Friday, December 31, 2010

Datsun 1200 with a 440 or Youthful Folly

When I was a younger lad many an hour were spend pouring over pictures in car magazines. I'd dream of owning cars like Butch Leal's California Flash or Jack Chrisman's Mustang funnywinder.  All fine and good but clearly beyond my financial standings for a 14 year old with no job.  As my father bought more mature magazines such as Car & Driver and less of  HotRod my tastes too did change.  Being a 'if you can't buy it-  build it type' I began to plan to build my car right then and there. Soon I was using up all the 2 inch masking tape in the house to layout chassis plans on the porch floor to build my very own BMW M1.  It really didn't figure into my plans that being 100 year old wood floor and a narrow 3 foot opening that it was not the ideal building location if all. But I'd heard tales of cars built in penthouses of New York only to be airlifted out at a later time.  I could sit in my taped up crime scene and kid myself for hours keeping the dream alive knowing that it could be airlifted too.
After the winter snow shoveling and spring rains had all but destroyed the adhesive qualities of my BMW, I spotted my new dream car in a family friend's yard! The son of the owner (friend of my brother)  was standing on the hood;  he called the little car Christine, though it looked harmless to me.  A deal was made and I bought it for a dollar!  It cost me 20 dollars to have it towed back to my house but now my parents could see this treasure! She was a 1971 Datsun 1200 with 260,000 miles. A minor setback for my Dad who later told me that he was planning to buy a Duster for my first car that summer. 

The work began with evicting all the critters that used my as a personal urinal stand. A new battery and a set of fog lights for the bumper came from the local shop that week. Fog lights make everything go faster even if more important things like the passenger's floor and the brakes, exhaust, fenders, wheels, etc needed fixing first.  Several tries make my way up and out of the driveway under the car's own power proved evident  that the clutch was in order too. For many years the hulk of the once proud Datsun sat in my parents driveway as a eyesore and back stop for my father's pickup until my second car prove too that it was more work to fix.

And then it occurred to me why fix when you can.... MODIFY.

What follows next are horrific pictures of youth gone astray. These are the things that happen outside of adult supervision. The little Datsun fell victim to the misguided body repair lessons given to me by a local drop out.  His logic was if you didn't have the proper tools then hack at it and he began to show how to hack at my car with a meat cleaver. Shortly there after I purchase a pair of tin snips and did a more proper job removing the rusted sections.  As more of the chassis came apart the lighter it became until you could get in and lift the car off the ground.  In the end all that was left was a trunk deck, roof, two doors and the hood.  Now to start rebuilding..... slowly. As the sanding dust and bondo filled my lungs and nose my mind became just as clouded as the air in the garage.  All the dreams cars began to morph into one conglomeration of mechanism. Nothing would quite be the same again.

 This is the fiberglass wing found in a junk yard; might have come from a Dodge or Plymouth Station wagon.  I sanded down the ends to mate it up and bolt it on the trunk deck. 
 An over head view of the wing.  also, you can see that there is not much of the car left. Had to remove all the rusty parts and make way for the new frame to fit the missing floor pan.

Time passes and soon enters my second car.....
 This was my grandfather's 1970 Chrysler New Yorker.  After its beauty was marred by a telephone pole it became mine. All mine and near my workshop for repairs

After pulling the front clip off the New Yorker it occurred to me that the engine/ frame unit could be unbolted with great ease and mated up to another frame.  Hmmm,  it was at that point in my mind that East meets West and the dream of building my own car gets really ugly.  A  frame made from scrap steel water, a tube chassis if you will, was made to take the rear end of the New Yorke'rs diff and also allow me to bolt the engine assembly on the front

Here is the much morphed/ modified Datsun 440.   It was soon evident that the wheels were going to be much wider than that of the minimal Datsun chassis. Since I didn't have the resources or money to narrow the rear diff and front suspension I did the next logical thing.
I had seen pictures of the old racing BMWs with beautiful wide wheel well chassis and figured it was an easy to just tub out the wheel wells.  Extra money was used to buy sheet metal from the local speed shop after telling them my plans of  installing a 440 in a Datsun.  I have to admit there has been many year, even to this day, of people with looks of great disbelief in my dream car project
As proud as I was of my self taught metal work and frame building, no pictures of the scrap water pipe frame welded together with angle iron exist. The car was not to be.  The first and only running prove that the 440 was more power than a novice misdirected frame/chassis could handle.  A youthful blast and full throttle revs turned all my hours of pop rivets and bondo dust into a scrap man's twisted nightmare.  Somethings we try to forget.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

1966 BMW R60/2

A few pictures  of the project R60/2. Engine and frame match;  but missing parts are replaced with what ever works.  The purple is a nice period touch.  I rather like the patina, maybe show bike?