Figure I would start my build thread, originally I started just writing what I had done to the car but I quickly changed my mind and have decided to tell you about how I came by my Zed and the story of how it got from SA to QLD in an interesting tale.
I apologise firstly for the poor english, I was terrible at it in school and I don't think that has changed. I've done my best to edit it and fix parts of it, however I am no english teacher.
I hope you enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed bringing the memories back and writing it.
My Story My Zed
I had just finished the bulk of my training in the Army and moved onto the few final stages training down in Puckapunyal, Victoria. Whilst down there I was talking regularly with my brother who has an almost unnatural fixation on Old Land Rovers, he and I both agreed I would need a car when I was finally posted to Townsville or Darwin (Pending the Army's choice) . Knowing this was my chance at my very own first car, I immediately started searching for a Zed. While I craved to get a hold of a 240, I decided to settle on what was more feasible in terms of my price range at the time as well as availability and hunted down a few 260z's. My brother being a brother was reluctant to let me purchase a 260z let alone a Datsun while he didn't hate them or dislike them he simply tried to steer me towards a Land Rover naturally, however I had my heart set on a Zed as it is quite literally my dream car. He finally gave in to my demands and agreed we would find a Zed for myself, and so our search began in earnest.
I do not remember how many weeks I searched Car-sales and the similar sites as well as a few forums but I finally stumbled upon a Dark Green 260z 2+2 in Adelaide, Sellicks Beach, from the very start the distance and traveling did not concern me at all. Like all young men I was under the impression and belief I was invulnerable as would be the car I drive and pick. Going off nothing but pictures and speaking with Mr McCaul various times, my brother decided it was the one and I happily agreed. Knowing I would have to fly to Adelaide I decided on the following weekend to do it, amazingly and credit to him my brother said I wouldn't be going alone so be booked a flight himself from Emerald QLD - Brisbane - Adelaide meeting me in the airport the following weekend.
Taking a cab out to Sellicks Beach I was giddy with excitement I had pretty much talked myself into buying it already, I knew it was the one I wanted and when I finally arrived and the introductions were done and he walked us out back to the 260 I was grinning from ear to ear.
Funnily enough he also owned and old Jaguar which my brother took a keen interest in as my father owns a 1913 Vauxhall D Type and a 1926 Model A Ford, so the car gene runs deep in our family. Like all good buyers I reined in my excitement and started focusing on the car, I had researched as much as I could about rust locations and known common problems with 260's. I think knowing he may be selling his car to a young man who would clearly love the car, he took the time and pointed out and listed his known issues with the car and identified a few spots of rust which had already been repaired and a few which had simply been covered in rust guard.
All while this was happening my brother and myself were giving each other looks, obviously I was struggling to contain my happiness whilst my brother was trying to remain impassive even with my mood affecting his own. After our initial look around the vehicle and getting in and out he offered to take us on a drive. I didn't think I could smile anymore until he started the engine, that sound, smell, vibration and feel was intoxicating, I wanted it pure and simple I looked at my brother and he already knew I was sold on it.
He reversed us out of the drive way and slowly took off down the road, now knowing he raced MX-5's I should have clued on to the type of drive he would take us on. I couldn't imagine a better place to sell a Zed than the hills around Adelaide and Sellicks Beach they were made for a Zed, the winding corners, dips and rises and ocean views coupled with the sound of the L26 roaring as we thrashed around corners with some rather impressive driving.
When we finally pulled over back at the house it was my turn to drive, needless to say I was shaking a little just from the adrenaline of being a passenger in this amazing car and now I had to drive, I was nervous and I hadn't been nervous about driving a vehicle since my driving test several years back. I had been driving Uni Mogs, Land Rovers and Mack Trucks during training and being tested but this little dark green monster scared the crap out of me.
But there was no force on earth capable of keeping me out of that seat, I jumped in and took off hesitantly at first but with some encouragement from my brother and Mr McCaul I started to put the 260 through its paces I think if I hadn't already fallen in love and decided to buy this car I would have after driving it. After driving all the vehicles during training and using the family car for many years this dark green 260z felt so powerful and surreal to drive, I felt like I was driving a true car and it was fun in its purest form. After several drives even my brother taking the wheel insisting he needed to drive it, I said to the Mr McCaul I would buy it. He was kind enough to keep the car registered for me for a few months provided I changed over the registration upon my arrival in Townsville, so with the necessary paperwork signed and an impromptu bill of sale (Pictured Below) on the 6th of September 2014 I had successfully bought my very first car, my dream car, a Datsun 260z 2+2 Vin Number: GRS30-005258 Engine: L26125666 . With insurance settled at the same time my brother and I said our thanks and farewells and began the next step in our journey getting my Zed to Melbourne then Puckapunyal. And what a journey it would turn out to be.
Naturally I started driving with my brother acting as navigator we settled on a route, Sellicks Beach – Mount Barker – Onto the M1 – Onto the A1 and finally the A8 to Melbourne. If only it was that easy, we had driven for about 20 minutes and the car suddenly started to cough and splutter when going up and down hills. Needless to say we both looked at each other thinking did we just make a massive mistake, luckily no not quite. Knowing it was a fuel issue we decided to quickly turn back to the nearest fuel station and give it a full tank (The gauge was at about 1/3).
We drove on spirits high as we took into the hills and winding roads of South Australia, I felt like a race car driver, every hour behind the wheel I got more and more comfortable with the car. And as our journey progressed we both started to notice after various halts for checks that there was an issue or two with the car, mainly burning oil and the fuel pick up. (Both later fixed) By the time we roughly passed the half way mark I was beat and reluctantly handed over driving to my brother, by this stage night had fallen and both of us were starting to feel the cold even with the impressive amount of heat given off from the engine and the heater not working. We struggled on for the next four hours stopping frequently to give the car a rest as well as ourselves before finally arriving in Melbourne and crashing at a friends place.
The next morning I drove my new 260 to an event in the heart of Melbourne to meet my sister who had also flown down to attend, ironically enough there was a car show right next to it and so the Zed fitted in quite well among the American muscle and European imports although from a nice quite car park outside the official show. I left the show later that afternoon to drive back to Puckapunyal knowing I had work the next day and had done this entire trip without permission.
Luckily I had given myself the extra time because Murphy's Law hit me, again the fuel pick up was the cause. It was a blessing in a way as I finally learned that it was caused by air in the fuel lines inside the tank and so as long as I kept the tank quite full above 35L the car would run perfectly so with a full tank I charged onto Puckapunyal with time to spare.
My car was then infrequently used apart from on the weekends when I would take it down some small country lanes and into town to buy tools to fix a few problems that popped up, but I loved it, with my army training and the problems my car cooked up I learned more and more about mechanics but the biggest test was yet to come.
The drive from Puckapunyal, Victoria – Clermont, Queensland and then Townsville. I finished my training in Puckapunyal and was not allowed as a trainee to drive to Townsville to commence the next part of training so I was forced to leave my Zed at Puckapunyal while I flew north, it did not concern me since I had a plan to fly back on the first weekend get in my car and make the drive north and complete it in as little as time possible again without permission as I did not have that luxury. Little did I know this would turn out to be one of the most tiring and frustrating drives I have ever done.
I booked a ticket back to Melbourne for the Friday night after work knowing I would need to give myself the extra hours and days as a safety margin. I arrived in Melbourne at around 10:30-11PM and caught a cab out to Puckapunyal I was in my Zed by Midnight Saturday and driving the fastest way north in the darkness. Again the drive was highlighted by the freezing temperatures and then by the numerous dead kangaroos and other wildlife that littered the road, seeing these I decided it best to follow a truck until sunrise to save myself the pain of hitting a Kangaroo and writing off my Zed.
Before sunrise I was short of the Queensland border by a few hours and was making great time. My biggest cause of concern was replacing fuel filters and keeping an eye on my trip metre I had to ensure I was in range of a fuel station every 265km roughly or else I would be stranded due to the pickup. I crossed the Queensland border mid morning Saturday and continued north to Roma, by this stage of the trip I hadn't slept since Thursday night as I had flown directly from work and started driving. Fatigue was hitting me hard, and saner heads prevailed as I pulled over for a quick sleep of about 45 minutes. I woke feeling groggy but after a few minutes I felt quite good and took off once more keen to nail the trip in as little time as possible. Passing through Roma I had started dodging the frequent summer storms and showers luckily as the tyres I had on the Zed at the time were rubbish in the wet and frankly dangerous in my opinion.
It was approaching sunset as I continued down the A7 between Roma and Rolleston right through the heart of the Carnarvon National Park, It was a fantastic road to drive even at night, though not without its perils as I would soon discover. I would have been around 70km from Rolleston when disaster struck in pairs. A rock flicked up by a truck I was following landed right in the path of my front right tyre and coupled with the tight roads and little sleep my reflexes were not up to the challenge.
I hit it, obviously at this stage I was very much awake as the entire Tyre blew out the car swerved violently I took my foot off the accelerator and let the car slow without braking, pulling off the road as best I could in safe spot. I was dishearten to say the least but still hopeful as I knew I had a spare. Jumping out I glanced at the front seeing a Tyre torn apart and barely on the rim I then heard a sound I did not want to hear, and see a sight I did not want to see the hissing and sight of a rear right Tyre that was going down fast. I felt like crying, there is no other way to put it, I could deal with one blown Tyre but not two, I had no repair kit and no pump. I will admit I leaned against my car in the dark on the side of the road for sometime thinking and despairing.
It was not a very well traveled road especially not at 8pm on a Saturday, I figure my best chance was to try and get some phone reception so I locked up my car, grabbed a backpack and water and hiked the nearest hill. I was thankful for the physical training the army gave me at that point, the hike took no time at all but I was not rewarded at the top as it was simply a false summit for an even larger mountain. Knowing I would not get service in the gorge I headed back to the car for the long walk to town. I gather some things from the car and moved it as carefully as I could down off the road and onto a patch of dirt damaging the side panel under the drivers door sadly but unknown to me at the time thankfully, and started the walk along the highway.
I would have walked for about 30-45 minutes before I saw my first car and flagged it down. This bloke and his Land Cruiser was a life saver and funnily enough, he knew friends of mine in Clermont and wanted to take me the entire way however I simply asked to borrow his phone and call my brother. My Brother arranged to get a car trailer and drive out to me that night, so we pulled into Rolleston and I did what any young guy would do, walked straight into the local pub and had a beer and then found a park bench and went to sleep knowing he would be 3 hours away. It must have been around 11:30 by the time my brother arrived in Rolleston, and then another 45 minutes for us to reach my car. With a flurry of activity we loaded it and started the drive back to Clermont, for me my journey was done for now I had basically made it or at least got close enough. I do not recall much of the trip from Rolleston to Clermont I was sound asleep for the majority only waking to help my brother check the straps on the car. We arrived in Clermont early Sunday morning with a sad looking 260z on the back of a trailer, my brother said he would source some new tyres for me and I could take his car back to Townsville. So whilst I didn't quite make the drive I knew my Zed was only 4 hours from its new home.
From the day I bought my Zed to less than a month in my possession it traveled 2584km for the first time in around 10 years after sitting in a garage and only being driven a few times a month. It was an epic trip and not exactly a trip I wish to experience again but it was a lesson in preparedness if anything. I hope you all enjoy my story as much as I enjoyed writing it, it bought up some memories again which was a lot of fun. Below this I will post and detail as much about my build as I can up to its current point.
The Attached pictures were how my Zed looked right after the trip from Victoria to Townsville. You can see the damage underneath the drivers side door.