Temptation, Thy Name Is Datsun

It calls to me, even over great distances, it calls to me.

I stumbled across this beautiful little Datsun 510 recently, hidden in an alcove beside an old service station. For all intents and purposes, it’s been relegated to lesser duties as a piece of art, resting just beyond the sidewalk. While it serves its new duties remarkably well there, I can’t help but feel that it deserves so much more.

Needs a bath, but somehow I like it better this way.

I imagine, knowing Mr. Schmo’s obsessions, that he will probably get a little bit tingly in his naughty bits over this car. Particularly when I reveal that I got to speak to one of the friends of the owner, who revealed that the car was half-heartedly for sale, if someone offered him the right price. It’s not all original, as I am told it has quite a number of go-fast upgrades on it, but it apparently runs beautifully and would need nothing more than a tune-up. The friend said he could probably be talked out of the car for, say, $2500. That seemed a bit steep briefly, but a once-over of the car showed it to be beautifully solid and clearly well-cared for.
Of course, the astute viewer will notice that it has been outfitted with a rudimentary roll-cage. So any attempt to say it had probably been gently driven by a little old lady who only took it to church and back on Sundays would be about as believable as the salesman this weekend who tried to tell me something similar about a beat up Mini Cooper S Rallye with a minimum of an aftermarket exhaust and intake. But that doesn’t matter. It just means it’s probably that much more eager to play rough when we want it to.
What say you, Hoons? Would you pay $2500 for this little beastie? I’m pretty sure I would. A nicer set of wheels and tires, maybe a more aggressive suspension, and I’d pretty much call it done.
[Thanks to CaffeineFuelled for the photos that don’t suck, and for keeping a camera in her purse because she knows all about my strange obsessions with random cars seen in random places.]

0 Comments

  1. So long as the body is straight and the rust is minimal I think it is worth it. Should the mechanicals fail sell the vintage, aftermarket speed parts to a purist. Then, perform modern a powertrain upgrade/swap and have fun.

  2. Pretty decent price. High, but if the car is as solid as it sounds I'd say you are buying a long term relationship. Hell, a crappy vacation can be $2500. This could be a instant vacation anytime you need to get away from the BS the world throws your way.

  3. Look, every damn one of us is guilty of, at one point in life or another, paying too much for something. Maybe it was eight bucks for a meal that ended in deep regret with a side of diarrhea. It could have been fifty bucks on a pair of jeans that looked cool but lasted all of about one wash cycle. Possibly it was several hundred on a stereo unit with sound not quite up to par with a high school gymnasium's sound system. Purchasing this 510 would not be one of those moments. Sure, maybe ol' KBB says it's worth less than the $2,500 asking price, or maybe there are cheaper less expensive ones out there, but I say value is subjective. Think of all the things you can lay out 2,500 clams for, and ask yourself if any of them will bring you any more joy than this diminutive two door. Hell, this car could be had for less than 2 years' worth (one a day) of Subway footlongs. Now which would be more fun? I rest my case. $2,500 is so worth it!

    1. While living at an apartment for a year, I paid Groovy Lube to change my oil. I still feel regret.
      Value is what purchases come down to. Being who I am, I would say that this is a good value (not great). A great value would be – dusk and – $500. Unless that is $2500 Canadian. Then, shit bro.

  4. random places indeed! I was shocked when I saw this on the site… This car has been sitting there for yeeeeeeeaaars. I've always (kinda) wanted it. Not that I would buy it, but do you have any knowledge that it is in fact for sale? I live in the same town as this car, and have never seen any indication whatsoever that it is for sale. It sure is a purdy display piece, despite the heavy layer of dust 🙂

    1. Ah, you're from my old stomping grounds, then! Wanna take a run to Trail and send me some Colander on the Greyhound? 😉
      When I started taking photos of it, almost immediately I had someone come out and tell me it was for sale. But you can't buy it! I want it! Just… not really for that price.

  5. $2500 for the rough stuff? Should I leave it on the dresser?
    Also, can you have CaffeineFuelled 'splain to Mrs. engineerd this obsession. She sometimes gets a little upset when I suddenly stop, pull out my phone, and take pictures of cars in parking lots. Then she says I'm weird. I'm doubly weird when it's of a station wagon.

    1. It's even better than that. If she's out and about someplace without me, she'll take photos of weird and random vehicles she stumbles across — even if she has no idea what they are — just to send me the pics.

      1. I recently got a picture of a driveway containing a Saab Sonnett and an Opel GT from my wife for the same reason. If she sees something unusual, or something that she thinks will interest me, I usually get a picture of it sent to my phone. She's the best!

      2. Hahaha, my girlfriend does the same thing. She used to be completely oblivious, but now she has a pretty good eye for what I like. And honestly, if she didn't constantly have her 10 megapixel point-n-shoot in her purse most of the time, I don't know what I'd do. The iPhone's camera SUCKS.

      3. I recently got a picture of a driveway containing a Saab Sonnett and an Opel GT from my wife for the same reason. If she sees something unusual, or something that she thinks will interest me, I usually get a picture of it sent to my phone. She's the best!

      1. I'm actually kind of with you. My wife has a tendency to get into a "rush rush rush" mode, whereas I tend to be more laid back. It forces her to slow down and appreciate things around her.

  6. Is it my imagination, or does the top part of the red-white-and-blue stripe not actually line up with the bottom part? Possibly an optical illusion, but it's making my brain hurt.

    1. Too much scotch today, methinks. But carry on if it brings you finds like this! (I checked with a post-it held up the the screen; looks straight and aligned to me. Don't feel bad for wondering, those kinds of naggy little details put my OCD compulsions into overdrive as well).

  7. Back in the day a friend's* dad bought his daughter a 510 BumbleBee. We laughed at it, not the least reason being the rust that was eroding the very fiber of its being. Seriously, these cars' lifespan in the roadsalt belt (Chicago) was less than that of a gnat. So this was a survivor even by that time, but not worth the effort, it seemed to us. Those early japanese cars ran solely on borrowed time, it seemed – why bother with this one?
    *(incredibly, the same friend who called my about my 2nd Eleanor…)
    Hey, I'm allowed to get one wrong now and then, OK? If I could turn back time, I'd buy both the 'Nada ESS (to heck with parental stalling) *AND* that 510, knowing now what I didn't then.

  8. WHAT?!?!? $2500 for a straight 510 that hasn't been hacked to death is a freaking STEAL, even out here in rust free Californa.
    The fact that it is a 2 door and it still runs is icing on the cake. That price is below what an incomplete 4 door project car hell carcass starts at, even after everyone started unloading their crap in the great bank-clobbery of the last decade.
    Too much money? That's just crazy talk. I'd be tempted to buy it, ship it out here and STILL make a profit.

  9. WHAT?!?!? $2500 for a straight 510 that hasn't been hacked to death is a freaking STEAL, even out here in rust free Californa.
    The fact that it is a 2 door and it still runs is icing on the cake. That price is below what an incomplete 4 door project car hell carcass starts at, even after everyone started unloading their crap in the great bank-clobbery of the last decade.
    Too much money? That's just crazy talk. I'd be tempted to buy it, ship it out here and STILL make a profit.

        1. The photo doesn't do it justice – there isn't a straight panel on it. I just wanted it for the built motor, transmission, rollbar and assorted mechanical bits. I'll move them over to pretty but immobile one and send this body to the crusher.
          How's the LeMons car coming?

          1. I kinda guessed it was a wreck. The team is together, but we haven't done a thing to the car nor generated a cohesive theme.
            So pretty average.

  10. Honestly, I think $2500 is an acceptable price for any solid old car that isn't based on a platform containing the letters "K," "J" or "X."
    I really like the 510; I just find it unfortunate that every single surviving example has been modded/rodded/ruined by some tasteless hoon. A massaged drivetrain, tweaked suspension and maybe some slot mags are all these things need.

  11. Nicer set of wheels and tires?
    You must be on crack because everyone knows that vintage slot mags are the nicest wheels you can possibly put on a car of this vintage.

  12. Definately not a crack pipe. In my research $2500 for a lightly-modded, well maintained 510 is not unreasonable at all. The scars around her eyes even give her character. I say nice price!

  13. Snap that up! Prior to BMW launching the MINI, classic Mini's could be found for a $1,000 or so. Now you can't find them for less than $7,000, and then it'll be a rusted, barely running wreck. If Nissan ever jumps on the nostalgia bus (that would be cool. Nissan, you listening?) and builds a new interpretation of the 510 you'll triple your investment. Even if they don't, and you don't let fall apart, you'll still get at least the $2,500 out of it at any time. If I had the $2,500 to spare I'd be all over it. oh, and Dearthair, are you thinking about picking up a Cooper 'S'?

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