5000km to Glory …in plastic

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As I mentioned in my original post about the movie ‘5000km to Glory’, there is a little bit of movie merchandising related to the film, even though it was largely forgotten until it’s recent release on DVD and Bluray. I have seen the movie soundtrack album (on vinyl naturally!) for sale on Yahoo! Japan Auctions in the past and other items, such as sets of postcards, but the best thing I have ever come across related to it is this lovely 1/24 scale model kit, made by Eidai. To be honest, when I first found this kit, I didn’t initially realise it was related to the film. Only a little later when I noticed the style of the ‘5000’ logo on the box did it dawn on me what it was! The 510 modeled in the kit is actually that of a 1968 model which makes it a little unusual as most 510 model kits are 1969 onward versions with the larger tail light and restyled grille.

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It’s Here!

Finally, I get to watch 5000km to Glory! I only ordered this from Japan four days ago and it’s here in the UK already… amazing! Hopefully my complete lack of Japanese language skills won’t be a problem viewing this…

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UPDATE! I’ve just finished watching it, and I can honestly say it’s as good as any motor racing film I have seen. No really… it’s genuinely a really great filmI The cinematography is fantastic, the racing scenes are superbly shot and seamlessly blended with footage from the real events. The cast are good and best of all, language isn’t as big an issue as I expected, as there’s actually more French and English spoken in the film than Japanese! I say go get yourself a copy!

Robustesse-Economie-Equipement

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This French Datsun brochure is a slightly unusual one because, apart from it’s diminutive size at just 15cm by 7cm, it also has lovely illustrations of the cars rather than the usual photographs. Interestingly, in ’76 the Datsun E10 Cherry was still available in both 2 and 4 door form alongside the newer F10 Cherry models, although the latter seems to have dropped the “Cherry” name. Another thing I noticed is that the 710 only appears as an 160J SSS hardtop… were there no 710 saloons in France?! Click through to have a look…

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Datsun 1600 SSS

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So, finally my French Datsun 1600 SSS is home and I can finally take a close look to see just how much work I have taken on. The answer is… rather a lot! The rear quarters and boot floor are particularly poor, as are the sills, and the interior is in terrible shape, although remarkably the dash top isn’t split! Fortunately, I have plenty of parts stashed away including lots of new panels, original carpet and seats. A European 510 SSS is a very rare car and so it’s going to be worth every effort to restore it. Thankfully all the important SSS parts are there and serviceable. Literally the only SSS part that needs replacement is the gear knob. Click through to take a look at the car as it currently stands…

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La cinq-cent dix: Part 3

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Time for the next installment of my continental adventure. In part 2 I made it all the way to Polisot and bought a 510 SSS. Now, at 3am in the morning, I had recovered from a day and a half without sleep and hit the Autoroute again. This time headed west towards the Vendée, more specifically an area right on the edge of the Vendée and Deux-Sèvres, a bit south of Pouzauges where an old friend of mine lives. Only about about a 440km drive…

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La cinq-cent dix: Part 2

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…And so continuing from yesterday’s post, I arrived in France! As I needed to be chez M. Martin as soon as possible, I elected to travel via péage (toll road) which adds a bit to the cost but simplifies navigation a little. The penalty for travel this way is that there is not much to see but I did take a few snaps along the way…

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La cinq-cent dix: Part 1

Exactly one week ago, whilst sat in front of my computer enjoying a lovely cup of tea, I thought I’d have a casual browse of the marvelous French classified ad website, Leboncoin. There’s always interesting cars for sale on Leboncoin, even the occasional Datsun, although those are usually limited to models which are often not terribly desirable to me. However this time  an audible ‘mon dieu!‘ was uttered when the first thing I saw was this…

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Now, I have been fiddling around with Datsuns for a pretty long time, and this has to be the first time I have ever seen a European spec Datsun 1600 SSS for sale. The legendary 510 SSS. I can’t imagine that many were sold in Europe at all! For me this model is the Holy Grail of 510’s (even more so than a Coupe), and one which I had never honestly expected to see let, alone have the opportunity to acquire. I had to buy it!…

I have been trying to learn a bit of French for the last year, but I’m a very long way from being able to communicate, as I’m still very much at beginner level. Regardless, this really had to be done, so using what little I had learned, along with some Google translate assistance, I fired off an email asking the seller if he had a Carte Gris (the French registration document), if it was more or less complete and whether he could email me some more pictures. I did make a point of stating that French wasn’t my first language (although I’m sure he could have figured that out!) but avoided trying to communicate in English as feel that’s a bit rude.

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Violet SSS Project – Windscreen Surround

I had been hoping that I wouldn’t have to remove the glass from this car, as the front and rear screens are bonded in. There was only one tiny rust hole just above the screen on the right hand side, but closer examination with a torch revealed there was rust visible under the bonding inside the screen, so unfortunately it had to come out. With the stock original glass, it’s not to much of a trauma to get the screen out, but this car has had the original glass replaced with a laminated screen. These are a lot harder to remove without breaking them, especially as it seems many glass fitters tent to go overboard with the adhesive, making it harder to cut through. I only have one spare screen and I wouldn’t expect to have much joy finding a new one, so I really needed to remove this one without cracking it!

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Violet SSS Project – Rear Valance

This was a pretty simple and straightforward panel replacement. The new valance is Nissan part number 79121-K2430. The original valance wasn’t actually rusty, but it was badly damaged in two places, and there were signs of rust starting in the seam where it’s attached to the boot floor and back panel. The first job was to remove it, which was done by drilling out the spot welds from below, across the horizontal seam, and by using a die grinder on the vertical seams at the ends. The spot welds on the horizontal seam were drilled right through the three layers….

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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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