Friday Video: The Datsuns of New Zealand’s Shellsport Series

There’s an island nation halfway around the world where Sunnys and Starlets were regularly raced in a premier racing series back in the late 1970s. Fans flocked to see these small-displacement machines battle it out, and the cars achieved such legendary status that today many of them are being restored to period correctness and livery. Oh, and they all spoke English (sorta). That island is New Zealand, and the cars were part of the Shellsport Series.

Widened Steels is a great little doc about some of the most renowned Datsun Cherrys, B310s, and Bluebirds that took part in series. It combines great vintage racing tape — you can even spot some Mitsubishi Galant GTOs in the infield and a sanitora track vehicle — with modern footage of what the cars look like today. The series was so beloved that there’s even talk about reviving it today. Watch it after the jump. (hat tip:beeoneoneoh)

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16 Responses to Friday Video: The Datsuns of New Zealand’s Shellsport Series

  1. Tj said:

    Awww man, I’m so jealous of the way that New Zealand embraced Japanese cars in the 70′s and 80′s and the access they had to them.
    There were so many great cars released there that we never got here in Australia.

    • PowerTryp said:

      Hey mate, just beglad that you’re not here in Canada where we’re just now getting the awesome Japanese cars.

      • Krzysiu said:

        Or even here in the US where maybe 1% of the enthusiast population will ever be able to get them. I’m green with envy. Enjoy them so that we in the states may live vicariously through you.

  2. Nigel said:

    There where some crazy 910′s and Sunny’s in this series.
    The Datsuns were very often the winners.
    (I hope the series returns).

  3. OliverR32 said:

    Wish I’d live in NZ

  4. MAERSK said:

    Can’t find episode #1. A little help guys?

  5. Olzed said:

    Baypark raceway is now a housing estate. Such a shame.

  6. Tyler said:

    Wonderful. I’ve always wondered why someone would race that F10. Sounds like it must have been extensively built.

  7. Curan Loh said:

    NZ is an amazing place for such old Japanese cars. There is a strong movement here in the appreciation of such cars – namely among the younger set. In particular, early 70s to early 80s (pre fwd) models such as Corollas, 120Ys (Sunny), Lancers, Starlets. There is also a strong rotary movement here dominated by 70s Mazdas. Honda is not well represented from the 70s and 80s but there is loyal following of their later V-tec models (Civic, integra,, Prelude). I myself have a 1975 Toyota Corona Mk 2 which is quite rare here.

    Kia Ora from New Zealand!

  8. solidstripe said:

    Hahaha, awesome! The narrator sounds like Newsboy.

    Great footage, too.

    Is that Peter Williams at the begining? He’s still doing the news!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7z-uB6X32ig

    You know he’s cool cause he reads the news in his sneakers.

    RIP Baypark….

  9. sp57 said:

    thanks for the video, its really helps / inspire me =]

  10. Tom Westmacott said:

    Great video, thanks for the link! Seems to have been a great series, love seeing the cars move around on track like that.

    I wonder how they avoided one rich guy or someone with factory backing coming along with a super-tuned car and dominating ?

  11. Nick said:

    I love seeing stuff like this the J-tin(anything old) movement is well supported here in NZ! its a sad day if you don’t see at least 1 old school car rolling around! the only problem is finding good original examples! they are normally in big need of resto or rolling on dodgy(see cut springs) suspension and wearing stupidly large modern wheels!
    I recently brought a molested KE26 and am slowly turning that around into something more period correct!

  12. Kevin Truong said:

    A bit of a history right here…

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