On with the story…
The year is now 1999 and the Stanza is still going strong. A few minor issues had popped up here and there – new water pump, exhaust/inlet manifold gasket (what a noise that made!), new thermo fan, re-gassed the rear hatch struts (no need for the cricket bat anymore), exhaust flange gasket, new tyres…nothing too difficult.
Then I started to notice it was blowing a bit of smoke at high revs, particularly on the over run. I suspected that the top end (which I think was the original head off the L16) was getting a bit tired. As I didn’t spend any money on the top end when the L20B and Webers went in (some 6 years ago now), I thought that it might be time for a freshen up and a spend up. Now the guy who had done the build on the L20B had long ago retired, so I took it to Datrally, a well known rally/circuit workshop in Melbourne. They had it for a day, took the top off it and recommended this:
New valve seats and h/duty valve springs
Mild Camshaft – 733A grind
New rocker arms and lash pad set
Port tidy up and shave head face 020” to run on 98 octane fuel
New set of Extractors (headers) – (I was running the stock exhaust manifold to a 2” system)
Ram tubes for the Webers and a set of Unifilters (socks for each ram tube)
I gave them the go ahead and a week or so later I picked it up and the engine now looked like this:
On the initial drive, I did notice a difference, there seemed to be more.........................POWER!!!!! and shitloads of it!!! (yes, in the context of this post, ‘shitloads’ is a correct technical term).
I thought it went good before, it went bloody awesome now! And the sound! Those new ram tubes, the air filters (socks), the extractors (headers), the whole thing! I was one happy dude.
I toyed with the idea of fitting an electric dizzy (from later L20B’s) to allow more tuning (and therefore power), and a proper LSD differential, but the budget had been stretched enough so far and the wife and I were saving to buy a house. Once again I figured that this stuff could wait for a while. I just had to enjoy what I had.
And that’s what I did for a few years. It was still my daily driver and although the fuel bill was high, I loved driving it and enjoying the comments from fellow drivers and people.
Quite a few people would remark how clean and tidy it was and they were looking at buying something like this as a first car for their daughter - is it for sale? I told them they don’t really want this car for their daughter, they would ask why, I would then proceed to start it up (if it wasn’t already) and give it a rev. The look on their faces was great, and the noise and then rumble at idle was enough to convince them that I was right.
PS: Is this the true gauge of a ‘sleeper’? Also, throughout the time I owned it, I never once got pulled over or hassled by the Police.
Anyway, time went on, I became a house owner, I changed jobs and things got complicated because fuel prices kept going up (especially for the high octane stuff) and my job required me to carry gear in the car. Lots of gear. The poor little Stanza was crammed so full of stuff on some days that going round corners without things whacking into interior bits was getting hard. After a long think, the decision was made to sell it to make way for a wagon.
I also thought that whoever bought it may have enough funds to turn it into the rally / circuit car that it deserves to be.
So this is how she looked after the last wash and detail. Obviously I had to make her pretty for the ‘For Sale’ advert and I felt I owed it to her.
The good news is that I sold it, and the guy who bought it turned it into a rally car! He entered it some Historic Rally Association events in Victoria and then sold it to another guy who did the same thing. I managed to find a few images from the internets:
And that’s the last I saw of her. I had owned her for over 11 years and had terrific memories of building her up and learning a whole heap of stuff along the way. I met some great people as well; some who shared ownership of this small piece of Oz Datsun history and some who made me feel at home in the various Nissan/Datsun clubs I joined. Although I spent a truckload of money on her (but could have spent a truckload more…), I don’t regret it one bit.
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed the story.