Nissan Datsun Fairlady (1962 – 1969) Review

Nissan Datsun Fairlady (1962 – 1969) At A Glance


+Like a British roadster, but without oil leaks and histrionics

-Not as nice to drive as an MGB or Triumph TR

The Japanese motor industry was effectively still in its infancy in the 1960s, but that didn’t stop Nissan having a go at developing its own rival for the all-conquering MGA and TR3, and aiming it at the American market. For a first attempt at building a sports car, it was pretty good – and although similar in layout and style to the MGB it appeared on the market two years before the British roadster. However, under the pretty skin, it was a step behind technically - unlike the MG it had a separate chassis with front coil spring suspension and double wishbones. At the rear was a live axle, which was hung on semi-elliptic springs.

Initially powered by a 1499cc engine that produced only 71bhp it wasn’t exactly quick – taking over 15 seconds to get from 0-60mph and that way behind contemporary UK cars. However, a programme of development saw that rise – to a more usable 85bhp in 1963; then, in 1967, a 1596cc engine producing 96bhp was introduced, along with synchromesh on first gear and front disc brakes. The ultimate Fairlady appeared in 1967 – it featured a brand new overhead camshaft 1982cc engine producing 135bhp.