Spotlight Feature – A Rally Spec’ Datsun 710 at Motorclassica.

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To follow on from where I started in regards to Motorclassica in my last post; what a show, seriously I’m sure even had I attended for the three days of which MC runs I still wouldn’t have been able to see and take in everything, certainly not in detail anyway. The Australian International Concours d’Elegance, the only Concours show of its size in the country and where else would it be but Melbourne’s own Royal Exhibition Building. Worthy of a feature in its own right, the Royal Exhibition Building was constructed for the International Exhibition of 1880 and designed by Architect Joseph Reed. Constructed primarily of sandstone and topped with a huge dome said to be inspired by the Florence Cathedral, the Exhibition building is now the centre piece of the Carlton Gardens, slightly north of the Melbourne CBD. Amongst other things, 136 years following its inception it now annually plays host to the greatest car show in the country.

Okay, well calling Motorclassica a car show is probably a little understated because it’s more of a lifestyle show. Not only can you view in person almost every classic unobtanium car you can imagine – and some you can’t, in a relaxed, laid back atmosphere without the intrusion of the ‘we don’t trust anyone velvet ropes’. But you can also arrange your insurance, speak to those in the know about hard to find parts for almost any car you can think of, pick up some genuine rare antiques, book a holiday, or hang around for the auction on Saturday night and if fortunate enough, take home a little piece of automotive history for yourself. Like how about an XY GTHO Phase III Falcon for an estimated auction price of $450,000? Yeah me either but we’ll get to that and more of what was on offer in the auction a little later.

It was almost overwhelming as to how much there was to take in this year. I’m not sure if me having a 2 year absence from Motorclassica means that I just simply forgot how much was there or whether there genuinely was a whole lot more there this year than on my last visit. But overwhelming was probably an understatement because I certainly didn’t get a chance to look at every car or bike, nor get a photo of every car but to be honest that was never and rarely ever is the plan, so I focused on what took my interest and what stood out to me personally. There was also a huge bike display up on the mezzanine but I don’t think I took one photo of a bike (I’m still working through all the photos) and not taking any photos of the bikes isn’t because I recently added ‘Auto Culture’ to my tagline. Bike content will still remain here on Highstyle, in fact I shot a quick spotlight feature of a bike only last week, but that may not be coming up on here for quite a while. Slight deviation but speaking of the recent name change, I’m still working on getting my site store together and T’s and stickers will shortly be available in a limited quantity so need Christmas ideas..?

Anyway because I more or less don’t know where to start with Motorclassica content and I’m still working through the photos, I figured I’d make my first post a quick spotlight of this rally spec’ 710. Parked outside and surrounded by classic Mercedes’ of many different models; the Datsun was one of the first cars which stood out to me and these shots were taken before I’d even entered the doors of the Royal Exhibition Building… probably a good thing because I may not have made it back to it otherwise, I really need to invest in a spare battery for my 60D.

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As rare as they are today in Australia, the Datsun/Nissan Violet or 710 is sort of the forgotten coupe in the early Datsun line up, I think I’ve seen more modified and appropriated 910 coupes than 710’s, and that’s a pretty bold statement in itself, but for the Southern Cross International Rally of 1977, there were at least 5 of these purpose built machines.

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This one you see here is ex-Works 710SSS #3, the overall victory car of the aforementioned rally. Photos of the car from 2008 show it sitting in an unrestored state in a private Datsun collection in Japan. At some point between then and now it appears to have made its way to Australia and has been painstakingly restored to pre-rally condition. Powered by a works built four-valve DOHC LZ engine, which was based on a factory L-series engine and fitted with twin 50mm Solex carburettors and dry sump, is capable of 230bhp. Power is fed through a 5 speed manual gearbox and to the wheels via an LSD differential.

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The interior appeared to have been modestly fitted out for street use with reupholstered black leather bucket seats but still retained original items from its rally days such as the Halda Twinmaster tripmeter, easy access dash mounted fuse box and 3 spoke Momo Prototipo steering wheel. The 710 sits on 14” ex-Works Enkei wheels, wrapped in 185/65/14 all terrain tyres, and tucked under bolt on Works flares.

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Stay tuned or click ‘follow’ to see more from Motorclassica coming soon.

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