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1971 Datsun Bluebird Coupe SSS - The 510 Unicorn

30 Years Later, This Datsun Remains A Valued Treasure

Charles Trieu
Feb 1, 2009
Photographer: John Roper
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Where do the stories begin? Owning this Datsun Bluebird for 10 years has given Brian Holloway many wonderful stories that you could roast marshmallows to. Stories of all the different configurations, motors, restoration phases and different rebuilds the car has had. Even more, all the wonderful encounters Brian has had in the Datsun community.


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It was 1978, when a military officer stationed in Japan, decided he loved his Datsun Bluebird too much to leave it behind in Japan. So that year, he had it shipped back to the States to him in Pasadena, California. After a few years the car was given to his son, sold to a few others and was then brought up to Oregon. There it stayed with its current owner for about 3-4 years. At this point and time, Brian's friend was living in the area and had been eyeballing the Bluebird. Over the next year Brian and his friend would ogle over the car. On one occasion, when Brian was up in Oregon from Southern California, he went and saw the car for himself. Standing next to where the car was parked, he wondered if he could ever own such a treasure. Well, after a year the car went up for sale. From about 1000 miles away, Brian called the owner, told him he's seen the car in person (and even stood next to it), and agreed to buy it. Brian had no idea that the car originally came from Pasadena (about 15 minutes from him in Studio City). Later on in years, he was able to track down the story of the car and talk to the previous owner.

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With the same PL510 chassis code as the Datsun 510, the Datsun Bluebird is like it's fraternal twin. Both share the same engine, suspension and almost everything else. The main difference is that the Bluebird is a coupe whereas the 510 is a saloon. Along with the sleeker c-pillar, Bluebirds were designed with longer taillights. You can always tell a Bluebird from a boxy 510 by its streamline silhouette. To top it all off, this Bluebird is covered with SSS trim parts. For you unknowing kids, a SSS Bluebird is like a JDM DC2 Integra Type R, whereas the 510 would be more like an Integra GS-R.

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In its final year the '71 Bluebird, came with a 1800cc (L18) engine. A smaller 1600cc (L16) engine was used in the '69-70 versions. Equipped with a SSS head and carburetors would have been good enough for some, but Brian opt'd for a newer power plant. A fuel-injected turbo SR20DET from a Nissan S13 found its way to this old Datsun. No mount kits were available at the time, so everything was custom-fabricated by Brian. After a tragic motorcycle accident, Brian no longer had the use of his left arm. He was still able to drive manual transmission LHD cars, but manual RHD cars were not an option. Unwilling to sell his prized car, he converted the Bluebird from a manual transmission to an automatic transmission. Brian took on the incredible task of finding the console and other automatic specific parts for a RHD JDM Bluebird.

Ten years after Brian first bought the car, and many more stories later, I bring you the story you have before you. Brian Holloway and his Bluebird are the classic example of a BITD owner and the special relationship they have with their classic import.

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Fast Facts
1971 Datsun Bluebird Coupe SSS
Owner Brian Holloway
Hometown Studio City, CA

Under The Hood 2.0L SR20DET swap; custom mounts and modified crossmember; HKS air filter; Nissan S14/Garrett T28 ball bearing turbo; SS Auto Chrome exhaust manifold; 90-94 Mitsubishi Eclipse blow-off valve; Z31 fuel pump; MagnaFlow muffler with custom 2.5" piping

Drivetrain 4-speed automatic; Subaru R-160 3.70 rear end

Stiff Stuff Ground Control front coilovers; Tokico front and rear struts; TMC rear springs; custom adjustable rear crossmember

Stoppers Nissan 280ZX front and rear disc brakes; Porterfield pads; stainless steel brake lines

Rollers Watanabe RS8 rims 16x7" (front) and 16x8" (rear); Kumho Ecsta Supra 205/45R16 (front) and 225/45R16 (rear)

Outside JDM side mirrors

Inside Recaro seats; SSS door panels and dash; VDO boost gauge; Momo steering wheel; Sparco gas pedal

Props my brother Steve, Michael Spreadbury, and Mike DeMarco

www www.ground-control.com,www.hksusa.com, www.momo.com,www.recaro.com, www.sparcousa.com,www.ssautochrome.com, www.watanabewheel.com

By Charles Trieu
161 Articles

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