|In May 1965 the Datsun Fairlady underwent some major changes, the
resulting car was designated the SP311. The overall silhouette of the car
remained essentially unchanged from the previous 1965 SP310 Fairlady, but
big mechanical changes were made to turn the Fairlady into a world class
In March 1965 Nissan released the all new Nissan Silvia CSP311 coupe, which
was based on the Fairlady chassis and floor pan. The Silvia featured all
new mechanicals, all of which found their way into the Fairlady. The engine
used in the SP311 was the new R series engine, which was 1595cc in size
and developed 96hp. This engine was essentially an enlarged version of
the old G series engine. The R series engine used a slightly updated version
of the twin Hitachi side draught carburettors used on the SP310. Also all
new was the gearbox. The old Fairlady gearbox was a 4 speed unit with no
synchromesh on first gear, the new SP311 gearbox was again a 4 speed, but
this time it was an all synchro gearbox with Porsche type servo synchros.
This new gearbox was smooth and precise, and a major improvement over the
The steering and suspension remained mostly unchanged except for spring
rates and front axle sizes, but there were major changes to the brakes.
The old SP310 had drum brakes on all four wheels, whilst the new SP311
had disc brakes up front. The brakes featured twin piston Dunlop Sumitomo
calipers, which were a Japanese made version of the Dunlop brakes used
on the E-Type Jaguar. The rear brakes remained the same.
The new disc brake system meant that the car now had to have
14 inch wheels instead of the 13 ones used on the SP310. This required
a change to the size of the wheel openings in the guards to accomodate
the new wheels. As a result of the new bigger wheel arches the stainless
steel side strips could no longer travel the entire length of the car,
and they now started just behind the front wheel arch and extended to the
back of the car. The previous model had exposed boot lid hinges, but the
new car now had internal hinges.
At the front of the car the size of the bonnet scoop has been enlarged
slightly, and there is also a new grille. The old grille with nine vertical
and five horizontal bars has been replaced with a pressed steel grille
with three wide horizontal bars in the middle. The badge on the bonnet
says Datsun in individual letters. The badges on the side of the cars say
Fairlady, and the one at the back says Datsun 1600. Cars destined for the
United States did not have Fairlady badges on the side, and instead used
the Datsun 1600 badge that was used on the back of the car. Later in 1965
most export cars also changed to these badges.
Inside the car most of the interior remains unchanged. The
new gear lever now comes out of the transmission tunnel a couple of inches
closer to the back of the car, right about where the ashtray lived on the
previous model, as a result the trim around the gear lever has changed
and the ash tray is now incorporated into the armrest centre console between
The Datsun Fairlady SP311 was in production from May 1965
until February 1967, when it was replaced by the updated SP311/SR311.