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About Tough to Crack puzzle #174: 1959 Datsun ‘SP211’


About Tough to Crack puzzle #174: 1959 Datsun ‘SP211’
We got a little mixed up with the Christmas puzzle, but here are the results for the last regular car quiz of 2017. This was a Datsun. A 1959 Datsun 1000 Sports, also known as the ‘S211’ or ‘SP211’ to be precise.

Although we did receive two different ideas (‘A Nash Metropolitan test mule’, plus ‘a Toyopet of around 1960’), most knew about it being a Datsun. However, there was confusion about the exact type of Datsun. Several of you believed it to be the production model of the first Fairlady – the Datsun Sport 1200 Roadster or ‘SPL212’ with the ‘L’ for left hand drive was named in many answers. It’s hard to tell, but it’s not that. This really is the slightly earlier version of which only 20 are believed to have been built. That car used a smaller engine and full fibreglass body and wasn’t even officially named Fairlady. The right hand drive steering position is a clue, but further searches could have lead you to some Japanese websites, which confirm this is the car that was entered in a gymkhana in 1959. In fact this particular car is still owned by Nissan to this day and believed to be the one shown above (we did notice the front indicators, too, these may have been changed at one point?).

Some of you mentioned the several model variants in their answers (there was a later SPL213 too), but we went for the first model mentioned or the one most emphasized. It can only be one car, right? Most of you also named the car’s designer Yuishi Ohta, son of the Ohta car company's founder Hiro Ohta, and some added the origins of the Fairlady name (Nissan’s president Katsuji Kawamata loved the musical My Fair Lady). Very well.

Over to the winner. It was truly difficult to pick out the best of you, with several answers being very similar. Eventually we chose Gerd Klioba’s, who managed to squeeze in a fun fact. He wrote: “This is the 1958 Datsun Sports 1000, also known as S211. Only 20 of them were built. Its body was made of fibreglass, the mechanical parts were the same as in the Datsun 211 saloon. The S211 was designed by Yiuchi Ohta, son of the Ohta car company's founder Hiro Ohta. Its prototype, called A80X, was presented on the rooftop of the Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi department store in Tokyo. The S211 was succeeded in 1960 by the SPL212 Fairlady, an almost identical looking car, but technically substantially different due to its steel body, but leading the way to the Datsun Z.” It’s the rooftop that did it Gerd. Congratulations!

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