"My first car cost 5p. It was a 1974 Honda Z600 coupe, which should have been a vibrant orange - the only colour offered - but had been re-sprayed a horrid matt yellow. My dad lived on a River Thames houseboat "
Datsun Sunny Excellent Coupe
And to think these used to be the butt of our Essex boy jokes.
Back then, in the 1970s, when the Dagenham dustbin in its simple-lined ubiquity was king, it was only the oil crisis and the accompanying rise in petrol prices that made these frugal Japanese imports viable. They certainly were not the automotive choice of a red-blooded car fan. There was always something too delicate, too light-footed – almost otherworldly – about them.
And through the gauze of the years you can see why – but also how interesting these cars were purely from the perspective of design. I knew these cars as the 120Y (I think) – and they always caught my eye as a neighbour had one in that standard burnt orange colour which, I have always thought, was meant to hide the rust.
Mechanically the engines across the range were light units with an efficient overhead valve setup that saw fuel economy approaching 30 MPG (pretty good for 1971, when these cars were released). But it was that extended, sweeping fastback hatch and those rear light clusters that really make the car stand out.
What price a pristine example, in purple?
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