Reader Submissions: This Couple Drove From Ireland To Romania In Their 280Z To Be Married

This Couple Drove From Ireland To Romania In Their 280Z To Be Married

By Ted Gushue
January 16, 2017

One of the best parts of our day is when a reader submits their story to us to be shared with the community. Every once in a while someone knocks it out of the park with a gem of a story like this. Petrolicious reader Alex Bodi and his better half started of in Cork before embarking on a four day classic drive across Europe. Alex was lovely enough to supply some of his own images as well as those taken by his friend and photographer David Alexandru.

In Alex’s own words:

Where did you begin and end your trip (city and country)?
Cork, Ireland to Cluj Napoca, Romania

What is the year, make, and model of the car you took on the trip?
1976 Datsun 280Z

How much time did it take?
About 4 days

How much distance did you cover?
Around 3500 KM

Did anyone accompany you? If so, who?
The woman I got married to at the end of the trip.

What was the purpose and/or inspiration of your trip?
We were going back home to get married and I insisted that, instead of flying (3 hours flight) we should drive the Z (3-4 days). The excuse was to leave the car there over winter, so it would stay out of the rain, as well as to leave it with my friends to restore the interior.

What made your trip special?
Well….who in his right mind would take a 40 years old car, never restored, with bushings that were about to go, brakes only so and so, engine not 100% either…without A/C or heating on a 3500 km road-trip across Europe, on a tight schedule to get married at the destination. Amazingly enough, when I posted online that I was going to be taking the trip, I had several people giving me their phone numbers that I could call in case we ran into trouble. We are talking Datsun owners in France, in Germany, Austria and Hungary. All the guys were ready to go out of their way to help out a fellow Datsun guy who might have been some crazy ax murderer.

Did you run into any troubles on the trip?
The car tried to boil us alive. Datsuns don’t have fancy insulation, in fact, they even have a warning light about “floor temperature”, and when you drive hard for long periods of time, in 35+ Celsius….let’s just say that the Coca Cola I had resting in my ashtray was boiling at some point. By the time we reached Germany, the brakes would squeak bad and hardly work. When the car got hot, after a few hours of driving at highway speed, the steering wheel would need a lot of force to turn, because of some bushings that were almost gone and what remained of it would expand too much from the heat. Other than that, we made it there safe.


What did you love about your trip?
What’s not to love?! We drove from Cork, Ireland, on some nice Irish back roads, to the ferry in Roslare, Ireland. We spent 17 hours on the boat, and at the end of those we were in France. Endless clear blue sky, gas stations where you could smell freshly baked bread, with good roads and clean parking lots, where people are aware of your car and try not to park too close to it. I did not like the Tolls though, this is why I call France “Tolland” now.

We did France in just 1 day, but when we entered Germany, all we could see was “STAU” or traffic jam. The “Gofastland” was more like “Nogoland”. We arrived late at night at some friends house (much, much later than anticipated), slept for about 3 hours and off we went. The plan was to see another Datsun guy in Germany, then drive to Austria where we had a hotel booked high up in the mountains. It took us 4 hours to do 45km, traffic jams all over the place. Apparently, the German road authority considered they should fix their highways but didn’t think to ask me if it would suit me. I’ll make sure to let them know that I will be using their roads again this April.


In Austria we arrived so late at the hotel that the reception lady already went home and canceled our reservation. It was after 11pm, we were up in the mountains with no internet, with only the hotel that looked like a deserted building with no movement and no lights around. Luckily some lights came on in the building and someone was nice enough to let us in.  We left the hotel, went downhill on some nice twisty roads, reached a main road, a highway and we were out of Austria. Strong essences do come in small bottles I guess. We went through Slovenia fast, we only stopped once because now we were in a hurry to get to Hungary in time. Hungary was hot, this is when the Z tried to kill us, this is where I drank hot Coke and the roads were way worse than I remembered.


We spent the night there and we were off in the morning, on our final leg of the trip, to Romania. At the time I took this trip (September 2016) there were over 2 years since I haven’t driven on Romanian roads. I remembered them as being bad, full of potholes and too narrow. But the roads were fixed, it was like Romania was welcoming us, even gave us a few rain drops to cool us down after the hot weather in Hungary.

We reached Cluj-Napoca in the afternoon, exhausted but feeling accomplished. We just pulled off a 3500 road trip in a 40 year old sports car that hasn’t been restored. And the Z was fine. This Z, this Japanese car was imported from California in the UK, brought to Ireland, on the road, driven not trailed. From Ireland it went to Romania, through France, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary. So yeah, I guess I loved everything about the trip. But most of all I loved my Z and my wife (and still love both). The Z, my trusty friend that took care of us. My wife that did not complain one bit about anything.


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Mr Killian O\'Neill
Mr Killian O\'Neill
7 years ago

I read about this Z in the Irish vintage scene magazine. You dont often hear of people doing such long journeys in such cars. I have a Dublin registered 1982 Ford Fiesta XR2. I’d be afraid to drive that further than Cork city.

7 years ago

I drove my ’78 280Z all the way from Budapest to Eastern France in 1.5 days when I bought it, nothing scary or unusual 🙂

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
7 years ago

Honestly .. its a beautiful car , a great drive and for a wonderful reason . But in the overall scheme of things in one of the most reliable classic sports cars ever made its not exactly much of a challenge nor anything to write home [ or post here ] about . No slam or slur intended .. just a little reality fix for the day

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