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SLOWPOKE - 1971 1400DX Bluebird 4dr (510)


carterb

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You guys remember Granny, my 1972 1400DX that was totaled back in the end of 2017...

 

large.59bd3ec3ef275_09152017GrannyinanAv

 

Well, although I did/do have plans to rebuild - I know it is not going to happen any time soon so every since that time - I had been looking for another Bluebird to bring over to play with and drive in the interim.

 

 

Unfortunately, the prices have kept rising in Japan - possibly faster than here.  Decent cars are price between 2,000,000 - 3,000,000 Yen (~$20-30K) and many of those are "restored" so who knows what is under the fresh paint.  Not to mention that $20-30K is just to buy the car - you still have to get it here.

 

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On the other end of the spectrum are cars like this:

 

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Which would still cost nearly $10,000 just to put in my driveway by the time you buy the car, pay the agent commission, ship it, pay customs and all other fees, taxes, etc..

 

I did find a few to inquire about like this one with an opening bid of 1,470,000 Yen.  Basically a carbon copy of Granny but with a price 2x what I paid.

 

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This '69 was close with a starting bid of 1,000,000 Yen  (I don't remember what it was bid to)

 

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This '71 was in similar condition to Granny but listing for 2,500,000 Yen!!!

 

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I actually bid on this one but lost out to someone taking the BIN price of 750,000 Yen. 

 

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It would have been a project - the interior was pretty roached - but at the time I figured I'd just swap over all of grannies goodies.

 

Then I tried to buy this one at the dealer auction but it was pulled before the auction ended (apparently common in Japan?)

 

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This one looked good but there was only one picture - and still, listed for 1,800,000 Yen. 

 

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Whitebird even came up for sale on BAT during this time which was awfully tempting.  I figured it would be a stretch but had many of the mods I'd be planning and it was already in the US.  It was bid to $20K and didn't sell though.  I assume a post auction offer led to a new home.

 

1969_nissan_bluebird_1569876112e6376b6Dr

 

I don't know why I can't find it now but there was another one that I was 2nd in line on but the first one on site took it.  : (  I was losing hope...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by carterb
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Then, at the end of October 2019, this one showed up again, but with more pictures this time and a significantly lower list price - 1,200,000 Yen.

 

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So I started work with my importer to see if I could get more information and details on post purchase expenses to see if it would fit my budget.

Obviously there was some front end damage but it looked minimal in these tiny pics so worth exploring...

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Here are some copies of the actual ad (this one was listed by a dealer - not an auction) in both japanese and english.

Not much info about the car itself - other than identifying it as a 1500DX (which doesn't exist)

 

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And the photos from the ad.  At our prompting - they added a large number of them to the listing.

 

large.1353782688_08202019silver1400dx.jp

 

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large.316810645_10282019silver1400dx(8).

 

large.978178734_10282019silver1400dx(9).

 

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This was definitely enough to continue my interest in the car.

 

 

Edited by carterb
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At this point I'm thinking left front damage aside - it appears to be a pretty solid car - VERY important when considering a car from Japan - and original paint as best I can tell.  So I ask Maiko, now with Davey Japan, to discuss with the lot owner both the price and the ability for us to come view and drive the car.

 

Davey sent out Patrick to view the car.  I believe he is from Australia (so he speaks English) which was great because he was able to call me on the phone while looking at the car so he could answer any specific questions I had.  He was not really familiar with Bluebirds but was able to confirm to the best of his judgement that the car was original as presented. 

 

The car was running but not drive-able due to a clutch issue.  I suspected it was just frozen to the flywheel but I couldn't convince him or the lot owner to try to break it free.  He also sent some additional photos.

 

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Note L14 engine size - not L15 as advertised.

 

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Nissan tool kit!

 

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Crash damage appears to be limited to area around headlight - no further into the chassis.

 

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Crash victims

 

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Nice interior!

 

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Funky clearcoat (?)

 

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What rust though?

 

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Must have been just a glancing blow...

 

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Spare parts to be included with the car

 

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more spares

 

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Well....  Nothing left to do now but make up my mind! 

Is this the one?

 

 

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Make up my mind I did and a week later, there was a Bluebird shaped hole in my bank account and the car was in the care of https://www.daveyjapan.com/

 

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They were already working with Adam from http://sodo-moto.com/ - putting together a container from their location very near to where the car was purchased.  This was awesome news because overland transport can be VERY expensive in Japan.  Plus I have worked with Adam before and am sure the car will make the trip and subsequent import process with little drama.

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Because the car was now coming in a container, I got to do some shopping for some JDM wheels and a pair of Recaro seats.

 

Buying a single set of wheels and shipping them from Japan to the US can be pretty expensive so I was hoping that sending them in the container would be much more economical.  I found all my wheels here:

 

https://www.jauce.com/category/2084008479

 

And used Davey Japan to bid on them for me, then they had them shipped to their facility for collection.  It worked really well.

 

I found a nice set of Recaro LX seats as well from here:

 

https://buyee.jp/item/search/query/set/category/2084048324?searchHis=1

 

All to be revealed later...  I had to wait for months so I'm sure you guys can handle a day or two.  : )

 

P.S.  If any of you are looking for refurbished Recaros - I hear nothing but good things about this guy:

 

https://www.mckrecaroseatscars.com/

 

Since the purchase was confirmed, I also went ahead and bought the parts I could tell I would need (fender, bumper, trim, etc) from https://www.futofab.com so I would have it in hand when the car arrived.  Dave is awesome isn't he?  So glad he's helping us keep our cars on the road.

 

 

 

 

Edited by carterb
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I misspoke a little above.  It wasn't until the end of December that I actually paid for the car.  They held the invoice until all the wheels and seats had arrived so they could do it all at once.  They also needed to verify the actual container and what not.  Taking the month to shop made the time go by pretty quick - but I was still excited for this thing to get on the water.

 

Finally, on January 17th, Maiko sent word with shipping details:

 

Vessel : DONGJIN HIGHNESS / 0016N

ETD : FEB 6

ETA : FEB 25 (Tacoma)

 

And then the real excitement began as Maiko sent pictures of the container load.  My Bluebird, wheels, and seats along with all of Adam's cars and parts.

 

First pics of my car loaded up with all the spare parts.

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Then all the palatalized goodies:

 

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Then the container:

 

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That's my Bluebird under the Honda City Turbo, sharing the floor with an Autozam AZ1 and nearly every part off of a Subaru Impreza except for the actual chassis.  Also a pair of moto-comp scooters.  I'm sure they all had plenty to talk about during the journey.

 

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Have a safe trip little buddy!

 

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February 24, Adam is notified that the vessel is delayed due to Corona-virus issues in transit.

 

Oh boy..

 

Now showing 3/4 arrival into Seattle.

Edited by carterb
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Nearly the entire month of March was a true test of grit for Adam.  Delays after delays and mounting fees and penalties due to incompetence (his word) of the shipping company and customs agent(s).  Somehow his shipment was flagged as "contraband" due to either the Subaru parts (parts - not a whole car - perfectly legal) and/or anther container he was bringing in at the same time with a couple Mercedes G-Wagons (one of which was a gray market import to Japan - which muddied the paperwork a big).   Then the customs facility that the containers get sent to after they leave the port wouldn't let him unload the containers at their facility and it was a mad dash to find somewhere that would.

I was trying hard not to bug him about updates and it was obviously very frustrating for him.  Finally though, on the 27th of March - he sent me this photo:

 

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The bluebird has landed!

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We had to work quickly at this point to avoid more fees and such and since the location that the container was unloaded at was closed for the weekend, I'd have to take the day off work on Monday to get the car and parts.  Brenda and I borrowed Jeff's Dilly trailer and drove down in the Monster Truck (our 1972 Suburban) down to Seattle, right under the massive West Seattle bridge (which is closed for repairs).

 

This was right at the beginning of the COVID hysteria where non-essential businesses were forced to close and we weren't sure if we were actually going to get in trouble for driving down there to pick up a car.  We had little recourse though so there was nothing to it but to do it!

 

It was an odd drive down for sure.  There was NO traffic to speak of.  Here is the view from University bridge.

 

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Note the beautiful Seattle weather!

 

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That's the space needle in the background for those of you not from around here:

 

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What traffic?

 

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Industrial Seattle on the Duwamish river.

 

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Arrived at United Motor Freight:

 

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Cherry blossoms!!!

 

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Truck and trailer at the ready...

 

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Let's go find our new Bluebird!

 

There she is!  In all her flat footed spendor!

 

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More on this later:

 

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Looks to be in amazing shape!

 

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The Honda turbo is standing by...

 

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Now to air up the tires and load up all this stuff!

 

Edited by carterb
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They needed us out of the warehouse asap so the tiedowns would need to be applied outside.  (Thank goodness for the weather)

 

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With the Monster Truck filled to the gills and the Bluebird secured on the trailer we were about ready to head out...

 

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Not to go home mind you...  To drive South to the Port of Tacoma!!!

 

US Customs has moved to a "paperless" documentation system, so imported goods are received and cleared electronically. 

Washington State Department of Licensing does not recognize this electronic system however and requires physically stamped and signed paperwork documenting imported cars.

The customs facility that cleared the container does not have the capacity to generate and stamp this paperwork - so the only way to fulfill the requirement for applying for a Washington state title is to go to the US Customs facility in Tacoma.

 

Okay then, we hit the road.  Adam in front with his Autozam.

 

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Note the wet hood...  The day's weather was taking a turn.

 

Speaking of turn - when we got to the US Customs facility, I had expected a large car lot or garage or some decent sized facility laid out to handle a constant stream of vehicles to inspect and clear.  Nope.  It was a mini-mall size building with an even smaller parking lot - and NO designated spot(s) to park and inspect a vehicle.  So Adam pulled in with his car while I waited in the suicide lane.

 

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Fully armed agents looked the business and would only allow one of us in the facility at a time (COVID rules?) so Adam worked the paper desk while I waited outside to make sure no one needed to get out of their parking spots which Adam was blocking with his car and trailer.  Once his was cleared, I pulled in, showed an inspector the VIN number on the car - he verified that it matched his paperwork - and he and Adam disappeared inside again to finish the process.  Then just like that we were off!

 

(I was going to take a picture of the US Customs facility but I didn't think the armed agents would care whether or not it would "add to my story")

 

Google street view to the rescue!

 

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Thanks Rosso...  More to come.

 

After leaving the customs place, we needed to head North to Adam's place on Mercer Island and unload all his stuff out of the back of my truck - and pick up some parts he had taken home on Friday. 

 

First - to the gas station.

 

Ah, gas stations...  You never know what you are going to run into at a gas station.

 

As I was pumping, this guy comes out of the quicky-mart sees my car on the trailer, runs up to me wide eyed and cigarette in hand, and starts going on about how this guy in California knows (I don't remember the name of the shop he mentioned) knows everything about 510's and I should call him as soon as possible!  Then he asked if he could take a picture of the car and just like that - he was off to the next thing on his agenda.  Wow that guy had energy.

 

I couldn't help but notice a "mini-truck" parked outside the store.  And it was a Nissan to boot! 

 

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I don't know what the scene is like where you all live but mini-trucks are not very common in these parts any more.

 

Especially not with an Indian Warrior Princess air brushed on the bed cover.

 

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My wife has great patience with all this stuff...

 

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First intersection after the gas station, what do we see about to take off?  A Mitsubishi Cappuccino!

 

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I wonder if he got to hang out at the US Customs office at some point too.

 

Off then to Mercer Island.  And more reminders of the current world situation - a sign of the times if you will.

 

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The closer we got to Adams place, the more gray the skies became until finally, just as we arrived, we got hit with an absolutely MASSIVE hail storm.  It soaked most of the cardboard boxes we were quickly trying to exchange between owners, until just as we finished, it was gone.  And just as weird about how quick this came and turned everything white, was how quick it disappeared without a trace. (except for all the soggy boxes)  We were too busy rushing to get a photo, sorry.

 

Here are the scooters Adam brought in with this container.

 

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Eventually, we made it home and unloaded car from the trailer - here it is parked among friends.

 

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Thanks again Jeff for loaning me the trailer!

 

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Here are the first photos of the car and parts on March 30th, 2020, first day home.

 

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You can see the boxes are still wet!

 

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I got to see my new wheels for the first time!

 

large.03302020_slowpoke_(33).JPG.6aaf56b

 

In back L to R

Work Equip 03

SSR Mk 3

Work Equip Excel Casting 4H

 

in front L to R

Eagle Racing

Work Equip Excel Casting 4H

Hero Shuttle Racing

 

And a pair of Recaro LX (LS?) seats to be revealed later

 

large.03302020_slowpoke_(34).JPG.a4193f0

 

Spares / repair parts that came with the car.  I didn't realize they were sending a fender with it.  Ooops.  I had already ordered one from Futofab.

 

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Methinks I have allot of work to do...

 

 

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We already know the tires don't hold air.  And in the process of trying to get the car off the trailer and into a parking spot, we found the brakes don't work either.  I put fluid in the master cylinder and it became pretty obvious where the problem was.

 

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Battery was dead too so we'll put that on the charger and see what's up...

 

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Meanwhile - more pictures:

 

Not a spec of rust.  Just some dirt.  Incredible!

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Check out that tool kit!

 

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Everything back in place

 

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And that's about it for now...

 

Sleep tight little Bluebird.

 

Oh yeah, by the way, "Slowpoke"...

 

The family actually named the car at some point in the day over text as Brenda was sending pics around to the kids.  The name mainly had to do with how long it took to get here.  Works for me.  It was certainly a big part of the story so far.

 

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"Slowpoke" you guys come up with the greatest names. For my 510 wagon, my wife is advocating for "picnic", as in picnic basket and it IS brown and square, but I lean towards "brick"  although one of my previous 510 sedans was named brick so kinda undecided. Dave Carroll calls this "Annie's wagon" for a previous owner.

 

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But this is 2020 and we have a story to catch up on...

 

April 1st my battery charger told me my battery was dead.  Didn't believe it at first but it wasn't foolin' around.  I looked into getting another "pencil post" battery from a Prius or something but figured I'd be better served by a standard US type battery since I'm always swapping them around from datsun to datsun.  Needed to measure for some replacement battery cables then.

 

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The next Saturday I finally had an opportunity to really look and see what I bought.

 

I had to air up the tires again so it didn't look too derelict in the photos.  : )

 

This is the best angle for the moment - no glaring flaws.

 

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Glad the hood (and the rest of the front end) was not damaged in the accident.

 

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Well, except for the bumper, and the headlight door, and the... oh, never mind!

 

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Only real rust I could find on the car was the lower edge of the front and rear valences.

 

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Nothing beyond the surface - although the entire underside of the car has been treated at some point to a lacquer-like undercoating.

 

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Good shape for sure!

 

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The not so perfect view

 

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Besides the wrinkly outer flange, the inner fender well is slightly mis-shapen here.  Might be tough to get back into perfect shape.  At least with my limited experience and tool set.

 

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Most of this will be invisible I suppose once a replacement fender is mounted - but I'd still like to fix it eventually.

 

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Perfect frame rails!

 

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I assume it was a glancing blow - some scratches down the side of the car tell some of the story.  Mostly superficial but the door skins did do some flexing.

 

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Not even a hint of rocker rot

 

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Pagan floors (not holy)

 

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Racing stripes?

 

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It's not awesome but it put the car in my price range so I can't complain.

 

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Looking better around the corner.  I LOVE '71 Bluebird tail lights.

 

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One more time, a little lower...

 

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The only other slight bit of rust

 

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Nothing says luxury like a deLuxe badge!

 

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Garnish fading a bit but otherwise in excellent shape

 

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Cracked right lens.  Anyone have a spare?

 

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Rear window has a cool translucent insert called a "Magic Curtain".  It tints the window and has sweet metallic speckles - perfect for a deLuxe car like this!

 

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Commemorative sticker has seen better days.  It's for the Fairlady anyway so I won't feel too bad about removing it later.

 

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Turns out this is for a clock shop.  The car must have belonged to the owners?

 

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Of course, Slowpoke would belong to a clock shop!  : )

 

More of the good side

 

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Awesome rockers!

 

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I think this is the Japanese version of the OK sticker that you used to find on US cars

 

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DELUXE fender badge and flag mirror

 

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fender gap.  : )

 

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Yes it is!  : )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Can't wait to see what you do - so many wheels, too few cars.

 

All 510's are bricks, so a bit uncreative name nowadays me thinks. Maybe I should ask the forum for a name, and hopefully not get too many Boaty McBoatface sugggestions.

 

Cheers,

Michael

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In my experience, names happen.  They shouldn't be forced.  If it's a brick it's a brick.  Run with it.  If you wife likes the picknick basket, go for it.  Always good to get wife support! 

 

Now then, the Saturday walk around continues, shall we go inside?

 

You wouldn't know it by the smell but the paint on the door says this guy was a smoker!

 

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Note the carpeted lower door panel - signature DX, GL Bluebird stuff.  Their option list was MASSIVE in Japan.  Not sue what all the double sided tape was for.

 

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Minty dash!  Check out those floor mat covers.  I've actually seen them on other cars from Japan now.  Must be somewhat popular?  Maybe just added by the dealers to protect the original mats?

 

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Headliner all there - along with grab handles - You need those with all the cornering force an L14 powered 510 on 4 1/2" steelies can generate  : )

 

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Note the silver painted binnacle "trim"

 

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Bluebird air vents.  Did you know they aren't really hooked up to anything?  They just redirect air from the main box flowing from under the dash.  Kind of funny...

 

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Parcel shelf

 

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All the door panels (except drivers) were covered with plastic - along with the sun visors and headrests.  I don't think any of this is factory.  I believe it is a service you can have performed at some point in the cars life - kind of like the plastic cover grandma put on her davenport so grandpa's dirty flannel shirt wouldn't leave a mark on her vintage floral upholstery.

 

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rear bench in great shape but a bit of mildew to clean up

 

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And another extra floor mat in the foot well

 

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