Even though I wasn’t driving a Pontiac Firebird, I did a Rockford on Mission Street the minute I saw this tantalizing bucket of patina being pulled behind a pickup truck. A hardtop with porthole side windows? How could I resist?
Car stalker that I am, I followed the pickup a few miles, until … the driver pulled over. Turns out, this car is a 1969 “Datsun 2000.” And the guy pulling it is Mike Young, a Datsun 2000 restorer.
Young had just hauled it from a yard in Daly City, CA where it had been languishing for about 20 years. He was hauling it up to Clear Lake, CA, where he works exclusively 2000’s.
Covered with lichen and moss, it looked like it came out of the ocean rather than a back yard. Mike took me under the hood for a look. The thermostat housing was upside down. Plastic baggies covered the master cylinder housing heads. “I think the car will crank if I put a battery in it,” said Mike. He went and put it in gear and pulled to spin the motor. It was free.
You’re dying to know the cold facts, so here they are:
- 2000’s are on the rise for collectors
- This particular car has approx. $1500 bucks worth of parts
- A lot of the cars came into the port of Long Beach
- They were all made in Japan and shipped with soft tops
- In 1969, only 15,000 Datsun 2000 hard tops were made
- This car has an after market hard top that probably was put on by Long Beach Hard Top
By the time production ceased in 1970, over 40,000 1600 and 2000 Fairlady Roadsters had been built. The 240z was destined to replace the Roadsters as Nissan’s “Flagwaver” marquee model. The roadster technology was getting old, as was that of most of its competitors. Within a few years, very few roadsters would remain in production as the GT style cars took over. But the Roadster turns heads to this day, displaying a certain classic elegance that few other Japanese cars do.
Photos: Angela Frucci