Open for plea­sure

This Asian up­start gave the Bri­tish a run for their money, writes Gra­ham Smith

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Cars -

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.

Model watch

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

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