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Reader Find: 1967 Datsun Sports 1600

Not all great automotive discoveries are made as the result of much research and hunting. Many are actually made on accident. Take reader Chad P’s Datsun barn find for example. Here is the tale in Chad’s own words…

“About four years ago my Dad and I were approached by an employee concerning an ‘old’ roadster her dad had in the barn. It turned out to be a 1967 Datsun 1600 Fairlady. It was in pretty rough shape, but we bought it for $600.”

“It was fun, as we had no idea what the car was. We had never seen one before. It ended up being a massive frame off project that turned out to be an amazing little roadster that is now in better shape than when it came off the boat!”

“I know it’s not rare car, but we have before and after pictures, and it’s a fun story of a true barn find. Probably shouldn’t have invested this much time and money, but… that’s the passion for cars for ya!” Thanks for sharing this with us Chad. The car looks great now and has to be a ton of fun. We all wish you the best of luck with your future finds.


  1. Tricky Dickie Member

    Yes, Nice looking roadster now. I wonder how they came up with that model name? Fairlady Picture a bunch of Japanese car execs around a table……Hornet? No….. Super Snipe? No ……… Speedster No I got it !! Fairlady, Yes Yes, that’s IT!! What a name, what a winner !!

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  2. Rick Rothermel

    I loved those when they were new! Car & Driver’s response to the roof height was to nickname the cars ‘Giraffe Transporters’…

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  3. M3W

    According to Wiki:
    It was named in reference to the Broadway musical My Fair Lady

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  4. Chris H.

    Fairlady was actually a small car company that was absorbed by Datsun, hence the moniker.

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    • Sam Conway

      No it wasn’t prince was the company that the Japanese government made Nissan buy, the fairlady name came from Nissan execs watching My Fairlady and then believing that would appeal to the American market. It was quickly dropped in the US andAus markets.

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  5. paul

    I knew a guy with one of these back in the day & the car was a screamer, much faster than the Triumphs, Alfa’s,Heally’s & Mg’s that me & friends owned if I remember correctly he said he milled the head. As for the name Fairlady this was the name given to these cars in Japan even the Datsun 240Z had the same name but the name was changed when it was exported here. I was behind a Honda Accord with Canadian plates this car ‘s name was called Insight.They change names for differant markets all the time.

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  6. Dolphin Member

    The Fairlady roadsters came in a number of versions baginning in 1969 with the S211, which had a 988 cc four. Then the 1960 SPL212 with 1189cc, and one or two more variations until the SPL310 with 1497cc in 1963. This car is a SPL311 with just under 1600cc and is probably the best known of the Fairladys, and the most common. There was also the SRL311 with an OHC engine with 1982cc. The ‘L’ in the Datsun model designation means LHD, which the No American cars were, as opposed to the JDM cars withiout the ‘L’ in the model designation, which were RHD. This Fairlady came to the current owners with late 240Z/260Z hub caps on it.

    Of course the Fairlady models preceeded the 240Z, which ended up far outselling the Fairlady in No America. I was looking to buy a Fairlady recently, but along came a very early 240Z (VIN 957), so I bought it instead. That’s my second early 240Z. The first was VIN 3xxx, and I owned it for 27 years. Always regretted selling it, so 957 fixes that. I think people like Fairladys and 240Zs because they are good basic sportscars that look good and are simple and easy to work on, and parts are cheap. Maybe a Fairlady next…….

    These are coming into their own and have started to appreciate. I don’t think you could find one for $600 anymore unless it was unrestorable junk. Even a parts car would likely cost more than that now. They are quirky, but you sure won’t see one coming down the road toward you very often. If you want to start a lot of conversations with a car, just drive a Fairlady.

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  7. justin in Indy

    Great car, stripes are overkill.

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  8. Tom Butters

    These were excellent race cars. I competed against them in F Prod in my MGA in the late 1960s and early 70s and they had better brakes and better handling and were rugged (well, they also were somewhat newer).

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  9. scot c

    ~ best part of story is implied father-son bond of project.

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  10. Steve

    Very handsome from the front. What were they thinking in the back? It would be helpful to see some pics from the same angles as the before to get a better sense of the new wheels and so on. Agree on the stripes — too much. Also: While the new color is nice, wouldn’t this be a more interesting ride if the original color was maintained?

    Like 1
  11. Michael Crull

    Very cool. Love the creative striping. Great story.
    We have a ’68 Fairlady 1600, bought in 1972 for $200, been in the family ever since.
    Photos on my page.

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  12. Horse Radish

    This car reminds me of a time some 20 years ago that I went to look at a Mercedes 600 SWB Limo for sale
    You’re probably wondering why.
    The son of the owner/ seller would have taken a Datsun Roadster in even trade…..
    Dad was stuck in Asia, because of Business problems and left the teenage offspring in charge.
    I don’t know what happened after though…..

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    • Barn Finds

      This could be the comment of the year Horse Radish! Good one.

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      • Horse Radish

        I didn’t get the 600, but I got a thumbs up from ‘B.F.’
        A little consolation

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    • paul

      Humm, Merc 600, Datsun, Merc 600, Datsun I just can’t decide, hummm.

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  13. Europa TC

    I see dual exhaust……..did I miss something? Where are they?

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    • Chad P

      Europa…Yes, It’s Dual Exhaust….Had a little fun with it, We have to get the crome tips on, to pronounce it a bit. Doesn’t sound like a little 4…has a sweet growl to it.

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  14. Larry

    Great cars, had a good freind have one of these back in the late 60’s early 70’s. from what i can remember it was pretty quick and handled quite well. Lots of good times.
    Oh, Europa i think what your looking at is the rear leaf spring hangers.

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  15. ranger herb

    I actually bought one of these in Manhattan KS for forty bucks, not running from a math professor, never did get it up and going, and finally sold it when I graduated. it had been sitting outside, without a top. I was never much of a car guy though. Harleys have always been my gig.

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  16. Charles Bromberg

    Yep, I loved these Cars, SPL311? You have done a Beautiful Job!!! You may have tripped over me when restoring yours. I was the Founder of the Datsun Roadster Club of America, 1976, had 14 at one time from various years. Raced 12 years with the 1500. You have the early 67 with Separate Windshield, Punch Handles, Steel Dash, 3 Main 1600. Great Little Cars. I actually had a 1500 – 64 – 3 Seater with a jump seat sideways in back. That was a cool little one, Had a Factory Black 68, Very Rare because of it factory color code. Japanese, Did Not Paint Cars Black, It was a “Sign of Death” or a Curse,had a couple of the later 2000’s. That was so many moons ago and memory is slipping but you will enjoy it. Is your Key the original Square “Nissan” Key with the Dragon? They Stopped that mid 67 when they went to the more conventional plastic dash, locking steering column, vertical radio, in Dash Vents… Would Love to See More Pics of your Baby!

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  17. cheryl

    I have one that I bought almost 40 years ago. It ended up sitting out at my brother in laws field for the past 8 years and I brought it home this week. I loved that car and want to restore it. I was a teen and it was a blast! Lots of work to be done. 67 Datsun fairlady…I have not seen any on the road around Kansas.

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    • scot

      ~ yeah cheryl! i hope your restoration turns out beautifully.
      and the pleasure of the accomplishment is unequaled.

      Like 0

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