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Last Driven in ’87: 1968 Datsun 1600 Roadster

Despite being found in a garage in Connecticut, this 1968 Datsun 1600 Roadster is supposedly solid and even still runs despite sitting since 1987. The Datsun “Fairlady” always seems to hover between being a collectible and an eminently available starter classic. It’s absolutely the kind of car that you can get into fairly cheaply for a project, even a running one – but to buy one with fresh paint, suspension, and a set of Panasports bolted on will set you back. Could it make this one priced at $5,400 a sound investment as a car you can drive while you restore it? Find it here on Facebook Marketplace in Glastonbury, Connecticut.

The old-school Connecticut “blue” plates are hard to find these days, and I can still remember seeing them bolted to my uncle’s ’87 Camry that he left at the train station. This Datsun hasn’t been in a parking lot any time recently aside from the spot it was relegated to in a garage. No details are offered on its history, but the seller has made the decision to invest a fair amount of effort into fitting new parts to get the Datsun running again. It makes sense, given the listing claims there’s no serious rust to be found and that the frame is solid; the only bodywork issue mentioned is that the rockers and quarter panels have some rot towards the back.

The interior looks quite good for a long-neglected convertible, and it would seem that one benefit of being parked inside since 1987 is that the sun can’t wreck havoc on the dash and upholstery. The seats aren’t perfect, but you can absolutely live with this for the time being. The Roadsters were simple cars, so there’s not much to worry about failing inside. The seller doesn’t spend much time talking about the transmission operation, other than noting the car is equipped with a new clutch, master cylinder, and clutch slave cylinder. And although we can’t see it here, the top is said to be in good condition as well, just in need of a cleaning.

The Datsun benefits from a long list of recent maintenance, including: new brakes and lines; new alternator and battery; new fuel pump and sending unit; and the gas tank has been removed and professionally cleaned. The engine bay appears reasonably tidy for a car that hasn’t spent much time being detailed, and overall, it makes you wonder if this Datsun was a summer-only driver for a New England resident who simply left it in the garage after that final summer at the beach. It looks like a deserving project overall, and one with a reasonable price tag.


  1. alphasud Member

    It seems as if a lot of these Datsun’s are being discovered. Like people have been sitting on them until the market has picked up and now they are coming out of the woodwork. The one to have and the ones bringing money are the 2000 model. Not a bad looking car and probably more reliable than anything coming from the Leyland group. I wonder how they compare when driven? I would tend to shy away from this one. Price seems high to me.

    Like 2
  2. Ten50boy

    Great little cars. They run well and are definitely better in many ways than the British cars they tend to emulate. I would love to have one. The price seems a bit high for the 1600 though….. but if it was the 2000….. right on

    Like 1
  3. Will Owen

    The 2000 was the fast cruiser, but the 1600 was pretty perky too. I remember when the first ones were landed in Anchorage, where I was living, and out sports car club president was I think sales manager at a sports car dealership. The Datsun “dealer” occupied a corner gravel lot on the edge of downtown, and Rudi went to see just how pathetic this piece of Japanese tin could be. But when he got to our meeting, he looked like he’d beheld Death itself, and flopped down saying he could not understand how a car that good could sell for $2500, even at a Port of Entry! He was selling MGBs for about a thousand more …

    The only one I’ve driven was a VERY used example, a co-worker’s commuter to our SF Bay area shop. It looked like it had been left outside in all weathers because it had been, and not only with the top up either; the body color was mostly Rust, and the seats were pretty floppy. But it was still pretty wicked when the light turned green, and the transmission was as good as any I’d met. It was only recently that I learned its construction was body-on-frame, because both it and the 2000 I drove later were as tight and rattle-free as any MGB.

    Like 1

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