Saturday, March 5, 2016

FrankenSleeper: 1972 Datsun 510 w SR20 Power

The Datsun 510 Bluebird is often lauded as the Japanese BMW 2002, but it might be better than the car that started BMW's dominance of sport luxury.  Frankly the 510 coupe just has better lines and where the 2002's green house looks a bit large, the 510 is spot on aesthetically...however, like any classic car driven by a sub 2 liter pushrod 4-banger, a stock 510 isn't exactly going to seem fast in today's speedy traffic.  Find this 1972 Datsun 510 with SR20 power here on eBay bidding for $1,009 reserve-not-met with a buy-it-now of $7,500 located in Houston, TX.

I know what you're thinking.  That car is hideous. It looks like the top of Mikhail Gorbachev's head.  Yes, this is an ugly car...however, the seller assures us:
This 1972 Datsun 510 has been restored and is a perfect car for some one who wants a great Sunday driver.
And then one moment later drops this little bombshell
The SR20 Motor runs well however it does idle a bit rough during cold start. The rear diff has been welded and the fenders rolled to fit the wider aftermarket Rotas.

Perhaps the word "restored" is being confused for another word in the English dictionary -- but it you like ugly cars that can go, this SR20 under the hood could be a peppy little screamer if it's got the right guts.

The interior isn't exactly mint condition either, but a good de-scuzzing could go a long way towards livability in this least until you could afford a new paint job.

See another car that is just a paint job away from being in your garage?


  1. Pushrods? Same SOHC engine as the 240Z minus 2 cylinders.
    Spot on aesthetically? perfect it's sorta' boring. At least the 2002 styling has some personality.

  2. This one certainly looks perfectly restored to me, if you are a total dreamer. since it looks like the restoration has barely started so that the new owner can get working on restoring it. I personally don't like that caramel colour but that should not be an issue to the new owner. It is sitting at $3500 at the moment and I think that is as high as I woul go for it in that condition.

    1. I agree its a little comical yet if its cheap enough than that is the right 510 for ME! the colors are wacky, I'd be nervous my friends would punk me out with a giant McDonalds sign at some point. It is a real junkyard dog, hope its cheap enough to get sold. And why why why weld a diff, I mean come on, just grab a junkyard LSD off of something and make it fit.

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  4. Should spiff up the paint at least a little otherwise the fuzz will pull you over to make sure the Ratsun is roadworthy. But you won't care because you will be narc'd on the exhaust gas from the pipe exiting under the middle of the car. Then you will end up drivin like this feller:

  5. 'diff has been welded', 'exhaust currently exits at center'.

    Okay, someone had Drift Dreamz.

    Is this really the entry point for a nickel-dime these days?

    1. You can find them for less if you do some searching outside of California and have patience, but yeah, the prices are getting up there. The increased interest in vintage Japanese cars is pushing everything up. As a fan of all things Datsun, I find it irritating.

      It's getting hard to find a non-modified/hacked up 510 now. They seem to fall into one of three categories:
      the "super original (restored or not) and therefore $10K+ value" collectibles
      the "super modified and restored and therefore $8K-$10K value" drift/show cars
      and the "poorly patched together and super modified and therefore $5K to $8K" drift beaters.

      I'm probably just bitter because I didn't buy when I first knew I should have, but what pisses me off is that these economy cars are getting valued at a level of much better engineered cars of the same era. Even though I'd prefer a 510 for many reasons, I can't honestly claim it's a better car than a BMW 2002 of the same year. Yet these are trading at the same prices. Pretty stupid if you ask me.

    2. This comment flagged as Not Constructive

  6. Boyhood dreams. Why are these always trashed and modified to look immature? They are good driving cars but have a tin can feel to them.

  7. "the 510 coupe just has better lines and where the 2002's green house looks a bit large, the 510 is spot on aesthetically"

    I agree with DT, the 510 is a much better looking car. I was never a fan of the 2002's weird corvair-like lines and tall greenhouse. I had a 72 510 and the only knock I had against it was the thin sheetmetal. It dents so easy and the door closes like it's made out of paper.


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