I’m not entirely sure how this film has not come to my attention before, as it came out five years ago. I finally watched it on Amazon a few days ago and, not only is it a solid documentary film which paints a good picture of the man himself and his passion for racing, it’s probably an essential watch for all Datsun freaks. Newman started out racing a Datsun 510 before moving to a 610, the an S10 Silvia (200SX) and finally numerous Z models from the S30 to the Z31. His passion for racing ruled his life and he continued to race into his old age, even taking pole position in his last race at the age of 82!
Needless to say, this film is packed with fantastic Datsun racing footage from end to end and features some of the big movers in the Datsun world back then, such as racing school owner, Bob Bondurant and BREs Trans-Am winning 510 driver ,John Morton. You can pay to watch the full film on YouTube, or if you have Amazon Prime you can see it there for free. Check out the film trailer below…

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After a prolonged absence, it’s quite fitting that Radat.com is back online in time to celebrate its twentieth birthday. Yes, 20 years today! The 2nd of May 2000 was when Ratdat.com started, hosted on a server providing only 2Mb of space! The banner above is from the site back in 2001. It’s hard to believe that it was possible to create a website that small back then! There’s now around 1.2Gb of images on here and soon there will be a lot more…

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The modernist style building you see above started life in 1934, as Nissan’s first head office, in front of its original factory, in Kanagawa-ku, Yokohama. Remarkably, given the huge post war expansion of the company, it continued to serve this function until 1968, when the head office was re-located to a new, larger office block in Ginza,¬†Tokyo. The old building remained in use as a guest hall for the Yokohama plant, which sits behind it, until 2003 when it started a new life. Having been designated as a heritage building by Yokohama city and also by the Japanese Government as an important heritage industrial site, the building has remained well preserved, complete with most of its original 1930s features, both inside and out. Perfect then, for the location of Nissan’s ode to eighty five years of first class engine design…

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It’s been a nice sunny day so I decided to haul the Silvia out of the shed and make a short walk-around video. I finally got the Silvia MOT’d and UK registered just before winter and given the various unpainted areas of the body, I decided that it would be foolish to use it on the nasty, salty winter roads. So it’s been laid up the the garage all winter and of course, now that the good weather has finally returned and the roads are clean and dry, I can’t drive it anywhere because we’re under pandemic lockdown! Gah!

The restoration of the site is ongoing and as well as adding new stuff, I’m revamping some old posts, with a little text editing (largely to fix all the horrible grammar and spelling!) as well as updating many of the images. A lot of the old articles were written in the days when people were still using screen resolutions as low as 800×600 (remember that!?) so many of the images are rather small and low quality.

Among those getting an overhaul is the history piece I did 12 years ago about Nissan’s deal with Austin of England during the 1950s. There’s now a load of new images and all are larger than before so take a look!

Aside from a handful of re-named UK market versions of the long lived Daihatsu Mira, I’ve never owned, what I’d consider to be, a proper kei car. While I enjoyed each tiny Daihatsu in turn, first an L200 Mira, then an L500 Cuore and now my L80 Domino, none have really been a proper kei spec as the European flavours always come equipped with a bigger engine… in the case of the Daihatsu, the ubiquitous 850cc ED-10 three pot. While having a bigger engine naturally has it’s advantages in terms of performance, it also steers the euro models away from the true essence of Kei Jidosha motoring. For these cars a sub 660cc engine is the limit, and back in the 70s that limit was just 360cc. And it’s these class limits in both terms of dimensions as well as engine capacity that give the Kei cars their special character.

So I decided the take the plunge back at the start of the year and get me a true, quirky slice of miniature motoring. After a long wait for the ship to creep halfway around the world, I finally have my very own diminutive motor, fresh from Japan. Not only do I now have a proper piece of Kei car history, but it’s also the model that always been my favourite, the Daihatsu Fellow Max Hardtop! It’s got a pillarless body and a two stoke 356cc two cylinder! I’m in love! Here’s a quick walk around. I’ll post some more details on this little gem soon…

Isn’t this just the cutest little car ever?! I have lusted after one of these miniscule pillarless coupes for a long time, but now finally I own one! Today, I braved the Covid-19 lockdown, to go and fetch my new car from the docks, having just arrived after a world tour aboard the M/V Figaro. It could be argued that travelling to the docks was a non essential journey, but with the shipping company charging ¬£13 a day or more for storage, I’d argue otherwise. Besides, it can’t sit there clogging up the port for months and being right next to the sea, it would probably dissolve!

I bought 1973 Daihatsu Fellow Max Hardtop back at the beginning of January, after seeing it advertised on Goo. A garage in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto-shi was selling it. The price seemed reasonable and from the photos, it looked like it was in decent shape. Mileage, a very reasonable 69,000km. It’s always a risk buying blind from halfway around the world, but first impressions are favourable. Sure, it needs some work, but overall it’s a nice solid little car and is pretty much complete. Plus, being a tiny two stroke twin, it sounds hilarious! Due to that it got christened Bim-Bim…

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A Datsun 120Y four door wouldn’t be the first weapon of choice for most skid enthusiasts. From my experience with my Datsun 510 back in the day, short wheelbase cars like this are pretty tricky to drift, especially at speed, which is why I ended up with an S13 instead. Here’s Aussie Logan Waterhouse skidding in style in his KA24DE powered 120Y… and making it look so easy…

For more, check out Logan Waterhouse Drift on Facebook