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Datsun Fairlady/Sports
Manufacturer Nissan
Production 1959-Apr 1970
circa 40,000 produced
Predecessor Datsun DC-3
Successor Datsun 240Z
Class Sports car
Body style(s) 2-door Roadster
Layout FR layout

The Datsun Sports (called Fairlady in the home market), was a series of roadsters produced by Nissan in the 1960s. The series was a predecessor to the Z-car in the Fairlady line, and offered an inexpensive alternative to the British MG and Triumph sports cars. The line began with the 1959 "S211" and continued through 1970 with the "SP311" and "SR311" line.

Contents

S211

Sports 1000
S211
Datsun S211 001.JPG
Production 1959-1960
20 produced
Engine(s) 988 cc C I4

The first Datsun Sports model was the 1959 S211. It used a 988 cc C-series straight-4 producing 37 PS (27 kW; 36 hp). Only 20 examples were built. It was designed by Yuichi Ohta, who had previously designed the Datsun DC-3 and the prototype to the S211, the A80X. Both the A80X and S211 featured fiberglass bodywork.

SPL212

Fairlady / Sports 1200
SPL212
SPL212.jpg
Production 1960-1961
288 produced
Engine(s) 1.2 L E I4
Transmission(s) 4-speed manual

The SPL212 was introduced in 1960. This was the first Datsun sportscar imported to the USA. The letter of "L" means "Left hand drive" .Now with steel bodywork it was built in slightly higher volume than the S211, with 288 produced through 1961. It had a 1.2 L (1189 cc) E-series straight-4 engine producing 48 PS (35 kW; 47 hp). A 4-speed manual transmission was specified, and an a-arm suspension with torsion bars was used in front. Drum brakes were used all around. This was the first vehicle to bear the "Fairlady" name. It was named in reference to the broadway musical My Fair Lady.[1]

These cars are quite valuable. In 1996 a set of unrestored cars (SPL212) sold for $100,000 USD.

SPL213

Fairlady/Sports
SPL213
Production 1961-1962
217 produced
Engine(s) 1.2 L E-1 I4
Transmission(s) 4-speed manual

The SPL213, produced in 1961 and 1962, is very similar to the SPL212. The main difference is the dual-carburetor "E1" engine which pumped out 60 PS (44 kW; 59 hp), a large increase in such a small and light car. 217 examples were built.

SP310/SPL310

Fairlady/Sports 1500
SPL310/SP310
1962 Datsun Fairlady 01.jpg
Production Aug 1963-Jan 1965
Engine(s) 1.5 L G15 I4
Transmission(s) 4-speed manual

The first Datsun Sports car was the 1963 SP310 "Fairlady 1500" model (right hand drive), and the SPL310 (left hand drive). It featured a 1.5 L (1497 cc) G15 engine with a single SU carburetor. A 4-speed manual transmission was the only shifting option. It was a well-equipped car with a transistor radio, tonneau cover, map lights, and a clock. The first SP310s also had a unique sideways third seat in the rear. The 1964 car was similar, but offered dual SU carbs.

SP311/SPL311

Fairlady/Sports 1600
SPL311/SP311
Production Jan 1965-Apr 1970
Engine(s) 1.6 L R16 I4
Transmission(s) 4-speed manual
Related Nissan Silvia

Many changes were made for 1965. Though the 1.5 L SP310 continued in production through January, a new 1.6 L R16-powered SP311 and SPL311 joined it. Marketed as the Fairlady 1600, it featured 14 inch wheels and minor exterior changes. The engine produced 96 PS (71 kW; 95 hp). The SP311 continued in production through April 1970.

The first Nissan Silvia coupe shared the SP311's platform. The CSP311 Silvia had an R16 engine developing 96 hp and used a modified Fairlady chassis. The Silvia was the first car fitted with Nissan's new R engine. The R engine was a further development of the 1488 cc G engine.

SR311/SRL311

Fairlady/Sports 2000
SRL311/SR311
Datsun 1600 Roadster (North America)
Production Mar 1967-Apr 1970
Engine(s) 2.0 L U20 I4
Transmission(s) 5-speed manual

The introduction of the 1967 SR311 and SRL311 saw a major update. Produced from March 1967 through 1970, the SR311 used a 2.0 L (1982 cc) U20 engine and offered a 5-speed manual transmission, unusual for a production car. The first-year cars are most-desirable today as there were just 1,000 to 2,000 produced and are unencumbered with the emissions and safety changes introduced in 1968. The new SOHC engine produced 135 PS (99 kW; 133 hp). An optional Competition package included dual Mikuni/Solex carburetors and a special camshaft for 150 PS (110 kW; 148 hp).

The Datsun 2000 was lauded as a bargain sportscar. The main reason for its production was for racing to build the Datsun image. It was raced by John Morton, Bob Sharp and others. Its sticker price was lowest in its class, but it won its class in C Production (Mikuni-Solex carburetors) and D-Production (Hitachi-SU carburetors), in SCCA racing on a consistent basis even after production stopped. For the full story of Nissan's involvement in early SCCA racing, the teams, drivers and cars, visit the Datsun Roadster SCCA pages.

A well-tuned stock Datsun 2000 was capable of cruising at 120 mph (193 km/h) and capable of making better than 30 mpg (7.8 L/100 km) and red-lined at exactly 7000 rpm and 140 mph in 4th gear with a 5 speed. It was replaced with the more sedate, stylish, and popular Z series.

1968

For 1968, the entire line was updated with a new body featuring a taller integrated windshield with an integrated rear-view mirror, a padded dashboard with non-toggle switches, and lifting door handles. The engines were also fitted with new emissions controls, and the 1600 continued as a companion model through the end of production.

References

  1. ^ Long, Brian. "Datsun Fairlady Roadster to 280ZX" Veloce Publishing Ltd, 2006. pp. 20
  • James T Crow, ed. (1968). "Datsun 2000 Sports and Datsun Sports 1600". Road & Track Road Test Annual: 40–45.  
  • Alexander Palevsky (1998). "All the Lust Without the Rust". Sports Car International 14 (V): 57.  

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