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Rallying Datsuns - Part 1

Fancy Rallying a Datsun? There's plenty to choose from in Australia.

Jeff Whitten


Throughout Australia’s rallying history, Datsun vehicles have played a significant part in bringing rallying to the masses, offering a wide and varied range of models suitable for competition.

It’s fair to say that there have been more Datsuns and Nissans rallying in Australia than virtually any other make although that record is gradually being matched by the now-popular Subaru Impreza WRX and Lancer Evo models.

Yet there was a time when up to 40% of cars entered in rallies in Australia were Datsuns of some description, most likely Datsun 1600s. Our love of the Japanese brand is unmatched possibly anywhere in the world and, in the case of the Datsun 1600, it was nowhere more popular than in Australia.

In this article we’ll take a look at the many 2-wheel drive Datsun and Nissan models that are suitable for rallying in one form or another.

Their suitability for rallying depends largely on the particular purpose that you want to use them for – obviously an early Bluebird will be less suitable for rough-surface rallying than a Datsun 1600 – but the interchangeability of parts can often turn an otherwise average car into a class or outright winner.

When we prepared this article we were proposing to rate each model depending on its suitability for a particular branch of rallying eg: tarmac, gravel, sprint, hillclimb, circuit etc. But the distinction between events is getting more and more cloudy, eg: a Datsun 1200 is suitable for almost any event such as targa, gravel rallying, navigational etc., so we decided to let you, the reader decide.

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