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Datsun Matsuri in Kelowna — a festival for vintage Datsun fanatics

First published in the Calgary Herald May 11, 2012. All images courtesy David Myers.

Datsuns at the 2011 Alberta Meet in Red Deer.

David Myers is fast becoming known as Mr. Datsun.

The Edmonton man appreciates all old Datsuns, from Roadsters to 510s, and everything in between.

To share his enthusiasm, Myers hosted the Alberta All Datsun Meet in Red Deer last year.

“We had really bad weather on June 4,” Myers said. “It was cold, and there had actually been a couple of snowflakes in the air. But, we still had about 25 or 30 cars, which is a respectable turnout.”

Those Datsuns came from Calgary and Edmonton, and from points further afield.

But this year, Myers is going a step further, organizing Datsun Matsuri 2012 to run on the May long weekend. Matsuri is Japanese for festival, and Myers is piggybacking his show with a long-established event in Kelowna, B.C. – the Turner Volkswagen 55th Annual Knox Mountain Hill Climb.

By hosting the event in B.C.’s interior, Myers hopes to attract more fans of the Datsun/Nissan brand from western Canada and the northwestern United States.

“I graduated from high school in Kelowna, and I was aware of the Knox Mountain race,” Myers said. “I drove through there last year, and I got to thinking about drawing people to the event by hosting a Datsun show during their event.”

Datsun 510 at the start of the Knox Mountain Hill Climb, 2009.

The hill climb is held on Knox Mountain Park Road, in the City of Kelowna. At 3.5 km in length, Knox Mountain Park Road is paved, but is narrow with off-camber turns and steep grades, and climbs some 245 metres in elevation for an average grade of 6.7 per cent.

No other paved road hill climb in North America has run as long as the Knox Mountain event, attracting drivers from several provinces and states. During the run, cars race up the hill one at a time; the one with the quickest time wins.

There are several classes, from open wheeled to GT cars, and of course, there are often Datsun 510s and Z-cars taking part.

“When I spoke to the organizers about the Datsun show, they said ‘the more the merrier’,” Myers said. “There is a car show that is part of the Knox Mountain Hilll Climb, and ours is really going to be a show within a show.

“Entry to the car show is free for car and driver and is managed by the hill climb organization – we’re just joining in.  The hill climb (also) organizes a people’s choice award for the car show, and participation in that is optional.”

Myers has planned three days of events, including an informal meet and greet on the Friday evening. He and several Edmonton-area Datsun owners plan to drive out in convoy, and Myers said plans are afoot for Calgary owners to do the same.

Saturday is the hill climb and car show, with Myers giving out goodie bags to all registered Datsun participants. There are opportunities to win draw prizes from several sponsors, including a 1:18 scale model Kyosho BRE (Brock Racing Enterprises) Datsun 240Z die-cast car numbered and signed by Peter Brock.

Brock Racing Enterprises fielded a Datsun 510 in the Sports Car Club of America’s 1971 Trans Am 2.5 series with driver John Morton behind the wheel. Morton won the season. For 1972, BRE prepared three Datsun 510s and had a repeat performance.

Other sponsors providing prizes include Sports Imports from Surrey, B.C. Sports Imports specializes in the Datsun Roadster, and fabricates metal body repair panels that quite simply are not available anywhere else.

Wolf Creek Racing is the national distributor of Mikuni automotive sidedraft carburetors and parts, and also manufactures CV axle kits for Datsun 510s and Z-cars. Wolf Creek Racing has supplied a Triple Mikuni Master Rebuild Kit and Manual.

And, Z Therapy remanufactures the popular SU carburetors. They are up for giving away a set of SU carbs – prepared to a fit a vehicle of the winner’s choice.

On Sunday, Myers has routes laid out for what he has dubbed the Twisties Tour. Drivers can take part in a shorter, 141 km loop around the northern part of Lake Okanagan, or go further, driving a 216 km loop that includes the lake plus a farm loop.

If interested in attending Datsun Matsuri 2012, visit to register. Spectators are welcome.

Alberta All Datsun Meet 2011

Story first published in the Calgary Herald, Friday, March 18, 2011

Sometimes, out of curiosity, I’ll point my web browser over to

In a bid to relive my youth – if only for a moment – I’ll search for a make and model of a car I once owned.

Last week, I typed Datsun 510 into the search bar.

A few ads popped up, but none for drivable cars. One ad that did catch my attention, however, was from Edmonton Datsun enthusiast David Myers. He didn’t have a Datsun 510 for sale. Instead, he was promoting the Alberta All Datsun Meet in Red Deer on June 4.

“This is not a car show,” Myers, 42, explained when I talked to him about the event he is planning. “I don’t care if your (Datsun or Nissan) is rusty, full of bondo, a body shell on a trailer or fresh out of the restoration shop – I just want to share the enthusiasm.”

Myers is a long time Datsun/Nissan aficionado, and referred to himself as a ‘car nerd’. Datsun automobiles captured his attention early on, and he’s simply carried on the passion. He’s owned a 240SX and a 510. The 510 was a big project — more so than he would have liked.

Several years ago he sold the 510 project and bought a running 1969 Datsun Sport 2000 convertible, and this is a car he continues to drive while he slowly restores it.

“I think there are plenty of older Datsuns in Alberta,” Myers said. “It’s definitely a smaller community here than on the West Coast or down south  – but I really do think there are a lot of people in the woodwork with Datsuns.

“I put up the ad because I wanted to see if there was any interest from other Datsun enthusiasts. This would be a great way for us all to connect, meet face to face, maybe swap some parts and talk about the cars.”

And according to Myers, you don’t have to have a Datsun or a Nissan to attend. Just show up, as he put it.

As of now, his plan is to have Calgary and southern Alberta Datsun owners meet in this city, and drive to Red Deer. And that’s the same plan for Edmonton and north.

Trouble is that to date he has not found a suitable parking lot location in Red Deer for the meet. He’s working on that, and asked that those interested in attending keep watching the Kijiji ad, or the Facebook Alberta All Datsun Meet page.

My fascination with Datsun started when I was 14 years old. That’s when I bought a 1972 Datsun 510. The car had been lowered and fitted with fender flares. I pretty much learned to drive in this car, and over a period of a few years owned at least five of them. Fond memories.

When the 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine was fitted with a Weber carb and a Monza exhaust, and with some aftermarket rims and a sway bar the Datsun 510 was a remarkably fun car to drive.

In the hands of folks with some real skill, the Datsun 510s proved to be very adept at racing. In fact, Pete Brock of Brock Racing Enterprises (BRE) fielded a 510 in the Sports Car Club of America’s 1971 Trans Am 2.5 series with driver John Morton behind the wheel. Morton won the season. For 1972, BRE prepared three Datsun 510s and had a repeat performance.

Datsun 510s were also very capable rally machines, and many were converted for competition use.

Rarely do you see a Datsun 510 for sale anymore. At one time, they were almost as ubiquitous as Honda Civics are today. But now, if one is for sale, it’s rusty and a parts car – or completely restored and modified and worth a few dollars.

As for Myers and his Datsun convertible, he’s driven the car to the West Coast, and as far south as Norwood, Colorado – about 5,000 km return. His fiancee Caroline Bujold was a willing passenger, and she commented that the 1969 Datsun was more comfortable than his 2003 Kia.

“My Datsun is mostly stock, with a rebuilt engine,” Myers said. “It’s got a Solex carb instead of an SU, a different grind on the cam and a lighter flywheel for just a bit more zip. The body was done in the 1980s, and it’s going to need some more body work soon.”

Myers hopes to see many different models of early Datsuns at the meet, from Z cars to trucks, and everything in between. For more information about the Alberta All Datsun Meet, check the pages mentioned above, or email Myers at

Photos courtesy David Myers, owner of the 1969 Datsun Sport 2000.