Jonathon & Brook­lyn Brough 1976 DAT­SUN 260C

RARE AND ORIG­I­NAL AND SAVED FROM THE GRAVE

Unique Cars - - READERS’ RIDES - WORDS MARK HIG­GINS  PHO­TOS MARK HIG­GINS/OWN­ERS

As the say­ing goes, One man’s trash is an­other man’s trea­sure and this cer­tainly ap­plies to the gen­uine, rare and orig­i­nal 1976 Dat­sun 260C that’s ad­ver­tised on the cover of this edi­tion. Owned by Jonathon and Brook­lyn Brough of Ormeau in south­east Queens­land, the Datto, named Glo­ria af­ter Brook­lyn’s mum, was ac­quired when the cou­ple had a scrap me­tal busi­ness and re­ceived a call to col­lect it, as it was no longer wanted.

Jonathon said, “I went and picked it up and brought it back to the yard and re­ally had no idea what it was other than a Dat­sun. But it was Brook­lyn who saved it from the grave.”

“As soon as I saw it I fell in love with it,” said Brook­lyn and I im­me­di­ately told Jonathon, “you are not squash­ing that car.”

It had a dam­aged front end and Jonathon threw a tarp over it and left it there for a long time. Then he got in­spired and de­cided to get it go­ing again, a process that would even­tu­ally take him seven years to com­plete. A search for an­other 260C took three years and it was a sedan, not a coupe, but us­ing parts from both he was able to re­build the coupe.

“The ma­jor is­sue was the sedan and coupe are iden­ti­cal from the fire­wall for­ward, be­hind that they are two dif­fer­ent cars, even the wind­screen height is an inch less on the coupe,” said Jonathon, “but we were able to get enough bits off the sedan to give us a good head start with the restora­tion.”

Jonathon said that parts were al­most im­pos­si­ble to find and he had to fab­ri­cate many him­self. He is es­pe­cially proud of the dash panel he ba­si­cally recre­ated and the re­pair work he did on the ana­logue clock in the dash.

Find­ing the paint colour to match the fad­ing and slightly bub­bled duco proved a chal­lenge with a com­put­erised match­ing pro­gram fail­ing to pin­point it. How­ever an

“‘AS SOON AS I SAW IT I FELL IN LOVE WITH IT,’ SAID BROOK­LYN AND I IM­ME­DI­ATELY TOLD JONATHON, ‘YOU ARE NOT SQUASH­ING THAT CAR.’”

old-school Gold Coast panel shop came to the res­cue with their spray pain­ter match­ing the colour per­fectly, by eye.

At one stage Jonathon con­sid­ered mod­i­fy­ing the en­gine but in­stead left it in its orig­i­nal state and it runs per­fectly.

On com­ple­tion Jonathon pre­sented it to Brook­lyn as an an­niver­sary present. The per­fect gift con­sid­er­ing she saved it.

“I love driv­ing it and it feels very solid on the road, says Brook­lyn, “Although it’s not es­pe­cially fast I can still eas­ily do 100km/h on the free­way.”

Through­out the ap­prox­i­mately 2000 kilo­me­tres it has trav­elled since be­ing saved, both Jonathon and Brook­lyn say it puts a smile on their faces and oth­ers too, with many driv­ing past giv­ing them the thumbs up or trav­el­ling along­side to grab a photo of the 260C Datto coupe. Brook­lyn re­mem­bers go­ing to a ser­vice sta­tion one day and the lady be­hind the counter rushed out to take a photo, as her el­derly fa­ther owned one back in the 70s.

“I es­pe­cially like driv­ing it with all four win­dows down as the pil­lar­less coupe looks bril­liant,” says Brook­lyn, who drives to the Gold Coast ev­ery now and then, usu­ally with a few friends on board, en route to a restau­rant or high tea.

“Our first trip was down to Tweed Heads for lunch,” says Jonathon,

“It was a fin­gers crossed drive af­ter all the work we had done, but it ran per­fectly and has done so ever since.”

Back in 1976 the Dat­sun was quite ex­pen­sive, but fully loaded with all the luxo gear in­clud­ing power win­dows, power mir­rors, power steer­ing, power boot lid open­ing, power fuel filler open­ing and in­te­grated air-con­di­tion­ing.

While it cur­rently rides on a set of per­for­mance mags and white wall tyres, the stan­dard wheels and hub­caps have been kept.

Af­ter seven years of restora­tion and a cou­ple of thou­sand kilo­me­tres un­der its wheels it is time for a new cus­to­dian, as Jonathon says. “We have loved ev­ery minute of our own­er­ship and happy that Brook­lyn de­cided to save it. I am very proud of how it has turned out.”

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