Down On the Wisconsin Street: Datsun Sports 2000

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

You’ve got to love a car named the Sports, if only because it reminds us of the pre-focus-group era. I’m on vacation in Door County, Wisconsin at the moment, which means I’m surrounded by endless Packers paraphernalia, startling quantities of Buicks driven by folks 50 years younger than the normal Buick demographic, cheese curds, and this beautiful street-parked vintage Datsun.

I’ve spotted a few interesting cars in my travels around the peninsula, mostly old Detroit stuff but also a well-preserved Volvo 164 and an MGA. I didn’t stop to photograph those cars, but the sight of the Datsun Sports parked in downtown Sturgeon Bay made me yell “STOP THE CAR!” at my wife.

I’m not enough of a vintage Nissan expert to state an exact year for this car, but I know the side marker lights mean it’s a 1968-70 model.

The wheels look good, the color looks good, and everything on the car looks very solid. These cars are slightly more reliable than their MG/Triumph/Sunbeam/Fiat/Alfa competition of the era, but not enough to have made them the Miata of their time.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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2 of 19 comments
  • WRohrl WRohrl on Aug 19, 2011

    Murilee, this is starting to border on the freakish - First you live in the Bay Area, same as me. Then last year you move to Denver and we move to Northern Colorado. Now you are on vacation in WI and I am also here (for the ALMS race at Road America tomorrow). Very strange...

  • Obbop Obbop on Aug 20, 2011

    Engine displacement as part of a vehicles name/nomenclature. Makes sense but to be different MY vehicle manufacturing firm would use the MSRP as part of the name. One benefit would be to separate the "better" higher-priced model from the lower-priced basic version bought by those scum commoners from the bottom parts of the socioeconomic pile from the better folks higher up. Yep.

  • Varezhka The biggest underlying issue of Mitsubishi Motors was that for most of its history the commercial vehicles division was where all the profit was being made, subsidizing the passenger vehicle division losses. Just like Isuzu.And because it was a runt of a giant conglomerate who mainly operated B2G and B2B, it never got the attention it needed to really succeed. So when Daimler came in early 2000s and took away the money making Mitsubishi-Fuso commercial division, it was screwed.Right now it's living off of its legacy user base in SE Asia, while its new parent Nissan is sucking away at its remaining engineering expertise in EV and kei cars. I'd love to see the upcoming US market Delica, so crossing fingers they will last that long.
  • ToolGuy A deep-dive of the TTAC Podcast Archives gleans some valuable insight here.
  • Tassos I heard the same clueless, bigoted BULLSHEET about the Chinese brands, 40 years ago about the Japanese Brands, and more recently about the Koreans.If the Japanese and the Koreans have succeeded in the US market, at the expense of losers such as Fiat, Alfa, Peugeot, and the Domestics,there is ZERO DOUBT in my mind, that if the Chinese want to succeed here, THEY WILL. No matter what one or two bigots do about it.PS try to distinguish between the hard working CHINESE PEOPLE and their GOVERNMENT once in your miserable lives.
  • 28-Cars-Later I guess Santa showed up with bales of cash for Mitsu this past Christmas.
  • Lou_BC I was looking at an extended warranty for my truck. The F&I guy was trying to sell me on the idea by telling me how his wife's Cadillac had 2 infotainment failures costing $4,600 dollars each and how it was very common in all of their products. These idiots can't build a reliable vehicle and they want me to trust them with the vehicle "taking over" for me.