During the 1960s, British manufacturers had a virtual lock on small, convertible sports car, and everybody wanted into this lucrative market, none more so than Japanese companies, which had been almost completely shut out of European and North American markets. The 1965 Datsun Fairlady was Nissan’s attempt at breaking into the market, and a fine attempt it was. European styled, with a clear “influence” from the MGB, the Fairlady was a simple, good-looking car that sold relatively well, thanks in part to its low price point. One of the problems buyers had with it was its handling, which did not live up to the look. While most sports cars offered rack-and-pinion steering, the Fairlady still relied on a steering box, which severely hampering its nimbleness and handlinhg.
The Fairlady was originally fitted with a 90 horsepower, 1.5-liter four cylinder engine, which was progressively improved over the years, concluding with a significantly more powerful 145 horsepower twin-cam 2-liter engine, with a top speed of 125 miles per hour.
Over its 5-year production run, Datsun produced and sold over 40,000 units, which is quite a decent number, although it never came close to dethroning British marques from the top of the rankings. The 1965 Datsun Fairlady and its successors allowed the Japanese company to make all its mistakes before introducing the 240Z in 1969, which was to have a much bigger impact on the automotive scene.