Jay Leno reunites with a Datsun Roadster, accompanied by a modern twist

The Datsun 1600 roadster is significant for Jay Leno because it was the first sports car he ever owned. In the latest episode on his YouTube channel, Leno is reunited with a Datsun roadster with a bit of a modern twist — an SR20 turbo and Pandem widebody kit.

Amazingly, the Datsun restomod was transformed from a $600 shell to finished product in a span of just five months, according to builder Mike Spagnola. It appears to be done with high quality, and Leno’s driving impressions are positive.

Leno is an encyclopedia when it comes to a vast array of cars, but Japanese machinery has always been a blind spot. The Tokyo Auto Salon is proof that no one in Japan would be at all surprised by a 300-horsepower Datsun Roadster. And you can’t swing a dead cat at JCCS without hitting an SR20-swapped Fairlady. It’s literally the most common configuration there is.

So if you watch the full video, ignore the apocryphal stories about Mr K prying Fairlady badges off of finished cars. Instead, enjoy the build details and the parts toward the end where Jay and Mike talk about owning a Datsun back in the late 60s. “Anything with less than four doors might as well have been a Ferrari,” is a hilarious line that gives a glimpse into why Leno was a successful comedian for so long.

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5 Responses to Jay Leno reunites with a Datsun Roadster, accompanied by a modern twist

  1. MikeRL411 says:

    Wonder just when this show will be aired1

  2. Fred Langille says:

    I’d like to see him do a show on all four cars from Nissan’s Pike Factory “skunk works”, myself.

  3. BRIAN TREVAN says:

    The stance is extreme and doesn’t suit the car and Lenno is not really funny.

  4. socarboy says:

    One of my best friends whom was my neighbor wanted to relive his youth by getting another Datsun Fairlady roadster. He found a 1969 on eBay in Virginia and hauled it 2 states back to South Carolina. The car sat up for over twenty years and the engine was locked up. We drained the motor oil and refilled it with Marvel Mystery Oil. After sitting for a couple of days we put a wrench on the crankshaft pulley and got it to bar over! We then changed the oil and filter engine fired up shortly there after on fresh gas. My friend Wayne was ecstatic and after we got working brakes he would drive the Fairlady around the neighborhood. Sadly my friend fell into poor heath and passed away in 2019 IDK where the Fairlady is these days

  5. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    Admire the project but it just doesn’t look “right”. I would have tried to put more rubber inboard to avoid the aggressive flares. The flares on this might suit something less faithful like an extreme restomod, drift or street racer.

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