By on August 19, 2011

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.

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19 Comments on “Down On the Wisconsin Street: Datsun Sports 2000...”

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    Ah yes, the U-series engines featured in that line were an odd beast, being OHV designs converted to OHC via the use of redesigned heads and an idler shaft in place of the original camshaft. When I lived on Maui, there were a half dozen 2000/1600s still running around, including a couple of Fairlady models.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    I saw one of these at an autocross a few years ago; plate read “NO MGB”.

  • avatar

    The Buicks were probably inherited from Grandma and Grandpa.

  • avatar

    Hey…I’m “only” 41 and even I kind of like the new Regal…then again, that might have to do with the fact that my father only owned Opels when we lived in Germany, so there might be a tinge of nostalgia lurking in there somewhere…

  • avatar

    The 2000 was a fairly serious sports car. The performance was more E-type than MGB, but the ride quality verged on the unsuspended.

  • avatar

    “cheese curds”: I have it on good authority that the outside insiders (i.e. folks from Michigan) refer to these as “cheese turds”.

    By the way, that little car is one Bella Barchetta!

  • avatar

    Don’t forget, Murilee, you’re not awfully far from Road America in Elkhart Lake. There are a lot of sports car buffs hiding in those parts.

  • avatar

    Weird, I just saw one of these this morning, thought it was an MGB until I saw the Datsun badge. Never saw one before.

  • avatar

    I hope (and assume, given the collector plates) that car gets to spend the winter snug and warm in a heated garage while the “winter beater” pulls daily-driver duty.

    Wisconsin does have a high proportion of Buicks and other “old-man” GMs, but in my time there I did see a few interesting cars–my favorite was the Renault R5 Turbo 2 with the vanity plate “U CANT” (buy one, I guess).

  • avatar

    Sweet sweet find!

  • avatar

    These were great cars produced in the early-mid 1960s. Performance was quite good for the era and they have become a Japanese classic.

  • avatar

    I would like to see the #’s, but would guess the performance is much closer to MGB than E-type. I used to autocross a 510, and observed these to be on a par with the Porsche 356’s and Fiat 124’s. Not bad company!

  • avatar

    See also: My earlier piece at Cars in Depth on a bevy of Datsun 1600s

  • avatar

    See also: My piece on the Datsun 1600s at a car club drive on Cars In Depth

  • avatar

    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…

  • avatar

    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.


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