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This 2023 Datsun Fairlady 2000 Concept Revives The Defining 60s Japanese Sports Car

The 1960s are known as the golden era for Japanese sports cars. It was during this time that the world got to know that desirable driving cars needn’t be unreliable and pricey. Cars like the Toyota Sports 800 and Honda S800 showed us that KEI cars are the best cars to have fun. The Datsun Sports 2000 was the car that brought the same “fun” into roadsters. It is the car that made the “Fairlady” nameplate famous before the Nissan/ Datsun 240Z came into the picture.


Timothy Adry Emmanuel has created a HotCars Exclusive 2023 Datsun Fairlady 2000 Concept to bring the “perfect convertible sports car” to the 21st century. Using a modern Nissan Z as the platform, we recreate the same magic that made the classic Fairlady nimble, peppy, and affordable. This is the perfect car for those who love the Mazda MX-5 Miata’s perfect driving dynamics but crave more performance.

Related: 10 Best Convertible Cars For Summer Fun


Datsun 2000 Concept: Making The Perfect Convertible Sports Car

2023 Datsun Fairlady 2000 Sports Concept is based on the Nissan Z platform
HotCars Photo © 2023 Valnet

The Datsun Fairlady 2000 Concept is our attempt to create the perfect convertible sports car of 2023. But before we dive into this HotCars Exclusive creation, let’s take a stroll into the past, specifically the origin story of disruptive Japanese sports cars!

The 1960s were a time for the Japanese automakers to shine forth. And the Datsun Fairlady 2000 showed the world the true meaning of “cheap thrills”. Among the exotic bunch, it was the Toyota 2000GT that shocked the world by being a reliable supercar that even made the famous Jaguar E-Type sweat. It was also during this time that Nissan decided to create a roadster that would give the Europeans a run for the money.

The quest to make the perfect convertible started with the Datsun Sports 1000 in 1959. It slowly and steadily evolved to become the Datsun Sports 2000. And this is the car that made the “Fairlady” name synonymous with a grin-worthy driving appeal. It was also the first Japanese car to breach the 124 mph (200 kph) mark.

2023 Datsun Fairlady 2000 Sports Concept front fascia view
HotCars Photo © 2023 Valnet

It was a fusion of simplicity and clever engineering that made the Fairlady 2000 Sports an iconic 60s Japanese sports car. It was a car way ahead of time. The 2023 Fairlady 2000 Concept is our ode to the Nissan roadster and our attempt at recreating the defining Japanese convertible sports car.

Today, the convertible sports car bunch is a dying breed, and we don’t have many exciting cars in the bunch. The only affordable and exciting one out there is the Mazda MX-5 Miata which starts under $30,000. And if we stretch “affordability” to the absolute limit, then the BMW Z4 at $52,800 can also be added to the pack.

We do have the Chevy Camaro Convertible and Ford Mustang Convertible that starts at just over $30,000. But these two top-down American muscle cars don’t quite tickle the senses of someone who wants a light, nimble, and simple sports car. And the European roadsters, well, are too pricey. This brings us to a full circle, and the 2023 Datsun Fairlady Concept is here to cause the same commotion that made the original 2000 Sports famous in the 60s.

Datsun Fairlady Concept Shares A V6 With The New Nissan Z

2023 Datsun Fairlady 2000 Concept rear third quarter view
HotCars Photo © 2023 Valnet

The 60s Datsun Fairlady 2000 roadster packed a bleeding-edge SOHC four-cylinder engine. During the time, its more famous European competitors were still relying on push-rod engines. And Datsun was already reaping the high-revving benefits of an overhead camshaft. The 2000 Fairlady was also the first Japanese sports car to use a five-speed gearbox.

In its most powerful form, when equipped with a competition package, the 1960s Datsun Sports 2000s 2.0-Liter engine pumped out 150 hp. The other secret ingredient was its suspension setup and weight distribution. It came with an independent front suspension with coil springs and tubular shock absorbers. This added to its nimble character.

To recreate the same driving pleasure, our Exclusive Datsun Fairlady 2000 Concept is built upon the Nissan Z sports car platform. It also shares the same engine. The 2023 Fairlady 2000 roadster gets a 400 hp 3.0-Liter twin-turbocharged V6 that sends power to the rear wheels. This engine has already proved its mettle in the Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400.

Dialing up the Nissan Z’s platform to be worthy of the Fairlady 2000 is a modified suspension setup. The convertible layout adds more weight to the formula, and the Datsun roadster tips the scale at 3,700 pounds. But clever weight distribution helps us recreate a nimble driving experience on straights and twisties.

Related: These Blisteringly Fast Convertibles Are Surprisingly Affordable

Datsun Fairlady 2000 Concept Is A Bold Play Of Chrome And Sharp Lines

2023 Datsun Fairlady 2000 Sports Concept chrome edition front third quarter view
HotCars Photo © 2023 Valnet

The original Datsun Fairlady 2000 is a curvy car that resembles the iconic MGB, Triumph Spitfire and many other popular European convertible sports car-inspired bits in its design language. But our modern Datsun 2000 Fairlady is the exact opposite of its smooth and curvy predecessor.

It takes a bold and rather sharp approach for a more aggressive visual appeal. But a few iconic design cues like the grille, the hood scoop, and a generous dose of chrome remind us of its roots. The new Nissan roadster is much longer and wider than the 60s Fairlady 2000 and is a certified head-turner.

How Much Does A Classic Nissan Datsun Sports Roadster Cost?

1968 Datsun 2000 Sports front third quarter view
Mecum Auctions

The 1960s Datsun Fairlady is a hot take among classic roadsters. Enthusiasts are getting to know the impact this humble Japanese sports car had on the world of convertibles. The most sought-after classic Nissan Roadster is the Datsun 2000, especially the one with the performance package for 150 horses. The classic Datsun Roadster sells for an average of $20,000-35,000 today, according to classic. Pristine specimens have also breached the $60,000 mark, and the prices are going to go upwards. The older Datsun 1500 and 1600 models sell for an average of under $20,000.

Sources: Classic.com, Nissan Global, Retromod Via YouTube

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