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Eomund

The Zen of Classic Car Ownership (Possible book title?)

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I'm gearing up to write a fun coffee table book. I use to write all the time. But haven't for years mostly due to work. So I wanted to write something personal to me. I have personally owned 5 classic cars and I can't count how many motorcycles. My dad has always had some form of classic my whole life too being a big influence.

 

It's been a while since I have written anything to this scale and I'm still in the note taking portion. To outline my direction and path of the book. I'm posting here to see if anyone has anything they would like to contribute and/or some basic ideas for the book.

 

There are the cliffs of my notes as it stands:

 

The Zen of Classic Cars

 

Notes:
Introduction (What is a classic and why zen)
Mechanics (Joys of working on your own car etc.)
Driving (Sports or other)
Speed (Joys of fast and slow vehicles)
Pride (of your accomplishments and the lovely random compliments)
Beauty (Old cars just looked better)
Simplicity (The advantages of the simplicity of older cars)
Cost (The advantages of old vehicles monetarily. But the possible down sides too)
Function (Not function as in reliability [maybe touch on that], but function as in space, storage and actual functionality)
 

And input from you all is appreciated. And I will cite any direct quotes I might use. But for now, I'm not looking for exact information but just some basic outlines so I can make a cohesive direction in my writing.

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Lifestyle - The social aspect of owning a Classic, I.E. Clubs, Meets, Fellow Weirdos and the like. 

 

Good Luck with the book! 

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Zen??? I'm in...

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Downsides?  How about no more leaded gasoline and workarounds to accommodate that? Also having to improvise or modify existing part to substitute for no longer available replacement parts.  Stitching you own replacement upholstery.

 

Upside?  I can spot my car in the airport parking lot while the plane is lining up for a landing.  No modern vehicle resembles it and the color is very distinctive.

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Introduction (What is a classic and why zen)

For me, driving my Datsun is a meditation. Outwardly it's an anachronistic car that has no modern descendant counterpart. It's like sitting in the attic with old and wonderful things. You have to drive it, it doesn't drive you.


Mechanics (Joys of working on your own car etc.).

Not everyone likes working on their Datsuns. This could be because it's driven daily and just has to be in working condition so better to pay someone to maintain it. Others are more flexible and if it has to wait for the weekend no big deal. I can't see much 'joy' in paying someone else to build your car or truck unless of necessity. I only drive mine in the summer so there is great joy in seeing a job finished and a problem corrected by myself. For example I can't balance a tire but this doesn't stop my taking old rubber off and putting new rubber on with a tire lever. I like making things for my Datsun much more than buying things for it. Some classic car parts are simply not available any more so making or substituting a different part is all you can do. Where possible the substitute should be an improvement,.


Driving (Sports or other)

I like long distance road trips alone and sleeping in my car on the road. Talk about the welding of man and machine together! There is no bond like this and it simply can't be shared. I like tertiary roads and 40-50 MPH limits but highways of necessity are fine too. Twelve to eighteen hour rides to think and not think while your Datsun hums along never faltering and the road unfolds before you. The aloneness. It's not the arrival, it's the getting there I enjoy the most. 


Speed (Joys of fast and slow vehicles)

Speed? Only so far as knowing I can enter a corner about 20+ MPH faster than the posted suggested speed and watching the dummy in the LS Chev truck who was pushing me down the road lock the brakes because he wasn't paying attention to the up coming corner, or thinking he was on the same handling level. Seeing him fall farther and farther behind at each curve then letting catch up and pass. I don't think Datsuns are about pure speed, rather they make it more fun at anything but high speed.


Pride (of your accomplishments and the lovely random compliments)

Compliments are totally random and always catch me by surprise. Is it any wonder that someone that has had a Datsun in their lives in the past sees one 30 years later and wants to talk about it???


Beauty (Old cars just looked better)

SUVs and truck wasteland. To quote Marv... "Modern cars.... they all look like electric shavers." I think some people just get tired of seeing today's cars and trucks and find classic 60/70s Jap tin pleasant to run their eyes over.


Simplicity (The advantages of the simplicity of older cars)

Ninety-nine times out of a hundred if your Datsun quits on you, you can get it going if you have a screwdriver, a zip tie, a pair of pliers, a piece of aluminum foil and a test lamp. If you can't get it going you will at least know what's wrong. Cockroaches driving Datsuns will inherit the earth.


Cost (The advantages of old vehicles monetarily. But the possible down sides too)

Likely you own your Datsun so no monthly payments on a piece of shit that is depreciating. If your Datsun is a piece of shit it's probably worth more now than when you bought it.  


Function (Not function as in reliability [maybe touch on that], but function as in space, storage and actual functionality)

The only function that matters to me, is that which form follows. If your Datsun's inner zen is to be fast, if it's glued to the road in turns, it's outward form will follow naturally. No amount of catch cans, strut braces, hood pins or spoilers (form before function) will make it so. Function is everything. A 'race car' will look like a 'race car'. A well sorted car cannot hide the fact that it's well sorted and put together right.    

 

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All good points mike. If I use any of those, I'll be sure to cite you.

 

I actually have the first chapter / Intro about laid out and am working on chapter 2. Now this is for much more than just Datsuns. But being a Datsun owner, I will be utilizing them of course.

 

It won't be a big book, and will be filled with photography (that I've taken). Like I said, this will be a coffee table book. At least what I'm shooting for.

 

Any direct quotes from you all though, I will cite you if you like. Most of this I would like to use my own wording. But more often than not, a different point or person can really add something.

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Might I suggest some salvage yard photos? My greatest zen from this hobby has always been spending hours in a salvage yard peeking into the interiors and seeing little fragments of the past. Cars frozen in periods marked by little relics from their last days on the road. Photos of dealer emblems, bumper stickers, the odd things folks hang from rear view mirrors and critters (scaled, feathered and furry) that invariably interact with old tin contained within the barbed wire and Lady BirdJohnson-mandated privacy fences of the automotive abbatoirs that are themselves beginning to be dismantled as cars become less salvageable for components and more valued for their recyclable materials.

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I worked for some parts in a wrecking yard de-rimming tires. I found some Goodyear Pollyglass tires on rims. Breathed some early '70s air. Oooooooooooommmmmmmmm

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On 2/14/2020 at 7:12 PM, datzenmike said:

I worked for some parts in a wrecking yard de-rimming tires. I found some Goodyear Pollyglass tires on rims. Breathed some early '70s air. Oooooooooooommmmmmmmm

Is it weird I totally smelled this post?

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On 2/12/2020 at 10:22 AM, Eomund said:

Mechanics (Joys of working on your own car etc.)

 

And input from you all is appreciated. And I will cite any direct quotes I might use. But for now, I'm not looking for exact information but just some basic outlines so I can make a cohesive direction in my writing.

 

The next chapter might be "Depression" the unjoy of working...

There appear to be so many things that make it hard, to name a few:

- Rust and more rust, and grease, and dirt

- Broken bolts, cross threaded holes, missing bolts and pieces.

- Finding original nuts and bolts (JIS) if having all the bolts match is important. Most standard metric fasteners are large head and may not allow clearance or just look wrong compared to the original.

- not having a large enough garage

- parts you buy that are not what they say they are, or do not fit

- finding the correct technical information - ratsun.net is great for this, but you will still need to search for info and spec and parts and...

 

And this is all for a stock motored car - if you are doing an engine swap the difficulty goes up exponentially.

 

Personally I love working on my car and have always loved the look of the '70-'73 510 and now a wagon. I have owned a few, one from brand new and now one that I am swapping a VG33 into. I am semi-retired and have the time do this also.

 

But it does take a lot...

 

Good luck, sounds like an interesting book.

 

 

 

 

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Counterfeit parts from China or just plain knock off poor quality parts that are bought simply because they are cheap thus perpetuating them.

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Finding out that German, Japanese and British screw / bolt threads are not really identical with the same nomenclature.  Differences are in the shape of the root and head thread shapes.  Triangular. Flat topped.  Round top.  Ditto for roots. A flat topped screw or bolt in a triangular or round taped hole is a built-in leak path.  At least metric threads tend to have the same pitch.  Not true for SAE versus British Trade Standard threads, see many discussions re oil pressure sensor threads in this site..  

Edited by MikeRL411
added caution.
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DPO's  Dumb previous owners. 

Whether it's wires twisted together with masking tape,  wood screws holding patch panels on with roof tar in between or quality original parts thrown away and replaced with plastic crap the DPO is the bain of the classic car restorer.

The only reason I look for a car with 1 or 2 previous owners is so I have to deal with as few of the "repairs" as possible from DPO's

 

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18 hours ago, grannyknot said:

DPO's  Dumb previous owners. 

Whether it's wires twisted together with masking tape,  wood screws holding patch panels on with roof tar in between or quality original parts thrown away and replaced with plastic crap the DPO is the bain of the classic car restorer.

The only reason I look for a car with 1 or 2 previous owners is so I have to deal with as few of the "repairs" as possible from DPO's

 

Ya this is a thing for sure. The reason I bought my truck was minimal rust (it came from Arizona). But I've been chasing electrical gremlins for years. I've got her mostly good. But stuff still pops up.

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Plenty O' stuff here in the Datsun stories: https://ratsun.net/forum/7-datsun-stories/

 

and maybe from the how you got your user name?

 

Sounds like a great project, can't wait to read some material!!

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3 hours ago, 4perrev said:

Plenty O' stuff here in the Datsun stories: https://ratsun.net/forum/7-datsun-stories/

 

and maybe from the how you got your user name?

 

Sounds like a great project, can't wait to read some material!!

Well. My username came from lord of the rings. So not Datsun really. 

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Yep, big fan of the whole series myself.  It maybe an interesting addition, if you're looking for content?

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