Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Datsun 1600 SSS

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

The venerable Datsun 510 has been enjoying something of a renaissance recently. You may well have seen Nissan’s sensationally retro-futuristic IDx concept that broke cover at the 2014 Tokyo Motor Show – this owed an unashamed debt to the iconic three-box styling of the old Datsun, and the Nismo variant proudly wore the race colours that the BRE 510s rocked back in the early seventies.
The reason that the model is so celebrated in the US and Japan these days is pretty much the same as Britain’s fondness for the MkI Ford Cortina, or France’s for the Renault 8: it was a simple, inexpensive, utilitarian device in road form, and was transformed into a fire-snorting, conquering hero for the race track and rally stage. Today, the appeal of a lightweight retro Datsun with crisp, simple styling and rear-wheel drive is hard to ignore.

This particular example is owned by Aziz Tejpar, a UK businessman who also happens to own the iconic LAR 801P MkII Escort, and you see it bouncing through the dust at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed. It was originally built for Rauno Aaltonen, and remained in Finland right up until a few weeks before the FoS, when Tejpar had it imported. He's not afraid to use it either - it was made for rally abuse, and that's exactly what it's experiencing here; in fact, that's his daughter you can see at the wheel, getting the thing nice and dusty. Splendid.

More from the 2015 FoS here.

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