Re the above comment: notice the review is of a 1981 510, a rather blandly styled and completely forgettable appliance of a car, nothing like the older models whose popularity Nissan hoped to capitalize on by resurrecting the 510 name.
And who knows, they may try it again, especially now as car model names seem to be getting replaced with numbers or acronyms whose significance is not always clear...
You definitely don't see a lot of the Datsun 510's on the road anymore I can tell you that much, I think that the Datsun 510's should of been on par with the Toyota Camry's, Toyota Corolla's, Honda Civic's and Honda Accord's, I'm starting to be a big fan of the Japanese cars of the late 70's/early 80's and I would like to get my hands on a 1978-81 Datsun 510.
I recently ran into an older gentlemen running a 1971 Datsun 510. He had the back bumper taped up due to being hit by someone... but everything was original. Upon pulling up next to him and commenting on the car, he told me it was the best car he'd ever driven. He bought it brand new in 1970.
My first car was a '76 Datsun 710, and following that, I had 3 510 wagons (1978-79) and finally a '79 510 2dr. sedan, which I still have! These cars all had the 1952 cc engines (2.0) and they were/are BULLET PROOF! The reason for their demise was the rusting bodies, especially in Toronto where they put TONS of salt on the roads in winter.
One time I drove one of the wagons without any oil and coolant in the middle of a hot summers day, driving from down town Toronto to the suburbs (North York). I expected the engine to seize (needles were off the scale!) but didn't care since I had to get rid of one of the cars anyway. Pull into the driveway, shut off the engine and started it back right up! NO PROBLEM! EVEN THE NEXT DAY! HA! I LOOOVE these cars!!!
I had an '81 510, and I disagree with your sentiment. I miss my car like mad - I still have the ignition key, ten years later. When I got rid of it my 510 had just rolled over 300,000 miles, and was going strong, despite a little cough, but who among us wouldn't have a little cough at that point? In the time I had it, 183,000 miles the water pump quit, at 220,000 miles I had to replace the head gasket followed shortly by a worn clutch cable, and rounding up on 300k the carburetor just couldn't take any more; this car never gave me any trouble, and I feel the repairs I had to do were more than fair compensation considering the mileage accrued, and the age of the car.
I needed a daily driver, and reluctantly used my 510 for leverage on a newer car, when rebuilding the carburetor for the third time was no longer cutting it - iirc, replacement for that exact model was not an option at the time. It brought me a decent chunk for trade, but I wish I had never done it, ten years later.
I weep, I weep...
I just bought a 79 510 wagon for 290 dollars at auction with 80 00 ks!
That '81 Datsun wagon that just sold today on Ebay was cherry... at $2630 and 65,000 miles, you couldn't get a better one... I didn't bid, I wanted a stick shift!
I bought a 1981 510 from some people I knew for $100. It had been sitting for 15 years; it had a bad valve so they let it sit. I trailered it home and the first time I turned it over it fired right up and runs great. I'm getting the valve repaired though, but it still runs awesome. They're amazing cars. I will never sell it; when the engine dies I will put the exact z20s engine in it and drive it forever more!!!
The 81 510 never had a clutch cable; it was hydraulically actuated.
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