Back in 1980, when I was 3 years old, about to turn 4, my parents bought their first new car, and it was a red late 1980 Datsun 210 wagon. I still have it. I learned to drive a manual transmission on this car, and compared to what I'd driven before (1984 Plymouth Reliant, 1988 Dodge Caravan) the Datsun was like driving a go-cart. Now and then it convinced someone it was fast, but not if there were any other cars around.
While I was in college I discovered the sport of autocross. I read about and thought it sounded nifty, and when I found out about an autocross school, you couldn't keep me away. This Datsun 210 was what I had available, and it was a lot of fun even though I was usually last in raw time. In 2001 I started autocrossing an S14 240SX. I got a lot of trophies with that car, but I kept racing the Datsun now and then because it was so much fun.
When I joined the Air Force and got moved to New Mexico, I eventually registered my cars there, and got the Datsun a personalized plate that said "MATINA", like it had in NC from 1980 to 2004.
When I was married, my then-wife got me a green 1979 Datsun 210 wagon out of a junkyard. I wanted to make it run and fix it up, but I got orders to move to another base (thanks a lot, Air Force), and I couldn't get it running in time. I have the title, but it's sitting at my ex-in-laws' place in New Mexico.
When the S14 got rear-ended during the move, I got Matina off the trailer, put the accordion-ized S14 on the trailer, and drove my Datsun the remaining 500+ miles from Texas to Florida. There was a reason it was on the trailer in the first place - it's not exactly pristine - but it made the trip without a hitch.
I'd had my S13 240SX in storage in NC (due to deployment) and upon reaching FL, called my friend that had it and negotiated how and when he could drive it down for me. So he drove down in the S13, told me it had a transmission problem, and the next day we agreed the Datsun was the way to get him to the airport. No problems the whole way to the airport. Donny got on the plane, I went drive Matina home, and had no clutch.
She did her job exactly as long as she had to, and as soon as I had another car available, she took a break. It's no fun starting your car when the clutch won't disengage. Since then, my friend Rob in FL helped me fix a lot of things on my Datsun, and a few alternators on the S13 (F-ing Nissan electrical problems...) New clutch hoses, new brake booster, new front disks, and suddenly I'm running on two cylinders.
The '79 has the same engine (A14), but it can't donate a carburetor because it's 1500 miles away at my ex-in-laws' house.
Better still, I didn't have time to work on it much before I had to deploy again. I have a lot of work to do when I get back home, and I'm darn well going to do it because I've been riding in that Datsun my whole life, and the world isn't right if I can't driver her.
Whenever it's been down for a few months while I figured out what was wrong or searched for parts, and I finally get it on the road again, I have this feeling like "The sky is blue again!"