An extract on #datsun
The Fairlady saw competitors follow its introduction, with examples called the Honda S500, the Toyota Sports 800, and the Daihatsu Compagno. In Japan, it represented one of three core products offered by Nissan at Japanese Nissan Dealerships called Nissan Shop, alongside the Datsun Truck and the Datsun 1000. The Datsun SRL 2000 was the 2 seat roadster that made their name. Paul Newman started his racing career in one. It had a potent 1982cc overhead cam engine with dual SU type side draft carbs and a 5 speed transmission. In 1991, Nissan introduced a limited number two-door convertible styled in a retro appearance to the Datsun Sports called the Nissan Figaro.
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). The S211 was based on the Datsun 211 sedan. Incorporated into the side trim were the side badges, which said "Datsun 1000". 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, influenced by the Chevrolet Corvette. Only 20 examples of the S211 were built, making the S211 the rarest of all Datsun models.
The SPL212 was introduced in 1960. This was the first Datsun sports car imported to the USA. The letter L means "left hand drive". Now with steel bodywork, it was built in slightly higher volume than the S211, with 288 produced through 1961. The SPL212 was based on the Datsun 223 truck. 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. The badge on the trunk lid was the same badge that was used on the Datsun 223 truck. It was named in reference to the Broadway musical My Fair Lady. The SPL212 and later SPL213 were sold only on the export market; they were named for their engine displacement. In 1960, production of the Fairlady was moved from Yokohama to the Nissan Shatai plant in Hiratsuka.
These cars are quite valuable. In 1996 a set of unrestored cars (SPL212) sold for US$100,000.
The SPL213, produced in 1961 and 1962, is very similar to the SPL212. The main difference is the dual-carburetor "E-1" engine which pumped out 60 PS (44 kW; 59 hp), a large increase in such a small and light car. Like the SPL212, the SPL213 was based on the Datsun 223 truck. 217 examples were built.