Update 6/24/11 – This one ended with the reserve not being met. The highest bid of $1,525 seems about right with the current market.
40 years before Nissan was dreaming of building electric cars it was building small, economical, and fun sports cars under the Datsun marque. The Datsun Sports, or Fairlady in Japan, began life in 1959 as a cheap MG and Triumph fighter. By 1965, the Sports’ engine had grown from a meager 1 liter with 34 hp to a respectable 1.6 liter with 95 hp. While the engine grew the overall dimensions of the car didn’t. With a curb weight under 2,000 lbs and an engine producing 95 hp, these little cars were perfectly capable at keeping up with their British counterparts. This Sports 1600 is for sale here on eBay with a current bid of $1,080.
While there were a considerable number of these cars built and imported to the States, there aren’t many clean ones left. Many of these cars have succumbed to rust, so inspect the floors and sills for any cancerous rust.
The lines of the Sports 1600 are very similar to the Fiat Spiders and the MGs it competed with in the late ’60s. This car appears to be in decent condition overall. However, we would be concerned with the floor pans. If they aren’t rusted through we would be tempted to put this car together as an affordable vintage racer.
The interior appears to be mostly present. If this car was complete and original it would make an amazing events car and summer commuter. These early Datsuns were built much like the MGs of the period, simplistic and effective.
The Nissan R16 engine that powered the Sports 1600 was a 3 main bearing design with dual SU carbs. The engine in this car looks to be completely original and the seller says it currently runs. The R16 was used in Nissans and Datsuns from ’65 up to ’70, so engine components should be readily available. While we love to see cars get restored and driven, we would love to see this car setup as a period correct race car. And if the reserve isn’t too high, this may make for a very affordable racer.