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Thread: The story of my Stanza coupe (PA10) build

  1. #1
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    The story of my Stanza coupe (PA10) build

    Hi all

    OK, as promised, here is the story of the build on my Datsun Stanza Coupe.

    Sorry for the poor quality photos, I had to scan them at work on a crap scanner (no scanner at home) as none of these images were shot on digital.

    So…it starts in 1992. Yes, 1992. Long time ago….

    My girlfriend at the time had gone off to the U.S. for 6 months work experience (in Rockland ME) and it was looking to be a lonely Christmas. We were getting around in a little Datsun 1000 that wasn’t far from dying when I spotted the Stanza in a nearby car yard. Liking the brand and also the unique shape, I paid the $3000 ($AUS) the salesman wanted and drove it away, slimy gunk in the coolant / radiator and all. It also had the sloppiest gear lever I have ever moved around in a car – half the time you weren’t even sure you were in a gear, let alone the gear you wanted to be in! :shock:

    I guess with no girlfriend around I had some spare time on my hands and thought she might like an upgrade from the 1000 when she came back from the states. I was also living with my folks at the time and they were beginning to drive me crazy. I needed a project. So this is what I started with:







    Everything except the wheels was standard – L16, 4 speed box, rust in the doors and rear hatch but the chassis was straight and cancer free.


    Anyway, I drove it around for a while, fixing little problems along the way, waited till the girl returned home and then found out she wasn’t waiting for me, so NO car for her.

    It would have been around 8 months after I bought it that I noticed it getting hot while driving. I checked the water level while out at the shops and noticed the dreaded bubbles. Bugger, head gasket time. While I was driving home and thinking about when I will be able to fix the head gasket, some guy in a van ran up the back of the car directly in front of him. Only problem, I was right behind him and had nowhere to go but up his arse!
    Damage: Front bumper, bonnet (hood), grille, passenger side guard, apron, headlights, radiator, radiator support panel.

    I got it towed to a panel shop where they straightened out the support panel and fitted a replacement bonnet, front guard and apron. I then got it towed to my parent’s house where it sat while I figured out what to do next.... :|





    Next instalment coming soon....

  2. #2
    Administrator john's Avatar
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    Did the Oz-built cars all have those big bumpers? I thought just North America got saddled with those... :P

  3. #3
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    Did the Oz-built cars all have those big bumpers? I thought just North America got saddled with those...
    If I remember correctly, the base model sedans got the shorter bumpers with no rubber ends etc... The bumpers with the rubber ends and overiders (rubber bits in the middle) went on the 'deluxe' models. All the Oz made coupes got these bumpers.
    For some reason the car market at the time saw the bigger bumpers as a 'prestige' look.

    After a while, you get used to seeing the cars with these bumpers on so that the smaller ones end up looking odd.

    PS: I prefer the bigger bumpers, I think I subscribe to the prestige thing...

  4. #4
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    OK - The first job was to get the radiator repaired and re-fitted so at least I could drive it, if only for short distances. Then the front guard and apron went on.








    By this time I started to think that if I was going to rip the top off the motor to replace the head gasket I may as well make it worthwhile. A bit of research led me to seriously considering an engine upgrade to an L20B with some decent intake gear. Crunching some numbers and the decision was made – L20B with twin side draught 45DCOE 13 Webers!!
    I managed to source an inlet manifold through a friend and then dropped the car off to get the motor fitted and reconditioned Webers put on. To keep costs down, the top end was kept stock. I figured I could always upgrade this further down the track when funds allowed.

    This is what I ended up with:







    The Webers needed a bit of fine-tuning but I was enjoying the extra power, even though I still only had a 4-speed gearbox to play with.

    This is how it looked for a couple of months while I saved a bit more cash.








    The Stanza coupes in Australia got a grille with circular headlight surrounds while the sedans got one with more square surrounds. Luckily I found one with the circular surrounds to keep it original. 8)

    Sedan grille:


    Coupe grille:



    One thing that had been really annoying me was the spare wheel well. It was so rusty that holes were appearing and threatening to drop the whole thing, wheel and all, on top of the fuel tank (it sits directly below the well).

    Through a chance meeting at a datsun wreckers, I got in contact with a bloke who actually had two of these Stanza’s at his place. One was written off and was now a shell, the other was being put back together slowly after an accident.
    Angle grinder in hand, I went up and cut the wheel well out of the shell, paid him some cash and went back and cut the wheel well out of my car. A friend offered to weld in the better well and presto! No more wheel falling through the car! (although it did need a small amount of body filler to patch up some small holes – still, miles better than the old one…).








    Not long after this I happened to be at a friend’s place where I met some of her friends. One of these friends would end up being my wife, while another took an interest in the story of the Stanza so far.
    He then told me he had owned one of these a few years ago, he planned to rebuild it but lost interest and that the car was at his Dad’s place and I can buy it from him if I want to!
    Needless to say, the next weekend it was on a trailer heading for my place.

    Apart from having a parts car to source bits from (like having your own personal wrecking yard), the major attraction was the five-speed gearbox – with the dogleg 1st gear. The car itself wasn’t in great shape but it was straight and relatively rust free (I think I paid $500 for it).





    It also had 14” wheels from a 200B (810) so I threw them on mine to see how they looked and checked for clearance (planning to upgrade from the 13” hotwires in the future).



    Because Nissan only made 125 of these in Australia, parts weren’t plentiful so to have rear guards, hatch, doors, windows and all interior trim was reassuring. And also to accidentally stumble across two people (in a short space of time) that had these cars and parts was part good luck, part amazing…

    stay tuned for another instalment soon....

  5. #5
    Administrator JNC's Avatar
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    those bumpers are smaller than the usa spec anyway

    your car reminds me of this old pic
    -Matt

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    Man that's close to mine.....and it looks great! Plus it's RHD and has a terrific stance. :tu:
    matt, where did the pic come from?
    It would be brilliant if this one is still floating around out there somewhere....

  7. #7
    Administrator JNC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pockets
    Man that's close to mine.....and it looks great! Plus it's RHD and has a terrific stance. :tu:
    matt, where did the pic come from?
    It would be brilliant if this one is still floating around out there somewhere....
    i think i got it off ozdat or datnet classifieds ~5yrs ago?
    she was minter, but the guy wasn't into the "newer" dattos :lol:
    -Matt

  8. #8
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    I love that it has both door mirrors and fender mirrors. Best of both worlds? :P

  9. #9
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    Very nice. I love the color, and the fact that the ding guards end with the badge instead of stretching all the way to the wing tips.

  10. #10
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    Looking forward to the rest of the story - I know then end result but not how you got there...... great read 8)
    A 320 ute, 2 roadsters, 2 1200's ...... & a Prince.

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