Wednesday 27 April 2016

Office Exa..

Driving a desk has never been so stylish.
The Shoulderpads.. the piping.. the half-vinyl trim.. the semi-wraparound headrest.. the purple-to-aqua fade fabric.. and the less-than-subtle TURBO lettering emblazoned across the backrest. Oof. It's 1985 in the form of a seat.

You may have seen a bit of this fabric before, in a post about the N12 Turbo Nissan twins from September last year.
It's the standard trim for late, Australian, N12 Nissan Pulsar Exa Turbos... the early style being somewhat similar, but with a subtle grid pattern instead of those deliciously-obnoxious coloured panel sections.
Seeing this exact fabric in the red '85 in the wreckers last year had grabbed my attention, so when I saw the same seats in another Turbo N12 a few weeks back... ooohhh... I just needed any reason to buy one.

Removed from the car... dust and garbage roughly swept off, and sitting in the sun.
Usual wear to the driver's seat bolsters means I simply went for the passenger seat - and just look at it! A little grubby, but looking straight through that... it's really not half bad..!

To give myself a bit of time; I cleared some space in the back of a neighbouring N14 Pulsar hatch, and put the seat safely inside.. allowing me to go home and think/measure other things up before grabbing the seat..
..closeup of the gradient fabric, and 'TURBO' lettering...

A shot of the underside, which I'd use as reference over the next week or so as I thought the plan over...

Safe and sound.

This was Saturday afternoon.

..Well, it sure didn't take me long to buckle under the pressure, and rush on back to the wreckers!
Others had rummaged around the car over the days between, but my mentally-gold-plated seat is still largely where I'd left it!

It was meant to be.

Lets make it happen.

Safely home; cleaned, washed, scrubbed, steamed, poked, prodded, and steamed again.
The 30 year old Nissan bucket seat getting the most love it's likely had in years... and it came up great.

Rails off...

Date-stamp on the frame...

Side plastic trim tidied up.
I'd planned to use this again to continue covering the reclining mechanism..

The only casualty out of all of this: my old desk chair - a generic 'Ford Racing' seat. A bit cheesy, but I'd happily run this chair for the last 10-15years.
Time to move on though.. I've got pure-style waiting..!

A little measuring, then a piece of MDF board cut to size.
This doesn't have to be particularly strong due to the tiny area it has to bridge (between the large chair-base upper plate, and the flat areas on the seat's underside), but can easily re-do this out of a different material at a later date.

Trimming to size, including clearance holes for my hands...

..the final shape..

Positioning the base, to ensure its stable even when reclined...

..and done!

..I'm more than a little bit chuffed with myself here.

It's been a few weeks now, and I still ABSOLUTELY love this. Comfortable, fits great, and looks fantastic. I'm not surprisingly sitting in this right now... as I type these very words.. and yep, again - stoked.


Sunday 24 April 2016

FRONT2 - The FairladyZ 300ZR..

Front engine and rear driven, Nissan coupe - the production equivalent of Nissan's mid-engined and all-wheel-driving MID4 concept.
Okay.. so the link may be starting to get a bit thin past the powerplant.. but damnit I'm going with it!

1986 (HG)Z31 Nissan Fairlady Z 300ZR.
Along with a new generation Nissan Leopard, this was the 300ZX variant that saw the introduction of the twin-cam heads to Nissans existing VG V6.. as had been seen on Nissan's MID4 concept the year before. 
This "Twin Cam 24 V6-3000" likely didn't get much love as the base non-turbo variation of the VG30DET in 1989's Z32 Fairlady Z; but in the Z31 - coming from the bread-tin covered single-cam VG's found in all Z31's since 1983 - would've have been pretty damn special.
Power down a little? Torque down a lot? Potential thrown out the window? Pah! Here comes simplicity, reliability, smooth power delivery, and hey - it looked good to boot!

This particular wine-red 1987 example is currently for sale in Fukushima, Japan, with a more-than-reasonable sub million Yen price tag.
Its rare, likely a little easier to live with than the Turbo (VG30ET), and looks to be very nicely presented with some tasteful modifications..

Carbon front lip, and simple 5spoke Work Equip style 3pc alloys...

Venetians, tidy carpeting, parcel shelf, cargo blind, and T-top bags neatly tied to the floor..

2+2, T-tops and an automatic, mightn't be the most desirable options for some.. but you can't say it isn't neat, and the original Z31 Recaro LX-C's look fantastic. One of my favourites, and original-fit in Toyotas of the era too..

TWINCAM 24VALVE, V6 3000 - the VG30DE.
Wide twin-cam heads just look good, and more fitting in my eyes to the high-tech image of the Fairlady Z.

~900,000yen, looks good, and something a little different in the world of Z31 300ZXs. Although I'd usually be hunting for the ever-popular RB20DET-powered 200ZR variant, this definitely goes a long way to swaying me back to the VG! Absolutely would-drive...

Thursday 14 April 2016

Hijet Deluxe. Hijet Luxury. The Hijet of Dreams. The Atrai Turbo...

Like a fully-functioned Swiss Army Knife designed to hang on your keys...

..stopping me momentarily, from the endless search through Japanese automotive classifieds for the most complex little car I can possibly find.. the most suited to the term "compressed excellence"..

..a challenger appears.

The 1989 Daihatsu Hijet Atrai TURBO-EX 4WD: Atrai being the passenger version of 1986's 7th generation Daihatsu Hijet, and TURBO-EX one step down from the TURBO-FX in late-80's Daihatsu Hijet Atrai hierarchy.
4WD? .. that's because the wing-mirrors are symmetrical. It's Latin.
(Seriously though, there looks to have been a 2WD/4WD option right up to the top models..)

Yep... what we have here is a fraction over three meters of Kei-regulated joy. Three meters that includes a turbocharged, intercooled, 547cc 3cylinder; 4WD, a handful of seats, and a couple sunroofs..

...speaking of which; since this ISN'T 1989 Japan, and I'm NOT a Daihatsu dealer.. it took me a bit of pixelated-brochure-studying to try and figure what made a TURBO-EX a TURBO-EX.
Even side-by-side with the TURBO-FX.. both having sunroofs.. what was it that made it different?

The type of sunroof.

For whatever reason, it seems the FX has an elaborate electric sunroof where the whole centre section (above the second row) retracts back above the third row. The EX? Equally elaborate.. but all pop-up.. with those sweet semi-gullwing targa-style sunroofs, complete with little blinds.

I'm seeing a tie for imaginary rad points.

..the Swiss Army Knife Display pic. 1989 Daihatsu Hijet Atrai Turbo-EX 4WD.. on the counter of your local army disposal shop....

Plush mats and velour in a fantastic dark/light grey and red colourway.. with subtle 'TURBO' lettering for the front seats.. the lack of wear to that velour shows; only 54,048km - nothing - but a 5-digit odometer tells me there weren't exactly plans to head to the moon.
Oh, and diagonal detailing on the blue plastic gauge faces is nice..

Back outside again.
Wheels, two-tone paint, height adjustable mirrors.. and maybe the coloured mudflaps.. (?) were part of a "TWO TONE PACK" that turned the the TURBO-EX and TURBO-FX into the visually-slimmed piece of art you see here. In the world of commercial-turned-passenger vehicles, a simple two-tone paint scheme is all that it takes to show others - at huge distances - that its people you're carrying in the back, not boxes of fruit...!

..and done.

Sweet little Turboed Daihatsu van.
Sad part with all this? Its currently for sale at a dealer in Gunma, Japan, for ~60,000yen. Alll that tiny van, for what is the equivalent of only hundreds of dollars?
Aww.. cmon...
I hope it lives on.