Grant Chugg prepares for another Targa Tasmania

READY TO ROLL: Targa Tasmania driver Grant Chugg shows off his latest 1973 Datsun 2402 ahead of next week's rally throughout the state. Picture: Neil Richardson
READY TO ROLL: Targa Tasmania driver Grant Chugg shows off his latest 1973 Datsun 2402 ahead of next week's rally throughout the state. Picture: Neil Richardson

Grant Chugg likes to take a different route than most.

The man behind the wheel of a 1973 Datsun 240Z pride and joy dismisses all power steering for retro turns.

“I still love the old classic cars,” Chugg confesses.

“I rather that sort of car over the newer ones.”

In an era when favourite old models are making way for suped-up drives, listening to Chugg talk about his discovery is convincing enough that Targa Tasmania is more about the journey than just a race to the finish line.

The Invermay plumber by day bought the Datsun effectively sight unseen from Western Australia.

But he later found the vehicle wasn’t what he expected.

BEHIND THE WHEEL: A shot from inside his Datsun.

BEHIND THE WHEEL: A shot from inside his Datsun.

“The car itself was straight with no rust at all, which was great at first,” Chugg says.

“But I don’t know how it didn’t catch fire with the way it was wired and fueled, and what have you.

“We just had to rebuild it, basically. This year we put a brand new motor in, so it’s a forgiving car to drive.

“It’s quite a light car as well and with a bit of horsepower, it should be a lot of fun.”

After some careful restoration, Chugg added that the model was perfectly suited to Tasmanian conditions.

“They were a fair way ahead of their time with the handling of it,” he said.

THE ENGINE ROOM: Chugg shows off what's under the bonnet. Picture: Neil Richardson

THE ENGINE ROOM: Chugg shows off what's under the bonnet. Picture: Neil Richardson

“It’s been modified a fair bit, but just as a standard car they do handle very well and are quite forgiving.

“When you get to drive it, you get to feel everything.”

Chugg is no stranger to Targa. But after eight years, he has parted ways with his navigator Andrew Williams.

Building up rapport in the front seat is part of the new challenge ahead for him.

“You do drive from the navigator’s seat, by in large, really,” Chugg said.

“Even though I have lived in Tassie all my life and driven a lot of these roads, you don’t know every corner or can’t remember every corner.”