Datsun Fairlady Roadster
One of the most interesting Japanese copies of a European car was the cute, compact Datsun Fairlady Roadster. They built it from 1959 to 1970, and it was also known as the Datsun Sports. They directly borrowed the design, technology and feel from British roadsters, especially from the Triumph and MG.
However, Datsun did more than just emulate the British. They gave their little roadster some significant power with a 2.0-liter engine and better handling and driving dynamics. And, most importantly, Datsun guaranteed the quality of their cars, which is something the British cars had difficulties doing.
Datsun made over 40,000 of those cool little cars over the 11-year production period. And most of them sold in the USA with left-hand drive. Today, you can find a decent example for just over $15,000. Imagine having a cool sports convertible with better construction than anything coming from the UK.