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oukippy

From France to USA : help please!

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Hello,

 

First, let me introduce myself : as you will understand it from my poor English, I’m not American as I’m living in South-East of France. I’m a Datsun 620 addict since many years but currently I only have an Hotwheels one. I recently decided to buy a real one in order to be able to drive sitting IN it !

My first big problem is to find one in Europe. The car is very rare in France and most of the ones I can find are modified versions in Portugal (for agricultural work, not exactly what I’m looking for).

 

The reason why I’m here today is that I’m considering importation from USA. I don’t think the 620 can be found as easily as a Chevrolet C-10 but it seems to me that there is some interesting units in your country. Of course distance is a big issue for buying a car and I hope I could find some help in your Datsun fanatics community.

 

Let me explain my project : I’m looking for a 620 (no 720) in relatively good condition. I’m not a mechanician so I’ll have to learn many things and I don’t want to start with doing an engine swap, for instance. So I need a car which can run when I want it to (it won’t be my daily car as I have a czech car for daily use. I don’t think you’ll find one like these one in USA).

 

Concerning the interior, of course I would prefer a nice one but as long as nothing falls on me and I have seat and seat belt, I should be able to live with it (good music could be interesting too but I’ll be able to do it in France if needed). Concerning the car body, of course I don’t want too much rust and I think I’ll change the color anyway (orange and black probably).

 

Important thing : my budget is : NO MORE THEN $ 6000. I have to take into account the shipping cost wich seems to be something like $ 4000, all included.

 

So why am I here ? Because I’m looking for essential information such as : where should I look to find a Datsun for sale ? What are the most important questions to ask to the vendor ? Is it expensive to take the car from where it is to a port which will ship it to France ? Is it a crazy idea to import a car which cost more or less the price of the shipping (my wife have her own advice on it but I decided not to listen to her J) ?

 

Thank you very much for your kind help !

 

Best regards,

 

Oukippy

 

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You can post of Classifieds on this forum, you can go on Craigslist, Offer Up, Ebay, Bring a Trailer, Classic Trader.  You should be able to find something for your budget but I'm not sure about shipping to France form USA, that you can do and ask around in your area.  Good Luck.

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You will want to look on the west coast for a clean 620.

 

Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona. I would suggest looking on craigslist.

 

The best way to do this quickly and efficiently is using searchtempest.com. It will search all of craigslist, by distance, and will save you some time.

 

I tend to stay away from vehicles that are not in the states mentioned above due to rust. West coast does not use salt on the roads and has very little snow.

 

Prices tend to be a little cheaper in Washington and Oregon. I still see 620's driving around town on a daily basis. They are still pretty common around here. 

 

Here are a few examples:

https://salem.craigslist.org/cto/d/datsun-king-cab-pick-up/6509200297.html

https://kpr.craigslist.org/cto/d/620-datson/6534411384.html

https://portland.craigslist.org/wsc/cto/d/1979-datsun-king-cab-truck/6535320119.html

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Ports that ship cars will be in Seattle, LA, San Francisco. To get a car up and down the west coast via a shipping company it will be about $800-1000 USD. It might be easier to solicit someone from there to help get it to a port. It will cost less.. but might be harder coordinate. 

 

If you are looking to have it shipped to an eastern port, it will be about $2000-2500. If you want to estimate shipping costs, use uship.com

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As rare as 620's are in France, spend up to make sure you get something both complete, and reliable.  You will find that $4000 will not likely get you a really nice truck.  It will likely need maintenance, many spare parts, and potentially some moderate repair work that will be difficult to complete without a good parts source.  Both of those trucks on Offerup look to need mechanical work.  When someone sells a Datsun as a 2L and not an L20b, its obvious they're not really Datsun guys.  I'd be more likely to look at trucks with rebuilt drivetrains and deal with paint after you buy it if you had the option - since you say you're not a mechanic.  Draker's options look better than yours in that respect.  

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If you need parts, we can help with that too. Tons of that shit all over the place over here. 5 speeds, spare motors.. almost anything 620. Tach even :) 

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Thank you distributorguy. That's my main concern: How to identify a good mechanic from a bad one when you only have picture to evaluate? I agree with you, paint is secondary and easier to do in France than finding parts, especially if I need to change half of the car. In your opinion what is the correct price for a 620 in good mechanical state?

 

I agree that an important part in the evaluation of an offer is the content of the text. Obviously it's easier when you know the keywords :angel: :thumbup:

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Furthermore, the one in Portland seems to be full of new parts for the price of $ 2600. Is it really possible?

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Furthermore, the one in Portland seems to be full of new parts for the price of $ 2600. Is it really possible?

That truck in Portland is not stock, it likely has an engine(napZ) from a 720, if done properly it likely will be fine, but it is not what the 620 came with.

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Thank you distributorguy. That's my main concern: How to identify a good mechanic from a bad one when you only have picture to evaluate? I agree with you, paint is secondary and easier to do in France than finding parts, especially if I need to change half of the car. In your opinion what is the correct price for a 620 in good mechanical state?

 

I agree that an important part in the evaluation of an offer is the content of the text. Obviously it's easier when you know the keywords :angel: :thumbup:

 

3-5k should get you a exceptionally clean 620 in Washington or Oregon. Might not have great paint, but it would be rust free. 

 

If you find a truck you are serious about, talk to the owner get a good description of the vehicle, then have someone local go check it out for you and offer a few bucks. Have them take pictures, video. Have them drive it. Then give you a un-bias opinion. 

 

It's tough buying a vehicle without inspecting it yourself. Get familiar with all the common rust points on the 620, then send someone out with a checklist of things to inspect. I've done it for people, and I have had people do it for me. 

 

If I was looking for a 620, I'd want a king cab with ball joints and disc brakes up front, rust free as possible. L20b or KA24(d)e with a 5 speed. 

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thank you very much for your help. The tricky part will be to find someone to inspect it. Some guys are offering it (for money of course) in California but I don't know if there is the equivalent in Oregon or Washington. I need to investigate (and it's fun too).

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I once had a customer send me a couple of adult  6-packs via a local delivery service for helping him evaluate a local car.  Hint, hint...  

I didn't even know you could do such a thing!  

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thank you very much for your help. The tricky part will be to find someone to inspect it. Some guys are offering it (for money of course) in California but I don't know if there is the equivalent in Oregon or Washington. I need to investigate (and it's fun too).

If you find something in the Sacramento up to Lake Tahoe area in California, I’d be happy to help. Distributorguy’s idea is good.

 

Edit: the most important part is finding a Datsun guy the right truck.

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If I was looking for a 620, I'd want a king cab with ball joints and disc brakes up front, rust free as possible. L20b or KA24(d)e with a 5 speed. 

 

This!  Definitely get a 78-79 with ball joints & disc brakes on the front.  King cab or not is your preference for looks vs interior space.  $6000 should buy you one of the nicest available 620's, short of a restored version.

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What will you do for parts? N. American 620s have a different drive train than the European ones. Can you locate any L series 4 cylinder engines and transmissions? I'm afraid that yours might end up being the only one in France. I would buy one or two from Portugal and drive them home.

 

 

 

 

This!  Definitely get a 78-79 with ball joints & disc brakes on the front.  King cab or not is your preference for looks vs interior space.  $6000 should buy you one of the nicest available 620's, short of a restored version.

 

 

 

 

Important thing : my budget is : NO MORE THEN $ 6000. I have to take into account the shipping cost wich seems to be something like $ 4000, all included.

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A collegue has a Pontiac Firebird which is definitively not an usual car in Europe. He buys his parts in USA. Many French guys in USA have a business to import parts. They receive it at home and put them in a container when they have enough parts to fullfill it. He has shown me one who send 2 containers per month. So I think buying parts will be possible but probably more expensive then if I find them in Europe. Of course It's a  nother good reason to find one 620 in very good mechanical condition !

 

Concerning registration and insurance, it's easier for old cars then from new ones. The limit is 30 years old. If more then 30, the procedure is very simplified and you don't need to be 100% French regulation compliant. Furthermore insurance rate is very low for classic cars. So it's not an issue.

 

If you want an exemple of 620 in Portugal, click here ! It seems impossible to find a classical bench.

 

I think I'll consider a king cab because I'm 6,1 foot tall so I'm not sure I'll have enough space in a classical one. Related question: is it possible to be 3 people in the car? I have 2 boys (6 and 8) and I already imagine the arguments between them if they can't be in the car together... (but it will be MY toy so it's not very important is the answer is no ;-) ).

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I am 6'3" and drive the even smaller 521 pickup, but agree the king cab will be more comfortable.

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The KC will allow you to set the bucket seat back farther. King Cabs were available from about half way through the '76 model year or from Feb '76 production date. The King Cab came with bucket seats.

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Its possible to have 3 people but will be tight, specially if they are fairly big.

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Hello,

 

I'm still looking for the perfect 620. For now I've sent some emails to have details on the following 620:

 

https://offerup.com/item/detail/432321223

https://offerup.com/item/detail/444573761

https://salem.craigslist.org/cto/d/datsun-king-cab-pick-up/6509200297.html

https://portland.craigslist.org/wsc/cto/d/1979-datsun-king-cab-truck/6535320119.html

https://kpr.craigslist.org/cto/d/620-datson/6534411384.html

 

No answer yet but I'll be patient. I explained my project and I understand it can be strange, especially for people wanting cash money :-)

 

I've also seen this 620 which I didn't know exist with this bed: https://offerup.com/item/detail/398390630/

It seems nice but I'm not sure I like the bed.

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Don't set ur self up for disappointments, there is no perfect vehicle.

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I did this recently, albeit to the UK. See here: http://community.ratsun.net/topic/72563-620-long-bed-on-way-to-the-uk/?do=findComment&comment=1513377

 

I used CFR Rinkens. They were really helpful but it's on you to ask the questions and chase them.

 

They also offer services like checking the vehicle over for you before giving over your money. Comes at a cost though of about $600

 

I struck up a good relationship with the owner of my truck which is lucky because it probably took a month for me to say I'll have it and him getting paid the full amount !

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I gave a look at your 620, it's very nice. I will give a look to CFR Rinkens, prices seems to be more or less similar to the one I've found.

 

I'm in contact with the owner of this 620. He seems to have a great experience of 620 as he owns 3 of them. 

He gave me an address of a professional of classic cars in his town, who could possibly evaluate the car and arrange the import  (https://www.denwerks.com/). I'm waiting for new pictures to decide if i go further.

 

Yesterday I was thinking about putting extra money in the car to have it checked and modified locally in USA. I'm not sure if it's a good idea because of the distance : I will need to be very confident in the professional. Do you have an opinion?

 

A question regarding painting: what could be the price of a complete painting for a 620 in USA ? 

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