This Datsun 120Y Is How One Father’s Punishment Backfired
Photos supplied by Andre Peixe
We’ve all done silly things in cars. The only vehicle available to me—when my mom wasn’t using it—was a teal green Mazda MPV, which quite incredibly had an appetite for front tires only a few months after I’d started driving it. I luckily escaped punishment, but Portuguese Petrolicious reader Andre Peixe did not—but it worked out alright. “I crashed my father’s car when I was 20. As a punishment, he offered me the Datsun,” he says.
After gaining an appreciation for cars through TV shows like The Knight Rider, Miami Vice, and Automan, Peixe couldn’t wait to try his hand at driving for real…but not for very long until he was “grounded” and had to use a much slower car. Amazingly, a few years later, the 120Y was run into some trouble as well that spurred Peixe on.
“I crashed this car when I was 23. I was finishing my graduation so I had no money. It should be cheaper to by another one. But I wanted this one. It’s maybe the only time I remember crying in my life,” he says. “So I thought it could be a solution to study hard and win the scholarship prize for the best student. So I did it. With the money I could pay for a big part of the repair.”
“When I finished the repaird, I started working, and with my first paycheques I could pay for the rest. Then, the car became my second car. I’ve had—and have—other sport cars by now. But the Datsun is special and will be with the family forever.”
With time to enjoy its simple charms, that sentiment isn’t surprising. “It looks like a small muscle car; you don’t need a powerful car to enjoy the ride. Actually, I learned how to drive in this car, I learned how to drift—you don’t need a very powerful car to enjoy driving,” he says. “With a low-powered car, light and well-tuned, you can reach its limits really fast. Now, the car is retired for that—I just enjoy driving it tastefully.”
In Portugal, he says that the region of Alentejo “is a dream, like the Portuguese Tuscany”. “I like to wake up early and go for a ride, listening to Hendrix, Zeppelin…I stop the car, look at it, play a minute on the Ukelele. [I] get back to the car, slide it through some corners…and come back home to wake up my wife and kid.”