Datsun SPL 311 1600 (Fairlady)
By Miguel Caparros
In the early to mid 60's Datsun was the one on the move in the US market
while Toyota was still sleeping. Datsun was taking on the British car
industry head on as it recuperated from WWII. Datsun was one of the
companies that benefited from the leadership of W. Edwards Deming, Who was
chosen by Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP) was the title held
by General Douglas MacArthur during the Occupation of Japan following World
War II. I remember the first time I saw an SPL 311 and my reaction to it.
The quality of build seemed much better than the MG, Triumph or Alfa Romeo,
given the fact that much of the technology was under license from US and
Great Britain. As great as the quality of the mechanical aspects were
concerned, the quality of the interior vinyl and plastics left much to be
desire. In spite of that they slowly chipped away at the established
manufacturers with a product of superior mechanical quality and value for
the money spent.
The SPL 311 line finished in 1970 with the Datsun 2000, A car that had to
be taken very seriously as a performance sports car. But it was the follow
up that put the final nail in the coffin of the British dominance, the
Driving impression of the Datsun 1600 from 1968. First thing I noticed was
the size of the car, it felt bigger than an MG Midget but smaller than the
MGB. The controls and switch gear had a quality feel to it and the standard
Am Fm radio was completely integrated into the dash. Also well integrated
was the heating and ventilation levers and switches and they had a light
feel as opposed to some of the British cars that felt as if you were trying
to move a rail road track change lever with a tooth pick.
One stab of the gas pedal and a light pull of the choke and the car started
right up and the choke was not needed after a few seconds and the engine
settled to a smooth idle. The clutch was unusually light as was the shift
the lever. As I took off I could immediately sense that although the
steering was light it did not have the precision of the British rack and
pinion and the ride motion was both soft and choppy at the same time.
Getting on the power made me smile as the little 1600 had power equal to if
not better than the 1800 in the MGB. But it was the great feel of the
gearbox that got my attention. Both precise in movement and light in feel.
Taking it through my favorite set of twisties in Coral Gables It felt good
but not as well planted as an MGB or my own Alfa. But there was no question
in my mind that Datsun had a winner here, specially when you take into
consideration the price.
Laguna Seca Datsun Roadsters 2/3/13
Datsun Roadsters at Laguna Seca 2/3/13
Blue car is a 1967 2000 SRL # 248 with stock U20+Competition Package
Black car is a 1967.5 1600 SPL with an SR20 drivetrain
Kaiju - RoadsterWerx LS1 Powered Datsun Roadster Project
Its been quite a while since we posted anything of this magnitude about the
LS1 roadster build. This video chronicles some of the major milestones
since December 2012. This is a 1969 Datsun 311 with 2002 LS1/T56 and RX7
FD IRS on infinity wheels.
1969 Datsun 2000 Roadster for Sale in Sonoma CA
Visit http://www.leftcoastclassics.com/LCCofferings.html to see this 1969
Datsun 2000 Roadster for sale from Left Coast Classics. This is a great
project car that can be enjoyed while you fix 'er up.
$1800 just spent on repairs, brakes serviced along with rebuilt master. New
clutch cylinder and slave, new plugs and battery. Recent fuel system
servicing. Ignition was also rebuilt. Still has much work left for next
enthusiast owner. Car smokes a bit at start but runs with plenty of oil
pressure and shifts through all five gears with ease. Braking is good and
suspension feels good. Needs top, paint and interior. Solid floors, clean
trunk with spare.
Good project for the Datsun enthusiast, can be driven and enjoyed while a
work in progress. Clear, Washington state title in hand. Local trades
Direct your inquiries to Donn Dabney 707-332-8331.
Thanks for watching - please leave a nice big thumbs up and a Like!