BEHIND THE GARAGE DOOR

We take a peek at a hand­ful of your on­go­ing clas­sic car restora­tion projects

New Zealand Classic Car - - CONTENTS -

Garry In­der has a pas­sion for Dat­sun/nis­san cars, born, he ad­mits, from work­ing closely with his fa­ther, Fred In­der, who es­tab­lished a car deal­er­ship in Eastern South­land in 1962. Dat­suns proved to be pop­u­lar sell­ers in the district for the busi­ness, with the tough lit­tle ve­hi­cles es­tab­lish­ing a rep­u­ta­tion for re­li­a­bil­ity and per­for­mance.

A re­cent ar­rival in Garry’s col­lec­tion, and well on the way to be­ing fin­ished, is an im­pres­sively straight and tidy 510 se­ries ex­am­ple: a 1970 two-door Blue­bird SSS fit­ted with a 1600cc mo­tor.

“The car is very orig­i­nal, with just the paint­work need­ing a touch-up, and there is no rust in it at all. Pretty good for a 1970s Ja­panese car,” Garry said.

Pur­chased a year ago from its Auck­land owner, the com­pact Dat­sun has been un­der­go­ing a lengthy and com­pre­hen­sive tidyup to bring it back to orig­i­nal con­di­tion.

“The num­bers all match and the in­te­rior is un­marked. I was look­ing for a four-door SSS, but when this two-door came up for sale, I de­cided to buy it. It does drive very well on the open road, and I re­ally en­joy it,” he said.

Ev­i­dence of its al­most as-new con­di­tion is the healthy rat­tle­free thump when clos­ing each door. The pre­dom­i­nantly black in­te­rior is a real eye-opener, in very tidy con­di­tion. It comes with the cor­rect SSS in­stru­ments and dash­board, along with the orig­i­nal Dat­sun rub­ber floor mats and Dat­sun mo­tifs in the mid­dle of the seat up­rights.

The un­der-bon­net area is no less im­pres­sive, and clean! Its con­di­tion is tes­ta­ment to a very-well-pre­served slice of 1970s Ja­panese mo­tor­ing his­tory. Dat­sun took over Prince Mo­tors in 1966. It in­her­ited some tal­ented engi­neers and de­signs with its ru­moured Mercedes-benz de­sign in­put — hence the very Mercedes look to the top of the L16 mo­tor in this ex­am­ple. Car­bu­ra­tion var­ied too, de­pend­ing on mod­els and mar­kets, and this ex­am­ple has two very-we­ber-look­ing Hi­tachi twin-choke side-draughts tak­ing care of the in­duc­tion.

Lit­tle touches, such as the sporty wing mir­rors and rain guards over the win­dows, add to the over­all de­tail. It has very clean lines for what, in its day, was a very pop­u­lar seller in New Zealand, with the 510 be­ing as­sem­bled in New Zealand in var­i­ous body forms.

New tyres are on the shop­ping list, as well as new chrome trim for the rear boot panel, which was avail­able from Aus­tralia. A new front bumper bar is also planned to just about com­plete the restora­tion to orig­i­nal spec­i­fi­ca­tion.

“I love Dat­suns, and I al­ways try to get them to as orig­i­nal con­di­tion as pos­si­ble. This one is nearly there, and there can’t be many 1970s cars around as rust-free and orig­i­nal as this one. I’m look­ing for­ward to driv­ing it more,” Garry said.

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