PCH, Japanese Nostalgia Edition: 1969 Toyota Crown or 1959 Datsun 1000?

It would appear that our readers are Lamborghini purists, given the 82/18 shellacking the V12-powered Espada issued to the Chevy-powered Espada in yesterday's Choose Your Eternity poll. Either way, who would have imagined owning a genuine, almost-running Lamborghini for the price of a new base Camry? Project Car Hell beckons! As we say so often here: what could go wrong? Today we're going to leave PCH Superpower Italy and head to a nation not so well known for maddeningly difficult Hell Projects; yes, we're feeling so inspired by the vintage Japanese steel at the Motoring J Style show that we have no choice but to descend into the fiery furnace of Vintage Japanese Car Hell.


The Japanese have been building super-reliable, easy-to-repair vehicles with good parts availability for so long now that we tend to forget that at one time they built crazy cars. Cars that rusted to nothingness before your eyes, full of components and designs from Britain and Italy... while at the same time boasting amazing styling and features that fill us with yearning. Perfect PCH material, eh? Got to say, if this '69 Toyota Crown (go here if the ad disappears) lived a little closer than Florida... well, with a $1,750 price tag, we wouldn't be sharing this super steal with you readers! Now, for that sweet price tag you figure there's some work in store for you, and we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the pushrod Land Cruiser engine that's replaced the original SOHC 2M unit. There's nothing wrong with the Toyota F, mind you... but a truck engine in this fine luxury sedan? The good news is that the junkyard is chock-full of Supras and Cressidas with M engines, and you'll have no problem adding entire stables of extra ponies, what with the vast assortment of aftermarket go-fast gear out there. The seller says "Body is good, interior needs love," but how hard can it be to find 40-year-old Crown interior components?

That Crown would make you feel like an early-70s Yakuza enforcer, for sure, but wouldn't it be cool to own one of the very first Bluebirds? Based on the Austin Cambridge and powered by an Austin-licensed engine, this 1959 Datsun 1000 (go here if the ad disappears) clearly shows its British ancestry. Come on now, a half-century-old orphaned Austin/Datsun from Fresno? You can't say no! And you shouldn't say no, in spite of the somewhat disconcerting statement "Car is in 'ruff' condition (yes it barks for attention). " It's "Mostly a complete car," and we're sure you'll manage to find a big stash of '59 Datsun parts without having to go to Japan, because that's how serious you'll be about this project! And, hell, might as well drop in an SR20DET while you're at it, right?

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