Longroof Nickel and Dime – 1971 Datsun 510 Wagon

With the cars they were designed to undercut coming back to full strength in the collector car market, Datsun 510s have made their own comeback. Most 510s at the bottom of their market have been subjected to poorly-done modifications, are missing parts, or need plenty of catch-up work. So it’s nice to occasionally find an example that looks like a good driver, as well as a good value. Check out this 1971 Datsun 510 wagon for sale for $3500 in Sunriver, OR.

1971 Datsun 510 wagon right side

While you’re gaining luggage space, you are giving up something in the handling department, as the wagons got leaf springs and a live rear axle in place of the sedans’ independent rear. But not to worry, that conversion is no doubt a bolt in fix for when you have the coin to buy the parts. Right? Anyhow, based on one picture of part of the car’s exterior, the body is straight and in decent shape – a safe assumption, wouldn’t you say? The vintage mesh wheels and lowered stance are nice, and aftermarket mirrors look decent, while the hood scoop might leave you searching for a replacement hood.

1971 Datsun 510 wagon interior

The builder’s strategy on the interior was clearly not to remain in period, with a recent aftermarket tachometer, seats from a late-model Japanese car, and modern shift knob and steering wheel. Door panels are simple cloth too, but the overall impression is clean and simple, not hacked together.

1971 Datsun 510 wagon engine

It looks like the engine also got a fair amount of attention, or at least cleaning – the seller says it’s been upgraded to the L20B, good for 110hp, and includes a Weber carburetor, MSD ignition, a header, thicker sway bars, and front struts from a 280. It all looks very clean in there at least, and these upgrades plus a 5-speed transmission should make it a fun driver in spite of the live-axle rear. All in all, the impression is of a clean driver you can upgrade and restore further as you have time and money – what could go wrong?


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