Exhibitor: Jeff Cameron
Works prepared Datsun (Japan)
While works Stanzas were once commonplace in Australian rallying, they’re on the endangered list nowadays. This car was one of a pair of Group 2 SOHC 160Js built by Nissan at their Oppama plant in Japan, for the 1980 Motogard Rally in NZ, round 8 of the WRC that year.
Prepared for George Fury / Monty Suffern and serviced by Japanese, Kiwi and Australian mechanics it finished fourth outright, while the LHD sister car crewed by Timo Salonen / Seppo Harjanne won the event.
If that registration plate has you wondering, as per New Zealand road law at the time, all cars competing in the Motogard had to be locally registered, this car wore JM-5943.
Following the Motogard the car was shipped to Australia where it was prepared by the Australian Datsun Rally Team in Braeside for Geoff Portman / Ross Runnalls to drive in the 1980 Southern Cross Rally. Changes included the fitment of a 2.2 litre LZ twin-cam engine along with front and rear spoilers. While leading the event Portman put the car off the road for an extended period, but later the engine let go putting any chance of victory out of reach.
In 1981 the car competed in the ARC in the hands of Ross Dunkerton / Jeff Beaumont except for the Akademos, for which it was handed back to Fury / Suffern.
When the Australian rally team moved onto circuit racing at the end of 1981, the car was passed to Peter Phillips in Brisbane who used it to clinch victory in the 1982 QRC. Fellow Queenslanders Dennis Brown / Warren Tegg took the car over next, competing in the 1984 Alpine Rally amongst others.
Victorian Brendan McCashney brought the car south again when he became the new owner, unfortunately managing to whack the left-hand side of it into a tree in a Victorian Rally Championship round. With repairs completed the next owner was Trentham’s Mark Keogh who only had it a short time before Keith Harris in Bendigo bought it.
Keith used many of the parts and spares in his 1995 Mobil Round Australia Trial LPG Stanza, after which Victorian club rally competitor Delian Mills bought it for parts to put into his new build.
The current owner bought the car from Delian in 2000 whereupon it was stored for many years until the extensive bodywork restoration kicked off in 2016. The previous 36 years had not been kind!
Restoration work continues and it is hoped the car will be up and running by the end of 2019.
Pics: this vehicle competing in the Motoguard Rally in NZ in 1980, in the hands of George Fury and Monty Suffern. Photo credit: Dave Wood.