Open for pleasure
This Asian upstart gave the British a run for their money, writes Graham Smith
THE Datsun 2000 Sports arrived in 1967 to rave reviews, but faced an uphill battle to win over fans of the British sports cars that dominated the segment. Anti-Japanese sentiment lingered, shown by not buying their products.
The Datsun 2000 Sports also had to break down local loyalty to British sports-car brands such as MG, Austin-Healey and Triumph.
THE Datsun 2000 Sports was the last and easily the best of the traditional open sports cars that began with the 1962 Fairlady 1500.
In 1970 it was replaced by the very popular 240Z, the first of the Z-Series cars that continues in the 370Z today. The 2000 Sports had a top speed over 200km/h, at a time when the top-selling British MGB barely topped 160km/h.
A 2.0-litre single overhead camshaft four-cylinder engine put out 112kW at 6000 revs and 184Nm at 4800 revs, backed by a five-speed allsynchro manual gearbox. Underneath it had independent coil spring front suspension with semi-elliptic leaf springs and torque rod at the rear.
Braking was by discs at the front and drums at the rear, and steering was without power assistance.
On the lot
A CAR needing restoration costs about $5000, not needing major work $10,000 to $12,000, and with the full treatment $20,000 to $25,000.
In the shop
THE Datsun 2000 Sports is now an old car and most are wearied by age.
Though they are now more appreciated, they were once thought of as ugly ducklings, and many were neglected. Poor maintenance, neglect and years of being driven hard are the main causes of problems in an otherwise sturdy car.
Look for rust in the sills, footwells and around the boot hinges. Check the door gaps, because they can be a giveaway to crash damage.
The 2000 had the U20 engine, which was generally a reliable unit. Look for oil leaks around the rear of