1968 Dat­sun Fair­lady

Classic Cars (UK) - - Month In Cars -

It’s the first time this dis­tinc­tive Dat­sun has seen ac­tion on the historic rac­ing scene.

‘Once every eight or ten years there were ru­mours of Rock Vest’s SCCA Runoff-win­ning Dat­sun Fair­lady Road­ster still be­ing out there,’ said owner Michael An­der­son. Prior to his own rac­ing ca­reer, Vest was chief engi­neer for SCCA Na­tional Cham­pion Jim ‘Fitzy’ Fitzger­ald, and turned the diminu­tive road­ster into a Porsche-beater. H‘ien a20d 17 la ifn te rei hi andb­houeghr tea no p th lee rad a st seun Road­ster with a lit­tle race his­tory my friend Ron ar­ranged for me to see the car, he told me the price, and we hopped on a plane to go and look at it. I thought I was go­ing to ne­go­ti­ate a deal but when I ar­rived, Rock Vest in­ter­viewed me for 45 min­utes about me and my plans for the car be­fore I was even al­lowed to see it.

‘Once he de­cided I was a good enough po­ten­tial owner for his car, he took me into the cli­mate­con­trolled garage he had built for it and there it was, sit­ting up on jack stands, cov­ered in a fine layer of dust, just as it was when he parked it in 1994. It be­came very clear the price wasn’t much of a con­cern to him, he just wanted to find the right guy to look af­ter his car.

‘We got it run­ning first at Wil­low Springs, just with a stock mo­tor, to see what we had. Then we stripped the car and checked ev­ery­thing. Af­ter the re­build we were do­ing a shake­down run here at La­guna Seca three months ago, and broke an axle and rolled the car pretty badly.

‘We spent the last three months rush­ing to have it ready for this event. The rear glass­fi­bre whee­larches were a par­tic­u­lar chal­lenge. We were very lucky, though, and found the orig­i­nal moulds for them in the at­tic of a Volvo deal­er­ship. Now we own the moulds.’

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