Monday 31 July 2017

Run for the border: Little Red does Australia's South East Coast..

Alternative title being: Australia's South East Coast through the windscreen of an old Toyota. 

Not much to this one really, just a handful of this-was-the-process photos to properly flesh out yesterday's Instagram post:
Dusted off the AW11 this weekend for a blast through eastern VIC and up the NSW South Coast. Perfect weather (clear skies and 20-odd-degree temps.. in what's *supposedly* the middle of bloody winter!) has meant sans-sunroof AW11ing, while the car put today's ~900km under its belt with ease. For an old Toyota that's literally driven to-the-moon and then some, it's a drop in the ocean; but the weird and wonderful rattles do their best to remind me that those doors (will) properly fall off ONE day..

Basically, the plan for this weekend was to race up to the NSW South East Coast.
From Melbourne there's two main ways I'd go about this: up the Hume, veering off east toward Canberra, and continuing over to Batemans Bay; or down and all the way across Victoria, arriving at the same point from the south via Eden and Merimbula.
Despite clocking up well over 100,000km in the AW11 over the last decade-plus, I had never driven it across to the far eastern side of the state. Hell, I'd never driven anything over that far (honestly, there's not a lot there..), and it wasn't much of a go-to for family holidays as a kid..!

So hell, lets.

Pulled the AW11 out of storage bright-and-early Saturday morning; scrubbed it up thoroughly, loaded 'er up, and headed off even-brighter-and-earlier (6am sharp!) Sunday.
As mentioned above, that oddly warm weather meant it was sunroof-out from the get go - just icing on an impromptu cake really! Yep, all went very bloody well.

So.. yeah.. now for that 'Australia's South East Coast from through the windscreen of an old Toyota' part: a so-so set of photos taken magically/automatically/whatever-ly (please just use your imagination..) through the MR2's windows as it mosey'd up the coast. From neon pass-scanners in the dark on the Eastlink, sunrise on the Princess, clear skies through Bega, and finishing with a mid-arvo arrival in a side-street just south of Moruya:

 ..and finally at the location that kicked off this post. Don't mind the hundreds of kays of crumbs in the footwell - I tried to keep it neat!

"but.. where's the brake dust..?!" Yeah, okay.. I may've stopped along the way for another cheeky rinse. A sunny day and an empty carwash? I'm not not going to stop am I?!

...aaaand back to the start with a view from a different camera. Yep.

Next up? The trip back...

Friday 21 July 2017

So it turns out that heaven is actually a 1984 Z31 300ZX instrument cluster...

Ahh. The 1983- Z31 Fairlady Z (300ZX) digital instruments package. One of the more elaborate instrument clusters to come out of the 80s..

Although I'd mentally sit it a rung below the wild F31 Leopard and cartoonish Subaru Vortex/XT/Alcyone units; in the already-phenomenal family that includes the ones fitted to Toyota's Cressida/Corolla/Hilux/etc, Mitsubishi's Starion/Cordia/Sigma/Magna/etc, and Mazda's Familia and Capella units.. well it holds it head up high. Comprehensive. Detailed. Beautiful. To pilot one of these at night behind those pop-up headlamps...

So when I stumbled upon a 50th Anniversary 1984 Nissan 300ZX (interestingly what was quite likely the most expensive Japanese car on the Australian market at the time) at a wreckers the other week - I was all over it. I wasn't going to risk letting that sit there until the whole thing's pancaked!

Various distractions and other projects meant my $30-odd investment sat on the bench until Sunday evening, and by the time I was finished cleaning off those decades of fluff and oxidation, the sun had set. It was only then under that fluorescent light I really started to take in the detailing of the unit.. things left unnoticed when the lights are on.. things near invisible in Nissan's promotional shot above.

SO. Here's a post dedicated to just those. Seventeen-too-many photos of a 1984 Nissan 300ZX digital dash, with not a single of the glowing green lights in action...
"Nissan's advanced electronics instantly perform vital functions and report directly to you. A micro-computer continuously monitors engine output to optimize performance. Power curves and rpm are visualized graphically right on your instrument panel. A computer reads fuel levels from the injection system and tells you how many gallons are left in the tank. In digital. Right on your instrument panel. The new turbo Z car is straight out of tomorrow: a world of microprocessors, memory chips, sensors and electronics. They will inform you, warn you, cool you, entertain you, guide you, protect you and propel you. This car is capable of a thousand decisions a minute. What will Nissan think of next?"