So I drove around Japan looking for a Bluebird...

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BrandonS
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Re: So I drove around Japan looking for a Bluebird...

Postby BrandonS » 29 Oct 2016 04:58

So I had my translator call on Monday and the car already had a cash offer on it. That same night the dealer called back and said it was again available and they would take a deposit to hold it until the weekend. I had the translator get the bank information and verify it was refundable. The whole process was basically me trusting people to help. I pulled out a bunch of yen to send to them. Immediately after that I lost my wallet! luckily the money was in my pocket and my wallet was turned back in with nothing missing; one of many reasons I LOVE Japan. The next day I went to a local bank and was unable to send the money because I can't read anything... thankfully a lady that worked there pushed all the buttons on the machine for me. A slot opened up in the top of it and I threw a fist full of money in. Out popped a receipt and a soda's worth of change. Even MORE thankfully, the money went where it was suppose to go.

So I bought plane tickets, hotel, and a rental car and flew up to look at it. So real talk, I'm a grown ass man but I was so excited I had a hard time sleeping the whole week. I struggled through the week and finally boarded my plane today. Picked up my rental and drove straight there. When I pulled up I could see the car sitting in the tiny glass dealership with a magazine on it's rear window. I parked and walked in where I was excitedly greated by the man who restored the car and was selling it to me. He pulled it out of the glass room and I went over it with a flashlight and my trusty bike spoke magnet that I used on the previous Bluebirds. I discovered the body wasn't perfect and had a little bit of work here and there, but really not enough that concerned me with the condition the car was in overall. It does have the optional faux vents on the hood though. It also came with factory fog lights (the knob is in the dash), but it does not have the grill or lights anymore. I believe this is why it has the SSS badge on the grill vs the 1800SSS badge. The interior is all original. I could see some threads sticking out a little near the ornaments in the center of the backrest, but overall it was CLEAN and in excellent condition.

I was stoked, I listened to it idle, revved it a little bit, and sat behind the steering wheel (racing style option?). At this point, honestly I wasn't even just considering it anymore; I could picture it as my car. We went for a quick jaunt around the block. I let him drive out of fear of something happening and creating legal problems. The engine sounded great. It idled smoothly with the sound of the solid lifters quietly ticking. The exhaust had a nice growl too it, not too loud. It was very understated; which is what I prefer. They are also throwing in an extra valve cover. I do not know which is the original. The only difference is one says Datsun and one says Nissan.

Here is a pooey video of the test ride. The camera seems to amplify ticking type sounds like the turn signals and such. The exhaust is a little louder in real life than the video leads you to believe, but not really a whole lot more.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaL7W_bNT-o

I talked and joked a little with the restorer/seller as much as I could through Google Translate and through someone they had called that knew a little English. We worked our way through the paperwork, got the numbers to jive, and solidified the plan on shipping it to Okinawa. To let him know it was in good hands, I showed him pictures of a 65 Plymouth I had brought back to life. He seemed impressed and a little less worried overall. I think he's slightly apprehensive about seeing it go. As the sun set, they brought the car back inside and dried it off from a light sprinkle that had gone through. I took some pictures of it, walked around in disbelief I had finally found one, and then reluctantly left before I became a thorn in their side.

In the next 2-3 weeks, the car will be prettied up a little more, have it's Japanese inspection done, de-registered, and put on a boat to be delivered to me. I'll then pick it up at the port in Naha, install temp tags and start the process to get it changed over from a Japanese to a SOFA Status owned car. I have a good idea on the process and don't really foresee problems, but worry it may not be as straight forward as it may seem. We'll find out. At least for tonight, I'm still in disbelief it's mine. If it was at home, I'd keep walking to the garage to look at it. The next few weeks will drag by I'm sure.

Thanks for reading my insanely long story. Or if you didn't... here is what you came for; pictures. Hopefully all show up. I don't know if there is a limit.

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okayfine
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Re: So I drove around Japan looking for a Bluebird...

Postby okayfine » 29 Oct 2016 06:41

To dream! Congrats. As I said in my OP in this thread - great adventure!

Steering wheel is a Z wheel, I'd at least find the OE SSS wheel, if not try to find a '69 SSS horn button (personal preference).

Interesting that it has camber plates. I wonder what else you'll find. Definitely not from-the-factory stock, but I'm surprised at the lack of electronic do-dads in the cabin.
Because when you spend a silly amount of money on a silly, trivial thing that will help you not one jot, you are demonstrating that you have a soul and a heart and that you are the sort of person who has no time for Which? magazine. – Jeremy Clarkson

BrandonS
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Re: So I drove around Japan looking for a Bluebird...

Postby BrandonS » 29 Oct 2016 06:52

okayfine wrote:To dream! Congrats. As I said in my OP in this thread - great adventure!

Steering wheel is a Z wheel, I'd at least find the OE SSS wheel, if not try to find a '69 SSS horn button (personal preference).

Interesting that it has camber plates. I wonder what else you'll find. Definitely not from-the-factory stock, but I'm surprised at the lack of electronic do-dads in the cabin.


The exhaust is after market, it has coilovers that's why you are seeing the camber plates. The coilovers were custom built on DR30 (Supra) struts. So it now has the Supra vented rotors. I think once I leave Japan and that stuff stops working I may end up replacing them due to parts availability. The fuel pump has also been changed. The only thing added electronically that I could find was a headunit under the dash and two speakers on the rear deck lid. The stereo will probably come out and I'll put in a very small amp fed through a bluetooth chip. I pretty much only listen to spotify and it will get rid of the out of place headunit. The original AM radio is still in the car hooked up to the dash speaker.

I don't so much mind modded stuff, but like the overall look to be clean and err on the side of stock. The most I'll do is probably just add a spook to the front. If I feel nuts, maybe a CF one and paint the outside edge to match the car. For right now though, once it arrives, it'll just be changing all the fluids. I want to ensure the tranny has GL4 in it and I want to make sure the engine oil has ZDDP for the solid lifters.

Thanks again for all the info you've provided during my search. It's helped a lot.

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spriso
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Re: So I drove around Japan looking for a Bluebird...

Postby spriso » 29 Oct 2016 09:41

Brandon,

Congratulations on the buy--- looks like a great car indeed.

The steering wheel is a "Sports Option" wheel in the classic Z-car wheel design, but leather wrapped-- a popular upgrade in Japan for period Datsuns. It is a correct "option" part for the car.

The 1800 badges on the side are correct for a 1971 model year car-- there are two variants, 1600 for base cars, and 1800 for the SSS version.

On the front struts-- if they said they are DR30 parts, that is a Nissan Skyline (not Toyota Supra)-- a model offered from the the early to mid-80s. These are common upgrades (like what we would do with 280ZX parts here) as you get the vented rotors and larger diameter brakes.

Again, congratulations! If there is anything Coupe specific that I can help with please don't hesitate to ask...

Michael
Michael Spreadbury
Spriso Motorsports
www.spriso.com

Colbino
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Re: So I drove around Japan looking for a Bluebird...

Postby Colbino » 29 Oct 2016 09:53

Such a great adventure!
I've fantisized about doing this exact sort of thing. Congratulations on finding your coupe.

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okayfine
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Re: So I drove around Japan looking for a Bluebird...

Postby okayfine » 29 Oct 2016 13:01

spriso wrote:The steering wheel is a "Sports Option" wheel in the classic Z-car wheel design, but leather wrapped-- a popular upgrade in Japan for period Datsuns. It is a correct "option" part for the car.


Fancy!
Because when you spend a silly amount of money on a silly, trivial thing that will help you not one jot, you are demonstrating that you have a soul and a heart and that you are the sort of person who has no time for Which? magazine. – Jeremy Clarkson

BrandonS
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Re: So I drove around Japan looking for a Bluebird...

Postby BrandonS » 29 Oct 2016 14:41

I'm not sure why I said Supra. I literally translated the magazine article I got about the car, pulled up DR30 online and typed this. I wonder how hard parts will be to source in the states for Skyline brakes. Maybe skylines share brake components with another car. Something I'll have to start researching.

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DADZSUN
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Re: So I drove around Japan looking for a Bluebird...

Postby DADZSUN » 30 Oct 2016 06:18

BrandonS wrote:...Thanks for reading my insanely long story...


A well told story! Thanks for sharing, that was a fun read.

Gorgeous car. I seems to have been well worth the effort.
'72 Datsun 510 - original Ottawa car

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KiKiIchiBan
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Re: So I drove around Japan looking for a Bluebird...

Postby KiKiIchiBan » 30 Oct 2016 11:48

Excellent. Best colour, engine, options.
My Bluebird SSS Coupe #25
http://www.the510realm.com/viewtopic.php?t=26929

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timm510
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Re: So I drove around Japan looking for a Bluebird...

Postby timm510 » 30 Oct 2016 19:36

Great read! Nice find!
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loungin112
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Re: So I drove around Japan looking for a Bluebird...

Postby loungin112 » 05 Nov 2016 17:07

That's a great find. Very jealous here. Nothing to do but ship it back and enjoy it! It's amazing how much better the clutch and brake reservoirs seem to fit when in RHD.

Also, on your first post, third picture, what are the two cars (teal, white) lurking behind the 510s? I have never seen that grill and headlight arrangement before.

BrandonS
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Re: So I drove around Japan looking for a Bluebird...

Postby BrandonS » 05 Nov 2016 18:26

loungin112 wrote:That's a great find. Very jealous here. Nothing to do but ship it back and enjoy it! It's amazing how much better the clutch and brake reservoirs seem to fit when in RHD.

Also, on your first post, third picture, what are the two cars (teal, white) lurking behind the 510s? I have never seen that grill and headlight arrangement before.


Thanks, it will be with me in Japan for a little bit yet and then it will get shipped back when I come back to the States. I was expecting the answer to your question to be the previous model of the Bluebird to the 510. When I looked at the picture, it surely was not. I had to go to their website and "match the car." It looks to be a '73 Isuzu Beret 1800GT. The teal one is not on their site that I noticed.

http://www.fujicars.jp/detail/19071475/index.html

You are right about the master cylinders for sure. Here's a better angle for the master cylinder. It's nestled in there perfectly.

I do think one of the first orders of business will be some wire management.

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McShagger510
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Re: So I drove around Japan looking for a Bluebird...

Postby McShagger510 » 06 Nov 2016 00:15

:mrgreen: THIS. IS. AWESOME. :mrgreen:

James
Nothing ventured, nothing grained! - Benjamin Franklin

'72 2dr. 510 Turbo
'73 240Z all stock
'71 2dr. 510 stock......for now
'91 Nissan truck
'78 Kawasaki Z1-R
'84 Kawasaki GPZ750 Turbo
'99 Kawasaki ZRX1100

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DonnieDatsun
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Re: So I drove around Japan looking for a Bluebird...

Postby DonnieDatsun » 06 Nov 2016 11:53

Absolutely amazing. Nice score.

goichi1
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Re: So I drove around Japan looking for a Bluebird...

Postby goichi1 » 08 Nov 2016 22:44

Nice Coupe! I loved the story....it sure brought back memories of my many trips to look at bluebirds while i was living in Japan. It's so hard to find a nice one. Most people think that it's easy in Japan but its really not that easy at all.

That looks like a really nice Nissan Comp steering wheel, if you take it off, just hang it on your wall somewhere, if it's an original one, it's worth some money, they reissued them a few times, but they still bring a premium.

You shouldn't have any problems changing to a Y number, just be mindful of being too low or wheel clearances, mine failed for the tires barely, and I mean barely protruding from the fenders. It will basically come down to what kind of mood the japanese dude is in on the day you drive through the inspection lane at your local Registration office. Okinawa is probably a little different than the mainland japan??


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