Page 1 of 8 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 80

Thread: Forgotten Dreams-- 1964 Datsun 1500 Fairlady Project

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    58

    Forgotten Dreams-- 1964 Datsun 1500 Fairlady Project

    Forgotten Dreams, A Restoration of a 1964 Datsun 1500 Fairlady



    A friend recently asked me to share our latest restoration project here (also seen on 311s.org). This project has been going for 5+ years now...

    A brief introduction-- I own a small restoration company called Spriso Motorsports http://www.spriso.com which specializes in SR20DE(T) swaps into Datsun Roadsters. This particular car has been a back-burner project, but is getting closer to completion, and might be of some interest to our friends on JNC.

    SPL310-3-000664 is a very well used 1500 that had the wheels driven off it my many years by a lady in Portland, Oregon.

    The car lived for a long time in Idaho and is heavily rusted in the quarter and rocker panels. The wheel openings on the quarter panels had been reworked to eliminate rust once before, and at this point, the entire lower half of the quarter panels on both sides will need to be replaced. The rocker panels are toast as well!

    The car has not moved under its own power in many years, the wiring harness is toast, and the hydraulics system is long since dead. This poor 1500 was a forgotten dream.

    Michael

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    58

    Re: Forgotten Dreams-- 1964 Datsun 1500 Fairlady Project

    It takes 3 to make 1

    We often say that it takes three roadsters to make one, and in this case, the number was four…

    The original car (in the photographs above) was found to be so rotten that you could throw a cat through it in many places. Severe structural rust that was not discovered until the car was totally torn down plagued the entire tub.





    Only the fenders, hood, and trunk lid were salvageable. Not all was lost though, the interior components are all in very good condition, as was the trim, glass, chrome, and strangely, the frame was incredibly clean with no heavy corrosion like the rest of the car.



    In the following years, two other parts cars followed it home, but both had been ravaged by Northwest weather and became parts donors to the project. Upon tear down of these cars, I discovered why the 1500s seem so prone to rust—there was no paint on the inside of many of the panels. The quarter panels were raw steel, the a-pillars, the same, not even a hint of primer.

    I was at a loss on what to do with the project, my wife really wants a 3-seater, but everything that I could find locally was not a practical project. I was even considering converting a 66 to a 1500 clone with the components from the blue car (I saved all the 1500 specific parts!)

    Then while we were building James’s SR20DET beast, Eric Straw found the car that would eventually be the new donor. After lots of investigation to find the owner, this car was purchased to become the new 1500.

    Finally, we had a solid foundation to build a car from. I have lots of spares to replace the missing or damaged parts that this car had.

    So, what do we have under here?


  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    58

    Re: Forgotten Dreams-- 1964 Datsun 1500 Fairlady Project

    New 1500

    It was a cold, snowy January evening when we finally tracked down the car. Amazingly it was a short drive away, in a town just north of us. The owner no longer lived in the country, but a friend was storing it under a tarp and it was slowly becoming one with nature.

    A staggering amount of water came off of the car when we peeled back the tarp, I did not have high expectations considering the condition of the other 1500s we had dragged home. This was one of the first discoveries:



    With our petrified friend safely disposed of, we poked our fingers and our flashlights into every corner of the car... it looked good, really good. It had not been on the road for many, many years. I really did not care about the wiring, or the disassembled engine, mouse droppings or cat pee-- what we were after was a clean body, and this was the best one we had found by far. Finally this project had promise! I made arrangements, money changed hands, and the car was soon sitting in my shop.

    The following weeks were spent cleaning the body so I could figure out what we really had:









    Most of the car was very straight, but like anything this old, there were issues. The passenger side quarter panel had accident damage in the wheel house, and the front leading edge of the hood was damaged (like they all are), but overall, this car was going to save me months of work.

    What was interesting was while the body was in very good condition, the frame had extensive rust issues. This car had spent most of its life on a farm in the Willamette Valley and the entire underside was caked in mud, and when that was peeled away, the frame showed heavy pitting in many areas.

    Since this car is going to be a hybrid, the mechanical parts were sold off to other 1500 owners, and the body was put onto a body cart so we could start the paint and body work process. The frame from the original blue car (which is in very good condition, and has paperwork!) will be the foundation for this project...

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    58

    Re: Forgotten Dreams-- 1964 Datsun 1500 Fairlady Project

    Quarter Panel Fun

    The passenger side quarter panel was dented from the stainless body trim down. Upon further inspection, I could see that it had once been replaced from the body seam down at some time in it's life.



    This shot shows the factory orange primer on the inside of the quarter panel. 1500s have a diamond tuck style interior panel that is glued to the inner quarter panel over a thick asphalt based sound deadener. It was missing on this side of the car so I decided to poke around a little more and see what I could discover.



    The leading edge of the quarter panel was not attached on the underside where it would normally be welded to the rocker panel... it was just kind of laying there. Hmmmm. Not good. I got out my heat gun and started scraping (note the open seam above!)

    Up where the quarter panel overlaps the rocker panel was just covered in crumbling body filler:



    The B pillar was also showing previous damage:



    Down the body seam things started getting alarming. The quarter panel was brazed in just a few places (not spot welded at the seam like the factory would have done!):



    Where the quarter panel met the tail light panel was even worse (check out the holes-- wow!):



    That was that-- the quarter panel was coming off, at least the section that had been replaced sometime in the cars life-- a good cut off wheel and 5-minutes later:





    Now the search for a quarter panel is on!

    Ain't cars fun! :roll:

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    58

    Re: Forgotten Dreams-- 1964 Datsun 1500 Fairlady Project

    Where the Rust Hides

    Other than the quarter panel, things were looking good. Overall, the floors were in good shape, with just a few pin holes that started to show up after the asphalt sound deadener was removed. If you have not had the pleasure of peeling up the 1500 sound deadener, you are in for a real treat. It is probably 3-times as thick as the stuff they used in later cars, and it is still soft and gooey, not hard and brittle like the later stuff they used. The dry ice with a hammer trick won't work on this stuff. You have to knuckle down, hit it with a heat gun and a scraper, and have fun...

    Really, things were looking good:



    The floor stamping on a 1500 is totally different than the later cars, and they use different reinforcements. After I got all the sound deadener off, I could still see signs of rust coming out of the reinforcements. Since this car was going to be acid dipped, I wanted to get all this stuff out of there so the acid could do it's job.

    This reinforcement bar separates where the seats are and the front foot well. Looks ok, other than the rust flakes that would come out when we moved the car around:



    Upon cutting it open, it was apparent that was a good idea to pull these before dipping:



    Same thing for the floor reinforcement strips below the seats (just like what you see on later roadsters):





    As I mentioned earlier, this car had spent most of it's life on a farm and had seen lots of miles on dirt roads. The rocker panels were very thin when we tapped on them-- we knew that these would also need to be replaced when the car was acid dipped. Sure enough, they were full of dirt:





    We also removed the factory lead work on the quarter panels and tail light panel before sending out to be dipped as the acid won't touch the lead, and this is a typical spot where you see roadsters bodywork crack (at the corner of the trunk):





    More fun!

    Michael

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    58

    Re: Forgotten Dreams-- 1964 Datsun 1500 Fairlady Project

    Body Before and After Acid Dipping

    Front:





    Rear:





    Driver' Side (I let the kids have at it with their finger paint!):





    Passenger Side:





    Dash and Floors (note the weird access panel that a PO cut into the transmission tunnel!):





    Rear Interior:





    Trunk:





    Engine Compartment:





    Cowl Area:





    Kudos to John and his crew at Metalworks in Eugene Oregon (http://www.metaldipping.com), they did a great job on getting this car stripped back to the original steel, now I can tackle the metal work so we can get it to paint and body.

    Now the fun can begin!

    Michael

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    58

    Re: Forgotten Dreams-- 1964 Datsun 1500 Fairlady Project

    The Acid Dipping Process

    Metalworks has added photographs of our 1500 project going into the sauce here:

    http://www.metaldipping.com/project-sub.php?id=28



    Michael

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    58

    Re: Forgotten Dreams-- 1964 Datsun 1500 Fairlady Project

    Body Rebuild

    The body rebuild continues! This is the glamorous part of auto restoration :roll: (if you like coughing up black crud like you have been smoking 50 packs-a-day for the last 41 years!)

    I have been making patch panels like crazy to patch up all the pin holes in the floors. Here was the worst section that required a bigger panel:

    Before, the area is marked out where I want to cut all the rusty metal to get to good, clean material:



    The plasma cutter makes short work of these kind of sheet metal cuts-- it allows you to cut cleanly and accurately:



    With the old part out, I used it as a pattern and made a new patch panel on my sheet metal brake:



    And mocked into position:



    Enjoy,

    Michael

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    58

    Re: Forgotten Dreams-- 1964 Datsun 1500 Fairlady Project

    Rocker Panel and A-Pillar Rebuild

    The rocker panels were junk on this car. We cut them out before going to the dipper, and it was a good thing too, as they were full of crud and rust. 95% of the rocker was cut out of the passenger side and fortunately, the sheet metal was good on the rocker backing plate.



    The entire panel was cleaned off, and the rebuild starts! Unfortunately, the rebuild also extended into the A-pillar as the top of the rocker panel where the A-pillar overlaps was also rotten out. To make matters worse, the hinge backing plate was damaged as well as the captive nuts were all broken on the original A-pillar. Rather than try to patch it, the entire A-pillar was also cut off to make things a bit easier to repair. Oh this is fun! :roll:

    The replacement rocker panel was saved off a parts car, like nearly all roadster rockers it had rust in the normal spots, but nothing that could not be easily rebuilt. The unfortunate thing was it had also been cut in two at some point in its life, so I am going to have to re-skin it. At least the end caps were way better than the original 64 parts!

    The rear section was clean on the top side, it just needed to have the old quarter panel seam ground off of it:



    The underside is where the problem was. The quarter panel overlays this section, and the inevitable rust had started. Time to start cutting it all out:



    If you notice the red marks, they show the two profiles that the underside of the rocker have. These were repaired in two different sections so when the replacement quarter panel is installed, it will sit flush with the rocker panel:



    On the front section of the rocker panel, the donor panel also had rust where the A-pillar overlaps it:



    This was carefully cut out (spot welds on the reinforcement plate were cut out:





    A new piece was fabricated and welded in.

    The underside of the rocker panel had rust damage from where the front fender overlaps the rocker panel-- you can see the exterior rust damage here:



    The inside of the panel was clean, with just minor rust... all the rust was cut out and replaced with new sheet metal, which was also painted before being installed:



    As I mentioned earlier, the original A-pillar was cut off and a donor 68 and later A-pillar was sourced. If you ever need to replace the A-pillar, get one from a high-windshield car as they have a reinforcement plate welded into them for better hinge support:



    And here it is being mocked up using clecos to hold it into position as it is being welded:



    Upon the advice from Dave B. the transmission tunnel was also modified to clear the SR gearbox. Here is the original profile before the sheet metal was moved over to provide clearance:





    Once that was moved over, we did a test fit with a transmission with a SR bellhousing on it to see how things cleared. One of the nice things about having the body on a rotisserie is that it is easy to do this!





    And last, but not least, a NOS quarter panel has been found! Thanks to Ross at Sports Imports and Mitch for bringing it down from Canada! It is now at the dippers getting the surface rust off of it so everything is nice and clean again!





    That is all from here!

    Michael

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    58

    Re: Forgotten Dreams-- 1964 Datsun 1500 Fairlady Project

    Quarter Panel Removal

    Work continues on the "birthday present"... The car is off the rotisserie and has been mounted onto the frame which has been welded to a body cart. This will keep everything square and happy when the quarter panel is cut off of the car and it will make sure that the panels fit correctly when the body is mounted on the frame after coming back from paint.

    Guy Byrd, a local panel fitter and vintage sheet metal wiz, came over today to help make sure that everything fits correctly-- we want to make sure that the new quarter panel fits correctly and the gaps are all correct-- I can't order a new one from Nissan if I screw this up!

    We mounted the door, fender and trunk lid to make sure that the panel gaps were correct before cutting off the old quarter panel. Guy went to work, and soon the gaps were like they should be, and we were sure that the car was sitting square and straight on the frame.

    Guy went to work with his die grinder and started cutting out spot welds:



    The top edge then was lifted off:



    I worked on the inner panel where the quarter panel is welded to the recess in the floor. You can see the previous brazing that was done to attach the old quarter panel during it's previous repair who knows how long ago... all of that will be ground off and smoothed out with a hammer and dolly before the new quarter panel is installed:



    And here is how the car looks tonight. A bit naked without the quarter panel!







    And the NOS quarter panel after coming back from Metalworks http://www.metaldipping.com-- all surface rust gone, everything clean and ready to install!


Similar Threads

  1. 1964 Datsun 1200 - Arizona, looks really nice but pricey
    By Arroz in forum Ad / Auction Finds
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-11-2015, 04:54 AM
  2. My 1968 orange fairlady roadster project
    By 2stroketurbo in forum Datsun/Nissan Garage
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 03-28-2014, 03:42 AM
  3. 1964 Datsun Cameo Pickup near Reno/Tahoe
    By r100guy in forum Ad / Auction Finds
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-11-2012, 12:05 PM
  4. 1964 Datsun Pickup Restored near Reno Nevada
    By r100guy in forum Ad / Auction Finds
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 06-20-2011, 01:58 PM
  5. Datsun Fairlady
    By cesariojpn in forum Ad / Auction Finds
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-16-2010, 10:52 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •