing them with the 12mm threaded plugs you removed. Again, take care to collect gasoline which will drain from float bowls. Replace air cleaner and filter.
You can buy Float-Sync here! Float-Sync Tuning Tool for Datsun SU Carburetors
As easy as it would be to make this article about me and about the cool stuff we do at Datsun Ranch, this one really needs to be about this car… this very special car, with a neat backstory.
A quick Google search for Datsun F10 reveals words like “quirky, odd, ugly, lemon, and bizarre.” And yes, let’s be honest – each one applies. Styling in 1976 wasn’t Datsun’s claim to fame, but cheap reliability was. CAFE standards had taken their toll on American cars, and to be fair, the list of visually-attractive 1976 cars is painfully short.
This car represents Datsun’s first foray into front-wheel drive in America. A 78hp A-14 engine backed up by a dogleg five-speed meant this little anomaly could reach 60mph in a mind-numbing 16 seconds. The cheapest car in the lineup, it weighed in at just over 2300 lbs, was a bit nose-heavy, and was remarkably devoid of even the simplest of creature comforts – more on that later.
So, how did this ugly duckling wind up at Datsun Ranch? Well, let’s go back a bit.
The original owner’s name is lost to history, but sometime in the 80’s, a gentleman in Arizona named Bryan Thompson ran across this car in a trailer park in Prescott Valley, Arizona. According to Bryan, “It had 53,000 miles and not a spot of rust anywhere. It was sitting under a tree behind a double-wide mobile home, covered in filth. I had a lot of fun rescuing and restoring it, and her name is Arnelle.” Bryan [@bryansthompson] is a designer and actually worked for Nissan in the past.
Some time later, Bryan sold Arnelle to an older gentleman who, not long after, passed away. Bryan adds: “For years, I thought the car was probably sold to a wrecker after an estate auction failed to find a home for it.”
As it turns out, this wasn’t the case. An old college friend of Bryan’s spotted a familiar-looking car on Craigslist, and messaged Bryan to ask if it was indeed his F10. The car had been in storage all these years, and Bryan’s friend once again rescued Arnelle.
Over the next few years, the new owner collected F10 parts. And when we say collected, we mean ‘hoarded.’ Again, we’ll revisit that later in the story.
Through some turn of events, whether lack of time, lack of space, or lack of motivation, Arnelle found herself once more in need of a home. Along comes Ross Parks of Z Sport Canada and annual Datsun Ranch snowbird, and Arnelle was headed from NorCal to her new temporary home in sunny Arizona.
Arnelle arrived with no fanfare, but elicited a chorus of groans and sideways glances from the folks that frequent Datsun Ranch… I can only imagine the muttering from the collectible Datsuns inside as Arnelle spent her first night parked among such rarities as a pristine ’63 Bluebird and a SR-powered ’68 510.
Now is a great time to mention that inside the F10 was packed EASILY another nearly-complete F10. Seriously, the number of spare parts shoved inside this car for the trip to AZ was astounding, and left only enough space for a small pilot. Floorboards to headliner, packed. There were even parts stuffed under the seats and up under the dash.
As if that weren’t enough, somehow Ross procured ANOTHER derelict F10 for spare parts. That one got immediately stripped of anything remotely useful, and was unceremoniously shipped off to the crusher.
Not long after Arnelle’s arrival, Ross enlisted me to “go through her.” In Canadian-speak, this really means, “Work on my car, because I’m busy doing snowbird stuff.” My initial resistance was overcome by promises of coffee, occasional lunches, and eternal gratitude.
With that began a three-week journey down into a rabbit hole of mid-70’s Japanese malaise. The interior of the car was emptied, parts sorted and catalogued, anything needing attention was documented, a plan of attack was formulated, and a very mild “rolling resto” was started.
Within hours, the depths of Datsun’s cost-cutting were slowly revealed. Sure, this car had manual windows, a single-speaker AM radio and no climate control, that’s to be expected. But this was TRUE minimalism: No sound deadening under the carpet – not even the fuzzy recycled shredded mattress pads that Nissan has used for decades. Nope, nothing. Atop the spare tire? A thin layer of carpet. No fiberboard, no panel. Carpet. The plastic panels that make up the rear interior? Easily the thinnest plastic I’ve seen in a car interior. Not exaggerating: Holding it up to the light, you can see through it. So, as you can imagine, this project would require caution, care, and a delicate touch (none of which are words commonly associated with yours truly).
Since this one wouldn’t be getting repainted, there was no reason to do a full-scale disassembly. The first order of business was to assess the body and determine if there was any hidden rust or secrets that might make this a fool’s errand. Fortunately, there were no bugaboos to be found aside from a few dents. An original-paint car is always, always, always more appealing (value and appearance-wise) than a respray, so the goal here was to retain as much of the original paint as possible. The few dents that were accessible were worked back into straightness, and the one big nasty one on the driver side will be left to a professional. Believe it or not, the rear side windows on the F10 actually roll down, so the window mechanism and associated bracing precluded too much behind-the-scenes massaging of the metal. A good paintless dent repair person can straighten the metal, and a good painter can blend in to match the original paint.
A full day of light cutting and buffing on the paint followed. A digital paint thickness gauge is a must-have when working with old Datsun paint, as it tells you if there’s enough to cut aggressively. This car would be getting a gentle touch, as the factory paint was thin and poorly-applied, another cost-saving measure for sure. At the end of the day, the butterscotch color was a little richer and the majority of the car was a little bit glossier than it was.
Inspecting the little car on the lift, there wasn’t much needed in the way of mechanical refurbishment. All fluids were changed, the tension rod bushings were swapped out, a fresh set of plugs and a cursory tune-up would suffice here. Thankfully, the little A-series engine in the F10 is a tried-and-true design that just keeps plugging along with minimal care.
Next step was to do something about the wretched 5mph bumpers. In the early days of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), due to rapidly increasing repair costs, the 5 mile bumper was mandated in 1974. The rule basically required that no damage to the car’s lights, safety equipment and engine could result from an angled 5mph impact. Considering the lack of understanding of energy dissipation and crash absorption that existed in 1976, it was no surprise that big park-bench bumpers were slapped on in a hurried attempt to comply with the new regulations.
Well, in America, we prefer freedom, and those 5mph bumpers represent the oppression of an overreaching government mandate. Therefore, off they go, to be replaced by a set of European bumpers that were procured by the prior owner. Not only do they shave 110 unnecessary pounds off the overall weight of the car, but the appearance is actually improved.
The grille and rear tail panels needed some refurbishing, and with three grilles to choose from, I was able to assemble the best parts from each, restore the lenses, refinish the plastic, and repair some mounting tabs. Interestingly, the plastic cover on the rear valance encloses the same chrome license plate lights that are seen on the European Datsun Cherry model. Again, more cost-cutting.
The four steel wheels were loaded up in my coarse media blaster to be stripped of their original finish and re-primered and re-painted While most of the wheel would be covered by stainless trim rings and hubcaps, it’s still nice to have everything clean and uniform before reassembly.
Moving on to the interior, it was time to address the rear cargo area. Removing all of the seats and carpet took exactly 30 minutes, and the space under the spare tire was as pristine as when the car was built.
With that established, the spare tire was checked, inflated, cleaned and returned to its space.
A pattern was made and a period-correct fiberboard panel was made to cover the spare tire, and carpeted with Datsun-style loop carpeting.
Now, on to the hardest (but most rewarding and fun) part of this refurbishment: Somewhere along this car’s lifetime, a set of replacement seat covers were custom-made, and found neatly bagged among the spare parts. Since the front seats were well-worn and in poor condition, now was a great time to redo all the seating surfaces. The front and rear seat frames were stripped of all upholstery, horsehair and foam, fully cleaned and repainted gloss black. A foam kit for a 240Z was modified to match the contours of the F10 seats, and the new covers were installed.
To call these covers unique or eye-catching would be doing them a disservice. White marine-grade vinyl with butterscotch and black houndstooth-patterned inserts is simply not something you see every day. However, it totally works in this car! Once the seats were completed, the tracks were cleaned, lubricated and reinstalled, and my attention turned to the rest of the interior.
Since a carpet kit isn’t exactly an off-the-shelf available replacement item for a ’76 F10, and this one was in decent condition, I steam-cleaned it and re-dyed it black. While the carpet was out, the floor got scrubbed and a light coat of exterior wax, and I prepared for removing the cracked dash.
Four bolts. Four bolts secure the dashboard in place, and the entire assembly weighs less than a 13″ steel wheel. The good news is that Nissan’s cost-cutting measures made the dash removal and repair a fairly simple (albeit time-consuming) job. If I could fold my old 6′ 1″ frame into the footwell for a couple hours at a time, it would have gone more smoothly.
The door sill plates went on a date with my glass bead blaster, followed by a coat of semi-gloss clear from Eastwood.
Now for the fun! Reassembly time goes by so much faster – all the fasteners are new and freshly-plated, all the parts are clean, and the excitement of seeing it come together means fewer coffee / snack breaks.
With the carpet and seats installed, the otherwise-clean interior panels looked a little dingy. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is one of my favorite products to clean light-colored vinyl and plastic, and didn’t disappoint in this case.
As I put this article together, I realized that the very last step didn’t get pictures, and if you’re sharp, you’ve already noticed what’s missing. The plastic trim on the leading edge of the hood. Now, this was probably one of Nissan’s worst design decisions. A delicate, flimsy plastic trim piece, made of black material with painted silver accents, exposed to 60mph road debris. What could go wrong? Further, the attachment design was simply asinine, and clearly didn’t last long.
At any rate, it’s my job to fix things, not critique some long-retired engineer’s work, so here’s a side-story on how that happened: While at SEMA last year, I met the guys from Sanloz Group, distributors of the Koverbond Plastic and Fiberglass Repair System, and brought home a sample to test. Five 6 x 1.0 metric bolts should hold this piece in place nicely, so I modified the heads to fit inside the bevel of the trim piece. Then, I used the Koverbond kit to secure them to the plastic… This product is amazing, and basically allows you to ‘weld’ any material to plastic, and my five bolts are now permanently attached to the trim (which didn’t get photographed).
At any rate, this weird, wonky, mostly-unloved little survivor is now ready for a date with a skilled paintless dent repair practitioner, some careful paint blending (to retain originality), and possibly a new owner… If you’d like to put this one in your collection, and are a serious buyer, contact me at [email protected] and I’ll place you in touch with her current curator.
Thanks for joining me for this refurbishment, and pop in on the Datsun forums to tell us about YOUR rare Datsun projects!
[Special thanks to @toywagon for the great pics and Ross Parks for letting us be a part of this great project.]
Special thanks to Harold Burroughs (writer) and Hung Vu from Vintage Dashes!
How to Install your new Vintage Dash:
-Take out dash (fasteners which need to be removed are circled in red – please inspect pictures closely).
-Remove 3 center gauges (a strap and 1 screw hold them in, so you can pull these 3 from the rear).
-Remove Speedometer and Tachometer (one screw holds the strap in the back, so you can pull these two forward out of the dash).
-Disconnect and remove the dimmer switch.
-Remove the glove box ( 4 screws under and 6 screws on the face).
-Remove HVAC hoses and two side vents on outer dash (two screws top and bottom).
-Take out 22 screws that hold the dash to shell, keeping in mind that some are hidden on sides and behind the wire harness.
-Remove the cigarette lighter by unscrewing the big nut on back and also removing the power wires (this sandwiches the lighter assembly between the shell and dash)
-Get your new dash and compare to old dash where the screws bind it to the shell. Remove excess material around screw holes (you can drill two holes for dimmer and trip reset at this time).
-Dry fit dash to shell and ensure nothing is binding up.
-Once all holes line up reasonably screw dash to shell.
-Reverse order install of all gauges and components (it is necessary to cut out the cigarette lighter area – Use a sharp knife or razor).
-Punch two holes for the emblem and install.
The whole process took me 2 hours and for my first time I was very careful and didn’t know what to expect. The whole process was very straight forward and Hung Vu is a huge resource.
If you’d like to place an order for a replacement dash (an absolute bargain at $800) for your classic Z, please contact Hung via his Facebook page: Hung Vu
Thanks, and I hope this helps you install your new Vintage Dash!
Another successful show in the books!
The 2019 Route 66 JDM Classic represents the ninth annual occurrence of the event, and this year was particularly special. For starters, the weather cooperated perfectly! Temperatures were just right for summer attire, and a light breeze and sunshine graced Williams Arizona all day.
Last year, we opened up the event to owners of classic Toyota, Mazda, Honda, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Isuzu, Suzuki, and any other Japanese classics, and implemented a rolling 25-year rule. We added several additional awards classes, and those will grow each year as the show grows. This resulted in an eclectic and impressive display of cars, which you can check out in the gallery at the end.
Our charitable partner again this year was Raising Special Kids, and representative Janna Murrell was on hand all day to answer questions and share RSK’s message. After assisting with the raffle, Janna made her selection for the “RSK Choice” award, which went to Leroy Kyger and his spectacularly-restored ’64 Datsun 320.
One of the neatest aspect of the Route 66 show, aside from the laid-back attitude of the event, is the interaction between the car owners and the tourists who inevitably wander through. Since the Grand Canyon draws hundreds of thousands of visitors annually from all over the world, those lucky travelers in Williams on the day of the show really get a bonus. You can bet there are pictures of these cars in cameras from China to Germany to India and beyond!
T-shirts for the 2019 event were designed by Tsundereslaps. The logo pays tribute to our good friend Ryan Newman, who we lost earlier this year. Ryan’s battleship grey box-flared Datsun 510 is incorporated into the design in remembrance of his friendship and contributions to the Datsun community.
The commemorative event license plates were a huge hit again this year, and the “Class Winner” license plates were well-received.
Speaking of winners, here are the class winners for 2019:
The crew of Route 66 JDM Classic appreciate the attendees and participants who helped make this year’s event successful. The LV 702 Ratsun club presented DQ owner Debbie Pettit with a really cool plaque in appreciation for putting up with us all these years.
Special thinks go out to the crew at Kicks restaurant, Vicki Mattox, Kay & Kelly Tanis, Saraya Childs and Becky Childs for keeping the event rolling without a hitch. Thanks also to Aaron Hernandez for the video!
If you had a great time, please share this article on Facebook, and invite anyone who might own a Japanese car or truck 1996 or older.
A limited number of T-shirts from the 2019 event are still available. Send $20 via PayPal to [email protected], remember to tell her what size, and we’ll get it in the mail ASAP – and remember, all proceeds from this event go to our charity partner at RSK!
My experience with Bring a Trailer dates back to the early days of the site, when it was simply an aggregation of hand-selected, interesting and unique classified ads from around the Internet.
Exactly 10 years ago this week, in fact, I purchased a 1967 Datsun 411 after seeing it featured on Bring a Trailer. Since then, I’ve listed a couple other vehicles, bid on a few, and helped other folks with their listings as well.
Fast forward a decade, and BaT has grown to be THE authority on online auctions for specialty and collector cars. The site has developed a formula for feeding vehicles into the queue, presenting the pertinent information in a clear yet objective manner, and ensuring auctions are conducted legitimately and professionally. If you’ve been to a motorsports or specialty vehicle-themed event lately, you’ve probably seen a BaT display – They’re even doing “Alumni events” where past buyers can meet up and display their vehicles. It’s an addictive website, and you can get lost reading about unique cars that you may have never known about.
So, when the time came for us to ‘thin the herd’ somewhat, it was only natural to reach out to the BaT crew to handle our auction. The vehicle I listed is a very special 1973 Datsun 240Z that I felt would be better-appreciated in a more upscale collection than mine. Much like participating in a Concours event, this was a ‘bucket list’ item for me. I wanted to present a vehicle that would get a ton of attention and possibly set a high-water mark for Z values. BaT was the place to make it happen.
The first order of business is to do your research. Read lots of auction listings for cars similar to yours. The Auction Specialists are helpful, and they’re a great resource as well. Reach out to past sellers and ask tons of questions, and most of all, emotionally detach yourself from the process. Once you click the “List” button, it’s a business transaction – nothing more, nothing less.
However, that’s not to say it can’t be an enjoyable experience. Prepare your listing, and present it in a systemic format: Describe the car’s history, the exterior, the interior, the drivetrain, and the engine condition in chunks of information. Then, go through that information, and for each fact, imagine someone responding, “Prove it.” You’ll need documentation of all claims – for example, I struggled with the fact that I couldn’t *prove* all my weatherstripping was original. It is, of course, but proving it is a different story. I could provide paint thickness readings to support my assertion that the paint is original… but if you’re going to claim something like, “rebuilt engine,” you’d better have receipts.
Truth be told, most of us don’t want to read the descriptions. We want to see pictures. This is where, in my opinion, most sellers miss out. When I listed my ’73 240Z, I did not want to get to the end of the auction and think, “Man, I could have done a better job with [whatever].” I decided to go all-out. With that in mind, I located a professional photo studio here in town and hired a professional photographer. Total cost for this? Under $900. In hindsight, I can tell you this: Save your awful cellphone photos for a Craigslist ad. If your car is worthy of being sold on BaT, hire a pro. Also, do NOT, under any circumstances, edit or doctor your photos. Misrepresentation is grounds for legal action, and there’s simply no reason to go that route. If your car needs work, do the work.
That brings me to my next point: What if your car has flaws? We’ve all seen online ads that conceal or fudge the truth when it comes to a car’s condition. Why be that person? I made it a goal to highlight, even overemphasize, the flaws on my car. This way, potential buyers can decide if it’s a “dealbreaker” or not. That’s their decision to make, not mine. Again, misrepresentation can expose you to liability, so err on the side of honesty, always.
Once you’ve submitted your description and photos to the team at BaT, they’ll review it and let you know within a couple days if it’s worthy of listing. At that point, you’ll need to decide whether your auction will have a reserve price. A reserve is the minimum amount that must be bid in order for your vehicle to sell. Obviously, keeping the reserve reasonable generates more activity and more bidding, whereas a reserve that’s too high can frighten off potential bidders. One more thing to add about reserves: The BaT crew is pretty good at this. My experience has been that while they’ll encourage a slightly lower reserve (in order to keep sales percentages up), they’re usually right on the money – no pun intended. Work with your Auction Specialist, and you’ll find a number that makes sense. The reserve on my car was obliterated before 24 hours had passed, so if you’re confident in your car’s value, maybe you run it without a reserve… again, talk to your Auction Specialist.
You’ll then get a draft of your auction ad copy. Typically, it’s ready to go as-is. Read it carefully, make sure everything you wanted to highlight is present, and ensure accuracy. Suggested changes, if appropriate, are then edited in by the Auction Specialist, and you’ll get a copy of the revision to approve. In a few days, your auction will go live!
Also, don’t forget – the auction runs for seven days. Consult the calendar and work with your Auction Specialist to make sure you’ll be available and free to answer last-minute questions and watch your auction close – It’s a lot of fun, and you don’t want to be stuck in traffic or getting a root canal on the last hour of your auction!
OK, let’s get to the bread and butter of what makes BaT such a unique and addictive venue: The comments section. For each auction, there’s a place for comments, and there are a few things to keep in mind: The inhabitants of the BaT comments sections are often more knowledgeable than the seller as to the specifics of any given car. Sellers who strut in with derisive responses and a know-it-all attitude can quickly find themselves in the midst of a school of piranhas. This is not the place to be Mark Worman, because no one cares about your intimate knowledge of obscure minutiae. This is an auction site.
Certainly, as with any venue, there’s likely to be the occasional troll – but it’s best to let the other commenters police the section. As a seller, your job is to remain polite, modest and honest. Snarky replies, deceptive statements, and rudeness can torpedo an auction with a quickness. You never know who’s on the other end of the last comment, so save your sarcasm and witty comebacks for Facebook.
Once your auction is loaded and running, it’s important to monitor the comments, so that you can respond to questions in a timely manner. During this time, it’s a good idea to share the link to your auction on social media, especially on pages relevant to your particular vehicle. I got very fortunate with mine, as it was picked up right away by Yahoo and Car & Driver. Coupled with several strategic shares on Datsun sites, it went viral pretty quickly.
If you’ve done your best, you’ll see some bids roll in. Resist the urge to over-promote, and don’t worry about the slow pace of bidding – it’s totally normal for most auctions. For this one, my reserve was obliterated on the first day of the auction – but I’ve also seen some go stagnant until the last day. With that being said, BaT operates their auctions with a “soft close.” This prevents last-second “sniping” of an auction. If a bidder enters a bid within two minutes of the lot’s initial closing time, a two-minute extension is added on. The auction will not close until bidding is static for two minutes. On one of my auctions, the bidding nearly doubled in the last two minutes (which stretched out to almost 20 minutes)!
At the end, take a deep breath and remain gracious, regardless of the outcome. You never know when you might want to list another vehicle (or bid on one), so thank the commenters and be sure to congratulate the winning bidder. In my case, the sale price broke the previous record for sale of a ’73 Z, so that’ll be a neat little achievement to enjoy for a while (although I suspect that record won’t last long).
Special thanks for this auction go to Mike Barron, my Auction Specialist, Lucas Lee at FromTheBumper.com (for the amazing photographs) and the team at The Studio in Tempe AZ. Even bigger thanks to my wife, Becky, for all her support through the preparation and selling process, and my right hand homey, Jason McCoy, for imparting tons of wisdom and pointing out each thing I did wrong.
If you’re looking to thin the herd, offload Grandpa’s barn-stored classic, or find your next collectible, you could do worse than browsing through Bring a Trailer. Thanks for reading!
Some of you may remember Randy Lewis from his ‘Coast to Coast Road Trip in a Datsun 510‘ article.
He’s been up to something new. As a Datsun Scarab owner, during the course of his restoration of Scarab #160, he’s become somewhat of a historian on these rare and amazing cars. He’s written a book, which will be available by mid-June 2019. He’s also working on a Scarab documentary video and have started fundraising on Kickstarter.
The speaker in the promo is the daughter of Keith Bergey, the Chief Engineer at Scarab back in the day. Check it out!
I started this series last year, and rather than bore you with the intro, I’ll simply link you to last year’s article as a warmup:
Datsuns at Barrett-Jackson 2018
For now, let’s dig right into the Datsuns that were at Barrett-Jackson 2019, shall we?
This year, there were five Datsuns represented (four S30 and a S130), and we’ll cover the S30s, in order of docket appearance – Click on the title to go to the pics and our assessment of each!
The 8th Annual Route 66 JDM Classic is over and in the books, and by all accounts, it was a great success! Dating back to 2010, the show was formerly known as the Multi-State Datsun Classic… but we all know that restorers and collectors of classic Japanese vehicles are a tight-knit bunch. So, for 2018, the event was opened up to owners of classic Toyota, Mazda, Honda, Subaru, Mitsubishi, and any other Japanese classics.
Since 2010, the event has drawn enthusiasts from 28 states, as well as Mexico and Canada, with tourists and locals in Williams Arizona getting a treat seeing all that classic J-tin parked along historic Route 66.
BRE Enterprises and Aerovault hosted their open house in Henderson, NV in conjunction with the show. With plenty of BBQ and car talk with Peter Brock, John Morton and friends, the attendees from the north started the weekend off right!
Our traditional pre-show Meet and Greet at Kicks on Route 66 was well-attended, and gave everyone an opportunity to get their registration information early, and clarified any questions about the following day’s activities. If you haven’t tried it, their fish tacos are to DIE for!
All week prior, the weather forecast gave some cause for concern – but Mother Nature was good to us, and the rains held off until *just* before raffle prizes and awards were announced. The final tally at the start of the show was 56 registered vehicles, and there were definitely some special vehicles on hand to be seen.
Speaking of awards, here’s this year’s winners:
Best Z – John Satterlee, 1972 240Z
Best Roadster – Randy Cleve, 1966 1600
Best 510 – David Witt, 1972 510
Best Truck – Leroy Kyger, 1963 L320
Best Other Datsun – Pedro and Alice Medina, 1963 Bluebird Wagon
Best Mazda – Chris Schmid, 1976 808 Wagon
Best Toyota – John Garza, 1977 Celica
Best Mitsubishi – Jeff Ball, Datsun 610 with Mitsubishi powertrain
Oldest in Show – Pedro and Alice Medina, 1963 Bluebird Wagon
Iron Butt Award – Aaron Hofferber, all the way from Bend, Oregon
Diamond in the Rough – Alan Smith, 1967 Nissan Patrol
Best in Show – David Witt, 1972 510
Raffle prizes were well-received. Loads of collectibles, including grille badges, diecast cars, rare posters commemorating Datsun and Nissan history, gift certificates from Motorsports Auto, Rock Auto, Z Power Steering, FastBrakes, and Pine Country Restaurant, rare Datsun parts donated by Jamal Mansour, tool kits from the Desirello family… so much cool stuff! This year, we also decided to add in vendor spaces, and given the success, we’ll expand it for next year. Duke City Datsun Club was on hand with t-shirts and Hot Wheels collectibles, and John Williams brought his billet Datsun oil caps and air horns. Another change from previous years: Rather than trophies and dash plaques, there were commemorative event license plates for all attendees, and the awards were a special “Class Winner” license plate that will make great displays for the winners.
We’d like to thank all past and present attendees, but most of all, we’d like to recognize and appreciate the people who helped make this year’s event successful. Karen Desirello, Vicki Mattox, Kelly Tanis and Becky Childs kept things rocking at Mission Control. Russ Glindmeier, Patrick Ramirez, Aaron Hernandez, Rob Brousseau, and several others contributed awesome photographs of the event. And of course, the crew at Dairy Queen kept everyone fed and hydrated during the show. Check out the gallery below!
Most importantly, we’d like to express our gratitude to Chris Tiffany of Raising Special Kids, the official charitable beneficiary of the Route 66 JDM Classic. Chris took time out of his busy schedule to be on-site – answering questions, greeting attendees and guests, and even pitching in with the event setup! If you’re unfamiliar with what RSK does for the citizens of Arizona, check them out – they have a great team and they are a huge blessing to ALL parents of special needs kids.
I’d love to thank everyone for coming out to beautiful Williams AZ to support the show. If you had a great time, please consider sharing this article with your friends who might own a JDM classic car (for next year, this includes anything 1994 and older). We’ve gotten lots of feedback since the weekend, and we’re already taking steps to make it bigger, better, and more fun for everyone – Stay tuned to see what we have in store!
T-shirts from the event are still available! Whip up a quick $20 PayPal to [email protected], remember to tell her what size, and we’ll get it in the mail ASAP – and remember, all proceeds from this event go to our charity partner at RSK!
The Classic Motorsports Mitty is one of those ‘bucket list’ events for anyone who appreciates the history and spectacle of motorsports. Each year, vintage race cars (and some ‘vintage’ drivers) descend upon Road Atlanta for a weekend of remininscence and some more-serious-than-you’d-expect competition… and of course, DatsunForum was there to cover the action for the 41st annual speedfest.
The backdrop for this year’s Mitty: Back in 1970, John Morton put the BRE Datsun 240Z on the podium for the first of two consecutive seasons – a win that cemented Datsun’s growing reputation as a serious contender in motorsports… and put the racing world on notice that the Japanese could build a car that could compete with the best Europe and the US had to offer.
Fast-forward to 2018. How fortunate were we to witness that same gentleman, a mere 48 years later, putting that same car on the podium yet again – at the same track! With Nissan as the featured marque for this year’s Mitty, it was only fitting that Mr. Morton also served as the Grand Marshal. Between races, Mr. Morton could be seen wandering around the paddock, joking with fans, and sharing stories from his racing career while his team prepped the car for battle.
Now, with Morton a spry and lively 76 years of age, one would think this ‘Grand Marshal’ stint was purely ceremonial. Nope. He was there to race.
There’s a little more to the story, though. During qualifying, old #46 suffered an engine failure. What happened next? Well, word has it that some of the old engines from back in the 70’s were still nearby. The next time we walked though the pits, the BRE team had the dead motor out and was hastily transferring parts onto one of the old spare motors.
These guys didn’t show up to lose. And the slate of cars that remained behind him while he wrung every last bit of performance out of the red/white/blue #46 car would tell you the same thing.
At the end of the 3A race, Lawrence Cooper in the yellow #17 1971 240Z took the checkered flag. Closing fast behind him was Greg Ira in Linwood Staub’s yellow #85 1972 240Z (yes, second place in a borrowed car!) Grand Marshal John Morton finished third in Randy Jaffe’s 1970 BRE replica #46… Not too shabby, considering 3A was a field of fifty-one cars!
Here’s a look at the field of cars at the beginning of the race – So much amazing Datsun history!
2018 Mitty Group 3A race
For those who like to know who’s driving what, here’s the entire 2018 Mitty Feature Race roster!
Road Atlanta is, of course, a world-class racing mega-facility, and we sampled several vantage points during the weekend. There’s simply nothing like kicking back in a lawn chair with a cold beverage with thousands of other vintage racing fans, watching classic race cars battle it out on a breezy Georgia day.
On the infield, clubs and groups from all over the US parked together, camped, and spectated. You want variety? The infield was the place to be – wandering through was a car-lover’s paradise, with a little of everything! From the mundane to exotic, common to uber-rare, you could see it all.
But the privately-owned cars in the infield weren’t the only attraction. With over 350 vintage racing machines on-site, the pits and paddocks were wide-open and accessible to all. Wandering through, we were greeted by drivers and crew members throughout the weekend. Questions led to stories, stories led to shared interests, and shared interests led to new friendships.
Saturday evening, after the racing was finished, everyone convened under the Classic Motorsports tent for a special viewing of “Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman,” Carolla’s documentary about the actor’s racing experiences… and as if that weren’t cool enough, free popcorn and beer made it an experience for the ages.
The Fan Zone was packed with vendors such as Hagerty, BFGoodrich, Bring-A-Trailer, Koni, Lucas Oil, BBS, Covercraft, G-Force, Flyin’ Miata and many others. BBQ food trucks with true Southern fare were on-site to add to the atmosphere, and perfect weather made this trip one that we won’t soon forget.
Since you’ve made it this far, what better reward than a TON of pictures from the event? 2018 Mitty Photo Gallery
We hope you enjoy them, and please feel free to share with friends. We’ll see you at the next event!