GALLERY: Go Behind The Scenes On Our 1972 Datsun 240Z Film Shoot
The Datsun was “sort of a college graduation present from myself to myself” says Chris Bury, the son element of the father-and son team that slide and jump and guide this ruggedly modified 240Z. Together with his dad, Tjerk “TJ” Bury, Chris has already checked off one successful completion of the challenging Peking to Paris endurance rally in the 240Z that began as a rusty project plucked from the local classifieds, and the two are about to set out on their second attempt with the same car this summer. What was once a tired Craigslist special became a half-finished canyon carver, only to finally morph into this competent, rugged rally car.
Before it was floating between dunes and launching over unpaved crests, it was a car that had been sitting for sale for quite a while—a car with many needs that was having a hard time finding someone to take of any of them. Enter Chris, who had recently graduated college and begun working in Los Angeles.
After a few months’ prudence and saving, he felt comfortable directing a chunk of his expendable income toward the car that’d been sitting on Craigslist. It was a crusty husk of what it would become, but jacking and souping it up for chewing through dirt at a few thousand miles at a time wasn’t the original plan. Chris was happy to have the car. Excited to save it and restore some purpose to its existence. As such, he initial plan was to address the rust and the rest, and spend a little bit of extra time and money turning it into something sharper than stock for the occasional canyon run.
Somewhere in between devising and completing that vision though, the Z nearly stranded Chris one night outside of the city, but luckily he wasn’t too far from his parents’ place and was able to limp it the rest of the way. It stayed parked in that state for a few months before Chris’s dad became understandably tired of seeing the semi-dilapidated Datsun taking up space on his property every day, which led to the two of them taking the build in a new direction.
After the 2013 edition of the Peking to Paris endurance rally, TJ read an article about the event in an automotive magazine, and had the typical response: “cool race, too bad I’ll probably never get to do it.” The article on the event included a few car recommendations at the end for those thinking of competing, but with limited budgets. The 240Z was one of the suggestions, so TJ called up his son and suggested that they fix up the one they happened to have on hand so the two could try their hand at the Peking to Paris.
The 240Z had proven itself a potent off-road machine back when it was new and being campaigned in the WRC and other rally series by the factory, and Chris took his dad up on the idea that their Z might allow them to experience some of that history firsthand. Both father and son prefer the country-spanning endurance aspect of the Peking to Paris rally as opposed to a typical WRC weekend limited to a small web of roads in the same postal code. Driving the roughy 9,000 miles between Beijing and Paris in a decades-old sports car is a unique form of travel, and as Chris puts it, rallying like this not only allows you to visit different parts of the world, but it allows you to experience them in a way a typical visit wouldn’t.
To share that with the other “competitors” (nobody in the Peking to Paris wants to be the only one to reach Paris, so helping hands are extended aplenty) is one thing, but to have your family riding shotgun through all the deserts and mountain ranges and currency-change shops along the way is even better. No wonder Chris and his dad are getting ready to do it again this summer.