Back in 1969, Datsun not only introduced its 510 sedan, which would become a favorite with the compact sedan racing and rally contingent, but upgraded its 1600 roadster to the 2000, so called because of its larger overhead-cam 4-cylinder engine, now linked to a 5-speed manual gearbox.
Not quite 58,500 of those 510s and 2000 were sold to customers in the United States, where they are cherished by collectors, and one of those roadsters is the Pick of the Day, being offered for sale on ClassicCars.com by a private seller in South Haven, Michigan.
The seller reports that the roadster spent most of its life in South Carolina, where it was garaged, and showed only “minimal rust” prior to its relocation to Michigan.
Perhaps we should make that relocation and restoration, since the car has undergone a restoration and upgrade, and apparently has been driven less than 100 miles since that work was completed in June 2020.
While the body and frame have matching numbers, the seller notes that the 1,982cc U20 engine is date correct. Since the engine wasn’t original, the restoration didn’t go back to factory spec but included some “modern upgrades for performance, reliability and safety.”
For example, a roll bar was installed so the car could be equipped with modern 3-point belts.
“Restoration summary:” the seller notes. “The engine was disassembled, inspected and machined to .040″ over. The camshaft and crank were polished and the engine reassembled with new pistons, rings, bearings, valves, seals and timing components. The SU carburetors were replaced with rebuilt units from Z-Therapy.
“The chassis was stripped and repainted then reassembled with new steering and suspension components. The rear brakes were replaced with OEM parts and the front was upgraded with Nissan GTR disc brakes. The shocks and exhaust are completely new.
“The body was placed on a rotisserie, stripped, all panels aligned and metal finished. All surfaces were painted with urethane code 664 Irish Red. The body and chassis were reassembled with all new gaskets and rubber seals.”
Upgrades included electronic ignition, AC/Delco alternator, powder-coated header and new exhaust.
The interior — upholstery, carpets, door panels, convertible top and boot — were replaced with OEM parts. A Bluetooth digital sound system was installed.
“The result,” the seller adds, “is a car that is stunning in appearance and is comfortable and incredibly fun to drive.”
By the way, the restoration was documented and that binder comes with the car, as does the 3-volume Datsun Roadster shop manual.
Badging on the car’s rear flank is “Fairlady 2000.” Fairlady, borrowed from the popular Broadway musical, My Fair Lady, was the car’s name in Asia and Australia, but it was marketed primarily as the Datsun 2000 roadster in the US, where one served as Paul Newman’s first race car.