Donington Historic Festival

Unfortunately, I could only make it to one day of this excellent new two day historic motorsport event, but it was still well worth the trip. There really was spectacular variety on show, from pre-war vintage racers, historic F2 and Group C through to the legendary group B rally cars, as well as a ton of rare, exotic and in many cases, extremely expensive cars.

Definitely, the highlight on the track were the historic group C cars. GT40’s, Lolas and Chrevrons making sweet V8 music in a 250km race finished the day perfectly. I might have some pictures of this later as I shot a couple of rolls the old school way, with a Pentax SLR and I’ve yet to get them developed. They might be hopeless though as I’m no photographer! In the meantime check out the mega gallery after the jump!

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Datsun Tuning

Despite the efforts of British tuning companies in the 1970’s, such as Old Woking Service Station, Janspeed and Samuri Conversions, Datsuns never really caught on with British car modifiers. Competition in the small car market was considerable and tuning favorites such as the Ford Escort and Mini ruled the roost. As any Datsun fan will know, the cars are eminently tuneable, and offer the potential to be highly competetive on the race track, as Janspeed in particular knew. Janspeed not only raced Datsuns back in the day, they also offered a wealth of ‘hot’ Datsun parts for the public right through into the 1980’s, many of which came direct from Japan. This article from Hot Car magazine in 1981 takes a look at what was available from Janspeed for the Datsun A series engine…

Violet SSS – Southern Cross Ad

Strangely, the 710 model Datsun 140J/160, or Violet as it’s known in Japan, is not a particularly popular car, nor it seems, has it ever been. Introduced in 1973, it was intended to replace the outgoing 510 in the line-up. The 610 introduced in 1970, which is technically the next model on from the 510, as part of the Bluebird series, was considerably and the 510 remained on sale beside it until 1973. The 710 was similar in size to the 510 and the SSS variants carried the same independent rear suspension. Alas, the two biggest markets for the 510, Australia and the USA, never got the 710 in SSS form, which no doubt is one of the factors in the car’s negligible popularity today. In fact, Australia never officially got any 710s at all, so it’s all the more strange then that one of its greatest rally victories was in the Australian Southern Cross rally in 1977. Nissan certainly made good use of this success in this advertising campaign from 1977 for the Violet SSS hardtop…

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Past Cars – Datsun 160B Turbo

I thought it might be good to write a bit about some of the cars I have owned in the past, which haven’t previously been mentioned on here. Back in 2004, I’d started to stray from the path of old car righteousness and had started spending too much of my time messing with less worthy modern cars. This culminated in me coming over all fast and furious by 2005 when I took up drifting and ran in a couple of championships. I’ll admit I had a huge amount of tyre smoking fun throughout 2005, but back at home all my Datsuns sat forgotten. By the end of 2005, having spent every penny I had on hooning around sideways in a 200SX, I realised I needed to get down to some serious work and get my neglected old cars sorted. What I needed was something easy to ease me back into old car tinkering… an old car that already worked and that was on the road, which I could just drive and enjoy to bring back the passion. And it so happened that my friend Jon came up with just the remedy needed to kick start my old car enthusiasm once more. A 1976 Datsun 160B (610).

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Retro Rally Sunny

Phil Morton’s Datsun 1200 (Sunny) coupe is pretty unique in British rallying. Not many people would have chosen such a rare car with which to attack the forest stages, for fear of unobtainable parts, but having previously campaigned a Datsun Sunny (B310), there was a good deal of logic in the choice for Phil. Running the B310 had left him with a nice hoard of performance goodies for the Datsun A series engine. Also, the suspension set-up of the B310, which was pretty much tried and tested, could be re-worked into the B110 fairly easily. The big advantage of the B110 of course,was its minimal kerb weight, which ensures a very healthy power to weight ratio, even with a relatively small displacement engine. The other, not so obvious bonus of running such an unusual car, is the extra publicity it generates. People always love a giant killer and running a small stylish little coupe like this is sure to grab peoples attention, which in turn means the potential for more sponsorship…

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BRE on the web

Brock Racing Enterprises or BRE as they are more commonly know to Datsun fans have now commandeered their own little corner of the internet with the launch of their own website. Peter and Gayle Brock felt it was time to get their fantastic archive of photo’s and history, online for enthusiasts to enjoy for the first time. The BRE name will be well known to Datsun fans from their tremendous success in SCCA races and the 2.5 Trans Am in the States with the Datsun Roadsters, 510 and 240Z. Not only does the site cover this fascinating period but also their adventures in baja racing too. A fascinating read for Datsun fans! Check it out.

Tony Fall 1940-2007

Today brings sad news for many fans of rallying worldwide after the loss of one of rallyings greats, Tony Fall, who died peacefully in his sleep aged 67. Tony came to prominence first as a works driver for BMC where he won several BRC events at the wheel of a Mini and later overall victory in an Austin 1800 on the ERC Donau Rallye of 1967. He went on to have some further success as a driver for Datsun, Peugeot and later, Opel. His greatest success with Datsun was probably placing 4th in the 1973 East African Safari Rally in the Datsun 1800 SSS (the 610 pictured) with co-driver Mike Wood, who was a regular navigator with Tony. The pair also placed 9th in the Monte Carlo Rally of that year in a 240Z.

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Janspeed Datsun 1200

Another interesting Datsun has just re-appeared recently. This Datsun 1200 coupe (KB110 model) is reputedly what remains of the original Janspeed built 1200 race car that won its class in the Dutch Touring Car championship, in both ’74 and ’75 with Han Tjan at the helm. Although the car has been re-shelled at some point, most of the original equipment is still there, including a unique rack and pinion steering conversion! The arch flares have changed and the front airdam has gone but is it the same car?…

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