27 july 2018
ROSSLYN, South Africa (July 27, 2018) - Datsun is embarking on the fifth year of operations in South Africa today, since re-entering the market in 2014. The brand is strengthening a decades-old legacy, built between the 1960s and the 1980s, when Datsun established itself as one of the most loved car brands in the country.
Given Datsun’s reputation for building robust and reliable cars, it’s no surprise that many of the vehicles from that era are still in use decades later. The Datsun Heritage Museum in the town of Bothaville serves as testimony to the legacy of a brand that’s stood the test of time.
Owned by car enthusiast Freek de Kock, the museum has a collection of 118 Datsun and Nissan vehicles including a 240Z; a 1600 SSS; a 1971 first-generation Nissan Skyline GT-R coupe; five other GT-Rs, including the R35; a 1970 Nissan President V8 limousine once owned by the late Mozambican president, Samora Machel; a Pulsar; a 1200 GX; a Laurel, and many others. Most of the cars are in working order, and those that aren’t are being lovingly restored in de Kock’s workshop.
De Kock fell in love with Datsun cars when he was a boy and started collecting them 11 years ago, when his sons took over the family business.
“With my sons running the business, it gave me time to focus on my hobbies,” de Kock says. “So, I started collecting cars. I realized that I would never sell the cars I was collecting, and that’s how the idea of a museum came about.”
Initially, de Kock thought it would be difficult to get his hands on the different Datsun models, but as people heard about the museum, he was offered several cars.
“My first car was the 300ZX, which I restored from start to finish. I’ve always loved Datsun cars because each one has a standout feature, and also because both Nissan and Datsun have a well-known history of track performance.”
While the collection doesn’t operate as an official museum, it’s open by appointment to anyone who would like to view the vehicles. Asked why he’s so dedicated to this project, de Kock says, “We need to preserve the Datsun heritage because, without heritage, there will never be much of a future.”
Des Fenner, Datsun South Africa general manager, says: “We’re proud of our heritage as an iconic Japanese brand, and we’re equally proud of our South African heritage as a young democracy. Datsun will continue to support the inspiring people of our rainbow nation with cars they can rely on. Since coming back to South Africa in 2014, we have established ourselves as a brand that people can trust, and we look forward to playing a part in the ongoing development of our country.”