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Island Sports Car: 1970 Datsun 1600 Roadster

This 1970 Datsun 1600 Roadster looks like a car modified in period, wearing a modified front bumper, alloy wheels with color-matched centers, and what looks like an aftermarket exhaust. But even if you love this Roadster as much as I do, you’ll have to put in some legwork to get it, as it resides on San Juan Island. This only adds to the adventure of retrieving a new project car, in my opinion, so check it out here on craigslist with an asking price of $6,500.

Now, I have personal experience doing exactly what the seller is advising the next owner will have to do: get this car off an island. I bought a 1995 Audi S6 Avant last summer on Martha’s Vineyard for a very good price on the tip of a friend who told me the car was going to be donated due to the hurdles of getting it back to the mainland. It took some extra effort to manage the logistics of getting the car to a boat and from the boat to a tow truck, but it was all very doable. The roadster as shown here looks tired but tidy, with an interior that appears original and a crack-free dash.

I love the taillight design on these Datsuns, and the period-correct luggage rack on the trunk makes this example even more charming. As you can see, the diameter of the exhaust looks a bit larger than normal, which is why I suspect it has an aftermarket setup. These cars were hot tickets on the autocross circuit back in the day, so it wouldn’t surprise me if it has larger sway bars and stiffer shocks. The seller does, however, post pictures of some fairly serious rust in the area just in front of the rear wheels.

The rust notwithstanding, the rest of the Datsun looks to be in decent shape, and the engine bay appears to hold some secrets that further supports the notion that this roadster was modified in period. The color-matched valve cover and aftermarket ignition wires further the notion that someone had fun with this 1600 back in the day, throwing a variety of performance- and cosmetic modifications at it. Get yourself a ferry ticket and figure out how to get this Datsun off San Juan Island – and maybe ask for a discount in exchange for your willingness to get the job done.


  1. Craig MacDonald

    Getting this car off the island is no big deal. It “runs and drives good” so drive it on the Friday Harbor/Anacortes ferry and make the just over 1 hour passage for for free (they only charge for the westbound Anacortes to Friday Harbor trip). Beginning in October you have a good chance of seeing Orcas on what is a beautiful trip, Orcas or no.
    So if someone wants a Fairlady this looks like a screaming deal to me!

    Like 12
  2. Chris Cornetto

    I like it……

    Like 3
  3. Anthony H. Tellier

    CANNOT be the Washington State “San Juan Island” … it is not raining. So far …

    Like 2
    • t-bone bob

      Not so. San Juan Island averages 247 days of sunshine per year with 20 inches on one end and 29 inches on the other. It is in a rain shadow from the Olympic Mountains.

      Like 2
  4. Threepedal

    Rear end looks like an MGB that had bodywork done by one of those Gypsies out of the trunk of his car. Realize it is supposed to look this way, and the company did go on to better things. Still have fond memories of my series of PL620 trucks

    Like 2
  5. Pipsisewah

    The twin Weber DCOE carbs are a big upgrade from the original SU copies. Another hint that this machine may have been in competition. Or it may be that the owner just wanted it to idle in the same place twice.

    Like 2
  6. Brian Scheel

    With the 2000, with twin Solex carbs it claimed to have 150hpin about a 2300 lbs car! Also a 5sp vs a 4! Had a baby blue one in Houston surprised a lot of vetted in the 80’s! Also had a 11qt baffled competition oil pan and disc brakes! If I wasn’t working on my 68 GS 400 Convertible I May want one again, but I’d say 5k!

    Like 3
    • Pete Rushbrook

      7 quart finned aluminum pan.

      Like 0
      • Brian Scheel

        Out of the Datsun Competition catalog!
        Raced it in SCCA!
        Sold it when I moved out of state, was a fabulous little screamer!

        Like 0
  7. Tony Orcutt

    I had one and love it , Chevy 327 in it with a Ford rear end

    Like 2
  8. Michael Freeman Michael Freeman Member

    Had a friend of mine in the early 70’s who had one in what could only be described as butter yellow. His dad was district rep for the Southeast Nissan region and managed to let everyone Chuck knew buy one of his company cars, all 510 4drs. I had a red one. He always told the story that the 2000 got dropped because it’s performance was similar to the new “Z” that came out in 69/70 and the 1600’s demise was because they got to selling so many 240 Z’s they needed the manufacturing capacity. Always wanted one of the roadsters.

    Like 0
  9. PRA4SNW

    In Honor of Lothar’s comment in another post.

    Brought to you by: PRA4SNW.

    Like 0

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