We’ve all been there… sprawled out on the couch, laptop in hand aimlessly trolling the interwebs at some ungodly hour looking for who knows what… and then BOOM – you see it! That car or truck that you had always been looking for but didn’t quite know it yet and for some reason you were only now able to find it at 3 a.m., which of course means no sleep, yet again. After hours eBay sessions can be both extremely rewarding and oftentimes costly but once in a blue moon we stumble across that rare gem, something that speaks directly to our soul and just begs for our own custom visions to come to life.
Photos: Matt Clifford | Words: Steve “Chance” Berndsen
Our bud, Jamie McToldridge of the Players Show fame, can’t say that he himself had the good fortune of finding such a beauty, but lucky for us his good friend and co-conspirator Carl Taylor did. Funny enough though the original eBay search was actually for something a little larger, along the lines of a ’67 C-10, but when Carl first laid his eyes on this patina’d little Datsun he knew the pair would be able to come up with something special to properly show her off and he went forward and made the bid regardless.
Unlike the good old U.S and even some of our across the seas neighbors like Australia and Asia, imports like this one don’t often land on far away shores such as the U.K. This suited Jamie just fine as his prior build sheet shows, he really likes to step outside the box when it comes to his builds. Having previously owned and built a swag of other showstoppers including just about every VW Golf series ever built an M5 BMW and a currently in the build S14 drift rig on full Air Lift suspension, it’s easy to see that this Datsun definitely ended up in the right hands.
The Players duo first stop was to update the tired old factory suspension and begin the upgrades required to be worth of the “Players Show” stable, so Jamie dropped his new acquisition off at Balls’d Custom Shop in Suffolk, U.K. to get some much needed altitude adjustment. Matt Balls the owner of said custom set to work right away, pretty much scrapping the chassis after the cab all together and opting for a distinctive swept chassis rather than a traditional boxed style notch. This allowed the frame to sit higher in the bed than it originally did from stock giving the axle more than enough room to rest her newly fabled frame on the pavement.
Along with a custom 4-link in the rear and Balls’d custom ‘bag plates on all four corners, Jamie’s Datsun gets low with Air Lift Dominator ‘bags and two Viair 480 compressors filling a custom 4-gallon reserve tank. With the bulk of the suspension sorted, Jamie turned his attention to the almost 50-year-old year paintwork which was handled by the gents at Paintbox. Some severely aggressive cut and polishing followed and resulted in a more than satisfactory finish that when coupled with the hand painted signwriting on the doors gives the 520 the proper nostalgic look that she deserves with some modern life upgrades hidden away underneath.
Sitting pretty tucked up within the arches of Jamie’s classic Datsun is a set of Chevrolet Smoothies painted House of Kolor candy teal with chrome hubcaps finished off with a nice set of whitewalls. Not only does the rolling stock add that nostalgic cruiser feel to the overall look of the truck, it also plays into the contrast color of the interior. The cabin is kept relatively stock just like the exterior with much of the original factory trimmings still doing their job. Keeping with the old school feel, they installed a nifty little air control system behind the glove box, housing the Air Lift V2 controller when it needs to be tucked away and two dual needle air gauges. With possible future upgrades still on the books for this little truck, at the moment Jamie is content to show his little gem and properly enjoy her the way we here at Slam’d believe every ride should be… rolling low and slow.
Owner: Jamie McToldridge
Vehicle: 1966 Datsun 520
Hometown: Coggeshall, United Kingdom
Front: 15×7-inch Chevrolet six-lug Smoothies two-toned with 175/75R15 whitewalls
Rear: 15×8-inch Chevrolet six-lug Smoothies two-toned with 175/75R15 whitewalls
Balls’d smooth box section chassis notch
Custom Balls’d 4-link and crossmembers
Custom mounts for ‘bag/shocks and air tank
Transmission tunnel raised four inches
Air Lift Performance Dominator airbags
Air Lift Performance V2 and four-gallon aluminium air tank
Custom bespoke Balls’d top mounts front/rear, Balls’d bushings/bearings
Two Viair 480c compressors
Original 520 bodywork
Mopped and polished by Paintbox
Custom Players Show signwriting
Original 520 bench seat recovered
Air Lift Performance paddle switches custom mount hidden in glove box
Air Lift Performance dual-needle 200psi air pressure gauges
Nissan J13 1300cc inline-four
Original four-speed manual gearbox
Beer keg fuel tank
Detailed out and custom accessory mounts