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Is This 1964 Datsun Fairlady For You?

1964 Datsun Fairlady

Japanese sports cars are hot right now, especially the rare Toyota 2000GT. Perfect ones sell for about $1 million these days. Much more affordable are the Datsun Roadsters, which were made in far greater numbers than the 2000GT, so the lower values make sense. The Roadsters are fun cars that are still plentiful, and if you get a good one it can be a reliable car. Some auction prices for perfect Roadsters have been in the tens of thousands of dollars recently, but most cars sell for far lower prices. Find this 1964 Datsun Fairlady Sports here on craigslist in Evansville, Indiana for $2,000. Thanks to Kevin A for alerting us to it.

Datsun Fairlady Engine

“Fairlady”, “Roadster”, “Sports”. Datsun was still finding its niche in North America in the early 1960s, and they went through a number of different names for their open sports cars. The seller of this car can be excused for getting it wrong, but this isn’t exactly the car that he says it is. This is a 1964 Datsun Fairlady Sports, or Sports Fairlady depending on which brochure you are looking at. The one I am looking at says this car has a 1500 cc engine, not a 2000 cc engine that the seller claims. If it were a 2000 it would have a 5-speed, but this car has a correct 4-speed for this model.

Datsun Fairlady Interior

This car seems to be in better shape than a lot of older Midwest cars are after half a century, but a look at the underside is important for knowing its true condition, and unfortunately there are no photos showing that part of the car. The history is a bit vague too, since the car was something that the seller’s friend “ran across” and then began researching online. There’s no mention of paperwork, so for now it might be best to assume that it’s being sold on a bill of sale. The few photos in the ad do show that the car is fairly complete but that it will require a lot of work to bring it back.

Datsun Fairlady Sports

This car might be worth a look, but there are lots of other old Datsun sports cars out there to choose from. The good news is that these cars are riding the wave of increasing values for old open sports cars, so this one might be worth the time and effort if it isn’t rusty underneath. It will need a windshield among other things, and there’s no mention of a top, so if you are interested be ready to do some parts chasing. Do you think it’s worth taking this project on, or would you rather have a Datsun 1600 or even the big boy, a 2000 Roadster?


  1. tom999p

    I’d hate to be a man who drives a “Fairlady”…..

    Back when I was in the military, I’d visit my girlfriend who had a hot pink semi-automatic 1969 Beetle with yellow flowers on the windows…. Boy it hurt to drive that thing to the convenience store every now and then….

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    • Dolphin Member

      As much as I value originality I have to agree with you Tom. From the brochures I have on this car the only place there were ‘Fairlady’ emblems was on the front fenders just in front of the doors, and fortunately they are missing on this car. Datsun quickly realized that they should have been left off for the No American market, and that’s exactly what they did for the 1600 and 2000 cc Roadsters they sent over here.

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  2. cory

    hmm. tempting. only a couple of hours away.

    but, given the lack of top, large quantity of leaves in the floor, and the holes in the rocker I am going to guess this car is missing the bottom half. it looks like an excellent parts car though.

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  3. Paul

    It is definitely not a 2000. The 2000 was overhead cam. I don’t think it was available in 64, but I could be wrong there.
    Bodywise it looks like an earlier one. These things rust very quickly, a close inspection is a must.

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  4. jpvogl

    I had a ’68 Fairlady in the late 70’s as a first-year dental student; it was tired and abused when I bought it, but how I loved that car. The exhaust manifold glowed a bright cherry red, the headlight fuse would blow every 15 min (had to keep a pack of fuses handy for night driving), it had a big hole in the floorboard that would soak my shoes whenever I went over a puddle and the convertible top leaked on my head, but no matter. Sold it after I got married in ’81, bought a small black and white tv and a microwave with the proceeds, having been properly domesticated. The serial number didn’t match anything imported thru the Datsun network; apparently it was brought over by a serviceman or something, which made getting engine & tranny parts interesting at times, since it was a slightly different Japanese model,(hence the Fairlady badge). It was named, incidentally, after the Rex Harrison movie. All of the Datsun models of the era had feminine-type names; Bluebird, Violet, Cherry, Sunny, as I recall. Only thing I kept from that car was that badge; it was a cool script and never bothered me a bit, driving it. It was the perfect car for that time in my life, never regretted owning it, and I met some interesting folks hitch-hiking whenever it broke down, which was pretty frequently. Nearly 40 years later, I’m not quite as patient or accepting of that kind of stuff. The one in the photo looks pretty ratty and could be hiding all kinds of trouble under that ripply respray, just like mine was. Pass on this one!

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  5. RickyM

    Like the lines of this classic. Hope it gets saved and restored.

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  6. Carl B.

    If it is a 1964 – it is a DATSUN 1500 roadster I believe. If you want a Project – at $2K it’s worth a personal inspection. If you want a roadster to drive/enjoy – far better off buying one that is really ready to drive/enjoy. They are still very reasonable in very nice condition. The later 67+ 2000 roadsters had the best performance – they ran the Toyota 2000GT’s off the tracks..

    In proper condition the Datsun roadsters are very reliable..

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    • Tim H

      You are right this is a deal. The side ways back seat, the external trunk hinges and the trunk handle have always called to me. In my youth I played with roadsters a lot. For a collector this would be great and it will still keep up with MGBs. But I fell in love with the sound and power of the 2Ks.

      For the boys that don’t like the Fairlady name, re-badging roadsters and 240Zs as Fairladys is popular, very JDM. I don’t believe they were ever badged as Fairladys in the USA.

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  7. jim s

    i too think this needs a PI. then make the seller a cash offer. the 2000 model interested me when they were new, one was sitting in the dealers showroom but i passed on it. it would have made a great driver and autocross car but i was still in love with midgets/sprites! great find.

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  8. Paul

    my brother dragged a 67 1/2 1600 home when he was 16 and I was 13. I loved that car. Transmission and engine had many troubles. We pulled the engine under the tree with a block and tackle 7-8 times in 5 years or so.
    In college he bought a 2000 with solexes, that was striped for autocross. He turned it into his first race car but with the 1600 engine instead of the 2000. E production was more competitive than whatever the 2 liter would have been in.
    We towed the race car home with the 1600! Manhattan Kansas to Kansas City. That was fun.

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  9. justin fleenor

    for some reasom i thought it was in kentucky wish it was closer i’d check it out its probably even harder to find parts for than my 62 simca though, neat looking car though its like a nissan midget lol.

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  10. Barry

    It occurred to me that the seller might have picked a better place to take pictures, not next to a dumpster. Sort of sends a subliminal message.

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  11. Greg

    Great cars – confirming the 2000 (best of breed) had an OHC – 5 spd & no ‘Fairlady’ script –

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    • Carl B

      With the U20 – 2.0L OHC engine the 2000 Roadsters ran in “D Production” with the stock S.U.’s. With the Twin Mikuni’s {Webers} the 2000 Roadster ran in “C Production”.

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  12. Bob

    I owned 1966 Datsun Fairlady was in great shape when I purchased in 1972, just needed paint, which I sprayed myself. This car could beat any MG, Triumph, Beetle 1600cc, I drove
    280 miles every weekend roundtrip from school. Many times over 100mph. I loved this car and kept for 3 years selling for more than I paid for it.

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  13. Paul D Dudash

    I have a 64 fair-lady right hand drive sitting under shed lean to for the last 35+ years serial 000053 was a 1500 but in 60s changed to an h20 engine with using the side drafts, h20s in 80s,90s were still built for Mitsubishi forklifts that I was shown at a forklift shop its heavy duty engine setuo looking at it, body still not rusted out dented, bondo, rear quarters 3 seat convert., filled with a animal waste. did want to build but unable to, still have a title for, its a heavy little car frame is old school x style if i remember right

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