Motoring: Not a Nice One, Datsun My Worst Car; Ian Botham's Datsun 180 SSS

Article excerpt

I HAVE had plenty of pretty rum jalopies, especially when I was a kid. Most of them were rusty, slow and just plain unreliable. But by far the worst of them all was a really horrible Datsun.

Now this wasn't an ordinary saloon like a Sunny, but a 180 SSS fastback. Twenty years ago it was still regarded as a stylish coupe, and that may be why I bought it, but now I have my doubts. The colour scheme wasn't up to very much, with custard-yellow paintwork and a black vinyl roof.

Apart from looking terrible, its reputation for reliability was equally bad. Everything that could go wrong with that car did go wrong. I don't know where to start, or stop, with the catalogue of mechanical failures - except to say that if you name a part I probably paid to have it replaced - cylinder head, suspension, brakes, steering, electrics, starter, alternator, radiator... I won't go on. In fact, I seem to remember that the radiator was probably the most common cause of upsets, springing a leak, then boiling over and getting me into even more trouble. That trouble usually involved being broken down somewhere on the A1. …