1968 Datsun 520 (South Africa)

1965-1971 Datsun 521 forums. All 520 and 521 topics and discussion can be found here.
frans-c
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 5:00 pm

Postby frans-c » Wed Dec 31, 1969 5:00 pm

Believe it or not, but my family has owned this Datsun 1300 (520) LDV from the first day that it rolled off the showroom floor in 1968.  My stepfather bought it brand new for R1 800.00 (approximately $280.00).

I'm not too familiar with it's mechanical history (I'm 25 years old), but I do know that my stepfather, who owned his own Shell service station, overhauled the engine himself in the early 80's.  I think he did a pretty good job of it.  Whether it's winter or summer, the engine will start after the first turn of the ignition and settle into a very sweet idle without having to use any choke whatsoever.  I can't help but liken it to the sound of a sowing machine!  It consumes virtually no oil.

Unfortunately I can only speculate at its current mileage, as my father replaced the original mph-speedometer binnacle with a second-hand km/h one, but I suspect it to be in the region of about 300 000 km.

After my stepfather died in 2001, I took over the responsibility of its maintenance.  During the past four years I replaced the faulty original Nikki carburetor with a new Weber, an overcharging alternator (I only discovered this fault after the battery exploded!) and the biggest expense overhauling the brake system.  I also replaced the dampers (shock absorbers) last year.  I was quite surprised when I noticed that the old dampers had the Datsun insignia on them.  Needless to say, they had no hydraulic fluid in them whatsoever!  Items that need replacing, although not crucial at this stage, are kingpins and certain bushes for the front suspension.

Cosmetically, my father had the Datsun re-sprayed in 1999 in its original colour.  I can also boast at the fact that the Datsun shows no sign of rust whatsoever.  We live approximately 700 km from the nearest coastline and I can - with quite certainty - say that the Datsun hasn't seen any ocean in its 38 years.  I must admit, however, that the seat does show its age.  The springs have collapsed to such an extent that one sits virtually on the floor!

The women in my family truly dislike driving the old timer.  They can't stop complaining about the harsh ride and its - not too brilliant - braking performance.  However, I use the Datsun as my daily commuter.  I simply love driving it!  Its acceleration is quite astounding considering the 1300 cc engine's 55 BHP.  Although I don't use it very often for longer journeys, I have managed an average speed of approximately 130 km/h over a 200 km journey recently.  It ran out of breath beyond that velocity.  The Datsun's handling is also in another league.  I recently drove a 2002 Toyota Hilux LDV and it felt like a ship on a stormy ocean!  I'm amazed at how well the Datsun behaves.

I haven't seen another 520 Datsun in all this time.  We've had countless offers to sell the Datsun, even one of R15 000.00 ($2 300.00)!  However, given its reliability, inexpensive maintenance cost and, to a bigger extent, sentimental value, the old Datsun will remain with us until its final days.

P.O. Box 12247

HATFIELD0028

Republic of South Africa

http://[email protected]


frans-c
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 5:00 pm

Postby frans-c » Wed Dec 31, 1969 5:00 pm

Here's a pic...have many more, including interior and engine compartment.

71-521
Posts: 621
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 5:00 pm

Postby 71-521 » Wed Dec 31, 1969 5:00 pm

Welcome! You have a really rare and nice example of the 520...

It is nice to see our little trucks appreciated all over the world!

I really like the fact you have the "headache" rack behind the cab...could you post me a better picture of it? I really want one for my truck but have been told they didn't come with them in the states...

thanks for the picture and enjoy the site!

frans-c
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 5:00 pm

Postby frans-c » Wed Dec 31, 1969 5:00 pm

Here's a photo of the roll-bar (as we call it in South Africa; doubt whether it will be any good in in such an event...).  I can't imagine using the LDV without it!

I noticed that I gave the wrong power output in my previous post - it's 67HP, not 55.


71-521
Posts: 621
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 5:00 pm

Postby 71-521 » Wed Dec 31, 1969 5:00 pm

Sweet!

Pac. coast Datsun
Posts: 286
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 5:00 pm

Postby Pac. coast Datsun » Wed Dec 31, 1969 5:00 pm

Very clean truck my friend. I liked reading the history that your 520 has & what youve done to it so far. I notice your front signal lenses are clear where as USA 520's have amber [orange] lenses plus do your taillights have an amber section for the signal? Id like to see more pics if you could post them for us, you just dont see too many 520's like yours around anymore.

frans-c
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 5:00 pm

Postby frans-c » Wed Dec 31, 1969 5:00 pm

The turning signal covers are indeed original.  The actual indicators (light bulbs) are orange (very much like many new cars' indicators!).  The rear indicators, on the other hand, are amber, with the backup (reverse) lights being clear.

A few more pics will follow soon...

frans-c
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 5:00 pm

Postby frans-c » Wed Dec 31, 1969 5:00 pm

Here's a pic of the interior.  The seat and original seat fabric are rather worn, hence the sheepskin cover.

You look rather comical when sitting inside the Datsun.  Your head barely properly clears the top of the steering wheel.  I'll really have to do something about it.  I got the brochures from another post on this site, which'll be a good reference when restoring the seat.  Thanks a lot!


frans-c
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 5:00 pm

Postby frans-c » Wed Dec 31, 1969 5:00 pm

Here's the motor.  The guy who resprayed the Datsun only did the shell.  That's the Datsun's original paint coat.  The little rust that's visible is only superficial, which probably only needs a little sanding.

When I'm finished with my engineering studies (and hopefully my proverbial financial ships arrives), I'd really like to restore the Datsun properly.  It's truly one of a kind here in South Africa.  You see the odd 620 and quite a few beaten up 720's, but no 520's of any kind.


frans-c
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 5:00 pm

Postby frans-c » Wed Dec 31, 1969 5:00 pm

This is what the Datsun looked like in the early '90's - all original since it rolled off the showroom floors in 1968.  Not too beaten up...


Pac. coast Datsun
Posts: 286
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 5:00 pm

Postby Pac. coast Datsun » Wed Dec 31, 1969 5:00 pm

Thanks for the pics. The interior looks to be in great shape. Thats the 1st 520 I've seen with a collum shifter as well.

User avatar
phlebmaster
Posts: 912
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 5:00 pm
Car: 1973 240z L26 4spd rip roar and ready to go!

Postby phlebmaster » Wed Dec 31, 1969 5:00 pm

I found it....nice ride frans-c. :) Welcome back.

User avatar
phlebmaster
Posts: 912
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 5:00 pm
Car: 1973 240z L26 4spd rip roar and ready to go!

Re: (phlebmaster)

Postby phlebmaster » Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:04 pm

Pics restored...


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