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 » 09 Nov 2016 05:36

goichi1 wrote: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.


Honestly, I felt that way when I started looking for one; I figured in a month or two I'd have a car. It seems like there are a little over a handful of Coupes for sale at any given point in time. Most of those have been for sale for a while due to the price/condition ratio (parts missing, bad respray, etc). The ones that are nice and not over priced sell fast... like super fast. The car I bought had a waiting list when I called (I was second in line) and a waiting line developed behind my spot; in a matter of days. The second problem is my location. I had to fly up to mainland to see the cars; which was why I only put eyes on a scant few. The trips would take 2-3 days each time depending on dealer hours and flight arrival/drive times. They were also expensive once I added in a night or two of hotels and a rental car for the same length. That's why I only went up twice; both times I was set on buying the car.

Honestly, at one point I almost bought/settled for a 4 door SSS. I really liked the color, it was in very nice condition, and I was starting to get pretty frustrated with trying to find a Coupe. That dealer sat on sending me pictures (probably didn't want to deal with shipping or an American) and it sold the day they e-mailed me pictures; I think it was within a week of being listed.

That was the other problem I had a lot of times. People wouldn't want to deal with my cryptic Google Translate e-mails I would send. They didn't want to deal with a middle man that was trying to make money either (broker/other dealer), and wives of friends didn't want to spend their free time calling on cars for me. I tried all of those methods and ultimately dealt with the frustration and time wasted with each. In the end I started paying a translator on a "per call" basis and had him call on the most promising of cars. Things worked a lot faster once I did that and it was probably the best decision I made in my search for a car. When I finally get my car one of the first places I go will be to drop off some beer for him and some wine for his wife (I think she was actually making the calls).

goichi1 wrote: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??


I was actually worried about the JCI portion of this. With temp tags being for a finite time and no promise of parts availability/no idea what may need done I just let the seller do the JCI and I'll transfer it into my name when it gets here. It was a bit more expensive, but I think is the better option in the long run to get the car in my driveway.

You are right that Okinawa is worlds different than mainland. I definitely prefer it down here. It's a little more laid back, people seem to be nicer overall, and English is used more frequently because of the US military presence here.

So you said you looked at Bluebirds while you were here; did you end up buying one? Did you take it back with you? I'd be interested in hearing your story.

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Byron510
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Re: So I drove around Japan looking for a Bluebird...

Postby Byron510 » 09 Nov 2016 09:55

133 pages worth, and counting.

Rich has been with us for a while now on the Realm.

viewtopic.php?f=27&t=8114

Byron
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because the opposite never works.

loungin112
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Re: So I drove around Japan looking for a Bluebird...

Postby loungin112 » 09 Nov 2016 18:06

Love the story. Thanks for taking the time to type it up and post photos for us all to live vicariously through your journey.

Also, thanks for hunting down the info on those Isuzus. I always thought Isuzu's were like the JDM unwanted cousin that wouldn't go away. They made some very good looking and interesting cars and I think, in time, they will come to be appreciated to a degree similar to the Datsuns.

Cheers

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

Postby BrandonS » 09 Nov 2016 20:52

Byron510 wrote:133 pages worth, and counting.

Rich has been with us for a while now on the Realm.

viewtopic.php?f=27&t=8114

Byron


Wow that Coupe was BEAUTIFUL and he did amazing work on it. What a great story to read watching it get worked on and travel from Japan to the US back to Japan and back again stateside. That thread was also a treasure trove of all types of other projects. Goichi/Rich... you surely are a busy man!

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

Postby spriso » 09 Nov 2016 21:30

Rich's Coupe is amazing-- and it has quite a few passport stamps, living in Japan, the States, back to Japan, back to the States, and now with its new owner in Australia! I had the very good fortune of driving the car in Australia in April with its new owner, and it really is an awesome machine...

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

Postby goichi1 » 12 Nov 2016 22:00

Sorry, I don't have a lot of time lately to get on the Realm or the computer for that matter, but thank you for all the nice comments on the coupe. Yes, I know my build thread is a lot of everything, but I enjoy that thread and I need to get back to updating it......maybe I'll start tonight!

It's funny you almost settled for a 4dr SSS, because I did, I drove three or so hours to look at a coupe and when I got there it was a rust bucket, I took my wife with me and she translated everything, she's Japanese, so I lay on the floor to look under it and you could see the dealers eyes close and head shake, he knew I would see it and he was a little apologetic and when my wife explained what I was looking for in a car he knew that once wasn't going to do.......so then he says he has a 4 door SSS in the back behind the shop and I could look at it if I was interested, he told her it was rust free but not currently running. So I said sure since I was there and it was nice, so I bought it. really good deal too, but I had to do some work to get it running and driving. It hadn't been on the road in probably 17 or so years. So long story short, I bought a 4 dr, then about a month or so later my wife finds the coupe down in Kyushu, way for south for me to drive but she had him send me a million pics and he guaranteed it was nice and I bought it without actually seeing it. He was right, it was a solid one. then I shipped both back home when I left Japan.

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

Postby BrandonS » 14 Nov 2016 04:42

Still no car, but I've had this "play on words" idea in my head for little bit. I think it's kinda funny, but I don't think most will/do. In any case I designed this up on the computer and used the wife's craft machine to cut it out on vinyl. Now if only I had my car to put it on. It'll probably end up on the rear side window for easy removal.

Image

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

Postby WxMan » 14 Nov 2016 05:43

That's funny, except now I'm going to be forced to start referring to my car as my dachshund 510...
Russell

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

Postby defdes » 14 Nov 2016 06:27

WxMan wrote:That's funny, except now I'm going to be forced to start referring to my car as my dachshund 510...

...and it's REALLY funny if you actually have dachshund.

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

Postby WxMan » 14 Nov 2016 12:14

It would be even funnier if your dachshund was named "Datsun"!
Russell

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

Postby BrandonS » 25 Nov 2016 01:38

Well picked the car up yesterday morning. The wait seemed to take FOREVER. It's at the house now. I do have a few more hurdles to deal with to register it.

The Marines really don't want me to have a 3rd car (only allowed 1 per driver/it is waiverable). I got a letter from my Commander saying it's all OK, but I'm in the AirForce and the Marines were quick to remind me they are the final authority. After two trips I was able to talk to a front line supervisor. He is going to ask his boss but didn't seem too receptive. I'm waiting for a phone call on Monday to see if they approved it or not. I don't want to daily drive it :-(

In any case, I did put a few kilometers on it the past couple days and made it onto base and put it up on a lift. I discovered the rear has coilovers which I couldn't see when I inspected it before buying. Knowing that I will probably raise the back up a little. The owner also told me he would give me a spare and true to his word it was in the car behind drivers seat which confused me. What I found out when I got home was he meant a spare SET of wheels so that was a real nice surprise; the others were filling up the trunk. He also sent me a little keychain thats a mini JDM plate that says 510. I thought that was cool. There was a little envelope that said "To Brandon" on the dash with it inside. I was going to use a spark plug as a keychain (throwback to a previous project I had) but this is just as cool.

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Now there are a few problems I didn't notice when I went up there to purchase the car. The wiper and headlight knobs are RTVd on the stems, but that it is a pretty quick and easy fix I feel. The individually selectable left/right parking lights only worked on the back. I figured out that the bulbs ground inside the housings so some sandpaper fixed that problem. Now the biggest problem I seem to have is the radiator is leaking. When I inspected the car we didn't drive far so I didn't notice it. It isn't too bad. It's just a little that comes out on the bottom "tray" of the radiator. I'm not sure if I should go aftermarket or get this one worked. The Japanese guys checking out my car today were saying of a radiator shop that could recore it. Not sure the price.

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And finally, I pulled a bunch of stickers off of the windows and a CocaCola sticker off the gas tank door. Then I finally got to put my decal on. Oh and I love this thing so far!!!!!!!!

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Last edited by BrandonS on 25 Nov 2016 06:29, edited 2 times in total.

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

Postby KiKiIchiBan » 25 Nov 2016 05:25

Where can I get one of those keychains? Very cool.
My Bluebird SSS Coupe #25
http://www.the510realm.com/viewtopic.php?t=26929

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

Postby BrandonS » 25 Nov 2016 06:11

KiKiIchiBan wrote:Where can I get one of those keychains? Very cool.


I have no idea. It came in that little envelope with the car. I tried searching on Yahoo auctions and in Japanese, but couldn't find it anywhere.

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

Postby KiKiIchiBan » 25 Nov 2016 13:17

BrandonS wrote:
KiKiIchiBan wrote:Where can I get one of those keychains? Very cool.


I have no idea. It came in that little envelope with the car. I tried searching on Yahoo auctions and in Japanese, but couldn't find it anywhere.


I did the same and couldn't fine one. If you talk to the previous owner again, please ask, I want one (even though my car doesn't have door locks or ignition barrel and I don't have a key :lol: )
My Bluebird SSS Coupe #25
http://www.the510realm.com/viewtopic.php?t=26929

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

Postby goichi1 » 25 Nov 2016 18:58

Cool!! now post up some pics!! Yes, I know what you mean by having only one car per driver. They had the same thing in Atusgi too, so my wife had our daily driver and I had the coupe. I was lucky as she didn't drive much (japanese) so I didn't have to drive mine all the time, but I did drive it a lot.


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