No Oil Leaks and New Vinyl
Infamously, the late Nigel Roskilly — in his one-time role as controversial classic-car columnist, Gabriel — once pulled his Of Oil Leaks & Old Leather column because the magazine had decided to print a feature on a Japanese car. It was probably all a bit of a put-on, promoted by Nzclassiccar’s founding editor when Gabriel’s copy for that month’s column (always pointedly hand-written copy — no computers for him, and usually late) didn’t arrive in time for publication.
However, if he really did object to that Japanesecar feature, it’s a shame he wasn’t aware that the car in question, a Datsun 120Y SSS, had actually been developed by famed Kiwi racer, Dennis ‘Marbles’ Marwood. Readers with a similar mindset to Gabriel probably wouldn’t rate the 120Y as a classic, even in go-faster SSS form, but as you’ll find out when reading this month’s feature on the local Benson & Hedges race series of the ’60s and ’70s, small Japanese saloons of that period played a significant role in local motor-sport history. Indeed, although the thundering Valiant V8s, Zodiacs and Victors were usually victorious, increasing numbers of Japanese saloons such as the Datsun 1600 and 180B — Marbles again — plus rotary-engined Mazdas gave the big boys a good run for their money. What these Japanese cars lacked in outright performance, they more than made
Nzclassiccar Readers’ Survey
up for in reliability and miserly fuel usage, both important aspects when it comes to endurance racing.
Of course in the years since that 120Y SSS feature, we’ve printed a fair number of features on Japanese cars, we’re always on the lookout for more and, by sheer coincidence, following a recent letter from a reader calling for more classics from the land of the rising sun (see this month’s Readers’ Writes), our schedule had suddenly been filled with oriental classics. While we’ve actually been following the local restoration of a Mazda 110S — a rotary-powered sports car that looks as if it just stepped out of a classic Jetsons cartoon — we’ve also ‘discovered’ a fully restored Mazda RX-3 coupé which, for once, hasn’t been maltreated by a reader of our sister magazine, Nzperformancecar. As well, Donn Anderson recently got the chance to recreate the November 1971 cover of Motorman magazine when he was reunited with the Datsun 240Z that he road tested in that issue. Talk about a small world!
We’ve got a few more ’60s and ’70s Japanese classics up our sleeve, so this year’s looking like a good one for the growing number of enthusiasts who are getting into these cars — and if, like Gabriel, you don’t reckon such vehicles qualify as being classics and think they shouldn’t be in the magazine, let us know. How do you do that? Well, read on … It’s been quite some time since our last readers’ survey, but this month we’re giving all our readers a chance to make a valuable contribution to the future of Nzclassiccar by telling us how we can make the magazine even better. Let us know what your favourite — and not so favourite — features and columns are, and if you’ve got any ideas for future features and columns, we also want to hear from you.
We’re asking all our readers to turn to p36 and take a few minutes to let us know how we can make Nzclassiccar even better. And as a reward, all those who complete our survey will go into a draw to win some cool prizes.
Go on — have your say!