Monday, August 15, 2011

1970 Datsun 510 - 31,000 Original Miles

In its day, Nissan wanted you to believe that the 510 was as good as a BMW 1602. It wasn't, of course. But it was still a pretty good car. In fact, it was a very good car when compared to most other Japanese sedans of the day.

The 510's engine was Nissan's 1.6 liter SOHC L16 engine. It's an interesting engine in that it has Mercedes-Benz roots. The engine came to Nissan when they merged with the Prince Motor Company. At the time Prince was building engines under license from Mercedes. By the time the engine made its way into the 510, Prince had changed it enough that they no longer needed a license. Still, the MB influence is unmistakeable. The engine pumped out around 96 HP and gave the 510 a top speed of 100 MPH. The 510 was a very successful race / rally car. (Nissan later added 2 more cylinders to this engine and it eventually found its way into the original 240Z.)

The suspension is BMW influenced. There are struts up front and semi-trailing arms in the rear.

Where this car really loses in comparison to the BMW is in its body styling. Nissan claimed it was European influenced. That may be so, but when you put it next to a 1602, it pales in comparison.

This car is a claimed 31,000 mile car. According to the seller, it was purchased in 1989 from the 78 year old original owner and has been in dry storage ever since.

Everything about this car is original, except the tires, which were replaced in 1988. The engine has not been started since 1994. The seller mentions that fuel stabilizer was added back then, but that was 17 years ago. If I were buying the car I'd clean out the gas tank, fuel lines and carb on general principle.

The body is in very good, but not perfect condition. It has a few dents and dings and a bit of surface rust. (These cars were very prone to rust.)

Given a choice between this car and a BMW 1602, I'd take the BMW. But, if you're a Japanese car fan, or looking for a low-mileage, fun to drive classic, this car might be a very good choice.

Located in British Columbia, Canada, click here to see the eBay listing.

3 comments:

rrshadow2 said...

Would be nice to see that restored to Stock as it would be so easy, but more likely it'll get bought my some racer and used on the track or by someone who will install a Japanese spec monster Motor in it and use it as a street racer

Dan DiBiase said...

I always wanted one of these. But why are the good survivors always automatics?

TGM said...

Looking at the action this car is getting in the auction it makes me regret selling the hopped-up 72 Dime I owned about 5 years ago. That car, a 2 dr, lowered, alloys, a tach, twin SU 2.0 engine, etc. was a blast to drive and I sold it for a mere $3200. These cars are really fun to drive and easy to work on, but don't expect italian or german car engineering and detail. The metal is very thin, feels like the car is made out of tin, but boy does it go with the right engine.