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 sports car.
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 old box.
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 seats.
The Datsun Fairlady SP311 was in production from May 1965 until February 1967, when it was replaced by the updated SP311/SR311.
There were no model variations of the 1965 Fairlady SP311.
A very heavilly modified race car version of the SP311 was also built. Details of this car can be found on the Datsun Fairlady S page.
A coupe variant called the Nissan Silvia was also released in 1965. Detials about this car can be found on the Silvia CSP311 page.
Length - 3953mm
Width - 1495mm
Height - 1305mm
Wheelbase - 2280mm
Weight - 920kg
Top speed - 170kph
Transmission - 4 speed Floor change
Model - R
OHV 4 Cylinder
Capacity - 1595cc
Bore & Stroke - 87x66mm
Power - 96hp@5000rpm
Torque - 103ft/lb@3600rpm
Compression - 9.0 : 1
Carburettors - twin side draught 38HJB Hitachi
Final Drive - 3.889 : 1
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