mikedd969 New Reader
8/21/17 7:34 p.m.

First thread I've ever started here. I've been mostly a lurker and admirer of the various build threads to this point.

So, here's the situation. I'm a huge car nut, and GRM fan. I've been wrenching since I was very young (farm kid), and I've got decent abilities, but it's been a long time since I tackled anything really serious.

With my youngest off at college this year, and SWMBO working out of state (Travel Nurse) I find myself with a lot of time on my hands and sorely in need of a hobby/distraction. So I'm semi-looking for a project, but it'll need to be low budget, at least as far as initial outlay goes. I don't mind something that will take a long time, it'll actually help if I can spread the project out. I've got a modest garage and basic mechanic and power tools, but no real fabrication stuff (Welder, cutting torch, ect.....). These I can acquire, but it'll have to be gradually. And I'll have to teach myself how to weld again.......

So I'm in need of something that I can tackle single-handed,or at least with minimal assistance. Unfortunately my first 3 choices, are not practical within my budget, are simply impossible to find here in the US, or both. Those being:

  1. Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 (A pipe dream.....I know)
  2. Lancia Fulvia
  3. Fiat 124 Sport Coupe (I owned 2 of these and absolutely loved them)

(I lived in Italy for a couple of years as a young man and owned all 3 and fell in love with late 60's/Early 70's Italian cars)

But that's not going to happen, unless the Powerball ticket I bought this weekend pays off.

A Miata springs immediately to mind, I really like them and I should be able to find a neglected one that I could start with. There are plenty around usually and Barber Motorsports park is just a few hours up the road...........club racing.......sounds awesome...

Then I saw this on CL.....

1968 Honda 2000

I've only seen one or two of those outside of Japan but I've always loved them. I want. I want so much. I'm sorely tempted to go look at it, it's just down the road from me. But I have concerns.

First, it's hard to tell from the pictures what the condition of the body is. I see a lot of surface rust, not a big deal, but some of the pictures show what appears to be some pretty serious cancer, in places that look like it'd be a PITA to deal with. I haven't done any real metalwork in over 20 years........

Second, I have no idea, none whatsoever, what the availability of parts for this car is like. I don't think there were all that many imported into the US. Drivetrain stuff I could replace with.....whatever....but other bits could be hard to find.

I'm probably going to go look at it anyway. Does anyone have any thoughts? Or better yet, actual experience with Datsuns of this vintage?


Dusterbd13 UltimaDork
8/21/17 7:44 p.m.

Metal is metal. Cut, beat, grind, weld, repeat. Much less scared of it than i used to be. I made quarters for my el Camino from honda hoods.

However, that being said, actual repair parts are wonderful. I probably won't look at another car without them being available.

As far as current condition of the car goes, what do you want at the end? Perfect resto? Drivabeater? Tube frame mutant? That answer needs to be first and foremost when you assess any potential project.

oldtin PowerDork
8/21/17 7:52 p.m.

It looks fairly solid and reasonably straight with the exception of the hood latch panel and door - just needs - well, everything. The good part is that a lot of the attention it needs it time and labor. I've taken on worse.

OHSCrifle Dork
8/21/17 7:53 p.m.

This looks like it'd keep you plenty busy - but the rust situation could make it exponentially more challenging.

Search the CL history to see if it's been offered before, and not sold, etc. That might help set an offer price .. if it looks solid [enough].

dean1484 MegaDork
8/21/17 7:56 p.m.

I don't know the market on those but I would venture to say that just get it running and cleaned up and you could double your money. That being said you first and foremost want to get it on a lift to see if the structure is solid. If it is I would say scoop it up get it running and cleaned up and take it from there.

mikedd969 New Reader
8/21/17 8:16 p.m.

Thanks everyone.

A complete restoration is beyond my budget and abilities and not what I'd want anyway. I think if I could get the body (reasonably) straight, the drivetrain replaced with something a bit more modern, and the other systems reasonably sorted I'd probably use it as a weekend car, possibly with an eye toward some club racing at some point in the future.

I'm a big fan of the idea of driving something that you just don't see every day. Particularly if I can make that something haul ass.....

I'd imagine that just about any modern 4-cyl would have enough grunt to make this little car pretty darn quick. A quick check shows that it weighs only 2,100lbs......

pimpm3 SuperDork
8/21/17 8:34 p.m.

It's a datsun not a honda. Sr20det...

Dusterbd13 UltimaDork
8/21/17 8:36 p.m.

So you want a restomod. Looks generally stock, but runs/steers/stops far better than stock and has more creature comforts. That means the biggest thing to lool at is sheetmetal and structural rust/damage. We can stuff a drivetrain in it. Check suspension as well, because im willing to bet that a tube frame for suspension upgrades is not what you had in mind. Bushings can be made. But can you buy ball joints? Swaybars can be made. What about stock replacement brake parts?

Id suggest a rockauto binge for wear parts, the google for quarters/floors/patch panels.

06HHR HalfDork
8/21/17 8:58 p.m.

The problem with these is parts availability. They don't have the following or the factory support of the 240/260/280 or even the 510s. It's one of the reasons you see so many with modern drivetrains. Many of the restoration parts are either priced like they are made from unobtainium (like the factory braking system) or just plain nla. There is a small network of parts suppliers and breakers for parts and pieces, but you best start with as complete and solid a car as you can find. I've actually got a 1600 in my garage that's waiting on me to get started. Hopefully it won't return to the earth while it's in there. FWIW, the engine and transmission are probably the most robust pieces of the car, it's the rest where you run into problems with parts availability.

Jumper K. Balls
Jumper K. Balls PowerDork
8/21/17 9:25 p.m.

There is an old hippie dude about a half mile from me that has daily driven a 1600 Fairlady badged roadster for the last 20 years. It is a scruffy little charmer. A few months back I was taking a chicane in anger in the E28. Like really acting like a stupid kid, romping on it and more than doubling the 40mph the speed limit signs suggested. The tires were protesting, I was patting the old BMW on the dash and complimenting it on how well it can still move for a 210K mile car when I looked in the rearview and see that old dude right on my tail matching every move I made. I finally came to my senses and slowed way down and he did too. When I got into the turn lane and he passed I got a huge smile and a wave from him.

That old thing had no business moving through the twisties like it did on those pizza cutter tires.

We have a friend that races one in SCCA vintage. It is very well prepped and does quite well.

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
8/21/17 9:36 p.m.

In reply to mikedd969:

Welcome! I saw that Datsun too, it looks like it might be worth saving. Where are you located? I'm in Biloxi.

Jere Dork
8/21/17 10:29 p.m.

All the rust pictured is nothing, no problem at all... As for what you can't see that's where the fun starts.

They do have a niche following, and have fair documentation around the web. Forget about aftermarket for just about everything but tires... And even those might be iffy

Feedyurhed SuperDork
8/22/17 6:23 a.m.
pimpm3 wrote: It's a datsun not a honda. Sr20det...

Beautiful. I love these cars.

914Driver MegaDork
8/22/17 6:42 a.m.

Fairlady Forum was a big help when I had a 1966 model. If Photobucket wasn't being such a bitch I would show you a shiny red one with a gray interior.

Parts are easy to come by, body work is body work and in the end it's not a bad little car. Not as snug as a Midget but it's a sports car, get used to it.

Surf the 311 forum and see what's out there, hope to see you in the Build thread area.


mazdeuce MegaDork
8/22/17 6:54 a.m.

Well, we don't know how to do things until we learn to do them. The willingness to try and ask for help and try again is more important than knowledge going into a project.
Having said that, time is the big killer. I know a bunch of guys who have projects that are well within their abilities that simply don't have the time to really make a dent in them. When the GRM crew was working on their 914 a couple of years ago they said something like "if you don't have 10 hours a week to spend on the project, please don't take it apart".
I always recommend people do a rolling restoration when possible. Get it running and driving and as close to mechanically perfect as possible before tackling cosmetics. Having a car completely apart with non functioning mechanicals is much different than having an engine on a stand in the corner that you know could be in the car and running with 5-6 hours of work.

06HHR HalfDork
8/22/17 7:59 a.m.
914Driver wrote: Fairlady Forum was a big help when I had a 1966 model. If Photobucket wasn't being such a bitch I would show you a shiny red one with a gray interior. Parts are easy to come by, body work is body work and in the end it's not a bad little car. Not as snug as a Midget but it's a sports car, get used to it. Surf the 311 forum and see what's out there, hope to see you in the Build thread area. Dan

Thanks for posting that link, lots of good info on that site.

alfadriver MegaDork
8/22/17 8:08 a.m.

I know this thread is more about the Datsun 2000 project you posted, but before abandoning the Alfa GTV- what is your budget for one?

For sure, a car like that will probably cost more like $5000 than $1500, but at the end of restoration it will be worth more than $3500 over the Datsun. Even if you restomoded a 2000 motor in to a early GT Veloce or a GT-JR.

And if you can find an interior, you can buy my GTV and put all of the interior back together.

mikedd969 New Reader
8/22/17 1:13 p.m.
pimpm3 wrote: It's a datsun not a honda. Sr20det... My bad. I knew that, but I keep typing Honda for some reason.......
mikedd969 New Reader
8/22/17 1:14 p.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett:

I'm in Daphne AL. The car is literally just down the road from me. I've been following your C4 thread with interest. Perhaps I'll get to pop by one day and see it for myself.

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
8/22/17 7:27 p.m.

In reply to mikedd969:

Cool, anytime you're passing through or heading over let me know! I was hoping to make it to one of the GCR autocrosses at Grand Bay, but now that the car is (somewhat) running they don't have any more events listed.

WildScotsRacing Dork
8/22/17 7:46 p.m.

I'm going to say no on the Fulvia. Because I've always thought that name sounded too much like female anatomy.

sesto elemento
sesto elemento SuperDork
8/23/17 7:06 p.m.

If you're nuts enough to build a lancia, do this to a beta

kazoospec SuperDork
8/23/17 8:13 p.m.

This car used to come out to some of our local autocrosses.

It was a really sweet looking car, but to my eye, an MG gets you 95% of the looks with about 1000X better parts availability. Or there's always the Miata option.

wspohn Dork
8/23/17 9:21 p.m.

You are picking the wrong cars - Italian stuff that rusts or rusts and is also dead slow (Lancia), Japanese stuff that rusts but isn't worth much finished (doing an engine swap is expensive whether you believe it or not).

Choose something with a good parts base and easily obtained spares - MGB works for that.

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