1972 Dat­sun 1200

Name: Craig Holland Lo­ca­tion: Auck­land Age: 40 Oc­cu­pa­tion: Me­chanic

NZ Performance Car - - Daily Driven - PHO­TOS: ADAM CROY

NZ Per­for­mance Car: Hi, Craig. How did you come to own this beaut of a 1200? Craig: Hi, NZ Per­for­mance Car. It orig­i­nally popped up on Trade Me, so I chucked a bid on it but missed out in the end. Not long af­ter that, I saw it cruis­ing down the road and fol­lowed it back to Tony Marsh’s shop — Marsh Jr had beaten me to it. He even­tu­ally de­cided to sell it, and I had al­ready made it very clear that I wanted it be­fore­hand. I ended up pay­ing what I had bid the first time around. Nearly the one that got away. What kind of con­di­tion was it in, and where did you get in­spi­ra­tion for its cur­rent look? She was in a state, and I ended up do­ing a whole heap of tidy­ing up to get her like this. I’ve al­ways loved the Shell Sport era of rac­ing, so, when my wed­ding came up, I knew what I wanted to do. The de­cals are sub­tle on pur­pose, but I did it mostly be­cause, with the guards on, it needed the stripes to com­plete the look. Def­i­nitely suits the pe­riod of the Datto. What’s it like driv­ing a left-hook car on our roads? Left-hook is all good, but it can make it a bitch to pass cars on the open road be­cause you can’t see what’s com­ing — it also means you have to re­ally trust who­ever is rid­ing shot­gun to call the pass, es­pe­cially with how long it takes with all [of the] 73hp (54kW) the A12 makes.

I haven’t been able to work out where she came from, though. At first, I thought she and an­other one in In­ver­cargill were im­ported from Por­tu­gal in ’74, but a guy on one of the Dat­sun fo­rums showed me an en­gine-bay paste that the Por­tuguese ones should have, and mine doesn’t, so maybe she’s American? I’m not re­ally sure.

Makes for a good talk­ing point, though! Is this her fi­nal form, or is there more to come?

More to come; just a much stronger and pret­tier ver­sion of the same. It’ll need a big re­build, with a few brake and driv­e­line up­grades. I mounted a blow-through su­per­charger on the A12, but never wanted to com­pletely hook it up un­til I low­ered com­pres­sion in the bot­tom end to en­sure it was strong enough, but, now that I’ve got my hands on an A15 cross mem­ber, I’ll track one down and move up to the ‘big block’ 1500 at the same time. I’ll be buried in this car one way or an­other.

We look for­ward to seeing that combo go in. Thanks for shar­ing her with us, Craig!

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