A bit back I identified three cars for investment based on nothing but my personal basis. I chose one car under $5k, one under $10k, and one under $20k. In this post I’m going to look a little more in depth at my under $10k pick; a 1969 Datsun 1600.
Like my Saab Sonett III pick I also owned a Datsun 1600, so you can see the part about personal bias. Hopefully unlike my Saab Sonett III The Datsun 1600 turns out to be a good pick for investment, because we need some place to put our money besides mutual funds. The picture in the header of the post is your CarReads.com Editor-in-Chief and her brother a few years back in my original Datsun 1600. Its the car that she wanted me to save for her for her first car, but atlas we moved and I bought her a Mercedes SLK320 when the time finally came.
The Datsun 1600 Fairlady is the predecessor to the Datsun Fairlady 2000 and the successor to the Datsun 1500 Fairlady, that was the successor to the Datsun 1200 Fairlady, that was the Successor to the Datsun 1000 Fairlady that was introduced by Datsun into the United States in 1959.
1965 was the year that the Datsun 1600 was introduced and was also known as the SPL-311. The Fairladys have a very British feel to them, the Hitachi SU (Skinners Union) carbonators were made after Hitachi licensed the design from Zenith Stromberg of Britain and the bodies remind you of an MGB. The 1600 had five main bearings instead of three as its predecessors had. The 1600 also had front disc breaks and always felt crisp to me.
The 1600 maybe considered the true predecessor to the 240Z since it shared the same underpinnings with the Datsun 2000. The 240Z was one of the first truly modern sports cars and would not have been possible without the lessons learned from the Fairlady development at Datsun.
Below is a scan from my book Bob Bondurant on High-Performance Driving, Fifth Edition by Bob Bondurant with John Blakemore, published by Motorbooks International available here at Amazon.
So, what about value?
From http://www.hagerty.com we can see that we’ll have to be a good negotiator to get a sub $10k Datsun 1600 in a condition 3, but we can also see that the value has started to rise. Considering that I paid about $1500 for mine 20 years ago, maybe I would have been best to keep it and slowly bring it to show quality. Consider a recent auction sale by Gooding and Company at Amelia Island in 2014 an extremely well presented 1969 Datsun 1600 sold for a whopping $50,600 (http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1968-datsun-1600-roadster/).
Too bad I didn’t save the 1600 instead of getting my daughter a SLK; but like they say… Hindsight is 20/20. If you had bought this car two years ago, it would be a nice increase in valuation and if Gooding and Company’s recent sale is an indication, the market thinks highly of them too.
Engine: Inline-four, overhead-valves, two valves per cylinder, cast-iron block and aluminum alloy head, 1,595cc (97.3 cubic inches)
Horsepower: 96 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 103-lbs.ft. @ 4,000 rpm
Induction system: Twin Hitachi-built SU-style carburetors
Gearbox: Four-speed manual, fully synchronized
0-60 mph: 13.3 seconds
Top speed: 103 mph
Length: 155.7 inches
Width: 58.9 inches
Height: 51.6 inches
Curb weight: 1,984 pounds
1965-1970 1600 Sports
Left-hand drive: 26,425
Right-hand drive: 959
Left-hand-drive production estimates, by year
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