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SL's fleet news (Update 02-01-2023)


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Looks great, I should turn up in the 323 1.5 for an Autocar roadtest specific to cars with half-hubcaps and slightly larger than usual engines. Those semi-Sercks are great too.


I had thought something similar - I just need a set of the aftermarket trim rings now.


What Car? have already beaten us to it, in saloon guise at least. I have a reprint* of a group test with N13 and 323 vs. Orion and Belmont. Swap the latter two for Escort and Astra and we'd be sorted.


*By neat coincidence it came from Constitution Motors.

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Saw this on your flickr, and thought phwoar, this must be one of em just before the added value tart up they gave em, where all models got loads of electric gubbins and re badged as LS/GS etc


You're right - this one's from January '88 and the LS, GS and GSX came along in April. That means no PAS, sunroof, electric windows or central locking for me. I have the Lexus if I want to play with toys and the Sunny feels more honest this way.

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That is pretty much the stereotypical giffer motor.  I love the way he'd gone to the trouble of putting a sheet down on the garage floor to lay out the cleaning products on. :-D


I can imagine that being quite a pleasant thing to drive with a 1.6.  Are these as high-geared as the B11s?  Could be a useful motorway cruiser if so.


Edit: I wouldn't mind a go in a ZX one day - possibly the most unlikely hot hatch of all time?

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Thanks all. Been away all day today so no time to play with it today, probably use it for work tomorrow.


I can imagine that being quite a pleasant thing to drive with a 1.6.  Are these as high-geared as the B11s?  Could be a useful motorway cruiser if so.


Yes, both 4th and 5th are overdrive. No tacho on this LX model, so I can't immediately say how low it's turning over at cruising speed, but I'm sure it will be fine for cruising around South Norfolk.

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Drove it into work today. It did the job perfectly and the 1600 engine has plenty of torque with a slightly gruff, rorty sound. Thermostat definitely needs changing though. Feels very tight overall, as would be hoped given that it has lower mileage on it than anything else I own. Handling seemed more than adequate, though the excellent condition of this car and the damp roads meant no Troy Queef style antics.


As well as digging out some tapes from the shed I think I need to find my old 1980s briefcase. It's dark grey with a bit of red piping and would look perfect on the passenger seat.


It's pleasing when a collection goes so faultlessly and pleasantly as yours, bonus with the extras too. Telling us about the previous owners decision to stop driving nearly made me well-up! Nice write up on a good looking car.


Even by my limited collection experiences, this wasn't a particularly challenging escapade! I did treble the collection mileage just driving it to the office this morning.


2 rear wipers are for winners.


I got confused there, we're back to the Camry? They are good, but I think they'd stopped working on the replacement tailgate before that car came off the road. Hopefully they can be repaired......

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Time for an updated family photo:



February 2016 Line-Up by Spottedlaurel, on Flickr


Realistically, slightly too many to keep on the road and maintained. The Sunny will probably go at some point soon, but I'm having fun with it for the moment. Used it for family transport yesterday, which led to a discussion as to how people viewed us and how that opinion would differ depending of which car we'd used. My daughter calls it the "Driving Greenhouse" as she's amused by its squareness and how much window area it has compared to a modern car. On the subject of which, it's now parked next to Mrs SL's 2010 Auris and is utterly dwarfed.



Sunny Comparison by Spottedlaurel, on Flickr


A more relevant comparison to us here. I was expecting the Datsun to look a lot smaller but there was very little in it.

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Amazing line up, SL. Considering how many years I've followed you on Flickr, I really was only familiar with your spots rather than your actual fleet....also had no idea you were fairly local to me either! Found myself checking out the RAF track days after reading your posts on them.


Americans would be so weirded out by your passion for the Camry though, one of the most derided non-domestic cars on the US market.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Did they clone your card? There's a bit of a stigma attached to that station...


You've got me worried now, I often fill up there (sometimes twice a day, if things haven't worked out too well with my fleet management).


A brief update, but no new acquisitions:



Broken Sensor on the Lexus by Spottedlaurel, on Flickr


The sensor snapped. Took it to the garage with view to getting it replaced but it we mutually agreed it wasn't worthwhile. EML isn't on and emissions are within MoT limits so they just secured it out of the way (I think they said the other one was going the same too).



New Thermostat for the Sunny by Spottedlaurel, on Flickr


The new Sunny had been running cold so I thought I'd treat it to a new thermostat. Happy I went for a genuine one after reading other tales of woe about them on here. Not quite as easy as I'd hoped though.....



Sunny Thermostat Covers - New and Old by Spottedlaurel, on Flickr


Didn't really like the look of the old housing, with a previous repair? Datman got hold of a new one for me (local Nissan dealer couldn't supply one). All good now, with the needle sitting nicely in the middle of the gauge.


MoT is due on it at the end of the month, fingers crossed.



1973 Datsun 1200 - Donk? by Spottedlaurel, on Flickr


Last year was a bit busy with work on the house, so the little 1200 didn't get much attention. I want to get it into a more useable condition with new clutch, tyres and a good service all being required and I've finally made a start after assembling parts over the last few months. Fitted a spare set of 14" Laurel wheels onto it so I can get the tyres off the old ones and repaint them at my leisure.



Datsun 1200 12" Steel Wheels - Before by Spottedlaurel, on Flickr


And this is as they are now, waiting to be blasted by a local company before I give them a new lick of paint.



Datsun 1200 Gearlever Gaiter - Before by Spottedlaurel, on Flickr


It's never going to be a quiet car, but the state of this thing wasn't helping. New one obtained from Australia.



Datsun 1200 Gearlever Gaiter - After by Spottedlaurel, on Flickr


A job that even I couldn't mess up!



Datsun 1200 Rear Seat - Before by Spottedlaurel, on Flickr


While there was some charm to the original plastic still being on the back seat, it didn't look too good.



Datsun 1200 Rear Seat - After by Spottedlaurel, on Flickr


So that was removed to reveal shiny, thigh-burning vinyl. Will probably keep the plastic on the door/side panel trims though.


I've booked it into the Ipswich-Felixstowe Run in May for Mrs SL to drive, so hopefully that will encourage me to progress work on it quicker than I might otherwise manage.

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Americans would be so weirded out by your passion for the Camry though, one of the most derided non-domestic cars on the US market.


Yep, not much love for the Camry here despite selling a metric shit-tonne of them.


SL you posts give me fleet, house and shed envy.   Loving the 1200.

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Original Plastic covers on seats/trim is one of those things I've sometimes wondered what I would do with if I bought a car with them.  Its sort of great to think that they are untouched but then they were never intended to be left one like that and it would probably bother me with the way they look.  Given the condition of yours there it seemed the sensible thing to do to take off the remainder.

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Thanks all. With the 1200 I do feel I'm tinkering around the edges and that I'm ignoring the filler and rot that's lurking under the shiny(ish) paint, but the best I can do for several years is keep it going sympathetically and not let it get any worse. The green one I looked at last year was at least as rusty and had been off-road for 20+ years, and that quickly sold for more money than I paid for mine.


One bit of Lexus news I forgot to report was that the OE cassette player works very well. My period-correct Jungle tape which I recorded off a housemate's record in the mid '90s has never sounded better.


A helpful chap off PH got my Marham trackday video onto Youtube:



Complete with mutterings from Baz and me.


Great news is that they're holding another in May, so I'll get the Lexus booked into that one.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wonderful thread of loveliness


Thanks :-)


Small-but-continuing progress on various fronts:


1) The new Sunny went in for an MoT on Friday and passed with no advisories. Now at the garage awaiting a cam belt and one or two other odds and ends. I've already done as many miles in in during the last month as the previous owner did in a year.


2) The little 1200's wheels have gone from rusty to this:



Datsun 1200 Wheels - Blasted and Primed by Spottedlaurel, on Flickr


And now this:



Datsun 1200 Wheels - Painted by Spottedlaurel, on Flickr


Ideally they should be a very dark grey, but I had only a limited choice in the time I had available. The matt black looks about right, not as matt as I'd feared (and I can always go over it with something else in the future). They're now in the boot of the Sunny at the garage, waiting to be united with a new set of tyres they've got in for me.


3) Camry progress, with thanks to Wuvvum:



Toyota Camry - Damaged Tailgate Removed by Spottedlaurel, on Flickr


We got the old one off after a bit of removal of metal where it had got mashed-up around the lock.



Toyota Camry - Fixed(ish) by Spottedlaurel, on Flickr


Happily no damage appears to have been done to the catch or surrounding panel, as the new tailgate fitted and worked perfectly. Worst job was getting the wiring down to where it needed to be plugged in, but despite the new tailgate being off a car three years newer everything was similar and there were no Laguna II-esque difficulties encountered.


It latched cleanly without any adjustment, so it would appear that no structural damage has been done (maybe just a bit behind the bumper where the towbar took the brunt of the damage). Getting this done has proved to me it's worth fixing, so once I get the Sunny and 1200 sorted then it can take a trip to the garage and I look forward to using it again.


Thanks again Dave!

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  • Spottedlaurel changed the title to SL's fleet news (Update 02-01-2023)

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