The Lockdown series continues with me and my 2 driving buddies, Alfred & David, also sharing our experiences, comments and reflections of the different cars we have owned.
David’s fifth car was a step back in time, his first convertible and hobby car that he honed in his mechanical skills and ability to read car manuals. Not every story of car ownership ends well.
If this reminds you of a special car you have owned please share your experience or just name it or just “like” ours.
David (5th) car:
1966 Datsun 1600 sports roadster. Red of course.
71kW 141Nm 4 speed manual
0-60mph in 13.3 seconds
A bit of a detour as this was my first (and so far) only hobby car rather than a daily driver. It was also my first convertible. When I bought this car,it would be fair to say it was a bit of a wreck. Most of it was in pieces in boxes including the engine. But with a bit of trial and error, I followed the service manual and my Father was there to give me advice. Eventually I managed to get it all back together and running well.
There is no better way to learn about how the mechanics of how a car works then to have to put one back together. In the end I never quite got it registered but on warm, balmy evenings Sue and I, would cheekily drive it around the back streets of Eltham and enjoy the wind in our hair and the raspy exhaust note in our ears. I would have loved to have taken up to the hills in Healesville. Alas it was not meant to be.
The car was just about road worthy when Sue and I got married and went overseas for 6 months. I left the Datsun 1600 Roadster with a mate who had a big storage shed on his property in St Andrews. Unfortunately, he decided he needed the room in his shed and left the car out in the elements in his paddock over the winter. When I got back the clutch was seized and the interior ruined. I didn’t have the heart to start again and ended up giving it to the teenage boys next door.
Looks great and would have been very special. How do you think it would have handled Lake Mountain in steering, chassis and balance? What would it be worth now do you think? Styling wise I vote; it has stood the test of time. Its lines are true and pure with proportions just right.
Steering was a bit vague, the live axle back end did bounce around a bit. The engine felt strong and the gearbox was good. I reckon it would have been fun in the mountains.
As for value now. As a wreck probably a few thousand. In good original condition who knows around $45000.
What a stylish and great looking convertible. Datsun sure had some pedigree in their styling department in those days. Remember Richard, how awesome our driving adventure was driving our Uncles Datsun 180B SSS coupe 4 speed manual, British racing green with the cream vinyl all the way to Mt. Hotham on our L plates.
I can still remember the sound of that engine revving so easily to the 6000rpm mark and the easy long throw of the gearbox. It really felt like a little rocket sports car even with three,6-foot adults on board. I have to give special driving homage to my uncle and what an influence he was on us and creating the driving passion we have for cars today. He had us changing his 4-speed column shift from the passenger seat of his black 1969 Mercedes 220d from the age of 12.
As I write this at this moment in time, I just realised with a lump in my throat and at the same time with a bliss of happiness and deep emotion in my heart, that he is the reason we have the love of driving so deeply in our DNA.It was one of the special gifts he gave us. To be honest, I am a bit overwhelmed in realising in the later years of my life, what an incredible influence he had to both Richard and myself. It has literally brought tears to my eyes. A deep ‘aha’ moment.
Absolutely Alfred. He took us everywhere in his cars and got us involved in the driving process. Most of the things he let us do as we learned about the art of driving you couldn’t do these days. But it lit the passion in us about all thing’s cars. Though I believe the passion and interest it was always there. It just needed an avenue to escape. I do recall the now the brilliantly free revving nature of that Datsun 1600cc engine. A far cry from the chocking, retarded anti- pollution clogged engine that was in the subsequent Datsun 200B. That car was a poor shadow of itself. I realise we actually learned how to drive a manual in the180B SSS. Probably started when we were 14-15yo.