The Datsun is Back


Its been some time since April of 2019 when we last had anything to really report on but since then, we have made some slow but steady progress. Last April saw the return of my little 1200 GX from the paint shop and little by little we chipped away at getting it ready. A lot has changed since the early days when my ‘Boet‘ could build a car over a few weeks and it would be ready to turn the key. Unfortunately, age catches up and along with age comes setbacks and setbacks cause delays.

Well, we did manage to get it roughly all done by beginning December of 2019 just in time for the Car Show held on 8 December, but as far as race-ready was concerned, it still needed a bit more work. This was a rolling chassis that I bought up in Pretoria which was to be used for rallying by the previous owner. That project came to an abrupt halt and I was at the right place at the right time, made an offer and before I knew it, I was the proud owner of my 3rd Datsun 1200. I had it transported down from Pretoria and after some time, work eventually commenced on the bodywork. As there was no real rush in finishing it in a hurry as well as still trying to make ends meet at home, we eventually settled that we would only commence racing in 2020.

The difference this time around though was that we made an early decision that this would not be a class C or even another class B runner as was my last 1200 GX and instead we chose to build it as competitively as possible for the lower class E or even a class F car and rather save the unnecessary expenses and plow that into my yet to be completed TOMEI Sunny. All said and done, I have to once again tip my hat to my ‘Boet‘ who turned out a superb little car.

I took it out for its initial shakedown on Friday morning just before the Passion for Speed weekend and all said and done, was most pleasantly surprised at it handling given that it’s 95% a stock standard suspension all around. The engine is only a mild 1400 and not intended to rev above 7000RPM in order to ensure that we don’t spend a living fortune to keep having to replace broken rings and bearings. The only concern was the gearbox which was grating on change down to 3rd and back up into fourth. This is a budget car after all remember. With very little to change I was satisfied to park her and qualify on Saturday morning as is.

Saturday morning, 8 February and it was a perfect day for racing and in qualifying we turned our best lap at a 1:38.0 which I was happy with as I still had to nurse a gearbox for the rest of the day. Race 1 was off at 12h15 and saw my times top at a 1:38,5 but was getting slower each lap. I managed to finish the race but unfortunately, my ‘Boet’ had already called it a day around 11 AM already due to medical discomfort and headed back home.

I stuck around for the rest of the day as my next race was only off at 16h15 or so and with 30 minutes to go before the race I fueled the car, check tyre pressures and fired up the GX which for some odd reason had a misfire and refused to rev up. I tried a second time and it revved up but not as crisp as I was previously used to with my old cars. I got suited up and attempted to go down to pre-race paddock but again it simply would not rev up. I called it a day without my ‘Boet’ and headed home. (Sunday morning we went back down to the track and within 30 seconds my ‘Boet’ found a wire that was shorting out on the alternator and also found that the distributor had come loose and had retarded the timing during the first race which resulted in the slowing. Teething troubles that we could have done without but that’s part of the first time out.)

We towed the car home on the Tuesday morning and the gearbox was later removed and sent in for repairs which turned out to be a rather damaged syncro coupled with a rather very worn main shaft bearing. We now have enough time to put it all together again and start preparing for the next upcoming event of 7 March 2020 where will try and further improve upon our ‘tortoise time’.

Thanks ‘Boet

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