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Japanese cars of the 1970s
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Rick
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Joined: 27 Apr 2005
Posts: 19870
Location: Cheshire

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:41 pm    Post subject: Japanese cars of the 1970s Reply with quote

Hi all,

I've just had a read of the following article, about a rare surviving Mk1 Honda Accord.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/cars/classic/uks-rarest-cars-1979-honda-accord-saloon-mk1-one-six-remaining/

I well remember Japanese cars on British roads in the 1970s, although I've had little to do with Cherrys, 120Ys, 140Js, Crowns and so on. A neighbour had a new Toyota Crown Super Saloon, and it was an impressively-spec'd car, it replaced a Celica like the example shown below. Does anyone here have firsthand experiences of the popular Japanese cars of the 1970s, and how did they compare to British cars of the era?


http://www.oldclassiccar.co.uk/toyota-celica.htm

RJ
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alastairq



Joined: 14 Oct 2016
Posts: 1009
Location: East Yorkshire

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2018 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First Mother-in-Law had a Sunny.....[she was close to being in the Guinness Book of records, for taking, and failing, the highest number of driving tests.......a good driver, just went to pieces under 'exam' conditions]...then I came along [a London Transport-trained bus driver], took her out the day before, insisted she did things right........she was more 'afraid' of me, than the Examiner....passed her test next day, no faults!!!

Into my 2nd marriage....[how I define the aeons of my life]....we purchased a [used] Nissan Cherry..[the ''Euro'' type]....did all we wanted, without fuss....[but had a 'weak' fuel pump]....not exactly memorable to drive...but the dash board lights, when I first drove it at night, fair startled me, they did!!
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BigJohn



Joined: 01 Jan 2011
Posts: 853
Location: Nr. Lancaster

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2018 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

8yrs ago I had a low mileage, mint condition, 1982 2G Accord. It was metallic red with deep red velour upholstery with matching red vinyl. A rather unkind friend said it looker like a tarts parlour. The Hondamatic was sublime, meant to be driven as a semi auto the action was precise with a soft audible click. The driving experience was a bit wafty, but quiet and capable. In short, boring. Getting parts for it was a nightmare, I was told Honda policy was to scrap obsolete parts. My wife still misses it but I sold it and bought a Rover P6B, which she hated.
Currently for sale, I could get domestic bonus points if I bought it back, but I stick with my Golf Cabrio and the Escort!
https://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C1022380
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peter scott



Joined: 18 Dec 2007
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Location: Edinburgh

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2018 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I was getting company cars I sat in an Accord with the sun roof open and my head was above the outer roof line! I'm not exceptionally tall but I suppose I'm taller than the average Japanese. I opted for a Cavalier instead.

Peter
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Keith D



Joined: 16 Oct 2008
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Location: Upper Swan, Western Australia

PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For many years my brother owned an early (1969 I think from memory) Datsun 240Z or a 24 ounce as they were known in Australia. It was a terrific car. I understand it was designed to compete with British sports cars. I drove it whenever my brother would let me and I certainly enjoyed the performance of the magnificent 6 cylinder 2.4 litre OHC engine.

Keith
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lowdrag



Joined: 10 Apr 2009
Posts: 1117
Location: Le Mans

PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 4:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My wife adored the early Civic but we couldn't afford one sadly. I never drove one but they seem to be a class above anything equivalent in the UK. The only early Japanese car I finally got to drive was an S800 coupé that lives near me and which the owner let me drive last year. Like a sewing machine it was and I loved it.
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alastairq



Joined: 14 Oct 2016
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Location: East Yorkshire

PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wahayy back in the 1970's, I had a sincere look at the products Suzuki were offering. The Suzuki ''Whizz Kid'' [SC100 Coupe] was a modern version of what the Hillman Imp [California,perhaps?] should or could have become.

I test drive it [as did wife #1] and found it very sprightly, if a trifle small for a 6 footer-plus!

Neither of us were concerned about the size of the back seat....an encouragement ,perhaps, for the rest of her family not to seek too many 'lifts?'
It was very well equipped, compared to small British cars of the time.
However, whilst in the showroom, I spotted the Suzuki SJ80 jeep....and almost 'fell in love'', [to quote one of today's abhorrences].....basic in the extreme, competent [as a Land Rover wasn't]....like a pair of wellies, would have suited me to the ground as transport......I never went for Gucci appearances....still don't, really...

Of course, the rust issue didn't really make itself apparent, at the time......and bear in mind, I was used to how British and French cars rusted for their respective countries.

The SJ80 was small [compact or bijou?], competent, easy to access/egress....could be bashed around with impunity......everything any concurrent off-road vehicles were not [aside from the Haflinger]....one doesn't always need to carry around a bale of straw....

Plus, I hated [and still hate] feeling 'compelled' to wash cars....
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Dellow Mk2, 1951 built, reg 1952.
Ford Mustang coupe, 1967, 6 cylinder auto.
Fiat 126 BIS
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kenpix



Joined: 25 Mar 2014
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Location: Harrogate

PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I worked for Pride & Clarke in the late 60's who had one of the first Toyota franchises. I was given a 1968 Toyota Corona to use for a while - very well equipped for that era but it felt very sluggish and underpowered. It was planned that it would be fitted out to tow a 4-wheel car-carrying trailer - I swiftly knocked that idea on the head.
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Ray White



Joined: 02 Dec 2014
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Location: Derby

PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keith D wrote:
For many years my brother owned an early (1969 I think from memory) Datsun 240Z or a 24 ounce as they were known in Australia. It was a terrific car. I understand it was designed to compete with British sports cars. I drove it whenever my brother would let me and I certainly enjoyed the performance of the magnificent 6 cylinder 2.4 litre OHC engine.

Keith

One of the young managers in the firm I started work with back in the '70s was given a 240Z as a company car; reward for posting good sales figures. At the week ends he would secretly take the car rallying... and did very well.

However, when the boss heard about it the chap was summoned to head office. We all thought he would be for the chop but when the boss saw how successful the rallying had been, rather than sack the chap he decided to sponsor him!!!
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ukdave2002



Joined: 23 Nov 2007
Posts: 3344
Location: South Cheshire

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was going out with a girl in the late 80's who grand parents had a Datsun Cherry...it's bright red interior looked as if it was taken from a "House of disrepute" Embarassed

Dave
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poodge



Joined: 23 Nov 2007
Posts: 685

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In 1970's new zealand,Japanese cars were still a novelty.I worked for an egg distributor at the time,and their salesman had a series2 Corolla.
Egg pulp samples had to be sent for testing daily,and whichever driver was 1st back off his round would do the job.
The very odd time that i was the lucky sod,i got to borrow the Corolla,and it was miles above the mk1 Cortina i drove myself at the time.
It was fast,comfortable,had a factory radio and heater(certainly not standard on any english or australian cars of the time).
It was also utterly reliable,again something i was not used to.
These days,85% of the nz car market is Japanese,(new and used imports),probably another 10% Korean,and the remainder make up the euro marks.
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roverdriver



Joined: 18 Oct 2008
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Location: 100 miles from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 6:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the mid 1990's I bought a very second-hand Datsun 180B. It ran very well and seemed to me to be a well engineered car. Unfortunately the differential seized up in it. I located a replacement, and at the time had no spare time to change it over. The mechanic friend who did the job found that a retaining pin on the crown wheel had shifted and jammed the gears.

Other than that, I never had any other problems and it served me well and reliably for several years.
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exbmc



Joined: 18 Jun 2009
Posts: 235
Location: Derby East Midlands

PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2019 4:01 pm    Post subject: 1970s Jap cars Reply with quote

When I was living in Wales, a chap I got to know, (through letting him park his ice cream van on the forecourt), bought a Honda Civic. Think this was 1972-3. He told me to take it for a spin. I duely jumped in and put it through its paces. I was very impressed, it could easily out perform a Cooper Mini, and was very well mannered on corners. Quiet, comfortable and no rattles. I thought if this is an example of what is being imported, the British motor manufacturers need to raise their game a lot.
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emmerson



Joined: 30 Sep 2008
Posts: 1157
Location: South East Wales

PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2019 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I only ever owned one Japanese car ( I think) a W suffix Toyota Starlet, which replaced a similar age Metro, which had rusted into the ground. This was around 1990. The two cars were like chalk and cheese, the Starlet being better in all respects, except that it eventually joined the Metro on the rust pile!
If I remember rightly, the Metro cost £300 and lasted a few months, while the Starlet was £50 with a new MOT, and also passed the next year as well!
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Rusty



Joined: 10 Feb 2009
Posts: 181
Location: Bunbury, Western Australia

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I was working in the panel shop as a mechanic I remember working on a Datsun 180B and after rebuilding the engine and front end damage from the impact I was reinstalling them into the partially completed body when I leant on the front mudguard with my forearms and put 2 small dents in the guard. I had to show the manager what I had done and he got a pannelbeater to work on it for about an hour to put it right. A month or so later I was at our local agricultural show and at the Datsun stand was telling my brother about how tinny this 180B was, and said to him all I did was lean on it like this, and there was the same 2 dents in the car on the show stand, so we vacated the area very smartly.

That has been my experience of that 70s era Jap cars, very good reliable mechanicals but put together in very tinny body's with very plastic interior fittings. Move on 10 years to the late 80s and the majority of the interiors were beautiful and the body's although light by the then industry standards were better engineered and gave good service. My family have had mostly Jap cars since the 80s and there hasn't been any that were really bad, that is probably the reason (among other political reasons) why there is now no car manufacturing happening in Australia at all now ! We went from 4 manufacturers in the 70s to NONE in 2018 !
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