Desirable Driver: 1967 Datsun 1600 Roadster – Sold?

Apr 2021 | Classifinds, Sports Car Saturday

May 16, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call Rudy directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

April 12, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the private seller of this rare Datsun sports car just replaced their original Craigslist ad with a fresh listing.  In their latest post, the pictures, description, and asking price of $15,500 all remain the same.

Contrary to popular belief by younger enthusiasts, Datsun’s first sports car was not the 240 of 1970 but rather their Fairlady roadsters produced through the 1960s in several forms. A 1600 cc powered SPL311 was originally listed in April 2021 on Craigslist in Greenville, New Hampshire for $15,500. Comparing that price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller has their 1600 priced between this guide’s #3 “Good” estimate of $11,900 and its #2 “Excellent” appraisal of $27,200.  Similarly, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool places the seller’s ask between this guide’s #2 “Very Good” estimate of $14,000 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $22,400.

The first true Datsun sports car launched in America was known as the Datsun 1500.  Though the 1.5 L SP310 continued in production through January 1965, a new 1.6 L R16-powered SPL311 replaced 1500 in March 1965. The restyling was executed in part by Count Albrecht Goertz, who would later be involved with designing the first Fairlady Z. Marketed as the Fairlady 1600, or the Datsun Sports 1600 in many export markets including North America, it featured 14-inch wheels and minor exterior changes. The SPL311 was also known as the “Roadster” on the West Coast of the United States. The front suspension was independent, utilizing coil springs over hydraulic shocks. The rear suspension was a common leaf springs design, dampened with hydraulic shocks. The 1600 SPL311 came with a pair of SU carburetors. The R16 inline four-cylinder engine produced 96 horsepower. Early SPL311 came with a high compression engine that had three main bearings, hydraulic lifters, a cast-iron block, and a cast-iron head. The timing of the distributor could be easily adjusted to reduce pre-ignition knock and thereby tune for questionable quality gasoline. Engines in later SPL311 had 5 main bearings and this addressed a design weakness. The top speed for the SPL311 with approximately 91 octane gasoline was approximately 105 mph. The axle gearing suffered from design limitations and Datsun performance parts offered a cooling system as a retrofit. Steering utilized a worm gear design. The hood badge said “Datsun” in individual letters, the rear badge said “Datsun 1600”, and the side badges said “Fairlady” (Japanese market) or “Datsun 1600” (export market). The SP311 continued in production alongside the later 2000 model through April 1970.

The King Rose Archives YouTube Channel features this vintage 1967 Datsun 1600 Roadster commercial:

We love the seller’s honest description that their Datsun 1600 is a clean driver’s car. About the only thing odd we noticed is the Kentucky plates are on a car presented in New Hampshire, so hopefully, the seller has a reasonable explanation for that.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Very rare 1967 Datsun 1600 roadster convertible. this is an early 1967 which means it has a short front window. very desirable model. comes with a removable hardtop, soft convertible top. very clean and a blast to drive. this is a driver’s car. everywhere you go people will want to talk to you about this car. get ahead of the curve for summer. I have a title. Rick

Restore or drive as-is: what would you do with this Datsun 1600?  Comment below and let us know!


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