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The Dick Roberts Pages

The Dick Roberts Pages

Before moving to the Datsun Competition Department
Dick Roberts was a successful roadster racer in his own right.

Dick Roberts sadly passed away in mid 2001. These pages are a tribute to him

Dick Roberts' association with Datsun is probably best remembered for his famous differences of opinion with Pete Brock while Dick was at the Datsun Competition Department. It is not widely known that before that time Dick was a successful Datsun roadster campaigner in his own right.

Hailing from Denver Colorado, Dick cut his teeth as a mechanical engineer. His amateur racing career started in 1963, at the wheel of a Porsche Speedster. He was very successful with the Porsche and, in November 1964, after finishing 3rd in the MidWest SCCA Region, he was invited to the first American Road Race of Champions at Riverside Raceway, where he recorded a DNF. The following year he again qualified for the ARRC, placing an excellent 4th behind Allan Barker (A-H), Carl Swanson (Morgan), and Ray Pickering, a Midwest rival of Dick's, in a Lotus 7.

Dick's final year campaigning a Porsche was 1966, when he again qualified for the ARRC and finished a creditable 8th. Although he had many successes during this period Dick's best memory from the Porsche years was a 'door handle shaving' battle with fellow Speedster driver Bob Kirby at the SCCA Nationals in West Jordan, Utah, when Dick came out on top.

Like many amateur race drivers of the time Dick was very much a one man outfit.  All his spare cash went into racing and soon, seeing Bob Sharp, Doc Foerster and others achieve success with the Datsun 1500 and 1600, the Roadster caught his eye as an economical and rewarding ride. In late 1966, with his wife Nancy's support, he bought a light blue Datsun 1600, painted her yellow, stuffed her with what few goodies there were available from Nissan at that time, fitted a set of Empis and he was away. In 1967, racing under the 'Thoroughbred Race Team' banner, and sporting a 'Snoopy' lucky mascot, Dick's  first season with the Datsun brought him immediate success, earning him the lion's share of the prize money awarded by Datsun to independent racers.  Out of a total purse of $11,000, Dick won $3075 (ahead of Jim Fitzgerald, Doc Foerster, Marvin Davidson and Courtland (Corky) Bell.

Unfortunately, in the 1967 Runoffs he placed a DNF after 19 laps. Bob Sharp won the race giving Nissan its first National Championship, and Dan Parkinson placed third.

Around this time, Dick's success caught the eye of  Lee Wiley, Nissan Motor Corporation's then National Service Manager. Lee appointed Dick as District Service Manager to oversee Datsun's Competition Department and to support Dwayne Feuerhem's Datsun Racing Team. The team enjoyed some success.  Dwayne and Jon Woodner, who also raced for the team, both qualified for the 1968 F Production ARRC with Dwayne finishing 5th and Jon placing a DNF. Dick Roberts, who was now living in Los Alamitos, Ca., campaigned both a 1600 and 2000 in 1968, qualifying both for the ARRC. He finished 15th in F Production and 10th in C Production. During that year he towed over 70,000 miles to more than 30 race weekends.

1969 was not a good year for the Datsun Racing Team. BRE had burst onto the scene and a number of independents were embarrassing the factory outfit. However, the success of Datsuns on the track, whoever the driver, was good for sales, and Dick's role at Nissan Motor Corporation grew with that success.  He was soon to become Nissan's Competition Manager, a position he held for many years.  He had little time for the track, although for a number of years he did race just enough to keep his license current.

The achievement of Datsuns/Nissans over the following years was immense. Dick Roberts was part of that success. His Competition Department helped hundreds of independent drivers with technical information, the development of competition parts and sponsorship over many years.

As Dick said in 1968: "We want a Datsun to win, any Datsun, just as long as it comes in first."





1964 (E Production - Porsche)


1965 (E Production - Porsche)


1966 (E Production - Porsche)


1967 (F Production - Datsun 1600)


1968 (F Production - Datsun 1600)


1968 (C Production - Datsun 2000 - Mikuni-Solex)


Should you have any further information or images which you think would benefit these pages please E-Mail me.

Rob Beddington


 The Dick Roberts Datsun Roadster Gallery
The following images from Jim Kellar chart Dick Roberts' career through 1967 and 1968.
 (Click on thumbnails for enlargements)
From the 1982 Runoffs Roswell New Mexico, 1967 - a true road course which consisted of the road around Bottomless Lakes State Park. The course was 8 miles long and the event was called the Los Ochos Millas.

Roswell New Mexico, 1967. Dick Roberts' Datsun 1600, rear 3/4 view  

Roswell New Mexico, 1967. Dick Roberts' Datsun 1600, front 3/4 view - the Firestones were super wide for their day   

Roswell New Mexico, 1967. Dick Roberts' Datsun 1600, rear view

June 1968 - Continental Divide Raceway, near Denver. Dave Coman (99), Dick Roberts and Richard Carbajal (2) battling for position - the lead changed during the race many times with Dick Carbajal ending up the winner.

War Bonnet Raceway near Tulsa Oklahoma, July 1968.  Dick Roberts corners hard    

War Bonnet Raceway, July 1968. Dick Roberts on the track

War Bonnet Raceway, July 1968. Dick Roberts at the limit, Steve Louden (Lotus 7) in pursuit

War Bonnet Raceway, July 1968. Dick Roberts at the limit, Steve Louden even closer

Ponca City.  Dick Roberts' 1600 after the race

1968 - an interesting arrangement - a heater core  taken from a School Bus (Datsuns were prone to over-heating)

Salina, Kansas, July 1968 -Dick Roberts (right, in hat) gets ready for the journey home

Dick Roberts' Datsun 2000 1968 - Dick Roberts Datsun 2000 - in Datsun Racing Team livery this car was believed to be one of the few factory 'lightweights'. Dick made the 1968 ARRC in C Production racing this car.


Many thanks go to Jim Kellar for the excellent images you see on these pages, as well as the captions - Jim raced Datsuns himself in the 1960s - look out for further images from Jim in future important updates.

The results are provided by Pete Hylton at the SCCA.

Rob Beddington

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These pages and images, unless otherwise stated, are copyright ©1999, 2000 and 2001, Jim Kellar, Rob Beddington & The Classic Fairlady Roadster Register. No part to be repoduced in any form without the prior permission of the owners.