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Low Priced Project: 1965 Datsun Fairlady


Offered for sale on craigslist in Imperial, Missouri, is this 1965 Datsun Fairlady roadster. Priced at $900, the few photos show what could be a feasible restoration project. The floors and trunk are solid, according to the seller, but this claim would look considerably more credible if he had invested 15 minutes with a shop vac and cleaned it up inside a little bit. But the floors appear to be relatively flat, so they probably wouldn’t be too difficult to patch…that is assuming there’s something solid to patch them to.


While the posting of a car like this may get lots of the “run, don’t walk” type responses, it’s probably very do-able with a light budget and some patience. The seller says it’s missing “only a few items”, (which ones, and where are the seats?) The engine appears to be complete, and is a SPL310 model with dual carburetors. He also says it’s rare, with just 74 cars listed worldwide in a SPL310 registry for this 1965 model year. A few words about when the engine was last run would be nice, but that information is not provided in the listing.


The all-important convertible top mechanism is also shown in one of the photos. The rocker panels appear more or less intact, but the left front fender has a dent, and an ugly repair attempt.


But if this area is accessible from behind, the metal can still be worked with a hammer and dolly, after welding closed the dent-puller holes, enough to complete a relatively competent repair with a minimum of body filler.


The various locations of parts shown, suggest the photos may have been taken at different times, which is often not a good thing. But I still like the car. I like the color combination, black on red is almost always a winner. The jury is still out on whether or not I’d put a white top back on it though. I have to wonder, how hard to find are parts like the missing bumpers, headlight bezels and seat frames? What’s your opinion?


  1. MountainMan

    Very feasible indeed. I would jump on it quick if it were local to me. Just being mostly there and offered for less than a grand makes it very appealing to me. Always wanted one of these roadsters since a neighborhood buddy had a father with two when I was a kid

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  2. DREW V.

    Was less than 200mi from me but it’s gone already…

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  3. Terry J

    Dallas had one brand new in ’67. We all really liked it even in that era of factory muscle cars. Nobody (including Dalles) called it the “Fairlady” though, it was the “2000”. That was Pendleton, Ore. and driving around in a “Fairlady” would eventually get your butt kicked by some drunk cowboy, though everybody knew Dallas could handle himself in that regard. :-) Terry J

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  4. mike young

    Have all the parts you would need here in CA. Fender is easier to replace than repair the very bad attempt. Have the Rings, Bumpers, Seats, you name it. The ’65 1500 is very rare but many parts are interchangeable with the ’66-67 1600…. (See:datsunsports)…… ~M

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    • Doug

      looking for a right front fender for a 1965 spl310 (1500)

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    • Marcel

      I am interested in finding out what parts you have available. I am in Canada and have the 3 seater as a project car. I believe all parts are there except for the ignition switch (lost the key), radio has been replaced and some dash knobs.

      Please let me know what you have available.


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  5. Dolphin Member

    Lots of hard parts look usable or at least salvageable. No wonder it’s gone. Just some of the parts make it worth more than $900.

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  6. ron tyrrell

    Having two Datsun 2000s I need a manifold for the side drafts, if any one has this or a lead please email me, thank you. I think the price is very fair, lots of small bits for a restoration project

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  7. Paul

    I just bought it’s cousin in Delaware for the same price. I was looking for an older car to restore for months. I wanted something different, and something not too big. So most of cars I looked at didn’t grab me. I found My ’66 Datsun roadster on craigslist, the day it was advertised, I called and went to see it right away. Mine came with all it’s parts and for a total of $1300, I got all the extra parts, that the guy had bought for it. Like brand new Nissan tail lights and front turn signal lights assemblies . Those six little round lights and two reflectors cost him $493. I got an extra fender, hood, radiator, two starters, an air cleaner assembly, dash parts, gages and a bunch of other small parts. Mine came with a hard top and the soft top. in the deal. My interior is original and complete, The worst part is a crack in the vinyl dash cover and the carpet should be replaced.
    When it comes to finding parts, they are out there, but they aren’t cheap. I’m been watching EBAY for deals. A used grill starts at $400, depending on condition. A perfect grill is $2000. Bumpers are available, but condition is everything. A bumpy faded rusty bumper only costs $200, and a brand new polished stainless steel bumper costs three times as much. $1200 for bumpers seems a bit much on a $900 car. But they will last forever. The craziest thing I ran into was the factory gas cap. They start at over $100 used and in bad shape. A decent used, but not perfect one cost $175. They weren’t that fancy, just chrome plated locking gas caps with a little door that swings down to cover the key hole. There are plenty of sites (at least 3 or 4) that sell used and NOS parts for Datsun roadsters. The bottom line is, Datsun didn’t make many roadsters, and a restored one is a rare sight on the road or at a car show. They are Japanese made, so you know once you get them running they won’t break down constantly. MGs, MGBs, Triumphs, Fiats, Alfa Romeos, and all the rest of the old European cars are a pain to maintain. Cheap bodies, crappy drive lines and haunted wiring make those cars too unreliable and very unpredictable in my opinion.
    I wouldn’t let the price of parts stop you from buying the Datsun roadster. If you have the money to spare, it’s an investment. Even if you went custom and ignored the original parts, you should be able to easily get back any money you spend on it. How many more do you think you’ll see for $900 ?

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