Could You Save This 1968 Datsun Sports 1600?

The Datsun Sports 1600 (aka Fairlady) was a series of little roadsters built by Nissan in the 1960s. It was the forerunner to the very successful Z-cars of the 1970s. It was produced over two generations from 1959-70, but it was the 1500/1600/2000cc versions that became popular in the U.S. This one from 1968 (verified by car number, although the listing also calls it a ’69) is strictly a parts car, which the seller readily admits. For that reason, the starting bid here on eBay is just $200 with no takers yet. Larry D has been busy finding interesting cars like this for us!

The SPL311 was the production code for the 1968 Datsun Sports 1600 left-hand drive as it was called in the U.S. It was powered by a 1.6-liter inline-4 engine. It used an independent front suspension with coil springs over hydraulic shocks. The rear suspension was a common leaf springs design, dampened with hydraulic shocks. The engine was fitted with a pair of SU carburetors that helped it produce 95 hp. The reported top speed of the little car was 105 mph. The SP311 continued in production alongside the later 2000 model through early 1970.

This Sports 1600 is strictly a parts car according to the seller as opposed to other cars often presented as “restorable classics”. The engine and transmission are gone, so it’s a rolling chassis with no title (bill of sale gladly provided). We’re told that it rolls well, and the rear differential and drive shaft are still in place. Brake components remain there but the master and slave cylinder are not hooked up and possibly seized. Quite a few parts come with the car, although they’re not necessarily for the 1600 (510 and Z-car parts, too).

If you’re trying to restore another 1600, the body pieces off this car may be of some use. While surface rust is present, the sheet metal is not trashed, although questionable in the lower outer panels. The passenger side floorboard is “see-through” but likely because a plate has been removed. There are no interior components left except the steering wheel and the back half of the body looks much cleaner than the front half. If you’re not too far from the seller, have a trailer and $200 to spare, you might get your money’s worth or more out of this one.


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  1. Nate Barbour

    This a a true gem, Owner just lowered its price to $12,500. Says he is taking it off the market in two weeks if not sold. Wants his garage back.

  2. BrookfieldChris

    Looks much better with that FEMA blue crinkle coat

  3. sir_mike

    Good luck to whomever tries to restore this.

  4. Engident

    This could be an interesting rat rod project. If it were free.

  5. Steve Clinton

    He should have just left the cover on it.

    Like 1
  6. Morley Brown Member

    Now wI know where to get a blue tarp.

    • Al

      You have my vote on the tarp. I too would rather have the tarp, I wonder if it is free. If free, its within my budget.

      Like 2
  7. Will Owen Member

    I hate it when I see pictures like this and know exactly what the poor thing smells like! Or when I know it will all be so much more useful in real terms when it gets cubed.

    These cars are far from showing the break-through brilliance of either the 510 or the 240Z, but a good one, either 1600 or 2000, is a very sweet driver – remarkably quick for their specs and comfortable on long drives, as well as much more agile than you’d expect. But they do not stand up well to neglect, as we can all see here.

  8. Clive Roberts

    A guy by the name of Ross Mullen operates a business in Surrey, BC that restores these cars for $20 large (or whatever you budget allows) could turn this into a show winner for you.

    Like 1
  9. Alan Robbins

    Finally a reasonably priced pile of rust.

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