Datsun 1600 Review Australia | Features, Specification, Price
- Car Reviews,
- Jun 20, 2020
If you ever ask an enthusiastic car collector to tell you their top favorites sports convertible cars from the early days, you will hear the name Datsun Fairlady for sure. Some of the British cars would also be included in the list, like the Miata since a typical roadster would have belonged to them. But today we discuss the infamous Datsun Roadster, or Fairlady as it was named and what it means to the people of Australia.
The Japanese Datsun was a name in itself when you mention tight handling, beautiful shape, and a touch of adventure. The prices were considerably low, alas, which cannot be said of them today.
The story goes back to the 1950s when Nissan launched their first Datsun Sports, the S211 which was a 1000cc car manufactured for domestic use. Next came the improved versions, the SPL212, and the SPL 213, both 1200cc. This was the time when the name ‘Fairlady’ was used for the first time, specifically for export purposes. The L stands for left-hand-drive variants.
The first domestic ‘Fairlady’ was launched in 1962, namely the Datsun 1500. It came with Cedric’s 71PS engine that soon outshined many American and British cars in a couple of rallies, and thus the legend of Japan’s sports car began.
The second Fairlady, the Datsun 1600, which is our main focus in this article, was launched in 1965 following the success of the Fairlady 1500. It was formally called SP311 and featured many upgrades and improvements from the previous model.
Only a limited number of the Fairlady 1600 were manufactured and launched, and then Nissan decided to bring on the next model to the series, the 1967 Datsun Fairlady 2000. This model differed only slightly with the popular 1600 series, and that too in the interior. Some safety features were added to conform with the USA safety standards, otherwise, it was the same as the SP311.
Datsun Fairlady 1600
The year 1965 marked a big year for Nissan, with the arrival of the Fairlady 1600 roadster, the SP311 and the SPL311, which offered left-hand-drive. The 1600 roadster was first shown to the public in a Motor show in Tokyo and came to production a year later. The design was overseen and finalized by the famous Count Albrecht Goertz who served as the chief designer in subsequent models of the Fairlady as well.
The 1.6-liter R16-powered car was sold under the name of Datsun Sports 1600 roadster in most of the export markets or simply as the Fairlady 1600. It was immensely popular in Australia and parts of North America. In the United States, it was lovingly called the Roadster. On the hood, you would see the word ‘Datsun’ spelled out in individual letters, while on the rear side it said Datsun 1600. In the domestic market, the side badges read ‘Fairlady’ while on the international models it came with ‘Datsun 1600’to set them apart.
Datsun 1600 Specifications
The Datsun 1600 was named aptly following the 1.6-liter OHV inline four-cylinder engine that was applied. It also featured a pair of SU carburetors, and the engine produced a total of 71 kW of power and a horsepower of 95. Using some ingenious engineering at that time, the timing of the fuel distributor could be adjusted and tuned for the required gasoline depending on usage. It could go to a maximum speed of an impressive 105 mph.
As compared to the previous Fairlady 1500, 1600 applied larger disc brakes and bigger 14-inch alloy wheels. The same four-speed manual transmission was used but gained synchronizers which greatly helped in better gear shifting. Previously, the Fairlady 1500 came with a sideways rear seat, which was replaced in the 1600 roadster. The power that is encompassed in the Datsun is balanced with a state-of-the-art braking system, considering that the car was built almost 50 years ago. The braking system consisted of front twin disc calipers and smaller drums for the rear wheels.
Datsun 1600 Features
The manual transmission that consisted of four-speed synchromesh on all forward gears was exclusive in its own sense and was the first of its kind in a Japanese car. The power using the transmission was directed towards the rear wheels, along with the suspension coils and the anti-roll bar gave the car a very firm grip on the road.
The interior was made of standard carpeting, vinyl bucket seats and a three spoke steering wheel. The dashboard was flat with all instruments and gauges available for the driver to view easily. Gauges include a chrome-trimmed tachometer, electric clock, oil pressure, fuel and temperature, and a speedometer. A standard transistor AM radio was also included.
The Fairlady 1600 continued to be produced until the year 1970. Till that time the improved and bigger 2000 was being marketed and proving to be popular in both domestic and international markets. Extra features included a padded dashboard, padded steering wheel, toggle switches, and a tall mounted mirror.
Datsun 1600 Price
The Datsun 1600 Roadster was introduced at a base cost of $2,546. The price was less expensive than many similar cars in the same category but that was how Japanese brands used to sweeten the deal back then. Since this was just the base price, it meant that you had to pay extra for additional features such as a heater, radio, clock, and even seat belts.
Today, if you are looking to buy a Datsun Fairlady 1600, the average price that you can get your hands on is about $30,000. According to sources, the highest amount for which a Datsun 1600 was sold at an auction was for $55,000. That was a perfectly restored car with almost all parts and accessories in genuine condition.