No Reserve! 1967 Datsun 1600 SPL311 Roadster

The Datsun 1600 Roadster was an evolution of a car produced back in 1959, the S211. With sequential design changes to the body and engine upgrades, Nissan debuted the Datsun Fairlady (called Datsun Sport or Roadster in the US) in 1961. This car could be mass-produced, unlike earlier versions. By 1965, the promising roadster was fitted with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and two SU carburetors, giving 96 bhp. These cars were immediately successful on the track. Here on eBay is a 1967 Datsun 1600 SPL311 for sale at no reserve, currently bid to $1,076, and located in Lutz, Florida. The listing includes over 160 photos as well as a video showing the car running. The seller indicates that the car was found after sitting for some years but a new battery helped it start. This is a coveted “low windshield” car; after 1967, the windshield was redesigned to meet safety regulations, making it look more prominent.

Photos of the VIN plate and the engine stamp verify that this is a numbers-matching car, which is becoming more important for this model now that its price has crept up. Many of these cars were used on the track and do not retain their original blocks. This car has had an aluminum radiator fitted as well as what looks like a fuel cell in the trunk. The car has three aftermarket wheels; its spare or an original wheel is installed on the passenger’s side front.

The interior…. needs work. That said, I love the Datsun 1600/2000 dash. The gauges are large and easy to read, there are lots of them, and the switches make me think of an airplane. This car comes with a hard top as well as the top bows for a soft top. There’s corrosion, yes, with the worst of it around the windshield. The sills do not look bad; even the jack point is clean. Of course, there’s a dent or two as well as a slightly mangled rear bumper.

The underside is dry and shows no signs of collision. The installation of the fuel cell is evident from below. I would love to know why that was done. To meet some race organization’s track rules? Or did the owner just not want to deal with pulling the old tank? In combination with the aluminum radiator, it hints at track time. This car is intriguing at the right price. The driving experience is more nimble than an MGB, its close competitor. That said, if your standards dictate you drive a “looker” – well, there’s a lot to do to bring this one up to snuff.

Comments

  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    If this car is as solid as it looks it’s a good buy. A bit more solid and faster than the MGBs they are fun to drive. Helped a friend restore one and the construction is neat and well designed. Only problem would be rust behind painted panels but this one doesn’t seem to have a big problem. We put interior panel rust proofing where needed and it should live forever. Do that to this one and it should join the forever club.

    Like 3
  2. Paul Root

    In mid-1967, Datsun switched the engine from 3-main to 5-main. I’m not up on when that happened, I was hoping the eBay page would tell.
    As a long time MGB owner, yeah, these cars are a little faster. But my experience driving my brother’s 1600 back in the 80s, the MGB is more solid or substantial. Pulling the engine on the Datsun is considerably easier.

    Like 1
  3. Philip

    In the late 1960’s I owned one, as did my brother and my sister’s boyfriend, all at the same time. Only problem was overheating causing warppage of the alum head on the iron block.

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