Package Deal: 1966 Datsun 1600 Roadster

The Datsun 1500/1600/2000 roadsters were a series of sports cars produced in Japan by Nissan in the 1960s. They would precede the famous Z-cars in the Fairlady line, going up against the likes of the MG, Triumph, Fiat and Alfa Romeo. The seller has a complete, non-running 1966 1600 plus a parts car from 1967 and an extra engine and transmission. All of this is packaged together in Athens, Georgia and is available here on craigslist for $4,900 OBO. So, bring cash and more than one trailer! Thanks, Arkie, for turning us on to these items!

This line-up of 2-seaters were produced between 1963-70 and more than 60,000 units would be built overall. The 1600 cc version accounted for nearly two-thirds of the total, good for about 96 hp in a small, light, nimble automobile. Between January 1965 and September 1967, 17,000 of them were built, which is probably the period when the cars the seller has were assembled. The main car offered is a 1600 with a 4-speed manual that was stored under a covered carport for 27 years until recently moved to an indoor garage.

The ’66 is a complete car that will need a full restoration. The motor hasn’t run since about 1995, but it has no leaks, and the crankshaft does turn. The transmission was rebuilt in the 1990s and the seller has documentation for the work that was done. The car was backed into in 1992 with some minor front-end sheet metal damage being the result. Besides some surface rust, the noticeable corrosion appears to be in places typical to these cars, such as where the front fenders meet the doors and in the rocker panels. We’re told the floor pans and trunk are fine. This car comes with both a removable hard-top as well as a soft-top frame with minimal remaining fabric.

Should you need parts to properly finish this project, the seller is providing a 1967 Datsun 1600 donor car as part of the deal. It’s partially disassembled, with the fenders, doors, and trunk lid removed but present and a bit rusty in places. It’s said to be about 95% complete the way it is. The top end of the engine has been taken apart, but the parts are boxed up and ready for transport. And an entire extra 1600 cc motor and transmission are also included from a car that was running as recently as four years ago.

Fully restored, these sports cars can be worth $30-40,000, in part due to their relative scarcity today. The Z-series of cars from the 1970s were produced in larger numbers and more of them were brought over to the U.S. as Nissan was getting traction in this market by then. Because of their larger displacement motors, the 2000 is more desirable than the 1600, and the 1600 more so over the 1500.


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  1. Brian McGahey

    If the economics make sense, not bad. Do fully restored get $40K?

    Like 1
  2. SEJ

    1600 was like a japanese mgb. The 2000 was a monster. Aluminium head, OHC. IIRC, 140 hp, plus the 5 speed tranny. Had a 1970. It hauled a$$!

    Like 1
    • dave

      didn’t the 1600 have aluminum heads too?????????

  3. Marc

    More like 20k for all but the best with the 1967.5 2000 being the most valuable since it was first year for 5 speed 2000 engine and last year low windshield. Those can fetch 40-50k for a nice condition car.

    Like 2
  4. Rick

    I’ve had a small herd of the 411 SSS, basically the roadster in sedan and wagon form. Those were fun cars to drive and actually performed nicely for 1600cc motors.

  5. robert lewis

    these cars probably would have sold better if they had a more macho name imho

  6. Chris Londish Member

    This is not a roadster, a roadster does not have wind up windows this is a convertable and very desirable

  7. Willowen Member

    Both cars were a real treat to drive, and I’m sure still are. A co-worker had a pretty ratty-looking 1600 I could easily borrow for errands, and I loved how easy it was to drive, and how quick it was, much livelier than any MGB I’d driven.

    As for the 2000, I was offered one to drive from Santa Cruz to pick up my GF in San Francisco on a Sunday morning. Cruising the freeway, top down, no heavy draft in the cockpit even at 90+ mph … this was LIVING! And the trip back, this time through the forest roads off of Skyline, was even more fun; the Datsun was not as nimble as my Austin Mini wagon, but not off by much.

    I’ve posted the story about our Alaska SCC prez, an Anchorage car dealer, coming into a meeting after checking out a newly-imported 1600, and looking shell-shocked at what his MGs were suddenly up against. Just sat there shaking his head, saying “How de **** can dey DO it??” (he was Austrian). Especially as he had a showroom to pay the lease on and the Datsuns were on a gravel corner lot … which also did not last for long.

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