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BAT: Modified 1971 Datsun 510


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This 1971 Datsun 510 is a heavily modified four-door built with a 2.4L KA24DE twin cam inline-four, 5-speed manual transmission, upgraded 280ZX suspension, a host of custom interior and exterior features, and a handful of JDM trim pieces. Additional touches include upgrades to cooling, oiling, electrical, and fuel systems as detailed below, along with genuine Volk wheels and a high-end Alpine audio system. The car was the subject of a Super Street magazine feature after many of the modifications were carried out in 2012, though they have continued at a slower pace in recent years. The seller owns three vintage Datsuns and has driven this one approximately 2k miles during his three-year ownership. The sale includes partial receipts as well as a clean California title.


The body looks presentable overall after a driver-quality exterior repaint in its original ochre hue. The finish shows occasional chips and off-color touchups, though no overspray is visible according to the seller. Bubbling and cracking are visible on the lower front valance as well as the left taillight and license plate areas, though no major rot is indicated by the seller.


Panels are thought to be original and look straight up top, while the doors have collected a series of dings and shallow dents and the left rear quarter shows signs of past repairs. Genuine 15×8.5″ Volk wheels from Rays Engineering wear stretched Toyo Proxes TR1 rubber that is said to rub under hard cornering. Up front, the nose has been modified with modified JDM Datsun B110 fender mirrors, AeroCatch hood pins, and a Cusco tow hook along with a BRE carbon fiber air dam and canards.


Stock round headlights were replaced with modern Toyota units blacked out and mounted upside down, with fit leaving room for improvement. The front bumper was tucked and painted silver, while the chrome rear shines well despite several dings. Remaining bright trim and factory badging are largely clean, and a difficult-to-source JDM SSS filler panel rests between the intact taillights.


Inside, custom reupholstered vintage Recaro sport seats were installed with brackets from Wedge Engineering and show little evidence of use since. Rear seats and sun visors were both covered in matching upholstery, while doors wear serviceable, uncut stock panels. New black carpeting was installed over Stinger sound deadener and looks to have worn well.


Mounted with a quick release and including a working horn, a woodgrain Nardi steering wheel is partnered with a weighted and extended shift knob from Greddy. An electronic speedometer and tach are mounted in stock locations and include an odometer showing just over 3,000 miles since installation. A center console from a modern Mini Cooper is home to a relocated ignition switch, cupholders, and a set of tweeters.


A gauge pod meant for a late-’60s Nova houses voltage, oil pressure, and water temperature gauges as well as a matching clock. The custom stereo system was installed at a cost of over $4k using Alpine products as detailed in the gallery below. LED interior lighting was also fitted, and headlight and wiper switches were relocated south of the dash with a pair of protected toggles mounted in their place.


The sound system upgrades continue out back with the trunk housing custom-built enclosures for amplifiers and subwoofers along with a relocated Optima battery, all secured by an aftermarket trunk lock.


Power is from a 2.4L KA24DE twin cam inline-four and 5-speed transmission donated by a Nissan 240SX. A GTI dual-core aluminum radiator with a built-in thermostat handles cooling duties and is supported by a Mishimoto overflow tank and Greddy water temperature sensor. A front-mounted RX7 oil cooler works in concert with a GREX remote filter kit and catch can. Fuel injection is fed by a Walbro 255 lph external pump and 240SX fuel filler conversion.


An upgraded alternator supplies Nology plug wires and a relocated fuse box, while engine bay wiring has been tucked and an HKS grounding system installed. An ARC Magic intake breathes through a Greddy open-element air filter reinforced with a Blitz piping stopper, while a 4-2-1 ceramic coated header from DC Sports feeds into a Greddy exhaust with 2.5″ stainless piping and an additional silencer.


The engine bay was repainted in grey and shaved of accessory mounts. Additional touches include a Tein strut bar, carbon fiber manifold cap and powder-coated valve cover along with an HKS oil cap and Earls AN lines and fittings. The engine was reportedly resealed by the previous owner and the car remains free of drips underneath according to the seller.

The video above shows the engine starting quickly and revving energetically. Shifting is described as smooth despite slight throwout bearing noise, and the car is said to run strong and drive well overall.


Suspension is from a  Datsun 280ZX and has been upgraded with coilovers and adjustable camber plates. Steering modifications include a Datsport steering bracket along with a drag link, rod ends, and idler arm from Troy Ermish and an adjustable tension control rod, lower control arms, and rod end boots from FutoFab. Power-assisted disc brakes are actuated via 280ZX master cylinder with a Datsport booster upgrade.


All custom work and service has reportedly been carried out by the seller and previous owners as detailed in the printed email below. Receipts are included for a portion of the sound system and a handful of suspension components, though futher records are unavailable. A copy of the Super Street issue featuring the car is also included.

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