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.

1981 Datsun 510 1.6 from North America


A reliable, but weak car


The handle to the car window broke off when I shut the car. Also, the rear-view mirror had to be super-glued back on. The seats are torn, the handle to open the gas tank is broken so I use the key. The highlights won't stay on.

General Comments:

This car is funny. It has no power (under 100, 97 I think) and is very heavy (3100 lbs.). It is very reliable though, but uses a lot of gas. It also doesn't have power steering, but that gives me a good workout.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 17th October, 2003

1981 Datsun 510 2.0 from North America


Extremely reliable


Head gasket replaced at around 200k miles (ended up nothing being wrong with it)

General Comments:

Just received this car from my father. The car I pretty much grew up in. He bought it in around 1984 for $1300 and he just gave it to me (to save gas) as my go to work car. In 344,000 miles it's had 2 clutches and a head gasket (which ended up being fine anyway). This car is the most unbelievable vehicle. It's got some rust and isn't the most beautiful thing, but I can't find anything on this 81' on the net. Thought I could find a few body parts and make the "rust" go away. My father would get a kick out of it if it were "made new" again. A/C even blows cold today.. What a car. Not another one for sale in the nation on Trader online...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th September, 2003

19th Aug 2004, 01:27

I agree I can't find any parts on this car as well. i need body parts. any luck in your search.

9th Mar 2005, 23:02

I too have the 1981 Datsun 510. However, my vehicle is going down the slide and I need to restore it to excellent conditions. I can get exterior parts for my car, but interior parts are difficult to find. I need an instrument panel cover, the one you can install the stereo AM/FM. But this is plastic and it's broken by the original owner of the vehicle before I acquired. I went from one place to another even in junkyard, but many of them have broken covers as well. :(

I can't believe why someone never take good care of 1981 Datsun 510. Dual-plug engine vehicle is so easy to take care of.

10th Mar 2005, 16:45

The reason most, if not all, Datsun 510's tbat you find in junkyards will have broken dash panels, is that it was impossible to put an aftermarket stereo in place of the original radio unless you cut the part of the dash over the radio. Since the factory am/fm radio was pretty crappy, most owners replaced it with something better. I once owned an '81 510 back in the early '80's whose previous owner had cut the dash to put in a replacement radio/cassette. It did not look too bad with the faceplate that came with the radio on it though.

If you have not had to replace the head gasket on yours, you will soon. Weak point on these cars.

10th Jun 2005, 09:38

I used to have a 81 Datsun 510 that I gave to a junkyard in Manassas VA. Some of the interior parts were in good condition, but the outside had rust everywhere. Ran like a champ. Unbelievable car. Email is tommyniles1979@yahoo.com if you need more info.