January 2000

Datsun Sports Roadsters

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(1500, 1600, & 2000)

The first reaction of many sports car enthusiasts when they saw the Datsun 1600 roadster in 1965 was that the Japanese had created a rather crude imitation of the already-dated MGB. They were wrong on three counts. The Datsun 1600 and its later companion, the Datsun 2000, were not copies of the MGB. Though not as attractive, they outperformed their counterparts in both quality and performance. And rather than being backward-looking automobiles, they actually were the first in the series of Japanese sports cars that each broke new ground in defining quality expectations for enthusiast cars.
The 1600 and 2000 roadsters certainly had more than a passing resemblance to the MGB. Exterior styling cues, interior layout, suspension, and general engine characteristics on the 1600 were virtually identical to the MGB. Even the dual sidedraft carburetors were identical, with the Datsun carbs manufactured by Hitachi under license from SU.