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San Luis Obispo County...Anyone?


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I recently moved to Templeton, Ca, and am desperately looking for anyone into Datsuns or classic Japanese cars. If there is anyone interested in meeting, trading, buying, selling, drinking...let me know!



Morro Bay, Grover Beach, Cayucos, Shandon, Paso Robles, Arroyo Grande, Cambria, Oceano, Lake Nacimento, Atascadero, Templeton, Avila Beach, San Simeon, Creston, Pismo, Nipomo, Santa Margarita, San Miguel, Harmony...anyone?

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Porsche Owners Club does an autox in Lompoc from time to time and from what I hear my old roommate Larry Butler takes FTD with his 510 almost every time.

When I lived in Los Osos there was a Cal Poly Sports Car Club and there were a few of us Datsun guys. Don't think it's still around though.

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Used to be the guys at Maximum Motorsports (high quality aftermarket Mustang suspension/chassis parts mfr over on Sacramento) pretty much ran the CPSCC and they did a really good job. They handled all the autocrosses at Santa Maria airport. Those were shut down before I moved away, so I used to autox at Marina airport near Laguna Seca, which was run by Dennis Hale (big 510 guy). I believe that autox is still going, and there are others at that venue too. 

My understanding is that there might be more autocrosses at Santa Maria again, so I'd look into that. There is also the roadster thing every year in Solvang. That might not be exactly what you're looking for, but might find more local Datsun guys that way.

If you're into track days you can try the Alfa Romeo Club of So Cal or Porsche Owners Club or PCA. Since there is such a dearth of car stuff going on there, getting out to one of these events will probably bring you in contact with the people in the area. Could also try the vintage races at Laguna Seca. That always draws a crowd of Datsun people. I think they're there, you just need to find them.

Edited by JMortensen
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I just moved down to Arroyo Grande, it's certainly nothing like the Bay Area in terms of the classic car scene.  A few muscle cars, mostly garage queens.  I don't think I've seen another Z since I've been down here.  At least the weather is awesome for T-tops!



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  • 2 months later...

You could try to track down my ex-roommate Larry Butler. 510 guy, was Nissan master tech, worked at a Z shop in SLO in the 90s. Lost touch with him, last I heard he lived in Atascadero, but I'm sure he's still turning wrenches and the guy knows old Datsuns backwards and forwards.

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On 6/21/2019 at 8:12 AM, JMortensen said:

You could try to track down my ex-roommate Larry Butler. 510 guy, was Nissan master tech, worked at a Z shop in SLO in the 90s. Lost touch with him, last I heard he lived in Atascadero, but I'm sure he's still turning wrenches and the guy knows old Datsuns backwards and forwards.


Thanks for the info. Do you have any recommendations for tracking him down? Instagram handle maybe?

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  • 1 month later...
On 6/26/2019 at 4:34 PM, JMortensen said:

Farrell's Automotive in Atascadero. (805) 466-1004

Larry and I kinda fell out and don't get along that well. Still, he is 10x the mechanic I'll ever be.


Well, thanks for the recommendation. Turns out he is pretty bad ass. He did more in 2 hours than I could accomplish in a year.

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Here is a partial list of what Larry has done for me and my friends who all grew up 510 and Z people:

Rebuilt engines
Rebuilt transmissions
Diagnosed various electrical problems
Installed limited slip carrier in a Z and my Toy truck
Built a pie cut exhaust for truck
Installed coilovers (cut spring plates and welded new perch on)

Cut holes for GC camber plates
Helped me make strut tower bars
Changed out a timing chain on my Toy truck
cam swaps
rebuilt and tuned SUs

rebuilt and tuned Mikunis and Webers
valve adjust (can do an L6 in about 10 minutes flat, does them hot and gets it done before they cool enough to screw up the lash setting)

converted a dual point distributor to single point by changing out the breaker plate

brake upgrades
rear wheel bearings
installed Tilton pedal box 

I'm sure there is a lot more, but that's what I'm coming up with off the top of my head. Needless to say, he can do just about anything. When I moved out of CA about 17 years ago his welding wasn't very good and his fabrication skills weren't super high level either. I imagine he's improved a lot in that time though.

Edited by JMortensen
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  • 3 weeks later...

So, with social media the way it is, this kind of relevant and up-to-date information gets lost in the cesspool of Facebook groups.


This information is up-to-date: Summer 2019 and affects the greater 805 area code.



I didn't start this thread to discover a good mechanic, but to meet other people with similar interests. With that said, Larry Butler is a very good mechanic. His hobby is 510 racing, and he owns multiple Datsuns. He also has background with Z cars, and has shown this to be the case. My car, a hybrid, is a 240Z (LS1 + T56) with a Z31 rear-end. Most mechanics look at it and don't know where to start. He's had my car on two separate occasions and completed the following within a very reasonable time-frame. I'm talking...hours.

  1. Speed-o was not working | Fixed
  2. Fuel gauge was not working | re-wired Fixed (w/o taking the dash out)
  3. Differential hemorrhaged oil | Fixed
  4. CV Axle issues | Fixed
  5. Updated coilovers with new springs (needed stiffer spring rate) | Done
  6. EFI wiring issues | Scheduled to be fixed

He has not turned down a job yet, and my whole car is basically a Frankenstein. He could probably work around an OEM build with his eyes closed.


Larry works at Ferrell's Auto Repair in Atascadero, CA. To schedule time with Larry, you must work through the front-desk. Call them ((805) 466-1004) with the Year, Make, Model of the Datsun, and include any hybrid information. They will assign your car to Larry by default, because it's just known that he is the man for these cars. Larry will need to look at your car to understand your needs and requests. So, your first session will be an assessment + specific job you've requested. Ferrell's is not a speed or custom shop. When it comes to Datsuns, the front-desk will have almost no information to give you, other than a quote and general time-frame for job completion. All of the focused Datsun talent is Larry. During drop-off and pick-up, Larry has been nice enough to spend up to 15 minutes discussing what he did and what he saw. This is a bonus, because mechanics work and charge by the hour. Every minute he spends talking to you about your car is time taken away from some other customer, so you have to realize that Ferrell's is going out of its way to work for you. Again, they are not a Datsun garage like the popular shops we know in LA and Bay Area. They are a standard shop that happens to employ a ******* Datsun Jedi Master.


As for meeting other owners in the area...super duper bonus is that Larry probably knows most of them. Or he knows the ones worth knowing, ha.


So this is my assessment of Larry.


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  • 7 months later...

Making progress on acclimating to the area. Over time, it gets easier to figure out how/where to find the car people in the 805. Just dropped the car off with Larry Butler for some work. Decided to use shelter-in-place downtime for some maintenance and upgrades. 



PM me, I live in Templeton also.  Gathering parts for a 280Z build now. 




I'll PM you!


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  • 4 weeks later...

Well, I was able to connect with another Z that had come all the way from Los Angeles for the Targa 805. Larry continues to chip away at refinements on my rig. Recently he replaced the fuel line and properly routed it under the car. It had been running through...the cab. derp.


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