Datsun cars have been in Stuart Lingeveldt’s family for as long as he can remember .
“The first car I can remember is my grandfather’s Datsun 120Y,” he says. “He bought it out of the box. The original service booklet is still in the cubby hole. And it’s still in our family till this day. That’s almost 40 years.”
The 33-year-old lover of classic cars has slowly been building up his own collection.
“My first car was also a 120Y. And then I drove a Toyota Avante. Due to unfortunate circumstances that car burnt out. And then I decided to go back to Datsun. I now drive a Datsun 1983 Stanza station wagon. I’ve been driving it for about six years now,” he says.
Japanese brands are in Lingeveldt’s veins. He rattles off makes and models like Datsun, Nissan and Toyota. He says the companies make cars that are simple and easy to drive and maintain.
Although Lingeveldt admits the Datsun Stanza station wagon may not be the most eye-popping of models, he finds beauty in its simplicity.
“When people think of Datsun they would usually think of the 150. It’s the more popular one. But I go for what’s not so popular. No one drives these cars anymore. But the parts are easily available and very inexpensive.”
The Mitchells Plain resident, who manages an after-school tuition centre, says he warns youngsters to mock at their peril.
He’s known to put foot and watch the speedometer climb — going toe-to-toe with later model vehicles.
“The younger generation obviously does look at the car funny, thinking that it’s an old car. But next month I’m going to Killarney race track again.” Lingeveldt says. “It’s not very fast, but it can compete with some of these newer cars on the road.”
In a tough economic climate, practicality and cost-effectiveness are on most people’s minds. And these are also reasons Lingeveldt is sticking to his 1980s classic.
His passion runs deep — even if it means rebuilding a blown engine — twice.
“Rebuilding the engine was an experience. My family has always been into cars. I was once working in the workshop [and] I fell asleep under the car while it was on stands,” Lingeveldt says.
“Sometimes you break nails, sometimes you hurt yourself, but it teaches you patience.”
“With these new cars, you’re not going to be paying less than R3 000 for a basic service. I can get away with a service for about a thousand rand,” he says. “I get asked why I don’t buy myself a new car, but at the end of the day, it also keeps you humble. It reminds me of where I come from. Some day if I’m a millionaire I’ll still be driving a Datsun.”