READERS’ RIDES

Jonathon & Brooklyn Brough 1976 DATSUN 260C

WORDS MARK HIGGINS • PHOTOS MARK HIGGINS/OWNERS

RARE AND ORIGINAL AND SAVED FROM THE GRAVE

As the saying goes, One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and this certainly applies to the genuine, rare and original 1976 Datsun 260C that’s advertised on the cover of this edition.

Owned by Jonathon and Brooklyn Brough of Ormeau in southeast Queensland, the Datto, named Gloria after Brooklyn’s mum, was acquired when the couple had a scrap metal business and received a call to collect it, as it was no longer wanted.

Jonathon said, “I went and picked it up and brought it back to the yard and really had no idea what it was other than a Datsun. But it was Brooklyn who saved it from the grave.”

“As soon as I saw it I fell in love with it,” said Brooklyn and I immediately told Jonathon, “you are not squashing that car.”

It had a damaged front end and Jonathon threw a tarp over it and left it there for a long time. Then he got inspired and decided to get it going again, a process that would eventually take him seven years to complete. A search for another 260C took three years and it was a sedan, not a coupe, but using parts from both he was able to rebuild the coupe.

“The major issue was the sedan and coupe are identical from the firewall forward, behind that they are two different cars, even the windscreen height is an inch less on the coupe,” said Jonathon, “but we were able to get enough bits off the sedan to give us a good head start with the restoration.”

Jonathon said that parts were almost impossible to find and he had to fabricate many himself. He is especially proud of the dash panel he basically recreated and the repair work he did on the analogue clock in the dash.

Finding the paint colour to match the fading and slightly bubbled duco proved a challenge with a computerised matching program failing to pinpoint it. However an old-school Gold Coast panel shop came to the rescue with their spray painter matching the colour perfectly, by eye.

“‘AS SOON AS I SAW IT I FELL IN LOVE WITH IT,’ SAID BROOKLYN AND I IMMEDIATELY TOLD JONATHON, ‘YOU ARE NOT SQUASHING THAT CAR.’”

At one stage Jonathon considered modifying the engine but instead left it in its original state and it runs perfectly.

On completion Jonathon presented it to Brooklyn as an anniversary present. The perfect gift considering she saved it.

“I love driving it and it feels very solid on the road, says Brooklyn, “Although it’s not especially fast I can still easily do 100km/h on the freeway.”

Throughout the approximately 2000 kilometres it has travelled since being saved, both Jonathon and Brooklyn say it puts a smile on their faces and others too, with many driving past giving them the thumbs up or travelling alongside to grab a photo of the 260C Datto coupe. Brooklyn remembers going to a service station one day and the lady behind the counter rushed out to take a photo, as her elderly father owned one back in the 70s.

“I especially like driving it with all four windows down as the pillarless coupe looks brilliant,” says Brooklyn, who drives to the Gold Coast every now and then, usually with a few friends on board, en route to a restaurant or high tea.

“Our first trip was down to Tweed Heads for lunch,” says Jonathon,

“It was a fingers crossed drive after all the work we had done, but it ran perfectly and has done so ever since.”

Back in 1976 the Datsun was quite expensive, but fully loaded with all the luxo gear including power windows, power mirrors, power steering, power boot lid opening, power fuel filler opening and integrated air-conditioning.

While it currently rides on a set of performance mags and white wall tyres, the standard wheels and hubcaps have been kept.

After seven years of restoration and a couple of thousand kilometres under its wheels it is time for a new custodian, as Jonathon says. “We have loved every minute of our ownership and happy that Brooklyn decided to save it. I am very proud of how it has turned out.”