This 1971 Datsun 1200 Was Raced By The Legendary Paula Murphy And It Is Still Ready To Hit The Strip
By: Brian Lohnes
Paula Murphy is an American racing legend. She has done everything from endurance driving trips around the world to piloting nitro funny cars, rocket cars, and even fire breathing drag race Datsuns as well. Said fire breathing Datsun is for sale in exactly the same shape that Paula raced it in (save for a couple of small details) and we think the car is pretty awesome. Reportedly it was able to run into the 12 second range back then. Power is derived from a hot rodded 1800cc Datsun engine that is hooked to a four speed manual transmission and backed with a gear ratio that is in the 6.50s somewhere. The car ran in Modified Compact for a couple of seasons before Murphy went globe trotting with Pontiac on another adventure. As best we can tell, this is the car that Murphy returned to the sport in after suffering the massive rocket car crash she survived in California cicra 1973.
The little 1971 Datsun 1200 was sold after Murphy was done with it and continued to be raced as some tell-tale participant decals indicate on the car. We don’t know when it last turned a tire in drag strip anger but we do know that it has been immaculately kept and the car seems to look as good now as the day it was first painted in the middle 1970s. There are claims that this is the only factory backed Datsun ever built for drag racing. We’re guessing some dealers may have helped out racers across the country a time or two but as the story goes, Datsun proper was involved in this car. We do think it a bit odd that they would want her in a 1971 model year car in 1975 but hey, their money not ours.
It would be a total riot to buy this thing, change the fluids, run the valves, put some good rubber on it and go have fun. If it really runs 12s with its naturally aspirated 1800cc engine, 2bbl Holley carb, and four speed transmission, the thing would be a riot to hammer at your local track. You couldn’t change the paint though. This may be the slowest thing that Paula Murphy ever raced but she did race it, right?
For the record, we think the asking price of $36,000 is insane.