Why does it take so long to build your cars?
With their shared love of rare, niche nuggets built in far away lands, Marty and MOOG have both had the not-small job of tracking down spare parts and mad mods to suit their cars. This is why we haven't seen the Nissan March Super-Turbo until TODAY'S MAD NEW EPISODE as the lads finally get to crack open some cool new purchases.
Sometimes the time it takes to find and ship parts means delays in bringing videos out as parts have to be specially ordered, or shipped tens of thousands of kilometres to get to the land of Kangaroos and backwards-flushing toilets.
I sat down with Marty to ask about how difficult it can be to find, and ship, parts for their maaad nuggets...
"I normally buy a lot of service items, like belts and spares, and the best tip I can give anyone is to go to Google Translate and look up the model number. For example, a Figaro is an 'FK10' chassis code, so you find the Kanji or the Katakana for that term, then you search using the Kanji or Katakana term.
"Often that will unlock a whole lot of ads where the Japanese seller hasn't put the model designation in English. If you search using the Japanese terms you'll find heaps more mad parts."
While Marty loves sourcing parts, he stops short of some items. "You can't know everything, and I find that finding wheels for rare cars is much trickier than the mechanical parts I'm normally looking for," he explains.
"I'm not as good as a proper wheel nerd, and there are so many guys who are wheel experts now. They can identify what you have or want just by looking at it on a similar car and work out the five-spoke version is an 'Advan something', or whatever it is."
"I spend hours looking for parts, and I spend way more time looking for parts than I realised, once I started thinking about it," Marty laughs. "Even today, there has been two or three hours just dealing with parts people and looking up information on modifying these cars. Otherwise we get halfway through filming an episode and have to stop because we don't have the correct fuel rail or something - this is a big part of what we do and why there are sometimes gaps in between cars appearing on the show."
Shipping the parts is the next hurdle, though the Internet has made this easier, too.
"The good thing is there are a few options today," says Marty. "You can jump on a website like Yahoo Auctions and choose an air freight shipping method, via someone like Import Monster or similar, and you can have some parcels in your hand in Australia in three days. Usually it takes a week or two, but I have had them turn up as quickly as three days. Big, heavy or bulky parts go in a sea freight shipping container, and they take up to three months."
Marty's mad turbo three-cylinder all-wheel-drive MIra TR-XX is possibly the rarest vehicle in the fleet, from a parts-sourcing point of view.
"The hardest parts to source would have to be Mira stuff," he sighs. "I was looking for a spare Mira rear diff for my car - in case I ever blew the one in the car up, as I know it is a unicorn part - and we found one with the help of Rob from Import Monster.
"It was in the back of a hoarder's shed out the back of someone's rice farm, in the middle of nowhere, and it cost me a few hundred bucks. But that was such a find, and good luck finding a diff for a TR-XX Mira any other way...
"The good thing was I was able to go pick it up. I ordered it online, then spoke with Rob and he said 'next time you're over here, we'll go get it'. So we jumped in his van and drove through the mountains to rock up at this guy's shed, which is exactly like buying parts in Australia (where Old Mate turns up in his ute with a slab of VB [that is a local beer - ed]). This guy in Japan turned up with some sake and driving some old nugget car, just like back home, and we dove into his shed to pull the diff out, then sea-freighted it home."
Marty's other big project car is also proving to be tricky, despite being sold in almost every Western car market through the 1970s, by one of the world's biggest car brands!
"Gemini is tricky as most of the stuff in Australia is junk because these cars have been around for so long, but the good thing is Geminis are international cars. Japan has some good parts remaining, but the prices for all the parts for this era of cars are extremely expensive, and it is the same for early Mazda, or BMWs, anything from the 1970s and '80s; it's all getting a bit silly.
"The good thing is there are heaps of reproduction parts available, so while you might not have an original dashboard in your car at least it isn't falling apart any more!"