Jay Leno is checking out an SR20-powered Datsun 1600 restomod

Datsun 1600 240Z and later the Nissan Z sports car. Mike Spagnola of Purpose Built Motors honored the tradition by upgrading a 1600’s performance to make it a tasteful restroom that recently appeared in “Jay Leno’s Garage.”

In addition to being special to Datsun and Nissan fans, the 1600 has special significance for Leno because one of these roadstars was to buy his second car (after the 1934 Ford pickup truck). Although his car was nothing like this red roadster.

The car started out as an empty shell, Spagnola said. Although the aesthetic changes are largely confined to the big wheels and tires to have fender flares to cover them, a surprise awaits under the hood.

Datsun 1600 restomod in Jay Leno's garage

Datsun 1600 restomod in Jay Leno’s garage

Datsun is powered by a SR20DET turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 from an S13-generation Nissan 240SX. Although still a Nissan engine, it is easy to replace and has extensive aftermarket support With an aftermarket turbocharger, it produces about 300 hp on wheels and about 260-pound-feet of torque, Spagnola says. It is much more than a stock engine.

The new engine fits the engine bay more smoothly, however, and the spaghetti had to have some gold-leaf insulation on the hood to cope with the heat emitted by the turbo. The brakes were also taken from a more modern Nissan sports car, in this case, a 300ZX.

While the Datsun 1600’s lineage continues with the 2023 Nissan Z sports car, the name Datsun may not be long in this world. After retiring in 1981, the name Datsun was revived in 2013 for emerging markets for car sales in countries such as India, Indonesia and Russia. But Nissan is again considering killing Datsun and redistributing assets in its electric-vehicle business, Nikkei Asia Reported April 2022.

Watch the full video for more information about the car and to hear J’s thoughts on how to drive this car. Spoiler, she’s fascinated.

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