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1970 240Z Works Rally - the road to restoration


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@HS30-H Interesting to see the tubes. Did they run the studded tires with tubes? How about the regular tires?  I also ask because tubes tend to give the tires that "rounded profile" look when mounted, and I've always felt that the XP44 tires appear to have a sidewall bulge in some period pictures, indicative of their use.  

Also, I must say that some of my Kobe Seikos (both the real and the replica mags) do not hold air for long.  In 2-3 weeks time, at least one tire is low.

 

 

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These are the best magazines to know about the works rally car for me.  They contained the best interview for the depth of works rally car spoken by the general manager Mr. Namba and the team manager Mr.Wakabayashi. 

I am curious about were there any magazines available which described about Nissan works rally cars just like those Japanese publications outside of Japan ? If not , some one should interpret it because a lot of information there. I would like to try but will be a huge homework.

Kats

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An interesting book , ‘Service information about Tubeless tire ‘ March 1970 , Nissan Moto co.ltd. Like Alan said ,Nissan was pushing Tubeless tire more than before . This book describes so many advantages of Tubeless tires against tire with tube , a figure is showing air leak of Tubeless vs Tube . 
Another figure is showing the reason of punctuation, at that time Japanese road was not good condition, it said nails were the highest cause of the punctuation.

And an interesting thing is , service for punctuation a several method for each of tire manufacturer .

Sorry for off topic .

Kats

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7 hours ago, kats said:

These are the best magazines to know about the works rally car for me.  They contained the best interview for the depth of works rally car spoken by the general manager Mr. Namba and the team manager Mr.Wakabayashi. 

I am curious about were there any magazines available which described about Nissan works rally cars just like those Japanese publications outside of Japan ? If not , some one should interpret it because a lot of information there. I would like to try but will be a huge homework.

I agree about the period Japanese magazines. They are very technical and the access to major players such as Namba san and Takashi 'Waka' Wakabayashi san gave a great behind-the-scenes insight. I still think they held back on some of their activities though. Always lots of secrets!

Auto Technic magazine's 'Rally & Rally' special editions were superb. See if you can seek out the 74-11 edition.

The European magazines did get hold of some cars to test. Autocar magazine (UK) were allowed to borrow Rauno Aaltonen's 1970 RAC Rally car '695' after the event, and clearly it was very tired. Not surprising really. The journalists didn't seem to know too much about the spec of the car and the team probably didn't tell them much either. There are some mistakes and misapprehensions in the article.

Echappement magazine (France) tested Aaltonen's 1971 Monte Carlo Rallye car '985' and it is a little light on detail and spec but has some great photos.

Autorevue magazine (Holland) got hold of '988' (just after it had been used as a Recce/Fast Service chase car on the 1971 Monte) and similarly it is a little light on detail, with some nice photos. 

 

I think the team staff were playing their cards close to their chests with regard to some of the details of the cars. Perhaps understandably.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

We arrived at JCCS Long Beach yesterday to monsoon conditions (LA-style, meaning constant drizzle, 90 degree temperatures, and 15MPH winds - oh, the horror!).   It was just a bit too windy to set up the booth, and we didn't want to take a chance that all of our newly-made display posters would end up scattered across the show field by morning.  Since the car has a number of holes in it from prior uses, we shoved it under the tent for the time being, as the forecasters promised a few good downpours during the night.The weather should be relatively rain-free today, so we're arriving at 6AM to set up, and should be ready by showtime.  If there are any fans of the Z at the show today, I hope you come by and say hello.

Here's an overview piece written by Ben Hsu.

https://japanesenostalgiccar.com/1971-datsun-240z-rallye-monte-carlo-a-history-lost-now-found/

 

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Edited by xs10shl
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7 hours ago, xs10shl said:

Not sure why the article's author thinks " Nissan’s rallying saga needs and deserves a lot more recognition in the US". Nissan never rallied a car in the USA and pretty much left any racing to the teams competing in the USA like BRE and Sharp. Would have been cool for Nissan to send a 240Z rally car to compete in the Baja race but BRE did that for them as well.  https://classicmotorsports.com/articles/bres-baja-datsun-240z-kisses-asphalt-goodbye/

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1 hour ago, SpeedRoo said:

Not sure why the article's author thinks " Nissan’s rallying saga needs and deserves a lot more recognition in the US". Nissan never rallied a car in the USA and pretty much left any racing to the teams competing in the USA like BRE and Sharp.

'Planet USA' thinking. By inference, nobody outside the USA would need to take any notice of what BRE and Sharp were doing locally then?

Nissan's Works team rally activities were undertaken on the WORLD stage in competition with the other manufacturer Works teams. Anybody with an interest in world-level motorsport would understand this as significant. Ben is saying that this is largely unrecognised in the USA, especially with regard to the content and specs of the cars involved, and I concur.

Nissan never rallied a car in the USA because there was no World class rallying event in the USA to take part in.

 

1 hour ago, SpeedRoo said:

Would have been cool for Nissan to send a 240Z rally car to compete in the Baja race but BRE did that for them as well.

Not exactly a shining success, was it?

And I'd dispute the 'for them' part too. The attention BRE gave to the Baja style events was purely its own. Nissan was concentrating its Works efforts on the Big Three world-class events - the E.A. Safari Rally, The Rallye Monte Carlo and the RAC Rally - through the 1960s, 70s and 80s as standalone events and also - from 1970 - as part of the FIA International Championship of Makes. 

Manufacturer-backed local activities in the USA were best undertaken by locally-based teams. Why have a dog and bark yourself?       

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THE USA was Nissan's biggest market for the 240Z, you would think they would have been interested in competing here so yes definitely "Planet USA" thinking. Maybe they weren't good enough to compete here, realised that and left it to the USA teams to make the car successful in racing in their most important market. Mind you the initial 240Zs weren't up to the task with the faulty crankshafts supplied from Japan for the first 3607 odd cars imported.

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50 minutes ago, SpeedRoo said:

Maybe they weren't good enough to compete here, realised that and left it to the USA teams to make the car successful in racing in their most important market.

Nissan's most important market was then - as it still is - the Japanese market.

Do you honestly think that Nissan were "not good enough to compete" in the USA's local, SCCA-sanctioned events? How about the possibility that they didn't even consider it as necessary? What other actual manufacturer team was directly involved in C-Production at the time? As far as I'm aware, none. All the manufacturers were represented/supported by distributor-supported local teams. Nothing wrong with that, and it makes total sense. Like I said, why have a dog and bark yourself?

 

1 hour ago, SpeedRoo said:

Mind you the initial 240Zs weren't up to the task with the faulty crankshafts supplied from Japan for the first 3607 odd cars imported.

Oh, you mean the crankshafts that were penny-pinched to meet the "Thanks Mr K!" recommended retail price?

Good job that BRE "discovered" that and "told Japan", huh?  

I have a very nice bridge here that you really should buy.    

 

 

 

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Let me get this right, Nissan in Japan builds the car in Japan with a faulty crankshaft and sends it to the USA. But it was the fault of Nissan USA who are owned by Nissan Japan that the cranks were fitted to the cars, not Nissan Japan's fault. Wow have I got some great water front real estate in Florida that would be perfect for you!

The USA was Nissan's most important overseas market, how's that....happy now?

So the USA is their most important overseas market yet you think they didn't consider it necessary to compete here; yet they thought it more important, according to you statements, to compete in rallies in Africa, Monaco and the UK where they sold very few cars (in relative terms) and a lot less than in the USA. I love your blinkered view of the world where Japan is so superior and the USA is a country of uneducated hicks.

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6 hours ago, Patcon said:

Im not sure this discussion furthers the forum...

It might actually be beneficial to hear views from people like SpeedRoo, however half-baked they may be. Maybe we can help him straighten it out a little?

 

7 hours ago, SpeedRoo said:

Let me get this right, Nissan in Japan builds the car in Japan with a faulty crankshaft and sends it to the USA.

  "Faulty"? How many early L24 crankshafts failed in normal - road - use? The use for which they were designed? 

 

7 hours ago, SpeedRoo said:

But it was the fault of Nissan USA who are owned by Nissan Japan that the cranks were fitted to the cars, not Nissan Japan's fault.

 

Why was the early L24 crankshaft designed and manufactured in the way that it was? You might think different, but I have a hunch that Nissan knew how to design and manufacture a crankshaft properly. We already know that there were problems meeting the required kerb weight and costing of the HLS30U variants (that costing due to an unusually low retail pricing target set by NMC USA) so where to pinch? 

Personally I'd say that whole subject is a lot less black and white than you want to paint it. And the story of BRE having "discovered" the counterweighting issue and given feedback "to Japan" and therefore solving the issue is for the birds. 

 

7 hours ago, SpeedRoo said:

The USA was Nissan's most important overseas market, how's that....happy now?

 

Happier, thanks (tee hee). You get the point though, right? Nissan - like any Japanese company - takes its home market very seriously. Sometimes people make it sound as though they only existed to feed the USA with cheap cars and trucks, but Nissan's aims were global. Hence we are talking here about a car they built to compete in a world championship European rally, a factor that was taken into account on the drawing board, indeed.

 

7 hours ago, SpeedRoo said:

So the USA is their most important overseas market yet you think they didn't consider it necessary to compete here...

 

On the contrary. Of course they thought it important. That's why NMC USA supported racing in the way it did.

How would you have proposed they took part more directly? Factory-built race cars shipped from Japan to take part in local SCCA C-Production races in the different divisions? Or maybe setting up a satellite factory race shop in the USA (or maybe one for the East Coast and one for the West, maybe more...)? It becomes increasingly unlikely the more you think about it.

No, the way they went about racing in the USA made perfect sense. Private race teams and private individual racers benefitting from national distributor support was the way to do it. Direct factory team presence would have been disruptive and counter-productive even if there was any possibility of it being logistically feasible, which there wasn't.  

For Japanese domestic racing and selected international events Nissan could of course take a more direct approach. The car we are discussing here is an example of that. 

 

7 hours ago, SpeedRoo said:

...yet they thought it more important, according to you statements, to compete in rallies in Africa, Monaco and the UK where they sold very few cars (in relative terms) and a lot less than in the USA.

 

As I've mentioned, Nissan was taking a world view for its activities. That's why it was in Australia before it was in the USA and Canada. That's why it was in Africa. That's why it was in Europe. This wasn't just about selling a few hundred thousand sports cars. 

I don't know why you find it so difficult to understand how important those 'Big Three' international events - the East African Safari Rally, the Rallye Monte Carlo and the RAC Rally - were to Nissan. It might be possible that one or two people got out of bed and went to work at Nissan Japan whilst dreaming of Bob Sharp winning Sunday's SCCA C-production race at Cumberland, but I somehow doubt it. The farmer in Angola didn't buy his little Datsun truck because he was swayed by the result of a race at Bridgehampton.

 

7 hours ago, SpeedRoo said:

I love your blinkered view of the world where Japan is so superior and the USA is a country of uneducated hicks.

That's not my view at all. However, there's certainly the occasional whiff of the opposite view from yourself here and there. 

 

This recent exchange was prompted by your reaction to the assertion that Nissan's international rallying activities are underappreciated in the USA but, ironically, your reaction serves to prove the point. Why would Nissan have to compete in a USA-based road rally event (not that there was one...) in order for people in the USA to take notice? Are you saying that results of the Safari, Monte and RAC are not of any interest or relevance in the USA? If so, maybe we need to check who is wearing those blinkers you mentioned? Personally, I'd like to give a little more benefit of the doubt. There has always been a hard core of world motorsports enthusiasts in the USA who know what's what, and it is reciprocated.  

 

This weekend the subject of this thread was on display at the show in Long Beach. I feel sure it will pique the interest and curiosity of many attendees. The owner is certainly dedicated to the task of helping us all to understand the car and its context more fully, and I am cheering him on with that.     

 

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Edited by HS30-H
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19 hours ago, SpeedRoo said:

Let me get this right, Nissan in Japan builds the car in Japan with a faulty crankshaft and sends it to the USA.

I've spoken to my long-time Nissan mechanic about this very question.  His opinion is that the crankshafts were not at all faulty for road-going cars -  they were perfectly acceptable when driven in normal, road-going use. But they were not correctly counter-balanced for high-RPM use.  He did mention that he's rebuilt engines from low-vin cars with 6-figure mileage on them that contain the non-counterbalanced cranks.  I'd venture to say there's confusion between "faulty" and "fitness for expected use"? 

I'll stop talking about this now - I'm not really helping things - but this conversation was fresh in my mind as I just had it yesterday, before I saw all these posts about it. 

Edited by xs10shl
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So Nissan provides the early 240Z to race teams in the USA expecting them to go racing with them. The engines are prepared for race use and high-rpm use and Nissan doesn't tell them the crankshaft is not fit for the purpose. The cars race, the crankshaft breaks yet you want us to think it's not Nissan's fault. Realising there is a problem they then change the crankshaft and fit it to all cars going forward rather than using the one you state has "fitness for expected use". Sorry not buying that explanation whatsoever. Wonder which crankshaft the rally 240Z were fitted with?

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12 hours ago, HS30-H said:

 

Nissan-Monte-poster-1.jpg

If I may be selfish for the moment and bring the topic away from crankshafts, I'd like to point out that this is actually #70 - if one looks closely, one can see the "6" in the carnet plate, where there should have been a "5" for car #62.

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This point about Nissan's efforts in WRC and IMC is IMHO very much on topic, and I'm happy to contribute.  In my research for my exhibit this past weekend, it was quite interesting to see exactly how large an effort Nissan put into competing at the EAS specifically.  Barely a decade after the Mobilgas Trial, Nissan showed up to the EAS with a veritable fleet of P510s, and took 6 out of the top 13 spots.  They then won it in 1970, 71,  73, 79, 80, 81, and 82, with the last few years arguably being Nissan's most successful rallying years ever.

As is indicative from the enormous capital resources Nissan must have poured into the Works teams, they clearly coveted winning specific FIA rallies. Now, I myself am not in a position to say whether that was a smart or poor use of marketing Yen from an economic standpoint, but I'm very glad they made the effort!

I made up some rudimentary overview slides for the exhibit, highlighting 8 rally cars and their achievements, which can be downloaded from my site for any who are interested in that sort of thing.  Here's what the exhibit looked like, with pictures attached.

I'll add at this point that I'm absolutely 100% certain, based on the receipts in my possession and the sleepless nights over the past few days, additionally factoring in the mental toll I endured and cash outlay I spent in getting this exhibit ready, including hotel and travel costs, opportunity costs at work, and family time at home- that producing this exhibit was a certifiably INSANELY POOR DECISION from an economic and mental health standpoint.  But hey, I had an absolute blast at the show - it was probably a unique opportunity in my lifetime to do something like this -  so the marginal utility was sky-high!

 

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Edited by xs10shl
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1 hour ago, SpeedRoo said:

So Nissan provides the early 240Z to race teams in the USA expecting them to go racing with them. The engines are prepared for race use and high-rpm use and Nissan doesn't tell them the crankshaft is not fit for the purpose. The cars race, the crankshaft breaks yet you want us to think it's not Nissan's fault. Realising there is a problem they then change the crankshaft and fit it to all cars going forward rather than using the one you state has "fitness for expected use". Sorry not buying that explanation whatsoever. Wonder which crankshaft the rally 240Z were fitted with?

  Was the crankshaft debacle a recall of some but not all 240 crankshafts? I had always assumed that they replaced all of them but perhaps it was only after a failure. Circa 1973 I went to the Nissan headquarters In Beaverton, Oregon with a friend who worked there. One of my memories was a surprisingly large pile (accurate description) of six cylinder crankshafts laying (thrown) in the corner. I asked about the sloppy storage of the crankshafts and he told me about the balance problem back then.

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18 hours ago, HS30-H said:

As I've mentioned, Nissan was taking a world view for its activities. That's why it was in Australia before it was in the USA and Canada. That's why it was in Africa. That's why it was in Europe. This wasn't just about selling a few hundred thousand sports cars.

I really think so too Alan . I have to wait to get like button until tomorrow.

Kats

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4 hours ago, xs10shl said:

This point about Nissan's efforts in WRC and IMC is IMHO very much on topic, and I'm happy to contribute.  In my research for my exhibit this past weekend, it was quite interesting to see exactly how large an effort Nissan put into competing at the EAS specifically.  Barely a decade after the Mobilgas Trial, Nissan showed up to the EAS with a veritable fleet of P510s, and took 6 out of the top 13 spots.  They then won it in 1970, 71,  73, 79, 80, 81, and 82, with the last few years arguably being Nissan's most successful rallying years ever.

As is indicative from the enormous capital resources Nissan must have poured into the Works teams, they clearly coveted winning specific FIA rallies. Now, I myself am not in a position to say whether that was a smart or poor use of marketing Yen from an economic standpoint, but I'm very glad they made the effort!

I made up some rudimentary overview slides for the exhibit, highlighting 8 rally cars and their achievements, which can be downloaded from my site for any who are interested in that sort of thing.  Here's what the exhibit looked like, with pictures attached.

I'll add at this point that I'm absolutely 100% certain, based on the receipts in my possession and the sleepless nights over the past few days, additionally factoring in the mental toll I endured and cash outlay I spent in getting this exhibit ready, including hotel and travel costs, opportunity costs at work, and family time at home- that producing this exhibit was a certifiably INSANELY POOR DECISION from an economic and mental health standpoint.  But hey, I had an absolute blast at the show - it was probably a unique opportunity in my lifetime to do something like this -  so the marginal utility was sky-high!

 

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Great exhibition! I am sure your efforts will be rewarded . It is a wonderful thing that people don’t need to visit Nissan gallery in Japan to see a real Works rally car with historic displays. 
I have two old films , 1958 Australian rally, and 1970 Safari rally. I wish I have them digitalized so I can show you. 
I am so sorry they are not about 240Z , but may help to understand what Nissan did for international rally.

Kats

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Wow @kats if you ever get those digitized, I'd love to watch it!  I also am smitten with @HS30-H's  idea of a Rallye Monte-Carlo exhibit with real fake snow.  I'd have to find a set of studded snow tires to go along with it.  I'll be a challenge to pull it off at JCCS, where temps reached 100 of Friday afternoon, not least because there would be a mad rush by show-goers for some ice cubes in an effort to cool down!

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9 hours ago, xs10shl said:

If I may be selfish for the moment and bring the topic away from crankshafts, I'd like to point out that this is actually #70 - if one looks closely, one can see the "6" in the carnet plate, where there should have been a "5" for car #62.

That's why I posted it!

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