Choose a Cherry

Generally, road tests and write ups on 1970s Datsuns are quite complimentary about their subjects, but not always. Car Mechanics magazine seemed less than impressed with the F10 model, Datsun 100A FII estate, when they tried it out in this short test from December 1977. To be fair, a lot of what they say is quite true. F10 estates have very little sound damping and thus are horribly noisy. The seats really are truly dreadful and the controls are indeed a bit of a mess and yet… I’ve owned two estates in the past and to this day rate them as one of the most fun Datsuns I’ve driven. The go-kart handling of the estate, thanks to its rudimentary leaf spring rear axle, makes it awesome fun, especially when equipped with a little more go than the stock A10 engine can provide (I highly recommend an A14 conversion!) It’s also a useful load carrier which was unerringly reliable. Even with all of its many failings, I wish I still owned an F10 estate.

The Lost Ones

The first wave of Datsuns arrived in the UK during 1968, with the entire model line up consisting of just four models, the 510 Bluebird, B10 Sunny and 130 Cedric… with the C30 Laurel arriving shortly after. These models all sold in tiny numbers, so you would naturally expect these early Datsuns to be the ones to have disappeared entirely. Yet this is not so. Though extremely rare, I know of at least one example of each of these. The same applies to the next generation of each model, even though the range expanded to include a variety of body styles such as coupes and estates. Later models have sometimes not fared so well…

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First… a few small jobs…

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As I posted yesterday, a very nice Nissan Cherry Europe GTi has joined the fleet, which saves me a huge amount of work restoring the crusty example ! already had. Although the car is in pristine condition, it still needs a few minor things sorting on it. For a start, it was lacking its Nissan badging, apart from the ‘GTI’ emblem on the tailgate. This car didn’t have any badges when I first saw it several years ago and, as it was originally sold via an independent Alfa Romeo specialist when it was new, it may never have had any. Also, having been re-badged as an Arna Ti at some point, it was lacking the distinctive green stripe on the grille which was what I tackled first…

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What to do…?

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Bit by bit I have been thinning out my fleet of projects-in-waiting and I’ve now got down to the last few, and this is where I have had to make some hard choices. One of these tough decisions was what do I do with my Cherry Europe GTi? It’s a total wreck but it’s just so rare! It took me quite a while to find this car and I have long wanted a Cherry Europe but I need to be realistic. It’s not only going to be a huge amount of work, it’s also going to cost quite a lot of money. By my calculations it would need at least £4000 putting into it to make it nice again and even then there are a couple of parts missing that might be almost impossible to find. But then if I parted with it, I would never find another!

Initially I decided that maybe it was wiser to simply sell it and resign myself to the fact I’d never own a Cherry Europe. I listed it on eBay but although it attracted a number of bids, the top two bidders were both deadbeats who didn’t follow it up. Then a couple of other buyers backed out. Fate seemed to be telling me I should keep it and restore it.

But then I considered that maybe there was another way…

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