Datsun 311 went into production in November 1960 and continued on until
August 1961. The 311 is pretty well identical to the previous
310 model in every way, except to the engine.
Nissan had been hard at work modifying the previous E series engine,
and for the new E-1 engine thanks to a new dual throat downdraught Nikki
carburettor with a vacuum secondary system, and some modifications to the
cylinder head design, the new E1 engine boasts a twenty percent increase
in power over the previous E engine. The new 1189cc OHV E1 engine now produces
60hp at 5000rpm. The truly impressive thing about this new engine was that
this particular family of engines began it's life as an Austin engine,
which Nissan were building under licence during the 1950s. Thanks to the
American engineer Donald Stone, and also Nissan's own engineers, this engine
was now producing more power than anything Austin could achieve with their
own design. In 1961 the Bluebird with it's single carburettor boasted 60hp,
at the same time the most powerful Austin version was in the Austin Healey
Sprite, this engine, fitted with twin SU carburettors, could only manage
48hp. Not only were they more powerful, they were also totally reliable,
and Nissan (or more to the point Donald Stone) completely solved the oil
leak problems which plagued the Austin engines. A base model version with
the 988cc 45hp C-1 engine was also offered at the same time.
The grille on the 311 is the same as the previous 310, and is a narrow
design with the indicators set either side of the grille. The later 312
model Bluebirds had a grille that partially enclosed the indicators.
The tail lights on these early cars are a small kidney shape, later
models have a larger upright bullet shape. The dashboard in the 310 and
311 series slopes backwards at about 20deg., in the 312 series the dash
is more upright. These early models feature a pronounced droop at the back
of the car, in the fold that travels along the side of the car. The fold
runs straight along the side of the car, and then inexplicably drops downward
at about a 75o angle about 3 inches from the tail light. On the 312 this
fold is straight right through to the back of the car. Standard model 311s
have no strips along the side of the car, but the deLuxe models feature
a full length stainless steel strip. DeLuxe models also have stainless
steel door window frames. The dashboard in the 310 and 311 series slopes
backwards at about 20o, in the 312 series the dash is more upright, and
is near vertical. Badges on the side of the car say Bluebird. and at the
back of the car theu say either Datsun 1200 or Datsun 1000, depending on
which engine was used.
The 311 was replaced in August 1961 with the Datsun Bluebird
|Datsun Snowbird ?
Nissan were originally going to call the 310 series cars
the Datsun Snowbird, until someone pointed out that the term 'snowbird'
was actually a 1950s American slang term for a cocaine addict. Late in
the day they changed the name to Bluebird. No reason was given for the
source of the new name, but it can't have escaped Nissan's attention that
Donald Campbell was about to attempt to break the world speed record in
a car named Bluebird.
This wasn't the only time the Japanese had to change a potentially
inappropriate car name. In the 1990s Toyota were about to release their
new large family sized car in Australia, which was to be called the Toyota
Centaur. In 1943 a Japanese submarine torpedoed an Australian Naval Hospital
ship, that was clearly marked with red crosses, called the HMAS Centaur
off the coast of Brisbane killing most of the 300+ injured people onboard.
After this was pointed out to the local Toyota executives they decided
to re-name it the Toyota Avalon.
A similar problem occured for Subaru when the wanted to sell
the Subaru Legacy in Australia. Legacy is the name of an organisation in
Australia that supplies aid to war veterans from the Second World War,
in the interest of good taste Subaru sold the car in Australia as the Liberty.
Most famously of all, Mitsubishi found out just in time that
the Mitsubishi Pajero off roader they were planning on selling in Spain
mightn't sell very well with that name, because pajero is a Spanish slang
term meaning wanker.
A Japanese language sales brochure for the 311
There were several different model variations for the 310 series,
and these can usually be identified by their model code. If the model code
begins with a W, then the vehicle is a wagon. P is the code meaning 'power
up', which is Nissan speak for a larger engine. If a 310 series car is
a P310, then it has an E series engine, if it is just a 310, then it has
the C series engine. L indicates that the car is a left hand drive version.
Length - 3910mm
Width - 1496mm
Height - 1460mm
Wheelbase - 2280mm
Weight - 870kg
Top speed - 1000 unknown
- 1200 125kph
Transmission - Column change
1000 - unknown
1200 - 4.625 : 1
Model - C-1
OHV 4 Cylinder
Capacity - 988cc
Bore & Stroke 73x59mm
Power - 45bhp@4600rpm
Torque - 7.2kg/m@4000rpm
Compression - 8.0 : 1
Carburettor - Nikki dual
throat down draught
Model - E-1
OHV 4 Cylinder
Capacity - 1189cc
Bore & Stroke 73x71mm
Power - 60bhp@4800rpm
Compression - 8.2 : 1
Carburettor - Nikki 2D-30C
dual throat down draught