There’s a lot I could say about a Datsun 510. I could refer to this car as a “dime”, then segue into a long-winded aside about how we got ripped off by never getting the Bluebird, or tell you about Peter Brock’s (BRE) championship winning 510s that changed America’s perception of Datsun as a brand. But, to be quite honest, you’ve probably heard it all before.
Here in SoCal, you can’t go to a car show without seeing at least one 510 and over the years we’ve seen a lot of them. We’ve also seen just about every custom engine swap you can think of, from SR20DETs to F20Cs to 13B rotaries. We’ve seen clean 510s, rat-rodded 510s, restored 510s and everything in between. They’re a proven platform that’s relatively easy to find, combined with state-of-the-art technology of its day and a strong community of owners the little Datsun has essentially become the Fisher Price “my first Japanese classic”, so to speak.
What I’m trying to get at here is that while we might have seen it all, these days it’s pretty rare that we see a 510 that really gets our blood pumping. When “Mistah Henly” brought back photos of this mint green gem there was something about it, something we couldn’t quite put our finger on, that was truly refreshing. It’s not the cleanest, the fastest or the craziest example we’ve ever seen. The beauty is, it’s not trying to be.
At first glance, I bet there are a lot of haters out there scratching their heads and thinking “my 510 is way cleaner than that piece, what’s so special about it anyway?” Surely we didn’t feature the car on its looks alone, a carbon-fiber hood and XXR wheels certainly aren’t the most rare of bits. But there’s something about the way that the paint is aged and scarred that has an allure that can’t be replicated for money. It’s proof that the car has been driven and enjoyed.
It’s a concept that is sadly foreign to most American car builders. We have a tendency to build something and park it for long durations, driving it seldom, if ever. The Japanese have a much different view, one that we at Super Street try our best to embrace with our own cars—drive your project as much as possible. The street/track blend of Hirano’s 510 makes it a car you could drive anywhere and however you want to. But that’s not all we like about it.
A lot of what we’re feeling on this Datto lies under its hood. As I mentioned earlier, seeing an SR20 in a 510 is nothing we haven’t seen before. However a naturally-aspirated Tomei-built 2.0L singing a song of 230whp is nothing short of astonishing. 230hp from 2 liters might sound simple to you Honda heads with your technologically-advanced K-Series engines, but getting that power from a SR is something amazing, the likes of which we’ve never heard of.
But if there is anyone capable of building such a monster, it’s the boys at Tomei. They’re known around the world as one of the foremost power builders for all Japanese makes, but they have a special relationship with Nissan. To get the power up to this level the motor was stuffed with goodies like Nismo N2 cams, Tomei valvetrain and 12.5:1 pistons. To increase CFMs, the head was ported and Tomei had some “custom combustion chamber” modifications performed for good measure.
Spent gasses are taken care of via a custom N Tech Japan full titanium long-tube header and exhaust while breathing duties are carried out by a set of ITBs that have been decommissioned from their glory days in the Formula F4 series. A little tuning on the Tomei Reytek ECU and this SR20DE is churning out more than 70hp over the standard model. But as sick as that is, it’s the little things that really make us smile. Like how a power-robbing power steering setup was custom integrated off an S13 just to make the car a little easier to drive.
I could go on to bore you with more of the spec box, but I suggest you read it yourself if you’d like. I could try to explain how the Auto Meter gauges are actually considered very cool in Japan or how the redone Recaro LX seats perfectly match the interior but truth of the matter is, if you get it, you already understand. This is a car that will be appreciated by those who know, hated by those that don’t and misunderstood by the rest. This car is done just the way we like it.