Datsun’s Come and Go

There comes a time when one often has to make a difficult decision and put the past behind you. Well, RBR had to make just such a decision most recently. Many of you may well recall a time when my brother came up to ‘Johies‘ and landed up buying a Datsun J-Series. Well, we stripped its interior and before long it was on its way down to Cape Town to be turned into a race car for historic racing. This also came about at a time when my brother had made another difficult decision and that he was to hang up his helmet and call it a day with racing BUT he would still want to race through me i.e. he would build the cars and I would race them.

Well the J-Series turned out to be very standard looking in appearance with hardly any bodywork modifications other than for tyre clearance. He also decided that this was never to be a contender among the ‘big dogs‘ up front with their expensive machinery but with some tweaking and with a push it should make class B in classics. (1:29.99 and faster). The engine was a fraction over 2 liters with the only non-negotiable option that it would be a dry-sump engine. To further save on costs he also decided that it would run on 15″ rims with semi-slick tyres only.

It turned out to be a very neat looking car indeed but from day one it was as stubborn as a mule with ever and on-going mechanical issues. My brother would fix it and lo and behold another completely different one would crop up. Fix that and yet another. So it went on for close to 2 years and eventually that dreaded decision was made. Sell it. I’ve had enough with battling and throwing money at it. I truly felt sorry for my brother who spent endless hours paying careful attention to detail only for some or other unexpected problem to throw a curve ball. Not to mention the costs associated. He advertised the car and very soon thereafter it was sold to a serious Datsun collector from up north. Sadly, it was to leave the Cape once again.

The J-Series being loaded en-route to its new owner up north.

Well, just because the J-Series was now sold did not mean we would now simply sit back and watch life pass by. No, not ever. You see, there is still my ‘replica’ TS Sunny project that must be completed. Yes, it is and has been a very slow and tedious process in the making but this project was a whole lot bigger than I had ever imagined. It has required that many original parts had to be imported from Japan while parts that were simply not obtainable had to be hand made. The original TS Sunny body panels and unique features were not available in South Africa and again these had to be imported from Japan over a period of time. Items that were locally available were also sourced from all over the country and were slowly collected piece by piece. Then, one day after a lengthy debate and numerous discussion with my brother after a few bottles of the finest Cape red wines, we decided to build not 1 but 2 TS Sunny race cars as they were raced (and still are) back in Japan in the JCCA historic racing series. So yes, it has been a long time coming but we are nearly there and can soon begin the final phase of starting to put them all together. Time-wise, we are still looking a fairly long time but both TS Sunny’s should hopefully be done within the next year or so. Who knows, maybe even sooner, God willing.

But wait, that’s not all. You see, while we fully acknowledge that the financial economy, the business sector and the general outlook over the short to medium term is not bright we will in the meantime also be knocking together another, (yes you guessed it) 4-door Datsun 1200 in the meantime while I still source the final bits and bobs for the TS Sunny’s. This Datsun is aimed at running in class D but with the assurance that it will not be put back into class B again, as to be brutally honest, local cheap pirate parts just cannot handle continuous high revs. As such, we will keep this one with the absolute minimal modifications, will sport a stock standard body without any flaring whatsoever and will run on 6″ ‘marie‘ biscuit tyres. It will also be sprayed in the cheapest colour i.e. white. As someone residing up on the West Coast often said, ‘local is lekker‘. This project should be up and running ready to race hopefully by July of 2019 all things going well.

Project Datsun 1200 parked in front of one of my other project in waiting.

Thanks as always ‘Boet‘ for all your continued efforts.

You can also follow these 2 ‘mal‘ brothers and their projects on our blog page at RBR Blog

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