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Authors’ cars: Banana love

January 7, 2012

Kicking off 2012 with an update on everyone’s favourite savanna banana!

Progress on the two-seater conversion has been excruciatingly slow. So slow in fact that I’ve been considering just giving up completely and rolling around with four seats and a “dodgy” WOF.

But lo and behold – towards the end of last year I found a listing on ebay for the elusive rear storage compartments, and immediately hit “buy now” as I was fairly sure I wouldn’t get another chance for an eternity. After some to-ing and fro-ing between myself and the seller, and a couple of long distance phone calls, I convinced him to sell me the rest of the rear interior parts, and he seemed to understand exactly which items I was after, so fingers crossed he a) actually goes thru with the deal and b) sends all the parts!

of course the next hurdle is getting all the items to NZ without spending a metric crapton on shipping!

Like rocking horse shit, with the lids intact, and even the keys!

Got back from holiday this week and none of my friends seemed interested in hanging out, so I went down to the lockup and started readying the RX-7 for the eventual 2-seater conversion.


Made some significant progress today with the retro audio project – one of the decks is nowe fully modified for AUX-in operation. Here’s the quick’n'nasty rundown and demonstration video:

The next logical step is to create some sort of circuit to allow full switching between cassette and AUX, but that involves pulling one of my expensive functional cassette players apart so I’ll come back to this in the new year.

Made a bit of progress on the vintage audio project over the weekend. Took a couple of headunits and amps down to ProTech, opened up the cases, hooked them up to a test rig and tinkered around for a while with help from members and Ned – the end result being that with a bit of judicious (and precise!) modding, it should be a cinch to “hook into” the cassette line-level output with a suitable media player device and still have the headunit control the tone, balance and volume levels.

Next step: figure out how to switch input seamlessly between cassette and line-in without blowing anything up. (Don’t look at me like that; everyone knows cassettes are The Bomb!)

The component cradle mentioned in last month’s update is now installed in squid, with cassette deck and EQ fitted.

It is awesome.

Now where did I put those Black Sabbath tapes?

After busting my arse all week to get both DR30s to Hampton Downs, an administrative fuckup today resulted in neither of my cars being judged in the show and shine competition at Nizfest which I paid to enter.

The organizers gave me two bottles of cleaner wax as amends, but I don’t think I will return next year unless a retro-classics or club stand is organized. Was pretty disappointed and ended up leaving the event early after discovering this.

However Snoozin von Richy of OS fame snapped these photos of the DR30s on the trip home, which kinda cheered me up a little. And at least I made it there and back in the end, even after all the trouble squid was giving me! Thanks to all of the OS guys who came down for the day, and cheers to Ned for taking on driving duties in the coupe.

My own photos of the day will be up within the next 24 hours. There was a definite lack of older Nissans and Datsuns this year.

So rest your faith on some solemn note.

Squid definitely needs to go lower. For the love of dish!

When I give up on you it's not me being callous.

Coupe has near-on perfect road stance though.

Send me a letter, tell me how it's going.

Check out Richy’s flickr here »

Another special delivery courtesy of Ewan @ hayatonka arrives at my doorstep… or as the case may be, on my desk at work. Ironically enough, it was cheaper AND faster to send it via seamail, instead of in the latest container. Go figure!

And on that bombshell, the epic parts collection mission for squid which has taken somewhere in the order of two and a half years and gobbled up over ten thousand dollars has finally concluded.

The part in question? A mere Pioneer component audio cradle, model ADT-N202E, new old stock, and as rare as hen’s teeth. This is a genuine aftermarket part manufactured especially for the R30 Skyline, back when the Lonesome Carboy range of component audio gear was really popular and people were adding tape decks, equalizers and the whole shebang to their cars – Pioneer definitely doesn’t make stuff like this anymore!

Gotta love how understated 1980s Pioneer packaging is.

The idea is to remove the factory lower console and bolt this cradle in its place which then provides space for two extra audio components. No issues for me since the lower console is long gone in squid, and in its place currently sits an ugly Kenwood 2-DIN headunit that I have no particular emotional attachment to…

Contents of box.

Fitting instructions included, all in Japanese of course. The detail of the OEM console diagram is astounding given this is an aftermarket part!

Looks like a cinch to install!

Hopefully I’ll have some time one upcoming evening or weekend to dummy-fit the cradle and the cassette deck I have lying around. Question is, do I fit an extra amp or an equalizer in that second space?

Choose wisely, young would-be Jedi.