South Africans, if you spend enough time in the right pubs, braais, or workplaces, you probably have a complicated relationship with Nissan brand Datsun. The original 1400 Datsun bakkie is a South African workhorse and icon, and there are more than a few obsessive Datsun owners out there. A mint-condition Datsun 160Z will net you a substantial amount of cash from the right person. Heck, even a rusted-to-crap 160Z will find an interested buyer. It’s folks like those who should check out the newly open-to-the-public Datsun Heritage Museum in Bothaville, Free State.
Some for the road
The Datsun Heritage Museum began life as a private collection of Datsun vehicles, one that has grown to include 118 Datsun and Nissan entries — including more than a few rare items like the 1969 Datsun Fairlady Roadster. Also present is the 1971 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R ‘Hakosuka’, for the seriously rabid fan. And, you know, any petrolhead with a pulse. The collection, begun by owner Freek de Kock in 2007, claims to be the largest private collection of Datsun/Nissan cars outside of Japan.
If you’re looking to visit, you should know that you’re going to have to navigate manually. The museum doesn’t appear on Google Maps just yet, though that should be fixed fairly soon. We do have a set of directions, though, as the Datsun Heritage Museum is fairly close to Nampo Park. “As you exit Nampo Park turn left onto the R30 and head south on the R30 for 17.9km. Once you’ve gone over the bridge, turn right onto Jan Coetzee Avenue and the museum will be on your right.”
Appointments can be made with Freek de Kock (contact him on 082 4936552 or at firstname.lastname@example.org). Pricing for the museum starts at R40 for adults, R100 for a family of three (or more, in case you wanna maximise your rand), R20 for kids under 18, or R10 per head for school groups. Kids under the age of three get in free, but that’s probably because they’re not obsessed with Datsun just yet.