This is one of those stories where you find the cool and rare craftsmen from yesteryear with all the knowhow, experience and some nice stories to tell.
A while ago i found a minimalistic ad for Datsun radiators on a local sales platform. I contacted the seller to see if he had somerthing for my Z. He didn’t, but he sent me a list of other Datsun radiators he had. When i saw the “240K-GT” (better known as the GC100 Kenmary skyline) on the list, i immadiately contacted my Datsun Mate Stefan, who is currently restoring a such very rare 240K-GT.
He contacted the seller and i agreed to pick it up for him because the seller was close to my work.
When talking to the seller on the phone i had a feeling he might be a bit older than me and the business something that had seen it’s best years.
When i saw the sign in front of their home in th emiddle of a suburban area, my feelings got confirmed:
The owner – now 80 years old – and his dad used to have a radiator repair shop and he still used to carry out this work until last year, but now says he’s to tired and stopped the business. He is now selling his whole collection of various new and used radiators of all brands and types, which he used to have on hand for customers. Most of them are for older cars, as these days people just tend to buy a new one and radiators these days are definitely of more complicated and fragile and cheaper design with much plastic and thin aluminum. I love to chat to those guys, when they tell me how they used to work and who were the customers. These were exactly the type of real craftsmen who used to work on our cars when those were seen on the roads regularly. Instead of getting a new, expensive radiator from Japan, you would bring your leaking old one to one of these guys and get it repaired to brand-new condition. I also loved the stories about how people travel from all over europe these days to get one of his rare NOS radiators for any car, like a strange Mercedes automatic family sedan from the 70ies which you just can’t find elsewere nowadays. Or how he delivered a radiator for a super rare Alfa-Romeo race car all the way to vienna by himself. Lovely.
The radiator was in expected excellent shape, and he even found a cooler hose for it in his stock, which he gave for free. If you look at the radiator, you can see this one is for the automatic transmission type. you can see two connectors left and right at the bottom, which is for an additional tube running through the radiator, to cool the Auto transmission oil. The manual transmission radiator is exactly the same, but just without the tube and connectors. So if you don0’t have an Auto transmission, just don’t connect anything there, or cut the two connectors of for a smooth look. The guy was super nice to explain the whole function and all the features of the radiator to me. Quite interesting to get to know all the details from a guy who has never done anything else in his life than repairing such radiators.
After all, the cool part was really meeting the guy and his stories from the old guys, and the radiator is obviously something you don’t find every day. So it definitely is a good find and well worth the money.