1981 Datsun 510 5 Door Hatchback 4 cylinder. from North America


The 1981 Datsun 510 5 Door Hachback is quite possibly one of the most durable vehicles ever produced


I had to replace the master cylinder (though the mechanic was probably trying to pull one over on me). That was done at about 140,000 miles.

The pleather began to wear after about 18 years.

The alternator went out at about 206,000 miles.

General Comments:

This car was driven very hard, and it withstood every minute of it.

My car drove from Sacramento to San Diego approximately 50 times, with out so much as a hiccup.

The average freeway speed on the freeway, for my car, was 80 mph. The 5 speed manual transmission in this vehicle was impeccably built.

This was the best $500 purchase that could have ever been made.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 9th May, 2006

18th Sep 2010, 20:59


My 1980 Datsun 510 5-door hatchback went like the EverReady Rabbit. We were given it by the in-laws in 1990 with 99,000 miles on it. I drove it on 100 mile commutes for 10 years. Also, on a rural 50 miles/day paper-route. My wife drove it also. Then gave it to my oldest son to learn how to drive stick and for school/work. The next was my oldest daughter who changed out the heater core while in high-school auto shop. Then it was my youngest son's turn. We found out that he was going out to the desert on the weekend and putting it in air-borne mode while racing around a dirt course. Told him to watch the engine. It needed coolant on a regular basis, but alas, he didn't and then "boom!"... the engine stops cold. It's been sitting for about 8 years now. If you keep the maintenance up, they'll go on forever. If you abuse any car, it'll give up the ghost. Getting ready to donate it to my daughter's former high school auto shop for a new student to have something to work on.

4th Feb 2015, 00:45

I know this is a long shot, and I have no idea if you'll EVER be back to see this comment. Do you still have this vehicle sitting around for parts?

4th Feb 2015, 20:15


1969 Datsun 510 from North America




The only thing that "had" ever gone wrong with this car, (my Mother purchased it new in 1969), was the rear floor area had a tendency to flood out...Not sure if water leaked in around the rear door, but turns out there were some little drain holes under the car that you had to keep clean with a match stick.

General Comments:

Great car...No problems.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th February, 2004

22nd Mar 2011, 12:02

Does your 510 have a column shift if automatic, or floor shift if automatic?

Here's a TIP and a secret about early 510.

Column shift 510 cars had thicker sheet metal in the floors.

Datsun supplied these early heavier cars for the impact testing to get higher numbers, then reverted back to the standard floor thickness after passing with great specs.

We always sought these cars (to strip down) for our rally racing as they really stood up well. (less stress cracking).

My last one was a 1970 SSS shell with 240z brakes and a factory limited slip diff, 2000cc with 5 speed trans and dual webbers and a nice sweet cam, etc, etc.

1981 Datsun 510 from North America


Most Durable Reliable Car Ever Built


Nothing ever went wrong. Brake pads wore down, then I didn't have any money so I never changed them. Calipers worked to grind for a while, then I used the emergency brake for the last year I had the car. Car only died when a drunk lady in a Cadillac hit me head on. I ended up on the hood and unconscious. I miss my car.

General Comments:

Two friends of mine and I bought this car in 1990 from a Priest. We took it through much of Central America and Mexico. We even had some stone rasta in Belize hack off the catalytic converter so we could take extremely cheap low octane leaded fuel. One time we were saving gas by turning off the car and drifting down mountains and my friend accidentally shifted it into reverse. The car spun out and made horrible noises. Despite this, it started again and never had a problem. This car made it up muddy jungle passes that 4x4 Mercedes and military jeeps couldn't. If you have one of these for sale. Please email me. I am desperate for another. wredfern@hotmail.com.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th January, 2004

14th Jan 2004, 07:26

This is certainly an endorsement of the durability of those old Datsuns; if this dupe and his friends couldn't destroy it, apparently nothing can...

9th Aug 2005, 11:28

I don't believe that this review is an "endorsement review." Datsun 510 was rallied in East African Safari rally in 1970. Safari rally is the worst rally of all the rally, out of 95 cars that started the rally only 19 finished it. Out of the 19 cars 6 of them were Datsun 510. They can handle a lot of beating.