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Brand loyalty (excuse to post pics of my cars, haha!)

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  • Brand loyalty (excuse to post pics of my cars, haha!)

    Alright, so I don't usually make these random story time posts so this one might seem a bit disjointed, but I got to thinking about brand loyalty (I know, it hurts to think so it's best I don't do it, haha). So, since I love pictures I'm totally going to do a little car history thing here.

    So the car I learned to drive on was my father's 1964 1/2 Mustang with a 289 and four on the floor. Sweet, sweet car, had my name on it for the car I would take to college, only before I did, I put it on its roof. My dream Mustang totaled by me, ouch.

    Here's a promo picture of one like ours.

    Here's a picture my Dad just sent me of him in it years ago!

    So after that I was down to driving my father's 1947 Ford Super Deluxe 8. Flathead V8 making all of 80 horsepower in a car that weighs roughly the same as a Nimitz class aircraft carrier. She was slow and safe. At the time I totally didn't appreciate the big girl, but now, looking back, I was one lucky kid cause that thing was pure awesome. I don't have any pictures of her from the front, but she looked just like this one only minus the wheel covers over the rear wheels and grey.

    Here she is in the back of the garage. The white Z is my 88SS (which is coming up in a bit) and in the foreground is my dad's Austin Healey 3000 Mk. III (this car is so awesome it'll get a post of it's own some day).

    Here's another of her from the side.

    And one from the inside. Yes that's my family and yes I'm 13 in that picture, haha. But the reason I post this picture isn't so you can make fun of my baby face (although feel free, haha) but to show the epicness of the interior! This picture was taken in time for it's 50th birthday in 1997.

    So to get back to brand loyalty, at this point its looking like I'm pretty Ford focused (focused, see what I did there, hah!) but then something happened. My best friend had, at the time, a 1993 Nissan Maxima. Just the plain Jane one with the VG30E and an auto, but I swear I have never seen anyone beat the piss out of a car as hard as he did. He destroyed that poor car, but, every morning, he'd walk out and it would fire up without even thinking twice.

    So that settled it. I wanted a rear wheel drive sports car with that engine. Kind of limited my options there, but the Z31 is actually an awesome car. So I picked up this baby up. 1987 300ZX n/a.

    Now this car was awesome, but a little nagging part of my brain knew it wasn't the best Z31 I could get. As far as I was concerned the fabled SS version was the best. So the hunt was on. Eventually I found one, flew out to check it out, and bought it on the spot (sold the n/a to help pay for it). She drove home flawlessly and has run without fail (knock on wood) for the last 7 years and 120,000 miles. The car is absolutely amazing. Needless to say, I was hooked on Nissan. I never intended to own anything other than a Nissan. Here she is, as she sits now, doesn't look bad for 180,000 miles!

    I love this car, and I will keep it until I get so old I can't drive it anymore, then I hope to give it my children and let them care for it. However, since I'm now on the other side of the world, she now gets driven regularly by my mother, haha.

    At any rate, back before coming to Japan I stumbled across an FC3S RX-7 for 200 bones. So naturally, I snatched it up. Got it running and quickly became bored with it. It was an n/a so the rotary engine was tough as nails but had no balls. So out came everything, interior, ac, heater, I mean everything. Then, still being bored, I bought an RHD steering rack and converted her over. Being so light weight she was almost as fast as my Z in a straight line, so pretty close to a 15 second flat quarter (that was my best time in my Z31 SS, which is completely bone stock). Then I exploded the clutch on it (doing drag runs in the driveway... we have a very long driveway, haha) and decided to turn it into a track car. Well the project stalled when I picked up another Z (which is coming up next). To be honest though, I never felt the love for this car. I absolutely loved the engine and astronomical revs, but the rest of the car just didn't feel right to me, not sure why. So I may swap a rotary into something in the future, but that was my first and maybe only foray into Mazdas. I really like Mazdas but that brand loyalty thing keeps coming back to me.

    Anyways, here's what she looked like before I sold her to a friend (I was in the process of re-welding the firewall to better align the clutch and brake pedals).

    So while I was working on the FC a friend mailed me with a craigslist ad for a 1971 Fairlady Z in Dallas. I jumped on that deal as fast as I possibly could. Towed it to a friends, and a new fuel pump, spark plugs and some starting fluid later, she was running like a champ. I got a temp plate for it, insured it for a day and drove her two hours to my dad's garage and started a full blown restoration on her. This project also stalled once I got a job here in Japan. Don't worry though, she's covered and inside so as soon as I get back this will start right back up again.

    Now, even in it's rusty state, this car is freaking beautiful. I mean just look at it. If it came to a 432Z or a 2000GT I'd take the 432Z hands down, even though the 2000GT is worth about 200 grand more! This was it, my love for Nissans was completely cemented. I'd be damned if I was going to own anything other than a Nissan again.

    I moved to New York shortly after to complete college and while in New York I was confronted with something that doesn't exist in the great state of Texas... snow. And a whole lot of it. Clearly my precious SS would not do for winter duty. So I set out to find a winter beater. With some scouring I found a $600 Infiniti M30 down in New Jersey. Went and bought it and drove it the 6 hours back without a hitch. By far the scariest part of the whole experience was actually having to go to Jersey, haha (I kid, I kid). This car pulled winter duty beautifully for one winter but during the summer she got lonely and I got bored. These cars in the states only came in automatic, but the engine was my favorite little VG30. So over the summer I swapped her to a manual. First AT to MT swap Ive done, wasn't easy, but sure was a lot of fun. When it came time to move home I sold her to a friend and to this day I regret it. When I get back to the states getting another one of these is definitely a goal of mine.

    This car did teach me one thing though. For whatever need I had, Nissan had the solution. So off I went to Japan in search of classic Nissans. Only when I got here I found out that Nissans are like the exotics here and bloody expensive! I didn't have near the money needed for any of the Nissans I wanted, but I still needed (that should totally be wanted, but with me, I think needed covers it, haha) something sporty and fun to drive. For the second time in my life, I'd have to buy a car that wasn't a Nissan. Enter the AE86.
    This car, is interesting. At the limit this is without a doubt the most predictable car in the world. When she's sideways it was the most fun I've had behind the wheel of a car and on the track the engine was slow but damned fun. Oh and the sound, the 4AG can make one amazing noise! But the motor hemorrhaged oil. Even after I got a full rebuild on it she was still bleeding oil form the distributor. The interior felt chincy and around town everyday she was brutal. I just had this feeling that if the car had been an S12 200SX instead it'd be just the same amount of fun at the limit, but less cheap feeling, and would manage to keep it's oil on the inside. Anyways, after a bit too much in the right foot department on a rainy day I spun her right into a guard rail, pushing in the a-pillar. And that was my first and last foray into Toyota. I really liked this car, but I didn't feel that intrinsic love that I feel with Nissan.

    Now before I stuffed my AE86 I bought a Skyline. A 1972 rust bucket to be more precise. It is however, a dream car and next on the list to be restored. Unfortunately she's sitting downstairs giving me dirty stares every time I walk by for putting her off this long. Soon enough baby, soon enough.

    The reason the Skyline is on the back burner is because I found another car floating around in a field. This car has been the source of an unbelievably amount of enjoyment in restoration. Every step of the way restoring this car has been just a lot of fun and without even driving it I can already say I'm completely in love with it. She should be registered and on the road in a couple of months and I absolutely cannot wait. She is of course, a Mitsubishi 360.

    Wait. What? A Mitsubishi? But, what about brand loyalty? And this is where my revalation from the M30 got so quickly shot down. Whatever need I had Nissan had the solution, right? What about classic Kei cars with suicide doors? Uh oh, Nissan comes up short on that one. As a matter of a fact, when it comes to Kei cars in general Nissan comes up short altogether! So while part of my brain is screaming "You should be restoring a Nissan!" another part of my brain is saying "Look, Mitsubishi has one insane rally racing pedigree and have made some absolutely stunning cars. Why not be brand loyal to two companies?"

    Now here comes the kicker. When I decided that it would be fun to see if my AE86 and a guardrail could occupy the same space I promptly needed something else to drive to work. I needed a daily driver. Something cheap that I could drive for a bit and then throw away once I got the 360 on the road. I talked to my buddy who runs the AE86 speed shop and he happened to have a spare car floating around that he would sell to me for 500 bones. It was a four speed manual and looked like a bit like an egg, but I took it, after all, getting to work is more important than shopping for something I like for weeks on end. I take it for a test drive and realize it's a Mitsubishi Minica. Aside from a rattling noise from the front (which interestingly is the brake pads not fitting perfectly in the calipers, although she stops without a problem) she drives surprisingly solid.

    Now at first, I hated this car. It represented how unoriginal and uninspired the original RWD Minicas from the 60s and 70s had become. Not only that recently on rainy days the engine has been dying. I changed the oil in her and put in some new plugs (the old ones looked like they had been in there since the factory line) and the engine problems cleared right up. I also spent some time underneath and started to appreciate the simplicity of the car.

    Then I started thinking that I got this car all wrong. This car isn't about being inspired or original or sporty, this car is all about simplicity. It's about creating a car that even a cretin like me can understand and fix with a hammer if he has to. I mean, hell, the clutch is cable operated! You can't get simpler than that. And then I realized that it's actually extremely similar to my old Mitsubishi 360. I got blinded by the Nostalgia, but now that I think about it, in 1967 you had plenty of exceedingly fun and beautiful cars to chose from. You could get Datsun Roadsters, Toyota Sports 800s, Honda S800s, Skylines, or my personal favorite, my father's 1967 Austin Healey 3000 Mk. III.

    Why would one chose a small, underpowered Mitsubishi Kei? Small, cheap, practical, and so simple you can fix it with a hammer.

    Then I went blasting down a gravel road and the simplicity meant that even for a front wheel drive car she was fairly predictable. Now every time I get in the car I have these strange visions of a roll cage, triple bike carbs and blasting down a really, really narrow dirt road topped out in fourth.

    This car, this Minica I hated so much, has become a winner in my book. What's this? Two Mitsubishi in a row and I feel some strange attachment to both of them? I think my brand loyalty has just grown by one!

    So that was obscenely long, but was enjoyable to write!
    Hope y'all enjoyed it as much as I did.
    1967 LT23 Mitsubishi 360 // 1967 L10A Cosmo Sports // 1971 S30 Fairlady Z // 1973 PR95 Bellett 1800 GT // 1978 PA95 Isuzu 117 Coupe // 1979 SA22C Mazda RX7 // 1988 Z31 300 ZX SS

  • #2
    Great pics David, good luck with the restorations. I hope to gret that old Corolla from your Dads backyard this month.
    Jeff "Kingtoy" Brown
    King of Toyotas
    Sophisticated Toys - Toyota club

    81 TE75 Corolla SR5 Sport Coupe modified
    Custom 93 Toyota minitruck


    • #3
      Great story and great pics! I love your Zs!

      Good Luck with your "rustbucket" Skyline. One day her hard stares will turn into a smile of pride!


      • #4
        firstly, i think you need a miata...

        secondly, ditch that stupid mitsubishi minica and get a Nissan March/Micra..

        older versions:

        not quite as small...

        nice pictoral though. i like the old Z.. and skyline of course. [/quote]


        • #5
          That is a NICE Shiro Special.

          I've always wanted one.


          • #6
            Thanks for the comments guys!
            Thanks Hashiriya! I really miss my Shiro. I wish I had a Z31 here, but they are considered classics here and are quite expensive. A decent 2 seater can fetch over 10,000 USD!

            I've always wanted a miata, but at 6' 4" I can't actually fit in one...
            I do fit in one of these though:

            Nissan March Super Turbo. Small, lightweight and supercharged and turbocharged. I actually drove that particular one and thought it was just absolutely awesome. But, at 6,000 USD for it, it wasn't exactly cheap.

            Interestingly enough, these are much cheaper:

            Nissan Pulsar GTi-R. The slightly bigger, AWD version of the March Super Turbo. They can be had for around half of what the Super Turbo runs for. And with an SR20DET under the hood it's got a lot more oomph. I'm still contemplating whether to pick one of these up after I get the 360 on the road.

            I need a car I can take on the highway and neither the 360 or the Minica can handle that (the Minica needs another gear, as it is it tops out at 100 km/h, the speed limit on the highway here). Also, I would like a car that I can run on the race track on the occasion. I don't go often, maybe 3 or 4 times a year, so I don't need a dedicated track machine. I'm still torn between a Pulsar GTi-R, R30/31 Skyline, Starion Turbo and a first generation Lancer Evolution GSR.

            I do like Kei cars, but I've actually had this crazy hankering for a 4wd car. I've never had one and the prospect of a car that will decimate on pavement and on a dirt back-road is just kind of cool. I've been really wanting one of those Pulsar GTi-Rs. At any rate, the paint job on my Mitsubishi 360 is quite pricey and I wont be buying anything new for a while, haha.

            Thanks again for the comments!
            1967 LT23 Mitsubishi 360 // 1967 L10A Cosmo Sports // 1971 S30 Fairlady Z // 1973 PR95 Bellett 1800 GT // 1978 PA95 Isuzu 117 Coupe // 1979 SA22C Mazda RX7 // 1988 Z31 300 ZX SS


            • #7
              well heck, if that's cheaper that's awesome! i love those cars..


              it's a shame. i can't find the option video online when they hop one up to beat the skyline. but that video clip is plenty good.


              • #8
                Nakazoto my friend thats white 300zx you have their is a shiro model so its a limited edition 300zx and a sweet ride :tu: :tu:


                • #9
                  holy hell.

                  theres all sorts of nice cars in here. lol
                  -84 Celica GT



                  • #10
                    Thanks all for the comments!
                    Just updated the thread a bit with some pictures my father sent me of our old Mustang and of the Ford when it turned 50 in 1997!
                    Check em out up top!

                    Thanks again for the comments!
                    1967 LT23 Mitsubishi 360 // 1967 L10A Cosmo Sports // 1971 S30 Fairlady Z // 1973 PR95 Bellett 1800 GT // 1978 PA95 Isuzu 117 Coupe // 1979 SA22C Mazda RX7 // 1988 Z31 300 ZX SS


                    • #11
                      Great story !

                      go the GTi-R. Will fit tall blokes in there, goes like the proverbial and very little to do to have a half decent go at turning the wheels in anger (ie being on the track)

                      But, then again i am a little bias - all mine are datto's or fords.

                      A 320 ute, 2 roadsters, 2 1200's ...... & a Prince.


                      • #12
                        Damn... thought I posted something in this, guess I forgot to click submit. It went something like, come to the dark side... feel the true power of the Mitsubishi Triple Diamonds.

               ... re=related
                        Watch it starting at 7 minutes in... haha...


                        My Build/Pic thread


                        • #13
                          Very nice writeup!!!!!

                          I still want that March SuperTurbo. :lol:
                          79.5 TE72 - RIP, 87 Acura Legend - RIP, 88 FC3S - Sold, 90 Hardbody - Sold
                          90 S13 Coupe - RIP, 91 S13 Hatch - Sold
                          Financial Status - Sold, Sanity - RIP
                          Cannondale R1000 - Daily


                          • #14
                            Why not go Subaru Leone 4WD? Then you can lift it and be a complete baller. But Japan may not have too many offroad trails... :?

                            Or a Mazda 323 GTX... my friend has one and says it's a complete hoot to drive.

                            Or hey? What about an Audi or Saab? :wink:
                            1965 Ford F100


                            • #15
                              Thanks for all the comments!

                              Go baby go, thanks! I'm very much so leaning towards the GTi-R. It just looks so cool and has pretty much everything I'm looking for. There are literally tons of awesome back roads here, but the majority of them are pretty torn up and old. So my AE86 wasn't any fun on them cause I had to move along at a crawl to avoid tearing things up. So, I'm thinking with some proper suspension and a bushing overhaul the little Pulsar could just fit the bill.

                              Komeuppance, that video is pure awesome. I actually went to the local Dispa and bought the DVD for the movie today. I mean a movie about a guy restoring and racing a Starion Rally 4WD, I gotta have it!

                              TacoDelRio, there's only two things holding me back on the March SuperTurbo. Its FWD and its only a 3 cylinder. But, it does have a supercharger and a turbocharger, and that's enough to overlook those things, almost. If only it were about 2 grand cheaper...

                              Thanks for the suggestions Sven7! I completely forgot about the Mazda 323. That thing does actually look like it could be a lot of fun to drive! Never been a fan of Subarus though, it's the flat 4 engine that I just don't like, haha.

                              Thanks all for the comments! I think I've narrowed it down to the GTi-R or a first generation Lancer Evolution GSR. Both are pretty close price wise and both have exceptional engines in them. Now I just gotta get the money to buy one, haha!

                              Thanks again everyone!
                              1967 LT23 Mitsubishi 360 // 1967 L10A Cosmo Sports // 1971 S30 Fairlady Z // 1973 PR95 Bellett 1800 GT // 1978 PA95 Isuzu 117 Coupe // 1979 SA22C Mazda RX7 // 1988 Z31 300 ZX SS