1969 DATSUN FAIRLADY 2000 (SR311)
The second generation of the Datsun Fairlady, known as the Datsun Sports outside of Japan, was the first mass-produced Japanese sports car. The earlier SP310 model, was designed to compete with the European and American competition performance-wise and with its 71hp 1.5-litre engine from the Nissan Cedric it quickly proved to be successful in the racing scene. The car was continuously updated and in 1967 Datsun introduced the SR311 with the U20 engine, a 2-litre producing 150hp. It came with a 5-speed manual gearbox with a Porsche-type synchromesh, it was a surprising addition as 5-speed gearboxes were not yet common. This significant increase in power combined with its low weight of just 910kg meant that it had great performance. However the ladder frame, conventional leaf suspension in the rear and overall chassis design was maintained, this rather unsophisticated setup led to a car that required a skillful driver to drive fast.
While its predecessor raced successfully, SR311s dominated domestic racing. This superiority was so great that the races it entered eventually became like one-make series for the Fairlady. This continued until the famous Fairlady Z/Z-cars were introduced. Its achievements were not limited to Japan as it raced successfully in the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) Championship, the Monte Carlo Rally and other world-class races, making the Fairlady name world-famous.
It is no exaggeration to say that the Fairlady truly made Japanese motorsport history and its spirit continues with the current Nissan Z. It’s a Japanese icon loved by enthusiasts around the world.