Hi everyone, here goes with a post about my car.......
The Red Rocket was born in June of 1977 as a 240k GL sedan with a 5 speed manual and C2 options. It has Red (905G) paint and black sports cloth interior. The C2 options pack as I understand, included integrated air-con, a tape player with dual parcel shelf speakers and that sports cloth seat covering.
The car also has a seldom seen rear window louver that has the first owners last name etched into it underneath, so I'm not sure if it was a dealer fit option or not?
The owners manual says the car came out on the "Golden Peak" cargo ship and was distributed by Datsun (Dist.) P/L in Dudley Park S.A. to Nihill's Datsun in Whyalla. It was first registered by Nihill's on 5/12/77 with S.A. plate SSR 848.
The service records show that the first two services were carried out within the first month having travelled 6,096km. by 3/1/78.
My guess is an employee had the car for their Christmas holiday break and she went on a road trip.
It took until 5/4/78 before the car was sold to a Whyalla local, a man (so my Grandmother told me) that was a company rep or salesman that travelled a lot in the car. There are Nihill's of Whyalla service stamps up until 1/6/82 at 77,636km. after which time the car was sold and somehow ended up in my Grandparents hands. They always lived in Red Cliffs, North West Victoria, so I'm not sure how it got to there.
It was my Grandmother that actually bought the car, 57 years old at the time she must have thought she had one hell of a cool car
She wasn't impressed with the cost of the insurance at the time however, as 240k's were classed as a sports car by RACV........so much for the GL badge fooling the insurance companies.....
The service history finishes at 90,000km. after having a service at a garage in Irymple on 17/11/82.
After that, my Grandparents had the car serviced at the local RACV garage in Red Cliffs.
Some time in the 90's my Grandmother moved on to an automatic Hyundai Lantra sedan
and my Grandfather took to driving the Datsun. It went everywhere and did everything but was always cleaned and lived in a closed garage.
That's my last automotive memory of my Grandfather that I have, tootling around in the Red Rocket, changing gears too soon, never reaching the speed limit. I think he was fond of the car but he was never a car guy......hell, he grew up riding a horse to round up the cattle and took the horse and buggy to town to get the weeks grocery supplies. One of his first jobs as a young man was working with a team of horses pulling a plough, used to gouge out the land to create irrigation channels for the Red Cliffs irrigation district.
So, after driving the Datsun around for 10 years or so he fell sick and the Datsun was given a birthday mechanically, ready for him when he got better, but he never did........the car sat unused under cover at my parents house for a year after he passed away.
At some point my wife got a job and all of a sudden we needed a second car, so we pulled the covers back on the 240k to see what it was like.......the paint on the roof was a little stained looking (sweated?) and went orange in places and the interior was a little unloved looking, trim screws missing, bits hanging off.......that's when I found out two of my young cousins had borrowed it sometimes and gave it a thrashing. Punks....
Dad and I got it going and took her for a spin, I'd never driven it before and had only ridden in it over a decade before. Man, what a revelation!! Apart from needing a tune up she was great fun to drive, corners so flat and fast, revs off its head and feels and looks so sporty inside, love all that woodgrain and the many guages angled back to the driver.
Soon after I asked my Grandmother if I could have the car, she herself not well she had stopped driving and said I could look after it for her until she got her license back......always an optimist
I did look after the 240k, I cleaned it to within an inch of its life, gave it a cut and polish, fixed anything that was broken or not working and made that original interior look great again. I even pulled the tail lights apart and cleaned them up and resealed them, they were looking a bit dull.
I was surprised this old Datsun had integrated air-con and grateful once it was gassed up and working for our 40 degree + summers, even after the $500 bill.
For the roadworthy, all I had to do was replace the rear wheel cylinders that were leaking and fit new rear shock absorbers.
Back on the road by late 2006, I did a heap of k's in the 240k, used primarily as the school run chariot it shared the school parking lot with a nice original looking 180B with a fully sick bazooka sized exhaust.....
Got a lot of comments on the Red Rocket, she looked pretty awesome after the cut and polish and everybody would say...."you don't see these cars on the road anymore.....".
In fact, the only other 240k I've seen around the Mildura area in the past ten years was a red coupe I saw threading a road full of roundabouts a year ago, but it's vanished again.
As you do, you think about how to upgrade or make your car better and next for me was a better muffler. I took it to an exhaust shop and they said the muffler and tiny tail pipe were meant for a 4 cylinder car.........queue the bigger muffler and VE Commodore billet alloy tip.
Soon after I was getting the car tuned locally and the guy says he has a set of mags out the back that a customer left behind years ago, reckons they'll fit the Datsun. Not expecting anything too flash I was surprised to see a pretty cool looking set of 15x6.5" machined alloy lip mags with painted centres. They're the mags on the car in the pics. Gotta love free mags.
After 3 years on the road I sadly let the rego lapse as we had bought a sweet black 2004 Subaru Outback Wagon.....3.0l. flat six
Once again covered up, with a proper car cover this time and in a shed. I still enjoy going out to visit her and firing her up and going for a sneaky spin through the rural roads.
I've recently rediscovered my attraction to the 240k after posting a page and some images of the car on the Shannon's Enthusiast site. I'm presuming there would be a lot of other OZDAT members on the Shannon's site as well?
Some others have shown interest in buying the car and I have found out a bit about the exodus of Australian cars to the Arab states. I would never willingly sell to someone that has the intention of wrecking my car, but would consider selling to an enthusiast here in Australia for the right money. Though my car isn't perfect, there are a few spots of rust to be dealt with and it would need to be painted if it was going to be perfect, but.......how many Grandpa or Grandma spec 240k sedans are left out there? Examples that are roadworthy and still fun to drive?
I love seeing these cars totally fixed up, beautiful paint and cool wheels, but some cars should be left alone I believe.
Anybody interested in buying one of these knows how much they are worth, so if you feel the irresistable need to tempt me out of ownership, make it a good offer
Otherwise, my 15yo daughter has her eyes firmly on it......drove it last weekend in fact, sh*t scared she was going to crash it, thank god for empty paddocks.