The bird is the word :: Bluebird U
In the early 1960’s there was not a great variety of small cars available for the Australian market until the influx of Japanese imports that is. Datsun really lead the way at the time and for good reason! Their cars were ahead of the time in design and reliability. Launched in the 70’s the 610 Bluebird-U was a stand out model with all the ‘mod cons’ of the time.
This classic Bluebird has only been in Mitch’s hands for three and a half years. Lovingly restored bit by bit, Mitch knows every nut and bolt on this car. Taking just under two and a half years to fully restore Mitch has spent countless hours in the shed putting this car together night after night, weekend after weekend.
Why did Mitch get into Datsuns? “My mate had a Datsun Stanza and then a 1600 rally car I liked them and it just went from there”
Mitch had caught the bug. Datsuns are more than just a brand they are a style of their own.
An unloved Datsun can use as much oil as it does petrol! That’s not the case with Mitch’s Bluebird. The engine has received considerable attention and not only does it look immaculate but it also runs like a dream.
This L18 is putting out more than 110 horsepower at the flywheel. This standard engine is enough to put a smile on anyone’s face. Rather than go for cheap power like an “SR20 for example” Mitch decided to keep the car original.
The engine bay is ridiculously clean and not a spot of oil or grime can be seen. You could almost perform surgery on metal like this. Mitch always makes sure the bay is looking fantastic and when it does get dirty he cleans it straight away.
Rebuilding this Bluebird from the ground up has cost some serious dough but to have something classic looking this good is totally worth every penny. The satisfaction that comes from building your own car is second to none. Mitch has done the majority of work in restoring this car! He knows every curve and every bolt in this machine.
Mitch did not simply buy a car and be done with it. He knew what he wanted and within a month or two he had found the right car! The Bluebird he had found was in what most would consider “good condition for its age” but Mitch saw more potential in this little Datsun.
The one surprising part of this build is its gearbox. With the standard box the car would be screaming down the highway at 4 to 5k but with new 6 speed s15 gearbox it purrs like a kitten.
Changing a gearbox in a car this old is no joke! It takes a lot of planning, research and dedication. Matching the 6 speed Nissan S15 SR20 gearbox up to the original bellhousing wasn’t a walk in the park but with some gentle persuasion and patience it all came together.
One of the major things that initially attracted Mitch to this car is its shape which takes many cues from different cars of the time. The Nissan Bluebird U 610 combines the best features from models like the 180b, 240z and many other memorable Datsuns.
This car is basically a Japanese car enthusiasts wet dream. The paint the wheels, the black interior, the entire package is just awesome!
One of the most striking aspects of the Bluebird is it’s unique paint job. It really helps set this car apart from the boring standard colours of the era. This particular colour blue comes from Fiat but it suits this car perfectly! If only Nissan had offered such a colour in the seventies.
Mitch wasn’t really into Datsuns until five years ago when the shape of the 610 Bluebird inspired him to go on a journey that till this day has not stopped. Originally he had planned for the car to be a daily driver but it soon turned out to a whole lot more special and soon became a weekend only car.
It’s quite obvious that Mitch takes a lot of pride in his vehicle. Not only does it get cleaned before it is taken out but it also gets a light clean when the car is bought home.
The interior of the car was kept relatively stock however some things had to change to keep up with the times like moving from the imperial to metric system. The ‘speedo’ had to be changed to work with the new gearbox along with the added benefit of being able to now read what speed you are doing without converting MPH to KMH .
One of the biggest problems with the restoration was a giant rusted out section in the parcel self that was almost the size of a human head! Mitch was thinking of patching it with scraps but the shelf had so many weird angles to recreate that it made the job almost impossible. Lucky Mitch soon found a donor parcel shelf from a Datsun of the same era.
The Nardi steering wheel adds a nice touch to the interior; giving it a sporty feel while being relatively period correct. As Mitch said “Sometimes I do wish I had a more modern project car but the hard work always pays off and I love the classics.”
Things on the outside haven’t been left untouched. There has been a fair bit of re-chroming and re-glossing of original plastics.
It is good to see that Mitch hasn’t stanced or slammed this classic Nissan; and has instead kept it clean sitting on 15×7 performance wheels all round. With just enough offset to give the car a traditional vintage look these wheels really help to add an extra hint of class and sophistication.
Shortly after this photo shoot Mitch’s diff let go and in true spirit he rebuilt it himself! The car was back on the road just in time for the Classic Japan Car Show where his car received plenty of praise from the the public. Mitch never stops working on the car and there is plenty more to come for this spunky blue Datsun.