Check out this picture of my 1976 Datsun 610 station wagon. This was back last summer when I was filling in with a southern rock band who’s organist broke his hand. Take a look at that fierce goatee and think about how rock and roll I must have been with that. Anyway, I was on Craigslist one particular afternoon when I saw this Tennessee Orange beast of a machine and I said I had to have it. In seconds I had dreamed up this scheme to sell my economically sexy Corolla to fix this baby up and have enough left over to take our first real vacation that didn’t include mooching off relatives while in between jobs. I figured even if I blew it up I could unload it to some rich frat dude to park in his yard and fill full of beer and a swimming pool for his tailgate parties.
I drove out into the country and met this guy Tony who had about seven other awesome timepieces parked around a shed where he has hotrodding a Volkswagon van. I told him my name was Levon and this was my wife Ashley who would be test driving the wagon because I couldn’t drive a stick. It drove very heavily and very loudly. I didn’t haggle or anything and he actually talked me up on the price because there was some work it needed that he would be glad to do.
That night about 10:00 I snuck out to practice my gear shifting when I was sure the streets were clear and my neighbors inside. It wouldn’t start. That’s okay, I thought. Tony will help me tomorrow. Tony said one typical problem that everyone knows about these old Datsuns is that the starter could go out instantly. I asked him why the windshield wipers didn’t work and he said it never rained when he had it so he didn’t know. A new starter didn’t help. Neither did a new battery. About this time Tony stopped answering my phone calls.
I decided to start advertising the car the exact weekend where every investment bank failed and the stock market dropped back to 1984. The rich frat guys’ parents all cut their allowances back and I was stuck with my piece of metal that offensively laughed at me everyday I drove home from teaching about making responsible financial decisions.
Then I met my new hero Dusty. I put an ad in Craigslist saying I would pay anyone $50 that could get my car to start. Dusty responded immediately and pulled up in his 1976 Ford Ranger and at 19 years old he could do anything. He troubleshooted about five reasons why the Datsun wouldn’t work and started calling his buddies at Autozone and Advance which he had on speed dial on his cell phone to get old parts ordered. In the meantime I learned he had been roofing for fifteen years and had built houses with his bare hands. My grocery store/house will be 100 next year and it has never been exactly up to codes. Dusty fixed my roof the next day and came back to put a window in my bedroom through a 16” brick wall on an icy day in January. Actually it was yesterday, honest to God. He also replaced the Datsun’s fuel pump, fuel filter and ignition switch. He’s coming back tomorrow to do troubleshoot step #5 which is jiggle the distributer to try and make the engine stop missing.
If you’re reading this and live in Knoxville you desperately need to have Dusty’s contact info. I can get you in touch. Tony, if you’re reading this I hope you punch a wall and break your fingers.
Why is all of this in my blog about New York? It’s a shameless advertisement to rent my house and sell my car or I will be staying put for sure.
One more thing, the Datsun was recognized for its glory and featured in the following article: http://www.autofiends.com/index.php/2009/01/k-town-classic-1976-datsun-610-wagon/