Update: 1969 Datsun Sports 1600 Roadster

UPDATE – We featured this 1969 Datsun Sports 1600 Roadster back in December, and it has reappeared on the market. Previously it was a regular eBay auction, but the owner has now set a Buy It Now on this little Japanese classic. It is still located in Clackamas, Oregon, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. The BIN has been set at $9,999, and there are a few people who are watching this listing. A big thank you has to go to Barn Finder Boot, who spotted this relisting for us.

After struggling to establish itself in the 1950s, the Japanese car industry began to make moves to be recognized as a serious player on the world scene through the 1960s. Datsun came perilously close to collapse during this period, but government assistance saw the brand emerge as a strong contender in the sports car market. One of their more successful models was the Sports 1600, which helped to cement its reputation in foreign markets. This 1969 Sports 1600 Roadster is a tidy example that is claimed to be original. It runs and drives and is now searching for a new home. You will find the little Datsun located in Clackamas, Oregon, and while bidding sits at $5,377, the reserve isn’t met.

The owner talks about the originality of the Datsun, right down to the paint. This causes me to scratch my head slightly. The paint that the car wears looks to be Hustler (aka Pagoda) Red. That is all well and good, but Datsun didn’t offer that color during the 1969 model year. They did offer a shade called Spanish Red, but that was a lot darker than what we see on this car. That means that this car was either a special order or that it has received a color change at some point. Beyond that little fact, the Roadster does present nicely. The paint holds a deep shine, while the Black convertible top seems to be in excellent condition. The panels are straight, with no visible dings or dents. As is the case with many Japanese cars of this era, the mortal enemy of the Sports 1600 is rust. This can consume steel at an alarming rate, but it doesn’t appear to be a problem here. The panels are clean, while the underside shows nothing beyond some surface corrosion. I would be inclined to treat the corrosion reasonably quickly. There’s no point in tempting fate, is there?  The wheels are missing their original hubcaps, but the rest of the trim and glass show no issues or problems.

The Roadster interior is a mixed bag because it has both its good and its bad points. The upholstery seems to be in good condition, as is the dash. The carpet shows some wear and fading, while the lid on the console has been replaced with a non-matching item. An aftermarket radio/cassette player has been installed, and I think this could be the source of some work for the buyer. Many excess wires are hanging out, which is further emphasized because the side panel is missing off the driver’s side of the console. If I were to buy this little Datsun, I would be finding a replacement radio and side panel pronto. Otherwise, there isn’t a lot that the Roadster needs.

High-horsepower offerings from Datsun were a few years away in 1969, but the company still managed to extract respectable performance from cars with modest engine capacities. In this case, we find a 1,596cc 4-cylinder engine equipped with a pair of SU carburetors. This should be producing 96hp, which finds its way to the rear wheels via a 4-speed manual transmission. That sort of power is never going to produce a bitumen-burning monster. However, it is sufficient to push the 2.094lb classic through the ¼ mile in a respectable 18.4 seconds. Some surface corrosion is present in a couple of spots on the engine, but it does present reasonably well. It also appears that both master cylinders have recently been replaced. The listing states that the Roadster has a genuine 84,000 miles on its odometer, but no mention is made regarding supporting evidence. The owner says that the car runs and drives, but he doesn’t indicate how well it performs either of these feats. It does appear that the seller might be approachable, so he might be willing to shed some light on this aspect of the Datsun.

When the first true Datsun sports car emerged in 1959, it became clear that the company had become seriously aspirational. From these humble beginnings, the company produced a series of vehicles that are now considered collectible classics. The Sports 1600 is one of those cars, and pristine examples can now fetch some pretty healthy prices. Today, it isn’t unusual to find spotless vehicles selling for $30,000 or more. However, plenty of examples are available for under $12,000 if a buyer is willing to undertake some restoration work. This one generally looks quite promising, and I think that it is worth closer investigation if you’ve always harbored the desire to own an affordable Japanese sports car.

WANT ADS

WANTED 1970-1978 Datsun 240z 260z 280z Hello, I’m looking to buy a datsun z car from 1970-1978, project condition or nicer car considered Contact

WANTED 1970 Dodge Super Bee 4 speed, coupe preferred but nego., 383 or 440. Willing to pick up in lower 48. Contact

WANTED 1957-1973 Lotus Seven Looking for a Seven to fix and drive! Contact

WANTED 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner Looking for parts for this project. Especially seats Contact

WANTED 1969 Ford Mustang Wanted 1969 Big block mustang, any condition considered Contact

Submit Your Want Ad

Comments

  1. Dave

    Looks decent but there is no way this car has its original paint. Besides not looking like a factory color, I can see plenty of signs it’s a repaint from almost 3,000 miles away!

    Like 3
  2. Moparman Member

    Nice, sharp, simple roadster. It’s amazing how good the steelie/trim ring wheel treatment looks; personally, I’d add chrome lug nuts to complete the look. Back in the day, I had a co-worker who drove one of these, he and I both were 6′ 4″, but he didn’t seem to have a problem fitting into it. GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 1
  3. Mike

    There are a few none original parts installed, some 69 & 70 parts.

  4. A.G.

    My sources show paint code 524 (Pagoda Red) was available in 1969.

    Like 1
  5. Chinga-Trailer

    Obvious cheap repaint over an equally obviously rusted car.

  6. chrlsful Member

    would you put the 2000 in? How bout the 5 speed? discs up frnt?

  7. Robert Roberge

    I had a 1500 Fairlady, the forerunner to this car. I am not trying to say that Datsun had a lot to learn in a few years but, suffice it to say, it took until the initial Maxima before I bought another. It leaked every fluid it contained in addition to rainwater. The lower end was replaced inside of 5000 mi. as was the upholstery. Wasn’t my favorite car.

  8. David

    Not original paint. Shows lack of familiarity with this car.

    Like 2
  9. Bill McCoskey

    I agree, not original paint.

    I worked for a large Datsun dealership in Bethesda, MD in the mid 1970s. None of the mechanics wanted to work on the 311 or 411 cars, and a few of them would rather punch out & go home before they would touch one of these. How times have changed!

    Like 1
  10. bobhess bobhess Member

    Nice looking car but I do wonder why the rear spring shackles are reversed. Can’t be very well balanced with the rear end hiked up like that.

    Like 3
    • JudoJohn

      I noticed that, too.
      The paint looks good in the photos, but they missed a lot of details in the interior and engine compartment. It did not sell, auction is over.

  11. bobhess bobhess Member

    What’s that hanging off the left headlight? This is turning into a very strange car.

    • scott m

      There is a chrome insert in the recessed light bucket, had to go to the ebay ad 🤣

  12. old beach guy

    Those cars always looked better with the top down/off. The top always looked out of proportion to me.

  13. bobhess bobhess Member

    Scott m….I understand the chrome pieces of the headlight rims but what is the white thing hanging off the light in the second picture on this site?

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.