The Path to Shakotan, My Daily Driven Project – Part One.



The need to fill the void of not having a car you want to modify or restore is an issue for anyone whose number one passion is of the automotive variety. So when I sold my last daily driven project, (a VL Commodore for those who remember it) I temporarily had to put up with the bore of a ‘97 Honda Sedan, no offence to Honda owners – it just wasn’t really my thing. Then this came up, a one owner, seemingly always garaged and looked after Series Three 1985 Nissan Bluebird – or Datsun 910 for anyone north of the equator.

Below; The Japanese plate is just a cool addition to any Japanese car and gets bolted to the front for car shows. My plate hails from the Kyoto area.


With the Honda gone, the attention turned to getting the Bluebird registered, as ideas upon ideas of how to modify it constantly flowed through the back of my mind, I had a general idea, just knowing where to start was the issue, but more on that later. About a month after purchasing it, with the minor roadworthy issues fixed, and the registration paid it, I drove it straight from the Vicroads offices, into the garage at home and lowered the car all round by about 5 inches.

I was so glad I once again had a ‘driving project’, next mod up was to get tyres for the 8×15” steel wheels I had for the car, so around two hours after paying the registration, transferring the car into my name and dropping the ride height, I was heading back the road, where a minor water leak from a heater hose behind the dash quickly became a major water leak, resulting in the car rapidly overheating, blowing the head gasket, cracking the block and left myself once again with no car and a 2 hour walk home.

Below; The bent rear number plate is a subtle take on what many Japanese ‘Bosozoku’ and Shakotan cars run as a way of avoiding police detection.

Finally, one month after the head gasket going, it was replaced, it was also Christmas Eve and I was eagerly waiting to throw on the aforementioned steel wheels which now had tyres and taking my new daily come project car for it’s first proper drive when the call came through.. “yeah, we got it running, which is the good news… the bad news? The block is cracked and you still have water pouring into the oil”

Well to cut a long story a little shorter, another month of searching for a replacement carbied CA20 engine went by and with desperation creeping on, an injected CA20 was purchased, converted back to carby with only minor modifications and I finally got it back.

Below; Although not in anyway Japanese related, I think the 4th Edition copy of a Melway is a kinda cool addition.

The path to true Japanese Shakotan style is a long one when you’re on a budget and this car is far from that, it’s a constant work in progress and at the moment would likely be considered to be more USDM in styling than JDM but it’ll get there, with plans for 14” Japanese wheels, Shakotan longnose front styling, much more low and a manual gearbox to begin with. This 910 is only at the start of what will be a slow tedious journey but that’s half the fun, isn’t it?

Part two coming soon.

Below; Many Japanese Kaido Racer or Shakotan cars run images of the Playboy Bunny. I’m unsure of exactly why but as an inside  joke  most likely.

Below; Mirrors look familiar? They’re GT teardrops, a factory option on XY GT Falcons.

Below; The mesh indicator covers are homemade by me but similar ones are seen on many Shakotan cars throughout Japan, they were cut out of a heat guard from an old coonara (woodfire heater). 

Below; Finally, my son’s car seat matches the interior of one of my cars.



Below; The blue light is just a ‘running light’, usually seen in red on many Japanese and Korean cars from the factory as a way of being able to spot the car from behind in thick fog. Most Kaido Racers and Shakotan cars run blue or purple, just to be different more than anything.  

The car is also quite loud , running a 1 and quarter inch straight pipe. Fun in tunnels, not so much for other road users.Picture7813


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