Rides from the Readers: 1968 Datsun 1600 roadster
Hagerty readers and Hagerty Drivers Club members share their cherished collector and enthusiast vehicles with us via our contact email, email@example.com. We’re showcasing some of our favorite stories among these submissions. To have your car featured, send complete photography and your story of ownership to the above email address.
Today’s featured car is a 1968 Datsun 1600 roadster, the Japanese contender in a fight that included MG, Fiat, and Triumph. Though many will whisper that Nissan merely ripped off the MGB, the petite 1600 debuted months before its British competitor. Their similar looks are purely coincidental. You can distinguish the Datsun easily by its stacked taillights and low-profile hood scoop. Produced under the Fairlady name in their home market, these roadsters progressed from 1963–70 from 1500 and 1600 models to a 2000 that became available in mid-1967.
This particular car belongs to Pete Cage, who traces his love for his current, blue 1600 roadster to his best friend Paul—or, more accurately, to the pale-yellow Spridget Paul owned in high school. Since then, Cage has owned a 1968 2000 roadster (treated to a full rattle-can paint job in his driveway, bumpers and all), and the handsome blue example featured today.
Though Datsuns are more durable than their British counterparts, replacement parts are much, much scarcer. Some parts he could buy immediately, others required a bit of saving, and all the fun stuff—the 8-qt cast aluminum oil pan, factory competition rear sway bar, 4.11:1 limited-slip diff—was NLA. “There weren’t any existential crises,” Cage writes, “but ultimately it was a bit like being nibbled to death by ducks.”
We’re glad to see that Cage approached his frustration in the healthiest way possible—by getting out and enjoying the drive. Even better, a drive with fellow Datsun owners!