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Historic Datsun race cars
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Author:  bluerat [ Sun Sep 07, 2008 11:46 am ]
Post subject:  Historic Datsun race cars

G'day Guy's,

My main intrest in life is historic race and rally cars, and with Datsun's huge history in Australian motosport it would be great to document some of that history. I started a thread last year about the Bathurst 1600's where we got some great info on these important class winning cars and I thought it was time to tap into you brain cell's again....

Whats the story on....

Gordon Dobies ex works Sports 2000
Geoff Portmans 1600 and Bluebird (and no it didn't have a FJ20)
Ross Dunkerton's 260Z that won the '75, '76 & '77 Aust rally championship
The ex work's Stanza and 710 rally cars
The ex work's Turbo Bluebirds touring cars
The early round Australia Bluebirds(310's) and 1600's
The Group C 180B touring cars
The Bathurst 1200's
Hugh Bell's Dazda
The Morriss 3J FJ24 1600
The Barry Bray LZ turbo Stanza Coupe Sports Sedan

There are plenty more.....

What do you think, worth looking into......

Oh yeah, were interested in fact's here.....

Author:  ddrally [ Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Historic Datsun race cars

I've got the 80, 81 and 82 australian motor racing yearbooks at home that have plenty of info on the race and rally dattos (particularly the rally datsuns). I'll put some of it up when I get a chance.

Author:  Dave [ Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Historic Datsun race cars

I've also got some old magazines somewhere, some articles I can think of are on the Dobie 2000 Sports, the turbo bluebirds (from the time they were racing), the portman bluebird (which says it was a backwards step from the previous 1600 "grunter" :hail: ), and Hugh Bell's Dazda.

May take a while to find, they are stashed somewhere but its been many years since I saw them.

Author:  bluerat [ Mon Sep 08, 2008 6:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Historic Datsun race cars

Good suff guy's, I'd love to see that article on Portman Dave......

Why dont we start with the Portman Bluebird, Most of this info is from the '82,'83 and '84 Aust. motor racing yearbooks. There are some major holes in this, but it's a start.

Geoff was a works driver for Nissan, driving mainly the works Stanza's. When Nissan pulled out of Rallying at the end of '81 Geoff dusted off his old faithfull 1600, and promptly went out and won the Aust. Rally Championship with long time navagator Ross Runnals in 1983. As raining champ he wanted a more modern car for the '84 season, so a bluebird was picked and shipped off to Datrally to be built up. There was a lot of speculation about this car in the media whist it was being built, and was often refered to as the 'Turbo' Bluebird, as Nissan and Geoff's ex team mate Geoge Fury were having great success with the turbo Bluebirds in the touring cars. The car ended up with his 1600's old 2300cc motor ( i presume L series, as it later fitted with a '250hp' twin cam LZ (FZ??) ex works Stana motor), and option 1 gearbox and a solid 5.1 ratio rear diff, and was quoted to be 20kg lighter than his old 1600. They missed the first two rounds of the four round Aust championship, but turned up to round three, the Dunlop 2Go, but DNF'd with a broken valve sprng. Next up was the mighty Alpine rally in Victoria's high country, where he DNF'd with broken suspension. As mentioned above the car was fitted with a 250hp twincam LZ engine for '84, but again it proved no good with his only result for the year being 3rd in round two, the midstate television rally. My trail goes a little cold here for a while, I presume they did some Vic state rounds for testing during '83-'84, but again I have no records.

In the erly '90's the car ended up in far North West Tasmania, owned by a well known local rallying farmer,who intended to local culb events in it, It was painted all white and was fitted with a strong 2.4l L series. The car didn't do much for a couple of years until it was sold again to another local he did a couple of club racing/rallying seasons with it, until it was sadly rolled on a piggybacked State level event, pulled apart, sold off and used for landfill. I know all this because the 2nd owner was a good mate of mine, and I did the start control on the stage he rolled it on! I even enjoyed a few 'practice' day's in it, and I can tell you It handled like nothing else. I will dig out some photo's of it's later day's.

The car was never super succssfull, but was well known because it was the 'star' of Geoff's video 'Competition Rally Driving', which was very popular at the time.

Can anybody fill in some holes?? or correct any mistakes in the above?

catch you

Author:  Dave [ Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Historic Datsun race cars

Give me a few days and I'll see what I can find. I was actually at the Dunlop 2GO round, and came across the bluebird heading out of town to the start of a stage. We followed the bluebird for a while (till we were turned back by the officials when we got closer to the stage start point :impatient: ).

I have (had??) a pile of programmes, perhaps the 2GO one will be amongst them ??

From memory, yes, it was powered by a big L-series motor initially but later ran with a big capacity LZ. I vaguely recall there being a lot of secrecy around it, hence the media speculation.

Author:  Dave [ Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Historic Datsun race cars

Well, found a few :thumbsup:

"Racing Car" from March '83 has two interesting articles :
"V8-Bashing Bluebird - Why Brock, Grice, Johnson Are Running Scared"
"George Fury: How he's coping with sudden fame"


"Wheels" from August '83 contains :
"We Drive the Bathurst Cars -Moffat's RX7, Brock's Commodore, Fury's Bluebird, Gardner's BMW"

and "Australian Motor Racing" from 1984 has a small article which says of Portman and Runnalls:

"The '83 season was a disappointing one for the pair, as they struggled to overcome teething problems with their new privately built and financed Nissan Bluebird, but they will be far better prepared for this year.

The key to their ARC bid is a new engine, incorporating one of the very rare 16-valve cylinder heads used by the factory team. It was the head, along with heavy development work, which saw the works cars developing up to 250 horsepower in their latter days.

Portman believes the extra power, and a correctly sorted chassis, should move him back to championship favouritism in spite of the switch by a number of potential rivals to the new Group A category"

Author:  sbthomo [ Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Historic Datsun race cars

Pretty sure one of these Stanza's pictured is a genuine works car owned by the Snooks family of Snooks Motorsport. I will send Stuart Snooks an email and see what info he has.

(Taken from their web site)
"In 2006 he built a second Stanza that Ross Dunkerton used a number times, including Bega. Both Stanzas were hired by the organisers of Rally of the West, for the Parade of ARC Champions at the final running of that event in 2006. Fittingly, Ross Dunkerton and Geoff Portman, who drove the original Stanzas in the late 70s and early 80s, along with George Fury, contested the cars in the special event.

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Author:  sbthomo [ Tue Sep 09, 2008 1:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Historic Datsun race cars

Just found these: Ross Dunkerton – in the famous Datsun 240Z and Datsun Stanza.
http://www.snooksmotorsport.com.au/index.php

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Author:  bluerat [ Tue Sep 09, 2008 2:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Historic Datsun race cars

Have you seen the '07 Otago DVD? There is a whole disc of incar with Portman driving the Snook's Stanza's on those fantastic NZ roads!!! well worth a look, if not just to see how hard a well set up 2.4 goes, and how smooth Portman is behind the wheel.

I'd love to know some more on Dunkerton's Zed? as he wasn't factory backed and in a lot of photo's it looks like it's LHdrive, like the photo you posted Thommo?? Dunkerton is coming down to do a talk at our car club dinner this year, I'll have to corner him....

Reading between the lines Dave, It looks like the Bluebird had a bit of factory support? On paper it should of been a good thing, It's a shame it didn't all come together. It must of been great to see it all live Dave!! you really lived in a rallying hotspot.

Keep up the good work guy's, any more info out there.

Author:  Dave [ Tue Sep 09, 2008 3:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Historic Datsun race cars

Yep, I was lucky to have been around in the early 80's. I used to get out fairly regularly to watch the Group G cars in rallies round the Newcastle / Central coast areas. I had just got my licence, bought a 1600 for my first car, and loved getting out in the forests watching the big guns of rallying at the time.

Author:  sbthomo [ Wed Sep 10, 2008 12:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Historic Datsun race cars

bluerat wrote:
Have you seen the '07 Otago DVD? There is a whole disc of incar with Portman driving the Snook's Stanza's on those fantastic NZ roads!!! well worth a look, if not just to see how hard a well set up 2.4 goes, and how smooth Portman is behind the wheel.



Sneek peek!

http://www.youtube.com/user/SnooksMotorsport

Author:  sbthomo [ Wed Sep 10, 2008 1:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Historic Datsun race cars

I noticed in this pic the writing on the front 'Nissan Australia'. I wonder how many there are in storage.

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Author:  sbthomo [ Wed Sep 10, 2008 2:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Historic Datsun race cars

Just for viewing pleasure.
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Author:  SIX-TEN [ Wed Sep 10, 2008 5:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Historic Datsun race cars

sbthomo wrote:
I noticed in this pic the writing on the front 'Nissan Australia'. I wonder how many there are in storage.

Good old Zama storage facility.

Yeah I've seen pics on the net from that place there seems to be quite a few works rally cars on there.

Author:  bluerat [ Wed Sep 10, 2008 8:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Historic Datsun race cars

Great photo's there Thommo, I'm sure the third one down, the air borne Stanza, is at the bottom of he famous mineshaft in Canberra. The bottom one of the smashed up 1600 is of good old Edgar Hermann who won the 1970 African Safari, did you also know he also won the 1970 Ampol round Australia Trial in a 1600???? it was Vic rego KNH192, anyone own it out there????

My bloody scanner is playing up!! other wise I'd post a photo.

The story with the works rally cars was that because they were Jap rego'd/owned they had to go back to Japan at the end of the event/season, hence all the cars in Zama, but rumour is that the drivelines/suspension stayed in Aust!!

A little more info on the Portman Bluebird, It was for sale in '91 for $7000, and was advertised for months and months! PRC ruled the roost, also Jamie Drummond's FJ24 powered 120Y that Fury drove in the '85 Alpine, was also for sale for the same money.......geeeess what would you pay for a FJ24 today?

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