Datsun 510

Nissan of Japan sold the Datsun 510 from 1968 to 1973. The best thing about the 510 is the title is has casually been given. Some have likened to calling it the "poor man's BMW", and some believe that the design was inspired by contemporary BMWs, which is not hard to imagine when looking at the particularly boxy shape the car and the distinct front end. The 510 could also be found being sold as the Nissan Bluebird and the Datsun 1600 in other countries. The Datsun 510 came originally with the Hitachi downdraft carbureted 1.6 L L-series engine, with an advertised 96 hp (72 kW), front disc brakes, 4-wheel independent suspension. It was also rear wheel drive, and either a 4-speed manual or a 3-speed automatic transmission. Over the years a 2-door sedan, a 4-door sedan, and a 4-door station wagon were the available versions. It achieved 20-30 mpg, which was not great but could have been worse. Non-US spec models were also available in a 2-door coupe body style with the "SSS" package, which included a 1.8 L L-Series engine. The original 510 achieved such a positive reputation that Nissan resurrected the "510" badge on the completely different HL510 automobile line. This later model was in fact the Nissan Stanza in Japan. The "late model" 510 used a live axle in place of the original 510's independent rear suspension. Oddly enough, this so-called upgrade produced a car whose handling was decidedly inferior to the earlier model. One additional triumph of the early Datsun cars is that many of the parts are interchangeable. For example the engines, transmissions, suspension setups and more were all similar enough to swap with minor modifications. This easily allowed the Datsun 510 to be easily upgraded from the 1.6 L engine to the 2.0 L L20B engine. This was sort of like a transformer automobile that could be upgraded on a whim.