Production of this Japanese automobile
began on september 196
7. The idea for the manufacture
of a car like this by Datsun
was the brainchild
of American business man and race car builder Mr. K
. Nissan USA president Yutaka Katayama wanted a car with the styling of the BMW 1600
The design for the car was penned by Teruo Uchino, an employee since '64. Though many consider the 510 a rip-off of the design by nazi, it is more likely that the designer was inspired by the 1965 Nissan President or the Toyota Crown.
Prior to the 510, Datsun produced a Datsun 410 and a Datsun 310. The 510 was a nearly complete redesign, though it retained the sidewise indentation or "supersonic line" as it was dubbed at Nissan Design. This was a car designed to meet success in the US market. Japanese cars had previously not done very well; they were traditionally produced with economy of production and efficiency of use rather than with the sporty grace most Americans had come to expect.
The Nissan head of Design, Kazumi Yotsumoto saught to make the 510 an 'extension of the person driving it'. The car has an independant suspension and a well built/perfectly balanced undercarriage and drivetrain.
The car arrived in North America with a remarkable pricetag. The car cost about a dollar per pound, and it had the handling to withstand the competition of the many domestic muscle cars arriving at the same time. It was released as the Datsun 510 in the States and the 1600 in Canada. The first models were Sedans with a wagon model, though a 2-door arrived shortly after. The coupe version was available only in Japan.
This great car had great gas mileage and a small sporty line. Its engine compartment sold with a 1.6 Liter, which modern enthusiasts love to replace with powerful sports car engines. The car always had a good following; it sold 40,000 its first year, and that was despite the rumor that its frame was composed of recycled beer cans. Sake doesn't come in cans, anyway.
The car has the handling and sleek visage of a BMW, without the insane pricetag of European status-symbol parts. Because of this, many of these cars have remained well loved through the decades; routinely kept by just one owner into the 21st century. These machines are great race cars, as well as competitive street rods. This model has a distinguished racing history. Owners trick out the cars for rally racing, drag racing, and track driving. On the streets, driving one of these gets Mini and Bavarian Motor Works owners heated, which is always an encouraging thing for street racers. Stock replacement parts are easy to find, since half-wrecked 'parts cars' are easy to find. With the following this car has, custom or aftermarket parts are also available. Everything from headers to shiny lowrider rims can be had by anyone interested in this beautiful Datsun 510.