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California Sunshine show truck questions


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Hey guys!

Well, I consider myself pretty lucky! We celebrated my birthday the other day, and my brother got me an original, still-sealed, California Sunshine kit! 

Of course, I opened it right away, and was glad to see no "tire melt" on the windows, although a tiny big of easily fixed damage to the decals (only on the black! Yay!).

Now, I want to get at this thing: I've wanted it for years! However, finding information on it seems to be next to impossible. 

I know there were flare kits that you could get to "IMSA-fy" Your Datsun 620, but I want to do the Sunshine as the real, honest-to-goodness show truck that it is. I thought, since it was an official IHRA (I think) show car, that pictures of it would abound on the net, but really, I've gotten next to nothing. 

I can't even tell what colour it's supposed to be. Is it silver? Is it white? It's moulded it white (now yellowish-white, of course), so I'm thinking the truck must have been white, but it looks silver on the box. The interior seems to be white, but that doesn't tell me about the exterior. 

Does anyone have any links to articles, pics or anything else of this cool little truck? 

Thanks a tonne! 

 

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The nomenclature comes from a conversion company which was based in northern - or even central - California. The only info that I could find regarding this specific pickup - likely the same info you've managed to glean - is an ad seen here (see link to eBay listing). 
Ostensibly, their main gig was for step-side beds. In the U.S., all Japanese pickups were shipped sans bed due to the so-called Chicken Tax; the beds were installed at the port.

None-the-less, I hope this helps in some capacity 1978 Datsun 620 Pickup Truck California Sunshine Car Sales Brochure Folder | eBay

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1 hour ago, keyser said:

California sunshine beat hell out of that one. 

It's murder on vinyl, plastic, rubber, and paint -- especially those trash 1970's water-based paints from California-built vehicles (my parents' 1976 Monarch Ghia Coupe's silver paint was sunburned to the primer coats within two years... they bought it new).

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I'm amazed that there's not more information out there on this thing. 

I'm also shocked at how badly that Sunshine got... uh... baked? 

If it was important enough for MPC to kit, I'd have thought there would be some kind of information  on it out there, like in old Hot Rod magazines or something.

Does anyone even know the real colour? Is it white or silver?

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10 hours ago, Daddyfink said:

Found this doing a quick search 

https://www.oddimotive.com/2015/11/

November 2015

I don't think that this is the same truck. The original Cali Sunshine truck was not chopped and the wheel base also looks lengthened on the box side. 

MPC-0729-3.jpg.f61325b7eb1bb4e57482f3c687a39b0a.jpg

MPC-0729-4.jpg.6c3a04f73685088574aa1f389bbeef0e.jpg

This truck also has more red paint underneath than the original one had.

Here are more shots of that beat up truck for sale. Look at these pics and tell me if this one is the same.

Dats2.jpg.dd6e65c654adaaf493ee549e36dbb1a6.jpg

Dats3.jpg.3a7bb86b8597aa94b51f129e5b0098a9.jpg

Dats4.jpg.fd564f384bc20f99b66959064348f8b9.jpg

 

Edited by Oldcarfan27
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4 hours ago, Faust said:

Does anyone even know the real colour? Is it white or silver?

AFAICT, the truck was white, as was the interior as well.

Adam, I had this kit when I was a kid. Enjoyed the heck out of it. But the decals are lacking, as they don't cover all the little corners like the prototype shows. It would probably be better to paint all those stripes on for a correct look.

Edited by Oldcarfan27
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Just use the pictures on the box as a guide for colors and trim. The poor dilapidated looking truck in the pictures may have been through a few owners including those that didn't care.  

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On 7/12/2022 at 1:46 AM, Oldcarfan27 said:

AFAICT, the truck was white, as was the interior as well.

Adam, I had this kit when I was a kid. Enjoyed the heck out of it. But the decals are lacking, as they don't cover all the little corners like the prototype shows. It would probably be better to paint all those stripes on for a correct look.

Yeah, it does look white, doesn't it. Since it's moulded (ostensibly) in white, that's what I'm going with. 

Oh crud... that kind of decal, eh? that's a shame. Maybe I'lll make some extra myself and then I have them when I need them. I'm not sure I want to have that much painting to do on this thing. However, if I have long strips of orange and red decal, at least, I can do some work on it. I might paint the purple though.  Thanks for the heads up!

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On 7/12/2022 at 2:40 AM, Oldcarfan27 said:

I don't think that this is the same truck. The original Cali Sunshine truck was not chopped and the wheel base also looks lengthened on the box side. 

MPC-0729-3.jpg.f61325b7eb1bb4e57482f3c687a39b0a.jpg

MPC-0729-4.jpg.6c3a04f73685088574aa1f389bbeef0e.jpg

This truck also has more red paint underneath than the original one had.

Here are more shots of that beat up truck for sale. Look at these pics and tell me if this one is the same.

Dats2.jpg.dd6e65c654adaaf493ee549e36dbb1a6.jpg

Dats3.jpg.3a7bb86b8597aa94b51f129e5b0098a9.jpg

Dats4.jpg.fd564f384bc20f99b66959064348f8b9.jpg

 

It probably isn't, Patrick. Remember, the flares, grille, etc. was sold as kits. The one on the box was probably one done up by the vendor for publicity, trade shows and the like same as a SEMA car or truck would be today.

There were probably hundreds of those kits sold, maybe a few dozen actually ended up used on a vehicle.

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On 7/13/2022 at 10:00 PM, Can-Con said:

It probably isn't, Patrick. Remember, the flares, grille, etc. was sold as kits. The one on the box was probably one done up by the vendor for publicity, trade shows and the like same as a SEMA car or truck would be today.

There were probably hundreds of those kits sold, maybe a few dozen actually ended up used on a vehicle.

After some messing around with this, I can guarantee you that the pic on the box side is not a built kit; it's way longer, and the front wheel arches are far higher. 

As far as I can tell, the decals on this kit were made for some other truck and kit completely, the fit is that abysmal. In fact, I think it's far beyond my abilities to save them. I may have to go with a completely custom paint job, and just use this as a "cool custom truck" vs. the actual "California Sunshine". 

I'll have to get into it some more, but you can imagine there's an article forming about this for my website already! 

It seems like the real Cali Sunshine was a lot different than just a Datsun with some flares. This isnt' the first time MPC has botched something royally...

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The 620 was available in a long bed also, the kit represents the short bed. The pic of the white truck almost looks like a long bed which has then been bobbed between the rear wheels and tail gate. 

620beds.jpg.5d9a95cd8785f4b8b8ae7cc2247a65ee.jpg

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Interesting to see something about this kit, and the 1:1. I have this slightly different image which I scanned from an unknown publication:

Datsun 620 (USA)

It's a nice period piece, but I'm not sure if I'm going to build it OOB. More likely to swap parts with another MPC 620.

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3 hours ago, Spottedlaurel said:

Interesting to see something about this kit, and the 1:1. I have this slightly different image which I scanned from an unknown publication:

Datsun 620 (USA)

It's a nice period piece, but I'm not sure if I'm going to build it OOB. More likely to swap parts with another MPC 620.

Judging by the notes, that picture is from the MPC catalog from back then.

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Not much help, but I remember there was a build article for it in some magazine 40 +/- years ago. I distinctly remember the how to on the angled door window frames and the split exhaust tips.  If I remember correctly the whole thing was a custom one off and not a kit.

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On 7/16/2022 at 11:43 AM, Faust said:

 

It seems like the real Cali Sunshine was a lot different than just a Datsun with some flares.

Well, actually Adam, that's basically exactly what those trucks were.

Maybe I didn't make myself clear.  When I say "There were probably hundreds of those kits sold"  What I'm saying is this was a body kit for the real 1/1 trucks. 

The pics on the box was probably from the brochure for the kit for the real truck. 

That's why all the pics on the net look like different trucks, because most of them are different trucks.

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I had that kit back in the day and started to build it, but the parts fitment was not that great so I gave up on it, I still have most of it tho'

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On 7/16/2022 at 11:27 AM, Fat Brian said:

almost looks like a long bed which has then been bobbed between the rear wheels and tail gate. 

I think you are exactly right. Lots of room ahead of that rear wheel, and seems to match perfectly the long bed's proportion.

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