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O bachan - 1972 Bluebird DX 4dr granny car


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Once upon a time I wanted a 510.  Then I got one.  It was awesome!  So I got another, and another... and another.  (you know how that goes) 


Well then I thought okay, this is getting a little silly.  Let's focus on one of each - 2dr, 4dr and wagon - all 1972 (since 5/10/72 birthday) and that helped me get rid of a few cars.


But then I thought okay, those bluebird coupes are sure purdy!  After a few years I found one and like my first 510 (and all the others) It is awesome!


My daughter has grown up through all this silliness and we put her in a 620 because she's a truck girl.  My son (now 13) wants a car though and don't you know he thinks my 1972 datsun 510 4dr would make a nice project for the two of us!  (he's right)


Great!  Now my collection is broken.  I'm going to need another 4dr!  But I sure like driving my bluebird.  I guess it would only make sense that I should find a RHD Bluebird 4dr!


Well, guess what's more rare in the US than a Bluebird Coupe?!  A Bluebird 4dr!


I watched for about 3 years and the only ones that popped up were megabucks like this one for $21,000






and of course Julian Serles's "Whitebird" for $18,500.




That's a big premium over a US car for sure.


I didn't waste any time thinking about converting/building one like James's as I possess neither the time nor the skill.




So I contented myself with looking at ads on Japanese car sales sites and dreaming of "one day"...

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Jeff and I were talking about this predicament one day and trying to figure out how we can get a coupe (for him) and a 4dr (for me) direct from Japan since US sourcing just doesn't seem likely.


He met a guy this summer that we thought might be able to help us out so we paid him a visit.  He imports stuff from Japan (not cars) but was open to the idea of bringing one over so Jeff and I started sending him Yahoo Japan and GooNET links to cars we liked. 


Unfortunately, in the last couple of years, prices of Bluebirds in Japan have risen considerably just like the 510's here, and after shipping, handling, customs, etc etc etc, it was beginning to look like we might have to settle on dreaming rather than actually bringing over a real car.


Then, out of the blue on August 11, I get an e-mail from our contact with three tiny pictures, a brief description, and a price.







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Now you have to understand...  When you have all the time in the world to daydream about "The Car" that you would want to buy.  You create this somewhat unobtainable ideal. 


Although long ago I had chosen 1972 as "the" ideal year, after driving my 1969 SSS bluebird for the last 4 years, I have fallen in love with the dash.  Everything else falls short.  So it has GOT to be a 1969 SSS 4dr. 




And I love the cars with the US sedan style taillights but with the stainless/aluminum finisher panel between them. 




And so many of the cars in Japan have dual Mikunis, so it should definitely have dual Mikunis!. 




And lowered on fat 14" JDM rims.  Star Sharks would be sweet! 




Or maybe Work Ewing III's like this guy's




And maybe even a pair of those retro fixed back bucket seats!




Yeah...  Now THAT would be the car!

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The car in question is a 1972 DX (Deluxe) N510 with an L14 motor, 3 on the tree, bench seat, plastic tail lights, front drum braked bluebird with my least favorite 510 grill, a giant amber fog light mounted to the front bumper and a pair of very UN-stylish fender mirrors.  Hmm...  That matches, well, nothing on my wish list.

















Some times the right combination of nothing still makes for something.  And here was a beautiful, bone stock, original paint, granny car available for purchase!









YES PLEASE!!!!!   :w00t:

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Next up came the wait...


Some of you might remember collecting UPS symbols from toys or cereal boxes and sending them in an envelope with a check for $1.50 shipping to get a free whatchamacallit in only 8-10 weeks. 


Well here I was again.  Only the check was a little bigger and the wait was a little longer but that's okay because this time, the toy is a little bigger.  :)

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Nice so when do you get it..


Patience, there is much more to this story.  And it's not quite mine yet...


And is that white bird still for sale and where.


Both were in California.  BAT had a story on Whitebird back in February.  Im sure it sold in no time.

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I got a little ahead of myself.

Between committing my intent to buy and signing a check, our contact had the car inspected and test driven in Japan.

The car was on its second owner in Japan - a little lady - who still uses it as a driver.

It has less than 100,000Km on the clock.

The L14 had been replaced with an L18 for some reason. 

The car drove nice and even the AC works.


More photos supported the claim that the car was in exceptional condition!


Stock engine bay



no flaws here



no visible rust in any of the "underside" pics



a spare tire cover with no water stains?



only dent visible in the photos






amazing interior.  not sure about that funky seat-belt webbing though...



another minor flaw



protective plastic still on door panel!



light reading included


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A few more pictures until I find time to add more words...








The rubber even still looks good!




~62,000 miles









L18?  weird...  L14 didn't have enough poop for grandma?







Note dash inserts are gray, not black.

Lots of bluebirds have different color plastic dash inserts, contrasting color seats, door panels, etc.  Way fancier cars than we got here in the US


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I received word that the car had been driven safely to the location where the container would be loaded and now all there was to do was wait.  I had asked for photos to be taken of the car in the container, as part of a drip feed of updates to keep me going while the car was in transit but there was nothing.


Eventually I got word that the car wold arrive in the US at the end of September and be unloaded mid October.


I tried really hard not to bug the importer with questions and updates but on Friday October 16th, I couldn't take it any longer so I asked for an update.  The reply was "The car is here!"


Clarification needed.  Where is here?


"Here at our shop"




So after work I drove to the shop to check it out.


There it was sitting outside so I pulled up looked it over and snapped a few pictures:















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Unfortunately, the car had some body damage that was not visible in the pictures from Japan.














The damage on the lower rear doors was obviously there before shipping.  I could find one picture that *just* showed the tail end of a couple of the scratches.  the big crease on the upper rear left door is questionable.  Only one photo from Japan shows that area and there are so many horizontal reflections on that surface it is impossible to tell.  The importer offered to take money off the price I don't see how that would benefit anyone.  I had agreed to buy the car based on the information we both had and there is just no way to know if this happened here or there but it was nice of him to offer.


Damage aside, I was very happy with the car and excited to get it home.  The paperwork wasn't quite done yet so I would have to wait 'till the next week but some work commitments would keep me from the attempt for a while.

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Next I called my favorite licensing place to get the skinny on titling a car brought in from Japan.

They didn't really know.

I told them what my understanding was and the lady on the phone said she thought I had it mostly right but didn't believe inspection by the state patrol was required any longer.

She was pretty sure I just needed the customs form, bill of sale, and export document.

I suggested I just bring in all the paperwork I had for her to check over and then tell me if I'm missing anything.  Sounded good to her so now I was back to waiting for the next day I could sneak away from work for a couple hours...

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