1969 Datsun 2000  

Lightweight Roadster

SERIAL NUMBER SRL311-12765

HISTORYThis car has to be one of the rarest factory Datsuns built. It was developed at the factory as a lightweight racecar. All the body panels are pressed from lighter gauge steel, one layer of cladding was left off the chassis and it was fitted with the ultra-close trans and 4.73 limited slip diff. Dual Mikunis boosted the output of the engine.  Built in 1969, this car is one of only 10 factory prepared 2000's made, and likely the most original still in existence.  

Known as the purple panel cars (due to the fact that lightweight sheet metal was colored purple so the panels could be identified when they came off the press) they looked road ready as they left the factory.  However, they were never registered, and were sent to special customers to allow them to strip the road equipment and set them up to race against the British cars that dominated their class in both SCCA and Canadian sports car racing.  

The light weight allowed the car to be ballasted back to minimum weight.  Ballast could then be placed in the most desirable position for weight distribution and cornering. The car is difficult to document through the factory, due to the fact that admitting that these cars were produced would lead to admitting that the Japanese factory was cheating; by producing non-standard cars for the purpose of gaining an unfair advantage. Of course many other manufacturers have done this throughout history.  However, the purple panel cars are very well known.  See this web site on the BRE cars: click here

This is one of three cars sent to Canada for the pseudo-factory Shell 4000 Trans-Canada rally effort.  Unfortunately, the 1969 event was not run, as the organizers could not obtain the necessary approvals to run a high-speed event on public roads.  Our car was then delivered into the hands of Northwest Racing Enterprises, a Canadian racing team.  Driver Peter Mitchell, a Vancouver, B.C. Datsun dealer, won the Canadian Sports Car Club's D Production championship in 1971 with the car.  After that, Mitchell moved on to the new 240Z, and the car was sold to Bill Macham of Burnaby who campaigned it for awhile.

It sat idle for a period, before being purchased by restored in Vancouver, B.C. by Alan Murtagh in the late eighties.  Alan brought the car into the U.S. in the early 90's, when he moved his business (Panel Beaters) to Eugene, Oregon.  The 2000 was purchased from Alan and actively campaigned by Don Chapman's Purple Lips Racing Team at both SOVREN and SCCA Vintage racing events on the West Coast through the late 90's.  It was last raced in 1998.

The car was purchased in 2003 by Bob Macherione, owner of the Sports Car Shop in Eugene, Oregon, where the car was maintained when raced under the Purple Lips Racing banner.  Bob sold the car to its new owner that lives in Washington state, and it should once again be seen on the track in 2004. 

 

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