always remember that racecar spelled backwards is still racecar

Thursday, February 25, 2010

No one forgets their

Truer words were never spoken. People, especially guys, treat their first cars a lot like their first love interest. They want their buddies to know which one 'belongs' to them, they talk about them all the time, and they believe the relationship will last forever. I certainly fell into this life category with my first (well, close to the first) freedom machine. As the old saying goes, 'If I only knew then what I know now'.

I absolutely loved this car. It was a 1971 Datsun 1200 (or B110 for you Datsun heads). It started out with the stock 1200cc engine until an opportunity presented itself to drop in a mildly pumped-up 1300cc power-plant which had only seen one season of racing in my Datsun 1200 mini-stock race car. This racing was done on a 3/8 mile dirt oval in Fremont, California circa 1980 to 1985. Everything about my street car was as straight as was humanly possible (thanks Dad). Even with the hotter motor and lightened fly wheel this thing never got less than 40 MPG. Of course the monetary savings at the pump were offset by my frequent attendance of traffic ticket classes.

The more I think about it, the more I can appreciate the similarities between first loves and first cars. They constantly compete for your attention while appearing to be doing nothing at all, they have a scent that you can't forget, you're constantly changing your plans to be with them and they always leave you broke. As embedded in my memory as all of those things are, they pale in comparison to the biggest and most exciting experience I ever had in my chariot. Going all the 100 mph.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

All things old are new again

I know it's cliche, but it's true. While some things disappear from the landscape, some things never seem to leave. Don't misunderstand, some things need to fade into history. Like hand crank cars, new cars without seat belts, bumper jacks, 6-volt electrical systems, and the ever popular toilet paper oil filter replacement cars. I was lucky enough to own a vehicle that fell into that last category and I always wondered what Mr. Whipple must have thought.

At least for me there is a certain make of cars that will never lose their charm (nor should they) and that's the Datsuns of the 1960's and 1970's. I love them all - from the Lil Hustler pick-up trucks, the Z-cars, the 510's and even the 1200 (the forerunner to the B-210). These vehicles were cheap to own and maintain and when I was growing up, you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting at least half a dozen!

This past weekend in Sacramento, California there was a gathering of Datsun-heads keeping the faith alive. This event was thinly disguised as a car show, swap meet, and yak-fest for all things Datsun, but really it was more. It was yet another example of how this specific group of small, pre-smog, pre-unleaded gasoline powered vehicles continue to claim more followers.

One of those new followers is my son (don't tell his V8 only friends). While I could not be with him to share in his journey to Mecca, he called and sent me these pictures and I felt as if we did share the experience. It really took me back in time as I heard him describe all the 'cool' cars and the crazy mods. I know they say you can't go home again - I'd say the jury's still out on that one.

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