While searching for a Datsun 240Z, we stumbled upon its – sort of – predecessor: the Datsun 1600 Roadster, the elegantly civilized convertible that became known as Datsun Fairlady. That name was the idea of the then president / chairman of Nissan, Katsuji Kawamata san. He had seen the musical My Fairlady in New York and was so impressed by it that he decided he had found the name for his car. In the west, that name for a sports car, or let it be a sporty convertible, was not really seen as exciting, sporty and dynamic. That's why the most common names for the export models became … 'Sport' or 'Roadster'.
The 1500 cc came first
The Datsun Fairlady 1500 was presented at the 1961 Tokyo Motor Show and he - or 'she' - was a few months ahead of the debut of what would become its biggest competitor, the MG MG B. The Datsun Fairlady also had to compete against the roadsters van Triumph, Fiat and Alfa Romeo. Under the hood of the elegant Asian was a 1500 cc 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 a kind of 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 its successor. The interior received a completely new layout and the rear seat disappeared. At that time, just under 7000 copies of the 1500 had been built, almost all of which went to the United States.
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 Datsun Fairlady had the huge disadvantage that it also had to deal with rain when the hood was folded down. In human fair ladies this leads to a ruined haircut. The interior of the Datsun Fairlady became sweltering and many rust worms seized their chance. It is almost impossible to find these slender convertibles without rust damage. And about 40.000 of them were made anyway. AMK advertiser Jos van de Wouw, probably named after his company, couldn't believe his eyes when he found 'his' Fairlady. As a technician, he likes to invest time in getting his cars technically in order. But checking out the bright yellow Datsun Fairlady made him happy.
As for the 240 Z. We now know someone who has exchanged his E-type for a 240Z. It shouldn't get crazier.