Datsun Sports Cars

The Datsun 240Z was comparable to the Jaguar E-Type, though much more affordable. See more pictures of sports cars.

In 1934, Nissan Motor Corporation began producing Datsun cars, sporty offerings that gave the company a whole new look and feel. Beginning with the Datsun 1500 Sports, this article will take you through a history of Datsun cars, from its early promise to the eventual disappointment.

The Datsun 1500 Sports (or “Fairlady,” as the model is often called) made a name for itself as a solid performer with plenty of features and diminutive price tag. Later iterations, named 1600 and 2000, would improve performance without changing much else.

The real head-turner was the Datsun 240Z. It could hold its own with the Jaguar E-Type (no small feat) at a fraction of the price. This winning combination found favor with consumers, and Nissan found itself struggling to keep up with demand.

Interest flagged by the time the next Datsun arrived, the more-of-the-same Datsun 280ZX. There was nothing wrong with the machine, and it actually delivered quite well compared to other sports cars of the day. There just wasn’t enough to set it apart, and sales slowed to a crawl.

Get the whole story on the Datsun marque, with picture-packed profiles and history of this solid Japanese automaker. We'll get started on the next page with the car that started it all -- the 1500 Sports.

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