If you haven’t figured it out already, this week is wagon week at RustyButTrusty. Perhaps it’s the influence of the loaner minivan this week, or the Jetta wagon’s return from the body shop, or the fact that an online search for pre-1975 wagons turned up a bunch of interesting results, but today, this series is continuing with a couple of older Datsuns with some interesting performance upgrades. First up is the obvious choice, this 1972 Datsun 510 wagon for sale for $3500 in Everett, WA.
At some point, this car was treated to an interesting white on silver paint job, hard to recognize from some angles in the overcast weather rampant in this region. The work was clearly done a while back, as the rust has had plenty of time to bubble through to the surface. From the limited photos, it looks like the rockers are more or less solid, though you’ll be replacing some of the metal aft of the front wheels, as well as on the doors. Various spotty and rippled patches mean that’s probably not the only body work you’ll have to do, though. Pluses on this car include a manual transmission, electric fan, Weber downdraft carburetor, and a stock size exhaust.
As you can see, the suspension has been modified, with front coilovers, new rear shock absorbers, lowering blocks and various other pieces. Annoyingly, the pictured wheels are not included, though this allows you to find something less 1980s-flash style, like a set of something more period in the Minilite/Watanabe vein, or perhaps some BWA Sportstars.
The steering wheel is a matter of taste, but there’s plenty of good in here too – carpet, rear seat and door/hatch panels in good condition, and a working heater. Front seats are mismatched, but the seller offers a pair of either 240Z white leather seats, or a pair of S14 240SX seats. The overall impression is of a car that has some needs, but can be used as a rolling project. But, if the 510 is just too easy/common/not-Italian-looking for you, check out this 1967 Datsun 1600 wagon for sale for $2300 in Los Angeles, CA.
Photos leave a lot to be desired, but what is visible shows a faded car with mismatched wheels, but complete with straight panels. The gold badges are neat because they somehow manage not to look tacky on these, and the best part is that for 1967, Nissan put in a 1600cc engine to allow them to compete with Toyota in North America. The R16 was good for 96hp, and the best part is this car is also equipped with a manual transmission. The car is said to be in running condition, with registration good through February, so hopefully that indicates a driveable car.
The lowback seats and dash all look decent, though you’ll need to find a two-post radio to fill the holes in the dash. Missing carpet will need replacement, and red paint on the doors’ interior hints at how sporty this little wagon could look. While this car is not the icon the 510 was, a powerful engine in a roughly 2000-lb. shell should allow for some fun. The seller says nothing about rust, so assuming some rust on this one as well, which would you pick?