Evaluation: Rebuilt engine, but it’s still grimy and dirty in there with older hoses and wires. Way low on brake fluid. Dull windshield and dry rubber. Faded paint and chrome as well as a large dent and long scratches behind the driver’s door. Good interior with new dash and replacement seat covers but original everywhere else, and one of the window crank handles has fallen off. Oxidized underneath but no signs of major rust. A rough but potentially enjoyable Datsun.
Bottom Line: More sophisticated and often quicker than similar British roadsters, these early Datsuns acquitted themselves well in SCCA racing and have proven to be durable if a bit rust prone as classic cars. They haven’t exploded in value like the later, more practical and more influential 240Zs, but they have gotten a bit pricier and these days are probably best thought of as “attainable” rather than “cheap.” Just under five figures for this one is about right and it has the potential to be a fun low-priced running project. For this money you could also buy a significantly cleaner chrome bumper MGB, which is better supported than the Datsun parts-wise, but the MG wouldn’t be as interesting.
My gateway drug to Datsun / Nissan sports cars was a 1968 Datsun 1600 that I got in college. That subsequently led to a 1972 240Z which I got shortly after graduating; a 1990 300ZX 2+2 (married & young kids); a 1995 300ZX 2+2 (pretended older kids could still fit); 300ZX-TT (my all-time favorite which I got after kids had their own cars and kept for almost 20 yrs); 2010 370Z 40th AE; and now a 2016 370Z Nismo which has logged over 5,000 track miles. I’ve loved them all and am forever grateful for Mr K’s vision and perseverance as well as the opportunity to meet and thank him when he was approaching 100. In now more than 50 years of driving Z cars, totalling well over a half-million miles, I can count on one hand the bad days I’ve had with them, the worst being blacked flagged in my 300ZX-TT at the relatively new Texas Motor Speedway “roval” course because I blew my over-boosted engine. 50+ years and counting of “enjoying the ride” that all started with that little 1600.