Part One of a 10-part Series…
As a classic Datsun fanatic, I’ve found that it’s damn near impossible to pass up certain cars… Sometimes it’s because you’ve always admired them and wonder what it’d be like to drive one (like our Roadster). Other times, it’s because you run across a “special” car that’s *so* close to being awesome, you’ve gotta bring it home to finish it (like our 510). For some, it’s so rare, you don’t want to miss a once-in-a-lifetime chance to own one (like our NL320). For still others, it has some sentimental attraction (like our S30). And then there are the ones where you just *know* that if you don’t get it, it’ll go to a bad home. That was the case with our 1967 WRL411 SSS Datsun Wagon.
In April 2009, I saw the 411 on Bring a Trailer one morning in a two-for-one… The seller had the red wagon and a white sedan, and wanted to sell them both, together.
I’ve always preferred wagons, old and new. I think an old Country Squire is way cooler than an LTD. I think the Magnum is cooler than the 300. The 5-series BMW wagon turns my head every time, and this deal was no exception… I had no real use for the sedan, so I contacted the seller and asked if he’d sell them separately. After a little negotiation, I made an offer and plans to drive out to south Hollywood to pick up the car. As with all our other Datsuns, they’ve been bought sight-unseen. Not only that, but I planned to drive it back home to Phoenix, which is similar to jumping out of a plane without a chute and hoping you land on a hay bale. Win some, lose some – it’s all part of the hobby.
On arrival at a small shop in Hollywood, the 411 was sitting among some other cool old cars. The owner looked awfully familiar (turns out he’s an actor). The car was pretty much as described, so I gave it a quick once-over and headed on down the road with it. There’s nothing cooler than hopping in a car you’re unfamiliar with, not knowing where ANY of the switches or controls are, none of the car’s quirks or behavior, and setting out on a 380-mile trip across the CA / AZ desert.
A little back story on the history of the car: I’m the fifth owner, although technically I’m only the third, as it wasn’t registered by two of its owners. It was originally owned by an older lady from Europe who bought it new in southern California. Upon her death, it wound up in Lake Tahoe, and was driven very infrequently, summers only, for several years by the second owner. The third owner bought it to “flip”, and sold it within 24 hours to the guy I bought it from, who also never registered it. At any rate, it was reasonably well taken care of, and unmodified, which is something I look for in an old Datsun. It not only wound up on ebay, but it was also featured on Bringatrailer.com ( WRL411 on Bringatrailer.com).
Here’s an old dealer brochure from late 1966 showing the exact same car.