Before there was the 240Z there was the Datsun Roadster. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe 1600 lets you enjoy the sky and is painted a sky blue. Will you find its price to be sky high as well?
They say that there are two things that one needs to do to ensure popularity and success: (1) Be attractive, and (2) Don’t be unattractive. Yesterday’s sweet 1968 Benelli/Wards Riverside 350 was sure a looker, and as you might expect with those appealing aesthetics, 67% of you found its price pretty attractive too.
Datsun’s Fairlady Roadster has always been mildly attractive, albeit somewhat derivative of the English and Italian cars it was intended to emulate. Debuting with a 1500-cc four in 1963, the SP310 Fairlady stood in replacement of the Austin-esque SPL212. While seemingly reminiscent of the MGB, the two cars are in fact contemporaries. The Fairlady line continued through the ‘60s with minor updates to displacement and cog count, until it handed the baton of Datsun sports car-dom to the S30 240Z in 1970 model year.
This two-topped one comes from that final model year and is the lower-displacement of the two models offered then. That means 1600-ccs for its R/H16 OHV four, and a four-speed stick rather than the 2000’s five-cogger.
The all-capstravaganza ad says that engine could use a tune. That’s a dog whistle to me indicating that the two side draft Hitachis - which are the spitting image of Skinner’s Union HS2s - are leaking air around their throttle shafts. That right there is about a $600 fix from the carb rebuild guy.
Alternatively, you could just leave them alone and let the engine run a little lean. It’s not like you’re going to be wringing this bad boy out at every stop light or carving canyons in it in its present condition.
That condition is somewhat tired, but seemingly totally serviceable. The ad notes that there’s a bit of surface rust under that baby blue respray, but that the structure is sound. That paint looks good, and the chrome appears serviceable - and more importantly intact - and the removable hard top means you could enjoy the car further into and out of the depths of winter.
There are some boogers here and there. The sideview mirror is missing, the convertible top has some tears, and those wheels are all kinds of wrong. But how hard exactly are any of those things to fix?
On the inside, the dash has some cracks in it, which also isn’t a big deal because there are nice plastic caps available should that really bug you. The seats are missing their headrests which is a little weird too. Speaking of weird, in their earlier guise these cars had an optional third seat that sat sideways behind the passenger. That was clever, but who the hell would want to sit back there today? Also a plus here: a sideways radio!
There’s 129,000 miles on the clock here, and the car comes with a clean Maryland title. It also comes with a $5,500 price tag and is offered at a time when it would be easy to fix any of the major issues (like those wheels) before the spring thaw.
Okay, I know what you’re saying “what about the Miata? Do you know that fiddly-five will buy you a sweet Miata that’s ten times the car this creaky old Datsun is?”
Yes, I know that. I also know that there’s a reason they make dogs in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, and that’s because some people want something different. This Datsun is different. And while it may not be as capable as a Miata, it’s got class and it’s going to be a pretty reliable runner.
Now that we’ve had “the Miata talk” let’s get back to this Datsun. What’s your take on it and its $5,500 price? Does that seem like a Christmas miracle? Or, for that much is this that lump of coal Santa’s always threatening?
H/T to CharlesVS for the hookup!
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