Sunday, July 31, 2016

A 90% Complete Mess: 1964 Datsun 320 Pickup

When people say something is 90% complete, as the seller does in this case, what metric are they using? Is this by mass? By volume? Ideal number of pieces divided by pieces actually present? This yardstick for completion is a pretty important thing to understand when purchasing a vehicle that was likely someone else's parts car. Find this 1964 Datsun 320 Pickup for sale in San Jose, CA for a paltry $750 via craigslist.

Whatever the method of calculating there-ness, the 90% of this Datto that remains is certainly worthy of driving every day, you know, with a bit of elbow grease and a parts car that'll probably be nicer than this one. Right off the bat with the first photo, we're down about 2.9% of car content with the absence of the fender, grill, and hubcaps. Rather than a full resto, you might consider sticking with a Bush Mechanics theme.

The interior shot is extremely encouraging. The fact that the pine needles in the the floorboards haven't fallen through the bottom is a very positive indicator of presence of mass. By my calculation, the front seat should account for around 3.6% of the car. And look, a bonus -0.6% return with a single hubcap and that very rare and smashable grill, previously thought to be gone forever!

Now, the motor region of the vehicle looks very encouraging. There are two ways this could go. Normally having the air cleaner on the car is a fair indicator of ran-when-parked. Your pessimist friend would say "Well, he probably didn't have to pull the air cleaner because the failure was so obvious. It probably broke the crank". But my 8th grade English teacher told us "When you hear hoofs, don't think zebras, think horses" so let's maintain some realistic optimism here and say the motor could, just maybe, run on starter fluid. By my balance sheet, only 4.1% of the car can't be accounted for, and I like those odds. 

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Matt, a self-proclaimed bottom-feeder of the classic car market, spends half of his time buying cars, half of his time retrieving them, and the remaining third on keeping them on the road.


  1. The gentleman could have used a leaf blower on the engine compartment and interior and improved his chances of selling it by 4.97%

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I think a missing fender is more than 10% on its own.

    1. I figured that fender certainly would be more that 10% by price, but then I found this:

      Only $25!

      This truck is starting to look better and better...

    2. By price...I never even thought of that metric. Somebody's gotta move on this thing!


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