I love this blurry little photo, which was included as part of a “World of Datsun” spread in a 1976 brochure called “A Guide to Nissan Motor Co. Ltd”. This couple from Singapore are clearly loving life, most probably because they have a brand new scarlet Violet SSS Hardtop, slammed on polished slot mags. Awesome.
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…
I won’t go into too much detail here regarding the history of Nissan Motorsport’s Datsun 160J SSS Turbo race cars… I’ll save that for a future post… but for now here’s a brief outline of the story. Nissan had been dabbling a little with turbo technology from the start of the 1970’s, and in 1974 it unveiled its wild, 300 horsepower LZ20B, Turbo powered Violet SSS (KP710 model). Unfortunately, the timing was pretty poor, as the fuel crisis had hit hard in Japan and it wasn’t really viable for Nissan to take its fire breathing, gas guzzling Violets racing in there. So the racers were shipped off to Malaysia, where they were entered into the Selangor Grand Prix, via Datsun importer Tan Chong and Sons. In the export markets the Nissan Violet was known as the Datsun 160J, so the cars were title and liveried accordingly…Continue reading Datsun 160J SSS Turbo
There’s just a smidge over 24 hours left to go on this auction, but if you’re keen to own this beauty you’ll need deep pockets, as this ultra rare Datsun 200L Hardtop (C130 model) has topped £6000 already! This 200L Hardtop (or Laurel to give it its proper domestic name) is one of only two left in the UK. The other belongs to a friend of mine, and unless someone offered him some crazy amount of money for it, I doubt it’ll ever be for sale… so this is probably the only chance to get hold of one of these stylish coupes. I’ve saved some images from the listing so that they will still available to view after the listing is gone…Continue reading Get Yourself a Laurel Hardtop
The first generation Laurel hardtop, the C30 model, is one of my favourite Nissans of all time. They are a really elegant and understated car that, with their Prince Motor Company origins, are also technically advanced for their era. Although C30 Laurel saloons were sold in a number of export markets, the Japanese kept the lovely coupe for themselves, so they are a very rare sight outside of Japan. This one is currently for sale in Japan at $14,010 (that’s around 11,225€). Pricey but if I had that kind of cash burning a hole in my pocket, I’d be all over it. Click through to check out all the pictures of it from the listing….Continue reading C30 Laurel Coupe