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1973 Nissan Datsun 510 - Exemption Song

This SR20DET-Powered 510 Flies Below The Radar

Evan Griffey
Jul 1, 2008 SHARE
Turp_0807_29_z+1973_nissan_datsun_510+front Photo 1/17   |   1973 Nissan Datsun 510 - Exemption Song

Datsun 510 390 WHP 350 LB-FT Of Torque"I was tired of getting pulled over and ticketed every week in my '03 Evolution. I got fix-it tickets and State Referee tickets for emissions, modified exhaust, even ride height, and window tint. I was fed up," Stewart Gibbs says. "I knew it was time to do something different, unique, and most importantly, smog exempt."

With a sound idea in his head, it was time for this 21-year-old Yuba City, Calif., native to find the perfect platform. "I've always loved the 510's body lines and appreciated the car's racing heritage. So I was off to find a 'cream puff.' After weeks of looking at hacked and rusted buckets, my father called me up and said he found a mint 510 locally. About $1,500 later, he was rolling home in the tired automatic L16."

Turp_0807_02_z+1973_nissan_datsun_510+engine_bay Photo 2/17   |   1973 Nissan Datsun 510 - Exemption Song

"It was crazy clean. Every nut and bolt was intact and original. Nothing had been messed with, nothing changed. It still sported the original hubcaps on all 13-inch steelies. Although the paint was a bit faded, I couldn't argue with this 35-year-old car. My dad even said it was too good of a car to tear down for a project. I thought the opposite; this was the perfect candidate."

Night after night, bolt-by-bolt Gibbs, manager of Jerry's Stereo, stripped the interior, motor, drivetrain, windows, the works. He sent the shell and other key pieces 45 minutes south to Revolution Autobody in Sacramento. A rare '73 JDM Datsun grille, only available in Japan on 1973s, was flanked by HID headlights and an aggressive induction system. The HIDs were scavenged from an Infiniti FX45 and retrofitted in new housings with 4100k bulbs and new ballasts. Since the projectors are bi-xenon, the high beams in the FX45 housing the inner headlamp openings in the grille would be void, so Gibbs conjured custom air funnels to give a meaner yet functional look. All trim items were reworked and Gibbs also acquired a pair of rare metal pillar vents, NOS euro taillight assemblies, and front JDM turn signal markers. The entire stainless exterior was re-polished to a retina-scorching shine and re-installed.

Turp_0807_35_z+1973_nissan_datsun_510+garrett_gt30r_turbo Photo 3/17   |   1973 Nissan Datsun 510 - Exemption Song

Stewart had been stockpiling parts to make his vision a reality for months. With the body laid up for paint, a pile of parts accumulated in the garage. The car was sprayed in what Stewart calls "an awesome sparking blue," also known as Infiniti G35 Caribbean Blue, and returned three months later. Without hesitation the task of putting Humpty Dumpty back together again began.

A Datsport conversion kit, steering brace, and Nismo motor/tranny mounts were used to drop a Blacktop SR20DET engine into the bay. Phil Lee from Speed of Sound in Sacramento took the baton from Stewart and fabricated upper and lower intercooler pipes for the custom three-row front-mount intercooler.

Turp_0807_03_z+1973_nissan_datsun_510+air_vent Photo 4/17   |   1973 Nissan Datsun 510 - Exemption Song

The S13 vintage SR20DET runs a Garrett GT30R turbo secured by a LoveFab log-style exhaust manifold and a set of 264-degree HKS cams. Beyond spooling, the SR's chorus of boost is sung by a TiAL Sport's 38mm wastegate and a Sard blow-off valve. A custom turbo-back exhaust system terminates with a rare, handmade Veilside titanium canister. On the cold side, a polished GReddy large plenum intake manifold adds a bit of sheen to the scene.

Tuning is always key to the success of any turbo-oriented buildup. Stewart is using a Z32 MAF, and a reflashed and calibrated ECU from Enthalpy Racing in Florida to accommodate the upgraded 750cc RC Engineering injectors. The rest of the fuel system consists of a 16-gallon RCI fuel cell, a gold Sard fuel rail, trunk-mounted Walbro 255lph pump, and custom lines. An A'PEXi S-AFC NEO is employed to fine-tune the combo, which is running on the wastegate spring at 16 psi. Stewart estimates power at 390 to the wheels with more on tap.

Turp_0807_16_z+1973_nissan_datsun_510+bride_rear_seats Photo 8/17   |   1973 Nissan Datsun 510 - Exemption Song

The interior, like the entire project, was a ground-up endeavor. Stewart started with two layers of sound deadening and one layer of insulation. He rewired the entire car with a Painless universal kit, and installed fresh carpet followed by a reconditioned OEM dash, cleverly outfitted with a Defi tachometer in the factory location and three 60mm gauges on the dash. A pair of Bride seats was fitted in the Datsun's cockpit with Bride universal sliders custom mounted to the OEM seat brackets. A Nardi 330mm deep-dish steering wheel and a NRG quick release hub with a shortened/modified Momo hub adapter add style and security to Stewart's ride. To tie the interior together Stewart ordered authentic gradation-style Bride fabric for the rear seats and door panels.

The 510's steep racing heritage means there are many ways to enhance the coupe's apex-carving abilities. Stewart fitted the front of the car with adjustable coilovers from Design Products. The coilovers are mated to 280ZX struts, and Tein camber plates were bolted into the factory strut tower for fine-tuning the setup. The rear suspension features Techno Toy Tuning coilovers. Stopping power has been addressed with Wilwood Dynalite components. Stewart is running four-piston calipers and slotted 12-inch rotors in front, and two-piston calipers in the rear, mounted on custom brackets.

Turp_0807_09_z+1973_nissan_datsun_510+datsun_280zx_struts Photo 9/17   |   1973 Nissan Datsun 510 - Exemption Song

The remainder of the powertrain consists of a shortened driveshaft, an R200 limited-slip differential with a custom powdercoated cover, and a Wolf Creek Racing axle kit that's not only stronger than the OEM U-joints but also much lighter and more efficient.

Stewart says the whole project was wrapped up in a year. "I really wanted a show-quality, unique build," he says. "I tried to mix a little old school with new school (old-school car and new school parts), creating a supremely driveable car. Some of my friends and I did most of the work. I tried to complete as much as I was capable of and the rest was subbed out to shops."

Turp_0807_12_z+1973_nissan_datsun_510+volk_rays_ce28_wheels Photo 10/17   |   1973 Nissan Datsun 510 - Exemption Song

The result speaks for itself. Stewart was in the process of selling the beast on eBay until we noticed the old schooler at the '08 Chinatown Show-off. This exposure has made him rethink his priorities and Stewart plans to drive the Dime while housing prices fall-another sound idea in our book.

Specs Engine
S13 SR20ET
Reddy intake manifold (polished)
GReddy 1.2mm headgasket
GReddy rocker-arm stoppers
OEM intake manifold gasket
OEM exhaust manifold gasket
OEM throttle body gasket
Sard blow-off valve
Sard fuel pressure regulator
Sard oil cap
ARP head stud kit
TiAL 38mm wastegate
SS valve cover bolts
T3/T4 Lovefab log manifold
Datsport steering brace
Garrett T3/T4 GT30R
V-band exhaust clamps
Veilside titanium muffler
Valve cover powdercoating
Battery relocation kit
Custom intercooler
Custom radiator
Taka turbo lines
Nismo motor/tranny mount
HKS Super Mega Flow Intake
Cast 90 front-mount intercooler ends3-inch SS mandrel piping

Fuel system:
Sard fuel rail
RC Engineering injectors (750cc)
RCI fuel cell (16 gallon)
Aeromotive fuel filter
Walbro 255lph fuel pump (mounted in trunk)
Custom 3/8-inch aluminum lines

Suspension/drivetrain:
280Z struts
Datsport SR conversion kit
Datsport tranny cover
R-200 limited-slip differential
R-200 mustache bar
Differential cover (custom powdercoated gold)
C's short shifter
ACT Stage 3 clutch
Resurfaced flywheel
OEM clutch cylinder
Custom Wolf Creek Racing CV axle kit
Tein camber plates
Custom Don Olenburg front coilovers
Techno Toy Tuning rear coilovers
Shortened/balanced driveshaft
McKinney tranny cross-member

Wheels/brakes:
Rays CE28 16x7
Volk Racing lug nuts
205/40/16 Falken RT-615 tires
Wilwood Dynalite brake kit
Slotted rotors (front/rear)
SS brake lines
7/8-brake booster
Extended studs
Wheels spacers

Turp_0807_31_z+1973_nissan_datsun_510+push_button_start Photo 14/17   |   1973 Nissan Datsun 510 - Exemption Song

Interior:
Bride Gias carbon Kevlar seat
Custom upholstery
Bride rear fabric
Bride side door fabric
Momo Steering wheel adapter
NRG quick release hub
Nardi steering wheel
Dynamat sound deadening (interior,door skins, and trunk)
Interior insulation
Carpet kit
Headliner kit
OEM dash cap
Custom dash vents
Lancer Evo center console
Cyberspeed shift knob
Cyberspeed pedal set
Broadway rearview mirror
Takata harnesses
Autopower rollbar (custom powdercoated chrome)

Exterior:
Paint/body (Infiniti G35 Caribbean Blue)
HID projectors
HID ballast/bulbs
Custom headlight housing
JDM '73 grille (custom-mounted intake funnels)
Re-chrome front/rear bumpers
Re-chrome taillight bezels
NOS handles
NOS hood chrome
Custom headlight housings
Weather-stripping kit
Metal C-pillar vents
NOS euro taillights

Electronics:
Custom ECU wiring for Datsun 510
Defi tachometer
Defi boost gauge
Defi EGT gauge
Defi fuel pressure gauge
Defi control link
Painless wiring
Compstar alarm
Kenwood DVD navigation (custom fiberglassed dash bezel)
Trunk pop solenoid (remote trunk opening)
Power Door lock actuators (with alarm LED mounted inside)
Push-button engine start
Enthalpy re-flashed ECU
AWG battery wire
A'PEXi S-AFC NEO fuel controller
Kenwood KAC-X1R subwoofer amp
Kenwood KAC-X4R mids/highs amp
Kenwood KFC-XW1000F subwoofer
Kenwood KFC-X6900 rear 6x9
Kenwood KFC-X1710 front 6.5 inch
Custom front fiberglass kick panels
Custom rear deck lid subwoofer box
Optima YellowTop battery (custom mounted in trunk)

390 WHP
350 LB-FT OF Torque
Horsepower
390 HP
96 HP
202 HP
280 HP

Torque
350 LB-FT
100 LB-FT
203 LB-FT
295 LB-FT

0 250 500 750 1,000

Featured Vehicle
Stock 510
Stock S13 SR20DET
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR

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Sources

Meguiar's
Irvine, CA 92614
800-347-5700
www.meguiars.com
TiAL Sport
Owasso, MI 48867
989-729-9973
http://www.tialsport.com
Techno Toy Tuning
Placerville, CA 95667
530-626-7334
http://www.technotoytuning.com
HKS USA
Los Angeles, CA 90061
310-491-3300
http://www.hksusa.com
Advanced Clutch Technology
Lancaster, CA 93535
661-940-7555
http://www.advancedclutch.com
A'PEXi
Orange, CA 92868
714-685-5700
http://www.apexi-usa.com
RC Engineering
Torrance, CA 90501
310-320-2273
http://www.rceng.com
Walbro
Cass City, MI 48726
989-872-2131
http://www.walbro.com
NRG Innovations
City Of Industry, CA 91746
626-369-2668
http://www.nrginnovations.com
LoveFab
231-499-3912
http://www.lovefab.net
GReddy
Irvine, CA 92618
949-588-8300
http://www.greddy.com
Tein
562-861-9161
www.tein.com
Speed of Sound
866/48-GAUGE
www.speedofsoundllc.com
By Evan Griffey
271 Articles

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