The Datsun Roadster was a lightweight automobile produced by Nissan in the 1930s. The series was a predecessor to the Fairlady sports cars, and was an example of the earliest passenger cars produced in Japan. It shows some similarities to the Kurogane Type 95 four-wheel-drive roadster used by the Japanese Army during World War II.
The first car to bear the Datsun name was the 1932 Type 11 Roadster. It was powered by a 495 cc straight-4 10 hp (7.5 kW) engine. The 1931 Type 11 had the same engine and was called a “Datson”.
The Datson Roadster was replaced for 1935 by the Road Star. It used a 14 hp (10.4 kW) 722 cc engine, and a Coupe model was also available. The engine’s output was pushed to 16 hp (12 kW) for 1937. Production ended with Japan’s entry into World War II in 1941.
The 1500 Roadster was powered by a 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder OHV engine with a single carburetor producing 77 hp (57 kW). The 1500 was a 3-seat convertible with front buckets, and a transverse back seat. The 1964 production added a second SU carburetor and power increased to 85 horsepower (63 kW). The final revision of the 1500 model occurred in 1965 with a completely redesigned interior. This eliminated the back seat and introduced a more sporty dash layout.
In 1966 engine displacement was boosted to 1.6 liters and power output to 96 hp (72 kW). This new model was given the new designation SP(L) 311. The 1600 Roadster was produced until the end of production in April 1970.
The 2000 Roadster SR(L) 311 was introduced as a half-year model in 1967. Powered by the U-20 single overhead cam engine, in stock configuration of twin SU carburetors it produced 135 hp (101 kW). An optional version with twin Mikuni Solex carburetors produced 150 hp (112 kW). The optional version was only available as a factory installed setup in the US during the 1967 model year. The 2000 was also produced until 1970 when the Roadster was superseded by the 240Z.