1968 Datsun 'Fairlady' 2000 Sports Roadster
|Engine||In-line four-cylinder, 2000cc|
Datsun's first serious attempt at building a sports car was badged the Fairlady, featuring attractive Italianate styling combined with some distinctly Japanese touches. Introduced in 1963, the Fairlady was a roadster very much in the British sports car tradtition and well equipped by the standards of the day, with a clock, radio and tonneau all standard. The earliest models came with an unusual side-facing rear seat for a third passenger and were powered a single-carburettor version of the G15 1500cc engine lifted from the Cedric sedan, while the remaining mechanical components were shared with the 310 series Bluebird. The power output of 77 horsepower was boosted to 85 on twin carburettor models built from 1963 until 1965, using side-draught 38 HJB Hitachis. A facelifted model was announced in 1965, with the original SP310 joined by 1600 (SP311) and Silvia Coupe derivatives, while the ultimate 2000 model of March 1967 saw the Fairlady through to the end of production in 1970. By the late 1960s the rest of the world had begun to take recognise the virtues of Datsun's delightful little sports car and it enjoyed a successful career in Sports Car Club of America events, winning the C and D Production classes thanks to John Morton, Bob Sharp and others. The Fairlady proved a commercial success as well, with over 50,000 sold and inspired future generations of Datsun sports cars, including the legendary 240Z. Today the Fairlady enjoys a strong following both in Japan and abroad, including Australia where it was marketed as the “Datsun 1500 Sports” from October 1962 - obviously Nissan's marketing gurus felt the Fairlady moniker might be a little off-putting to the average Aussie bloke in the 1960s!