Sunday, October 15, 2006

Complexity is Good?

Today's car are nice. Very nice.

But in 15 years, will you be able to fix them, or will the cost of troubleshooting the 20 computers make them suitable for the scrap heap?

I enjoy driving and tinkering with a car where every component, every assembly can be understood by the average shade-tree mechanic. I know that if anything goes bad, it won't take a lot of money to fix. And I can fix it myself.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Where are the Subcompacts these days?

When they started out together, the Honda Civic was just as small (if not smaller) than the Datsun 1200. Now look how big the Civic has become:

It's the same with all the other subcompacts. They become much larger, heavier cars. Including the 1200's archrival Toyota Corolla. And especially the Datsun 1200 (B110) direct descendent, the Nissan Sentra (B14) -- it's just huge compared to the original!

But now ... the small cars are making a comeback:
  • Honda recently introduced the Fit
  • Nissan just came out with the Versa
  • Toyota redesigned the Yaris

Is it time for you to get a small, fuel efficient car? 30 MPG? That's nothing. If it doesn't get at least 40mpg, it's a gas hog. Why even the mid-size 2007 Camry (as big as a 1968 Chevelle) gets 31 mpg highway. And it's as fast as that V8-powered Chevelle, ripping off a 15-second quarter mile.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

When the average joe could maintain his own car

Remember when cars were simple to work on? And the Datsun 1200 was arguably the easiest to work on of all 1970's vehicles.

And you didn't need to be an electronics engineer to tune it up. All the spark plugs were within sight, everything is easy to do. I can even pick up the entire engine by myself! The Datsun 1200 was the least expensive car sold in USA in 1972, got the highest fuel economy, and perhaps the least expensive to maintain. You couldn't lose with this little car.

Does any manufacturer make a car like that today? Yes...
  • 2007 Nissan LDV 1400 is a pickup (el camino-style) version of the Datsun 1200, manufactured by Nissan South Africa. It even has a carburetor!
  • In the 1990s, India's Premier 118NE had the same engine as my 1972 model, the Nissan A12 engine and same transmission, however the body was based on a Fiat design

Monday, October 02, 2006

Treasure Found Under Tree

Hear about the collector who found a rare car in a barn? It can happen to you. Although it might behind the barn. Or under a tree.

If you've ever thought "I wish I could have" that car of your dreams (whether small dreams like the car in this pictures or bigger dreams), well you can. Tell your friends and family about your dream. Tell others. Eventually some one will let you know where a treasure is ready for the taking.

If you know of any Datsun 1200s for sale, or just seemingly abandoned, tell me about it. My contact info is here.