Among the hundreds of cars that had swarmed the grounds of Levels [Timaru International Motor Raceway], we couldn’t help but spy a lonely old Datsun that was slowly being surrounded by Mazda's coming off the track. 

The Kaido-style 120y sat mere millimetres from the ground, with bolt-on flares and a duck wing adorning the rusting and patina orange coated body. It wore scars of what appeared to be a long, motorsport-rich life and included an authentic door-mounted number ‘7’ decal, as if it was straight off the asphalt of Fuji Speedway.

When asked what kind of life this door-to-door battler had endured, owner Gareth Chambers laughed along and enjoyed our visions of Japanese tin-racing grandeur, then promptly corrected us, stating that it was in fact a simple daily driver that had been dressed up to look like something out of motorsports golden era.

It sports an L-series 1600 heart conversion with the corresponding manual gearbox — one that appears to have been done many moons ago and shares the body’s same signs of aging — and he told us that the exterior design drew inspiration from his boss’s old race builds from a similar era. The starkly white big dished wheels filled out the low and wide Kaido look perfectly, too.

Although it didn’t cut any laps out on track that day, the car had it’s own presence there, as though it was at home being on the grounds of a circuit — perhaps Gareth will put her to work at a local event in the near future to authenticate the look.

Jaden Martin

Growing up inhaling paint fumes and bog dust at his old man's panel shop, Jaden is a qualified word bender that has obtained a 'brofessional' diploma in car building from years of trial and error. He's currently trying to finish his creation of Australian-based debauchery crammed with Japanese- and Euro-inspired goodness. You'll find him writing for NZ Performance Car and producing content online.

Instagram — @jaden_nzpcmagazine

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