Bucking the Trend - How Australia fell in love with the 240z

When Mr Yataka Katayama was employed by Nissan Motor Company back in 1960, he was tasked with marketing a car to the lucrative US market that strayed from the company’s roots of producing no-frills transportation to the local Japanese market. After failing throughout much of the sixties to produce the car that would penetrate the US market, in 1966 development began on a project named ‘Z’.

The aim for project ‘Z’ was to produce a car that was powerful, comfortable, had great handling characteristics, looked nothing like a typical Japanese car of the time and it had to be affordable! After 3 years of development, the Datsun 240z was released to the US public in 1969 featuring a SOHC 2.4 litre six-cylinder power plant, disc brakes upfront and independent suspension. Whilst none of those features individually were particularly ground-breaking at the time, the 240z was the first car to include all of these features in an affordable package

After any initial problems were ironed out, production of a right hand drive 240z commenced in 1970 before being distributed around the world. The Datsun 240z proved immediately popular amongst car enthusiasts in Australia and has developed somewhat of a cult following in the decades since. Powerful rear-wheel drive cars have always proved popular in the Australia market, and the 240z was a way for the average punter to own a car that was quick, even by today’s standards. The 240z was capable of achieving 0-60mph in 8 seconds before accelerating to a top speed of 125mph (201kph).

The 240z was immediately well received in Australia, despite being more expensive than both the Ford GTHO and Cortina. The Japanese 240z benefitted from favourable magazine reviews that in many cases compared the vehicle with miss-matched competition such as the Triumph TR6 and four cylinder offerings from Alfa Romeo and Lancia. These outdated and underpowered cars were no match for Datsun’s comparatively modern 240z.

Datsun’s focus on performance during the production process meant that the 240z proved immensely popular in the aftermarket industry, with the car ultimately proving to be a competitive racing package. Although racing of the 240z in Australia did not take off immediately, it was in the Sports Car Club of America meetings where seeing a 240z leading the pack was becoming all too common. Datsun’s involvement in racing in Australia eventually came in the form of the national Australian Rally Championship, with Ross Dunkerton driving the 240z to a series victory in 1975, and the incoming 260z in 1976 & 1977.

To this day, the Datsun 240z remains a popular option for car collectors and heritage racers alike, with mint condition, un-modified examples selling for north of $50,000AU.

Have you ever owned or driven a 240z? Let us know about your pride and joy on the Rare Spares Facebook page and below in the comments section.

End of model Runout - The Monaro that Almost Was

The Holden Monaro has been one of Australia’s most iconic cars and one that has defined our motoring pedigree as we know it, but there is one model that never carried the great nameplate, and that’s the Holden HX LE Coupe.

The unofficial final model of the original Monaro series that began with the HK in 1968, was the limited edition Holden HX LE coupe and was released on September 27 1976. The car itself was a nod to the Monaro, sharing the same metal work and was adorned with gold pin striping and ‘LE’ lettering on the model's distinctive metallic crimson paint. Although it never officially carried the Monaro name, the fact it was a top end coupe, led Holden fans to regard the car as a true blue member of the family.

There were just 580 examples of the limited edition HX LE Coupe produced and they came fresh from Holden's old Pagewood plant in Sydney. The striking coupe featured double quartz halogen headlights,HX Premier front end, front and rear spoilers and the unique US sourced “Honeycomb” 14x7 inch polycast wheels which completed the package.

The car also features an array of high tech gadgetry that included power windows, power steering, power aerial, integrated air conditioning, heated rear window, quadraphonic eight-track cartridge player and was finished with tinted windows. The passenger compartment of the coupe featured a walnut finish dash fascia and centre console with velour and cloth trim, a mighty luxurious package in 1976.

The HX LE came with Holden's healthy 308ci V8, the Turbo-Hydramatic transmission and a Salisbury limited slip differential, all parts that were considered high performance Monaro essentials. However with Holden’s choice not to name the car officially as a Monaro, the HX LE was essentially the combination of prestige additions and surplus parts.

Although the Holden HX LE Coupe was never officially called a Monaro, it had all the ingredients to wear the name with pride!
But why do you think Holden chose not to name the car a Monaro? Head over the Rare Spares Facebook page and let us know!

Rare Spares Launch New Television Commercials

Rare Spares have launched two new television commercials which will be aired on 7Mate throughout the remainder of the year, so keep an eye out!

The commercials are designed to relate to car enthusiasts and feature old, rusty vehicles being restored back to new from tail to bonnet, with a voice over communicating Rare Spares key messages around their new slogan ‘more than just a part in your project’.

Officially endorsed by Holden and Ford, Rare Spares have two partner programs, ‘Holden Restoration Parts’ and ‘Ford Restoration Parts’. These logos feature prominently in the advertisements, which use a classic Holden and Ford as restoration projects.

The first features an old Holden Monaro being restored to new – Click below To View

http://rarespares.net.au/news/tvcholden.aspx

The second features an old XA Ford Coupe being restored to its former glory – Click below to View 

http://rarespares.net.au/news/tvcford.aspx

 

RARE SPARES….. More than just a part in you project.

Historic Aussie Car Departs For World’s Toughest Race

18. September 2013 18:02 by Rare Spares in   //  Tags: , , , ,   //   Comments (0)

An iconic FJ Holden departed Melbourne this week enroute to Mexico to compete in arguably one of the world’s toughest road races, the La Carrera Panamericana.  It is one of only a handful of times that an Australian car has competed in one of the most famous events in motor racing history.

The FJ, fittingly sporting a racing kangaroo livery, is owned and will be driven by car restoration figure David Ryan and will be co-driven by Greg Stevenson, both from Melbourne.

“The FJ left Melbourne at 1am last Monday on the ‘Bahia Negra’ and after a few stops in New Zealand; it will go through the Panama Canal and will be unloaded in Columbia.  From there it will board another ship for the final stop on the East Coast of Mexico on the 10th October,” said David Ryan.

In something that resembled a TV reality show, the car was packed, along with a full contingency of spare parts, tyres and safety equipment into its shipping container just minutes before it was due to depart – “We have been working on this car for well over eighteen months and it all came down to matter of minutes in the end.  The shipping company had to load the container at 1pm last Friday and we were still loading the car with five minutes to go.  We literally closed the doors with a minute to spare,” Ryan added.

The FJ has been meticulously built by not only Ryan and Stevenson but by some of the biggest names in the automotive industry, Ryan adds “I truly cannot believe the support we have had in building the car.  It has been quite a humbling experience.  It would be unfair to single out any one in particular but I thank each and every person that has spent their own time in helping us achieve our dream”

Ryan and Stevenson will depart Australia on October 16th with La Carrera Panamericana, or Pan Am as it’s affectionately known, kicking off on October 25th from the south eastern Mexican city of Veracruz.  From there it will be a race north for 3,100 gruelling kilometres over eight days.  Over 100 vintage classified cars participate from all over the world and whilst there are official placings, just finishing is seen as a significant accomplishment.

“Competing in the Pan Am will be a lifetime achievement for me.  It’s something that I have promised myself that I will do for a very long time.  My father would always speak about it when I was a kid and the interest just grew from there,” Ryan concluded.

 

Win A Day In The Drivers’ Den with Cameron McConville!


Rare Spares are offering two lucky winners an incredible HSV Drive experience with our Ambassador Cameron McConville.

 

Don’t just meet Cameron McConville, join him for a lap around the track and a full day thrill-seeker experience, learning the tricks of the trade. Improve your skills behind the wheel and enjoy a refreshing lunch with this fantastic prize offering from Rare Spares.

 Valued at over $650 The Day in the Drivers’ Den package includes:

  • The chance to meet Cameron McConville and other top racing drivers

  • Experience the GEN-F range: drive the 430kW GTS, the race-bred ClubSport R8, the tradesman’s nirvana, the Maloo R8, the sophisticated Senator Signature and the ultimate freedom machine, the ClubSport R8 Tourer.

  • Learn new skills around circuit driving, understeer/oversteer, ABS and swerve manoeuvres, seating and steering technique and more.

  • A lap around the track with Cameron McConville

  • A smorgasbord lunch with refreshments throughout the day

                   "The ultimate HSV drive experience is for any thrill seeker looking to enhance their driving skills in an action-packed day on the track" 

Cameron McConville

 To enter this promotion click here!

Entries close 3pm on July 23rd 2013.