While searching for a Datsun 240Z we came across the - kind of - predecessor: the Datsun 1600 Roadster, the elegantly civilized convertible that became known as 'Fairlady'. That name was the idea of the then president / chairman of Nissan, Katsuji Kawamata san, who had seen the musical My Fairlady in New York and was so impressed that he decided that he had found the name for his car. In the west, that name was for a sports car, or let it be a sporty convertible, not really seen as exciting, sporty and dynamic. That is why the most common names for export models became…. "Sport" or "roadster."
The 1500 cc came first
The Datsun 1500 Fairlady was presented in 1961 at the Tokyo Motor Show and he - or "she" - was a few months before the debut of what would become his biggest competitor, the MG MG B. The Fairlady also had to compete against the roadsters of Triumph, Fiat and Alfa Romeo. Under the hood of the elegant Asian lay an 1500cc four-cylinder in line with a single carburetor that produced 77 hp. In 1964 a second carburetor was added, which increased the power to 85 hp. The 1500 was sort of a three-seater because of the kind of seat behind the front seats. The last change took place in 1965 before the 1600 Roadster presented itself as a successor. The interior was given a completely new layout and the rear seat disappeared. At that time there were just no 7.000 copies of the 1500 built, almost all of which went to the USA.
On to 1600 cc
Many changes were made to the Datsun Fairlady in 1965, resulting in the 1600 Roadster. He got a completely new 1600cc block with 96 hp that was identical to the engines of the first generation Silvia. The gearbox was a fully synchronized four-speed gearbox according to Porsche patents. With that 'driveline' the 1600 165 km / h was fast. At the latest, the changes were modest in Eastern, the difference was mainly in the grille with 3 bars instead of rectangular meshes. The production of the 1600, with the internal name SP311, continued until April 1970.
Japanese cars were very good quality
But they, like almost all of their contemporaries, were susceptible to rust. The Fairladies had the enormous disadvantage that they also had to deal with rain when the hood was folded down. For human fair ladies this results in a ruined haircut. The interior of the Datsun Fairladies became swelteringly damp and many rust worms seized their chance. In fact, it is impossible to find these sleek convertibles without rust damage. And about 40.000 have been made. AMK advertiser Jos van de Wouw, he is probably named after his company, could not believe his eyes when he found 'his' Fairlady. As a technician, he likes to invest time in making his cars technically complete. But following the bright yellow Datsun made him very happy.
And on the 240Zs? We are busy with that. We now know someone who has exchanged his E-type for an 240Z. It should not get any crazier.