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Assembly Required: 1969 Datsun 1600

In the U.S. market, Nissan sold its cars under the Datsun banner through 1984. One of the most desirable automobiles they sold in the 1960s was the Datsun 1600 2-seat roadster (known as the Fairlady in the homeland). While many folks think of it as an MGB copycat, Nissan actually got to market a few months ahead of British Leyland. This 1969 edition of the 1600 is an unfinished project that’s located in Bullhead City, Nevada. It’s been out of commission for the three decades and needs someone to complete what the seller can’t. The car is available here on craigslist for $3,000 OBO. Bring a trailer and lots of friends to load everything up. Thanks again, rex m, for going the extra mile on finding this one for us!

The Datsun 1600 and its derivatives were built throughout the 1960s, first as a 1500 and then later as a 2000. The 1600 came about in 1966 when the engine displacement was increased to 1.6 liters and the corresponding horsepower to 96. All using a 4-speed manual transmission. It would continue in production into early 1970. The car would be the predecessor to the Z-series of Nissan sports cars that would debut shortly thereafter. Across five model years, the 1600 would see production of about 31,350 units, with the count for 1969 alone being just 3,000, which would include the seller’s car.

Based on the seller’s description, we assume the car is currently in pieces. The photos suggest that he acquired the car complete and then began disassembling it for restoration. So, we’re guessing that the photos of the Datsun in assembled form are “before” pictures as he says it’s in need of a car enthusiast to put her back together. We’re told the 1600 was running when it was parked about 30 years ago but left untouched and covered until he purchased it. It’s clear that some work has been done in the interim, but health issues have forced the seller to abandon the project.

The body was removed from the frame but most of the attention after that appears to have been focused on the frame and drivetrain. The transmission and rear-end appear to be new, although we’re not told that. The seller says that the motor turns, but that’s about it, so perhaps a rebuilt will be needed before mating the chassis back with the body. There are no big flaws with the sheet metal, so perhaps it’s fairly close to being primed and repainted. The brightwork looks to be in mostly good condition. The interior appears to have been stripped out as well, and all upholstered surfaces will likely need new coverings.

Since the car is shown in various states of assembly/disassembly, we assume that everything is still there. So, an inventory of what comes with the transaction might help in determining if the buyer will have to go on a scavenger hunt to complete the project. Another downside is that the car will only come with a Bill of Sale, no title. For those with vision, a Concours example of the Datsun 1600 can go for more than $40,000, according to Hagerty. So, at the seller’s asking price there’s plenty of room to work with in getting this one back on the road. But you’ve got to enjoy putting puzzles like this together yourself or know a really good mechanic.


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    These are neat, will built cars with good handling and good power.Can’t believe this one is going to last long at that price.

    Like 3
  2. axton

    nice car i dont car what it looks like im in love

    Like 0
  3. Comet

    I didn’t know these had such stout frames. I assume this would make restoration a bit easier. This would be a fun and well balanced car restored with a Mazda Miata powertrain.

    Like 1
  4. bobhess bobhess Member

    Power train is solid and it doesn’t take much to get it up to Miata power levels.

    Like 0

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