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Datsuncog

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Datsuncog last won the day on November 1 2019

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About Datsuncog

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    Norn Iron
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    Rusty cars; vinyl records; small-batch beers; writing; graphic novels; cats; photography. Amongst other things.

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  1. ^^^ I think someone was posting about them just the other day...
  2. Yeah, my understanding wasn't so much that the Camira was a bad car in and of itself (after all, GM's 'J-Car' notched up plenty of sales worldwide), but that the build quality of Holden's first locally assembled FWD car was pretty piss-poor, with angry customers coming back again and again for warranty work - not unlike the same issues that had beset Leyland Australia, really, and let's be honest, many Fords weren't brilliantly screwed together either (Falcon EA, anyone?). But the JB series Camira seemed to burn through a lot of goodwill very quickly - the fuel crisis at the time was making Australians reconsider whether they really needed a big six-cylinder Falcon or Commodore, and the enthusiastic press response to the new baby Holden sedan (voted 1982 Car of the Year) must have encouraged many try their luck with a smaller, four-pot motor. Before long, quite a few reckoned that they'd sooner pay the fuel penalty for a large, lazy cruiser with plenty of low-down torque than drive this cramped 1.6 litre screamer which overheated when the aircon was switched on, and where bits fell off over unpaved roads. Especially once the price of fuel dropped again. It also gave Holden a massive headache when market research showed that nearly every buyer of the Camira had done so in preference to their similar-looking, larger, and much more profitable VH Series Commodore (effectively a Vauxhall Carlton with the Senator front end grafted on). Frustratingly for Holden, they were having to carry the cost of building two separate car lines for almost exactly the same number of sales they could have managed with a single model, and for less profit per unit to boot. In a final act of corporate self-sabotage, Holden stylists were given the task of making the Commodore look bigger and more impressive, while making the Camira look smaller and less attractive. They succeeded admirably. As taglines go, this 1984 ad for the JD Series Camira says it all. And it appeared three years before the facelifted Ford Sierra, note you well. At the same time Holden modified the old Carlton/Rekord bodyshell in-house, drawing heavily on the three-window European Senator to come up with the new Commodore VK - available with a 3.3 straight six or 5.0 V8 donk. By the time the Camira was pensioned off in 1989, Australia had adopted the Button Plan and so Holden were obliged to look east for its replacement, rather than to Europe... enter the Holden Apollo. Toyota already had a wagon version of the Camry, so that saved a lot of faffing - but this decision on the other side of the world did perhaps keep the Mk3 Cavalier estate from becoming a fixture on Britain's suburban driveway in the early 1990s. Mind you, the Mk3 Cavalier might have never made it to Australia - but it was sold in New Zealand as the Opel Vectra, and later the Holden Vectra. The Aussie-built Camira had been such a flop there, over build quality concerns, that it was completely pulled and replaced with a badge-engineered Isuzu Aska - another J-car but with a 1.8 or 2 litre engine and different styling again, which I believe were locally built using CKD kits shipped from Japan. Confusingly though, they contined to call it the Camira (JJ Series) - while also importing the similar-but-different Australian Camira in JD Series wagon form. I nearly bought a last of the line JE series Camira back in 2005, but ultimately decided I just couldn't live with that pursed, lemon-sucking front end (or indeed the red crushed velour interior) and went for a Toyota Corona instead...
  3. Weirdly, it's different on the back than the front (!) Mine has JBV 149R on the front (base casting)... and FLT 878 on the back (body casting). I really should check my earlier green release (with the roofrack) and see what it says on the back...
  4. Corgi Juniors always felt slightly downmarket to me too, compared to Matchbox and others; and I've already touched on my weird love/hate thing with the Jag XJS, Aston DB6 and 'US Van'. They annoyed me a little because they felt flimsy and didn't perform as well on play tracks - yet Corgi also did models of cars I liked, such as Mk3 Escort, Rover SD1, Volvo 245 and Ford Transit Mk2 pickup. I didn't tend to buy Corgi with my own money; Matchbox was my preference, with Hot Wheels when I could get them. I wasn't really a fan of the Super GT range as I just thought fantasy=rubbish, but I should have looked closer at the Capri, RS2000 and Lotus Europa... but Matchbox felt like my brand. Models like the Rover 800 Sterling were just gorgeous; even thinking about the blister-packed Rover hanging on a peg in Woolworths gives me a Proustian rush. I was a bit too young to understand the whole England/Macau thing and Lesney's demise, but there just seemed to be so many Matchbox, and always new ones to find both old and new (and why Charlie Mack's Encyclopaedia of Matchbox Toys continues to give me such a kick). The standard Majorette range on a spinner rack seemed to be mainly stocked by independent chemist's shops, for some reason. Some toy shops sold bigger 1/35 scale Majorettes and gift packs, but when I think of Majorette I always think of chemists. NI never had branches of Morrisons (other than for a few months in the mid 2000s, when they bought out Safeway but then quickly sold the NI stores on to Asda). Siku were virtually unobtainable - I picked up a bay window VW Crew Cab, a Passat estate and an Audi 100 from a rummage box at an autojumble in the late 80s, and was transfixed - I'd never seen models like them before. I still have them (top right). A few years later, Leisure World in Belfast started stocking some of the bigger Siku sets (and, crucially, little A6 range booklets so I could gawp at them all), and now and again an independent shop like McCulloughs would get in a box of standard issue vehicles - but they were always twice the price of Matchbox. I did, however, pick up a Mk3 VW Golf and a T4 Transporter from McCulloughs in the early 90s, and later a Mk4 Fiesta, Audi A6 and VW Beetle a few years later. Weird stuff would also turn up from time to time, such as Edocar and Welly models (occasionally found in newsagents) and Novacar and Guisval (which popped up briefly in Toymaster stores in the early 90s) - but they never really captured my imagination in the same way (though the Edocar Trabant was a joy to my Jalopy magazine-lovin' 12 year old self). I also found some oddities while away on holiday, which made me very happy. Most of the Corgi I had came from freebies and giveaways with cereal, petrol or Easter eggs, with the odd 'Bumper Pack' received as a gift, or some ropey second-hand ones picked up at jumble sales. I do dimly remember receiving a blister pack Corgi Vauxhall Nova in red, from Stewart Millar in Clandeboye Shopping Centre, not long after the real car was launched - so around 1983/84. Now, it did have a plastic base but also had an opening boot - and I can remember that it felt a bit special, somehow. I really liked it (and still have it, though it's pretty worn). But the Juniors always felt highly variable in quality, and the fact that so many of them stayed in the range for years and years meant that I ended up with a lot of duplicates - I must have had about a dozen Mercedes 240Ds and Buick Regals in various colours - and that sorta diminished it, somehow. I also ended up with a lot of duplicates from the BP promo range, and that also maybe cheapened the 'specialness' to a five-year-old. Another toy shop, Rainbow, had a whole rack of Corgi Juniors in the early 90s, which never really sold - they only had about four different models, all of them sports cars in drab and unappealing colours like navy blue and dark maroon, including the Ferrari 348, BMW 8-series and Porsche 911 Carrera. They were left hanging up at the end of a shelf for years, reduced to 49p and getting dustier and dustier... stuff like this didn't help perceptions, I guess. But I've been mulling this over for a few days, and I think the main difference is that Matchbox started off making 1/75ish scale toys and then later started making bigger versions, whereas Corgi started off with 1/43ish scale toys and later decided to grab a slice of Matchbox's market share by making smaller toys. IMHO, Matchbox Superkings were never as well-built and detailed as the Corgi 1/35 range - except for the short-lived late 60s range involving the Dodge Charger, Mercury Cougar, Mercury Commuter and Lamborghini Miura, which were exquisite. Equally, Corgi Juniors were never quite as finely detailed and finished as their Matchbox equivalent, and this became even more pronounced into the 1980s as Mettoy struggled with deteriorated tooling and the need for cost-cutting on their smallest and least profitable toys. I reckon this is because each company's original focus was slightly different; Lesney were tremendous at putting unbelievable levels of detail into tiny models, but their 70s and 80s larger-scale output often (not always, though) seemed a bit half-arsed. For example, the 1-75 range version of the Mk1 VW Golf has accurate badging and number plates and everything... ...while the Superkings version is much more crude and far less detailed, despite being twice the size. It looks like it was made by a different company entirely. Corgi, on the other hand, focused on innovation and features in the 50s and 60s, and then settled into film and TV tie-ins during the later 60s and 70s where fidelity to the real-life screen car was important to secure contracts. For their Juniors range though, it seemed more like they were trying to sell cars to kids who liked superheroes, rather than trying to sell superhero toys to kids who liked cars. With a few notable exceptions, Corgi's large 1/35 range was truly special, and around 1980 it was quite a bit ahead of Matchbox Superkings in terms of features and detail. But here the small/large variation is reversed - on toys like the Fiat X1/9, Jaguar XJS, Mk 3 Escort, Ford Sierra, Range Rover and Rover SD1 , the smaller version was noticeably inferior in terms of proportions and detail. I will say, however, that their Mk3 Transit appeared to be much better proportioned and detailed in its SWB Juniors format than in the LWB 1/35 format. Even later on into the 80s, it was still noticeable: The large Volvo 760 is an absolute cracker, inside and out; whereas the casting of the smaller version seems nowhere near as crisp, and the extension of the glazing unit to form the headlights seems to detract rather than enhance the front end. Comparing Matchbox and Corgi Volvos of the same approximate scale also indicates that although Corgi managed to get the proportions and the detail mostly right (mebbe a bit wide), it looks like the paint's too thick or something - the lines just aren't quite as clean as the Matchbox, despite slightly shonky shut lines on the latter's doors. The contrasting bumpers on the Matchbox - rather cleverly using a slot in the base to give the correctly coloured air dam while securing the body - provide some realism. Neither model has any tampo printing, just the paint. The Matchbox wheels are undoubtedly better, as well - even on this well worn tat box example. Cloverleafs are my least favourite Corgi Jrs wheel variant. Matchbox opts for badging on the bootlid too - though I think here, Corgi's rear is more distinctively Volvo, somehow. Also, in unscientific toybox testing, I reckon that large-scale Corgis wore much more robust paint. That big green Volvo spent twenty years in my toy box, yet is virtually mint - any Superkings bought around the same time were treated no differently, but soon suffered enormous paint loss. So yeah... it's an odd one. But I reckon Matchbox's heart never really lay in the bigger stuff, while Corgi never saw their true calling in making the smaller stuff. And, even to us young enthusiasts, it showed.
  5. Wasn't that something to do with GM reckoning that the forthcoming Astra F estate was quite a bit roomier than its predecessor, and so an estate version of the Mk3 Cav would fall uncomfortably between the Astra and the Carlton estate - not really differentiated enough to pull in sales (or justify the development costs). Remember, we only got a Mk2 Cavalier estate because the Aussies developed that...
  6. I thought it was a QX, or are they the same thing? Yup, same thing - but M332 POJ is indeed a QX, on these isles at least. Maxima everywhere else in the world (ok, Cefiro in Japan), and then badged as the QX Maxima in the UK onwards from 2000 on, for maximum confusion...
  7. Haven't seen any of them about, but will keep a look out... are they a franchise type thing? Possibly not available in NI, but I'll check it out just in case - thanks! I know Halfords claim to carry out windscreen repairs, but considering the high* level of expertise** demonstrated at my local store, I might give that a swerve... * read 'low' - I spoke to someone recently about replacement HT leads, and it turned out that not only did they not stock anything like that any more, but the staff member had absolutely no clue what they even were, or what they did. ** I weep because I used to do the staff training for that area many years ago...
  8. Yeah, according to the website, you can contact Autoglass via: Email (which it appears they ignore) Submitting an online complaints form (also simple to ignore) Posting a letter to their HQ in Bedford (what is this, 1870?) Sending them a fax (FFS, you couldn't make it up) No phone number, not even one of those irritating chatbot things with a perky sounding name. But they do have a statement which reads If you have a complaint, we will take it seriously, work hard to resolve the problem and do everything possible to make any necessary improvements to our policies, processes and procedures. So, y'know, that's alright then. Ooh, that might be worth a go... it's really not a large chip at all, about 5mm, but the Yaris had a similar one a few years back which suddenly and alarmingly developed into a huge crack from side to side, necessitating a replacement windscreen... so I'd probably sooner chuck a tenner at a kit than wait for Autoglass to fuck up another appointment. Cheers!
  9. No bother, I appreciate we're talking antique shop prices rather than tat stall prices here! Hopefully he'll pull some more bits and bobs out from his shed before long, so I'll keep popping back as and when I can to see what's new. I'm also wondering if he'd be interested in any of my dead stock from the 2018 clearout potentially for swapsies...
  10. Stranger and stranger - have just received a notification from my bank that Autoglass have refunded my insurance excess payment from last week. Still no response from them though about what went wrong with the booking, mind... or what I'm meant to do now with the chipped windscreen...
  11. So, a reply came just before lunchtime from the vendor, plus a few more pics: A quick online auction site search suggests that's not overly exorbitant, given the pretty good condition. https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_odkw=Nacoral+Fiat+500&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=m570.l1313&_nkw=Nacoral+Fiat+500&_sacat=220 What think you??
  12. A fair guess, though it seems that the three-window concept for the Alpine had already been agreed by September 1973, before any roadgoing prototypes appeared. The PSA V6 link mentioned on the contents page is even more baffling. Peugeot was still pretty avoidant of hatchbacks until the 1980s, and even then not for their bigger cars; there doesn't look to be much Volvo DNA in there; and Renault were clearly using different styling cues for their developing big hatch at the time. This is probably going to bug me more than it should!
  13. Any idea what date's on that copy of l'Auto-Journal? Might help narrow it down a little. The overall shape and size seems broadly reminiscent of the Renault R20/R30, but there aren't enough windows. That horizontal pressing at the bottom of the doors is more consistent with the 5dr Mk1 VW Passat, but again - not nearly enough windows, and the bonnet profile and wheelarches are wrong. I'm not sure whether I'm being unduly influenced by the numberplates and yellow lamps, but it does look French. Possibly some sort of project to replace the dated and slow-selling Chrysler 180/Simca 1610, which was ultimately killed off by the acquisition of Chrysler Europe by PSA?
  14. Autoglass repair, Autoglass replace? Autoglass avoid, Autoglass misplace... Booked the afternoon off work on Friday and then spent four hours waiting for their repair tech to come and fix a stone chip on the Forester's windscreen, at the agreed time and location. Nobody showed. No update. No messages. Insurance excess paid for in advance, naturally. Despite their slew of 'Rate us!!!' messages and emails regarding the initial booking process and 'customer experience' of their website, they've been curiously silent ever since. No response from their customer service team yet, bar an automated acknowledgement of receiving my complaint about the no-show. At what point do I start naming and shaming on soshul meejah?
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