Tim’s Brad­ford Drop­head Gor­geous

T T his rare 1935 SS1 drop­head coupé has re­cently been re­stored by Up­per Clas­sics NZ for an over­seas client. A new ash frame was made along with the ma­jor­ity of outer body pan­els. Many parts had to be cast and ma­chined or made from scratch to re­place miss

New Zealand Classic Car - - BEHIND THE GARADE DOOR - Clas­sic 240Z style

his ve­hi­cle was sold new to its first owner on Septem­ber 14, 1950, and he re­tained the Brad­ford un­til Jan­uary 1990, when he sold it to an­other Patea lo­cal with 51,021 miles (82,110km) on the clock. It was sub­se­quently pur­chased by Tim Chad­wick — a car en­thu­si­ast and reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to Nz­clas­sic Car — in Jan­uary 1993, with 52,281 miles on the odo. Tim then used the Brad­ford un­til March 2006 when it failed its WOF for a num­ber of small me­chan­i­cal de­fects — in­clud­ing fail­ing door hinges — most caused by rot in the car’s wooden A-pil­lars. Af­ter Tim’s tragic death in a car ac­ci­dent, the Brady passed to Tim’s dad Robin, and the cur­rent owner, John Wolf, pur­chased it from him in 2010.

The Brad­ford re­mains in very orig­i­nal con­di­tion and John in­tends to keep it that way. Un­for­tu­nately, the rot in the A-­pil­lars has spread to the cross mem­bers above and below the wind­screen, the wooden floor, the B-pil­lars, and the frame­work at the rear of the cab. At the time of writ­ing all the rot­ten wooden frame­work has been care­fully re­placed to the orig­i­nal de­sign and pat­tern. The orig­i­nal pan­els will go back on soon, and John also has the orig­i­nal wooden deck that was built by Spragg and Sons Ltd, Haw­era — this also needs a lot of work.

We look for­ward to see­ing the Brad­ford be­ing com­pleted — es­pe­cially with its strong con­nec­tion to the mag­a­zine and the late Tim Chad­wick.

Ken Brough agrees, the longer you keep a car the less likely you are to sell it — and mo­ments af­ter he told me that he would have to cut off his right arm rather than sell his Dat­sun 240Z, the Te Awa­mutu en­thu­si­ast re­vealed a pro­file of the 240Z tat­tooed on his right arm.

You need to be a ra­bid fol­lower of a par­tic­u­lar car to have its out­line em­bla­zoned on your body, but Ken’s that sort of bloke. In-be­tween de­sign­ing help­ful ma­chines for farm­ers, and rac­ing speed­way, Brough just loves spend­ing time with his Dat­sun — a car he’s now owned for 18 years. And it is a rather spe­cial 240Z, as the mes­sage in­scribed on the num­ber plate sur­round in­di­cates. The car still car­ries the orig­i­nal sil­ver on black plates with the reg­is­tra­tion FV4253, match­ing the car that graced the cover of Mo­tor­man mag­a­zine in Novem­ber 1971.

It is rare to see a ve­hi­cle you drove 44 years ago, but Ken was more than happy to drive to Auck­land re­cently to re­unite me with the mem­o­rable ma­chine. What’s more, this was the first 240Z to ar­rive in New Zealand. Reg­is­tered on Au­gust 11, 1971, by the lo­cal Nis­san Dat­sun dis­trib­u­tor, it was used for pro­mo­tional pur­poses and driven by the com­pany’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Keith Broad­bent. Two ex­am­ples of the bril­liant Dat­sun ac­tu­ally landed here in the ini­tial ship­ment and Ken, be­ing Ken, was keen to track down the other car. He spot­ted FT2185 for sale three years ago with an ask­ing price around $20,000. It went to a Christchurch dealer with 93,000 gen­uine miles on the clock (149,669km), and four months later was on-sold to Malaysia for $30,000.

Some­thing you love

One of the joys of own­ing clas­sic cars is that they usu­ally do not de­pre­ci­ate. When Brough bought FV4253 from a Welling­ton owner in 1997 it cost him $7000, and to­day he reck­ons its value is well north of $30,000. Not that he is likely to ever part with the car — you just don’t sell some­thing you love.

Ken had long been keen on Dat­suns,

Wow fac­tor

Late in 1967, the four-door Dat­sun 1600 sedan went into lo­cal as­sem­bly in New Zealand and it was, with­out doubt, the best Ja­panese car you could buy at the time, and a clear in­di­ca­tion Nis­san meant busi­ness. But of course, the 1600 could not match the wow fac­tor of the soon-tobe-re­leased 240Z.

Un­veiled at the Tokyo Mo­tor Show in 1969, the car went on sale in the United States in mid-1970, and more than a year later there was still a six-month wait­ing list. Nis­san was ship­ping 2500 240Zs to the States each month, while the maker put ac­tual de­mand at around 4000 cars.

A low frontal area and clean, well­pro­por­tioned lines were the key to this Dat­sun. Per­haps the car looks slightly nose-heavy with the long front-hinged bon­net and short tail, but weight dis­tri­bu­tion is bet­ter than it ap­pears since the en­gine is mounted well back. Just over half the dry weight rests over the front wheels.

Boast­ing good pro­por­tions be­tween the body and green­house, plus over­all styling that is al­most im­pos­si­ble to dis­like, the 240Z was al­ways des­tined to be a win­ner. Of course the car was built down to a price, ev­i­denced by the stan­dard fit­ment of steel wheels with hub­caps,

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