This 1970 Datsun 510 has just received its first wash in 44 years. Seeing decades of animal prints, mouse droppings, and mold being removed is one of the most satisfying things you can do without getting your hands dirty. And this little barn find is also worthy of a history lesson since it laid the foundations of modern-day Nissan USA.
The Datsun 510 was bought in 1970, right at the peak of the American muscle car era. Its owner drove it for seven years, until 1977, which doesn’t sound too unusual. But then it sat still, gathering dust until current owner Derek purchased it in 2016.
The Datsun neglect didn’t stop there, as more dirt and grime were deposited as it sat in a barn for the next six years. Now, AMMO NYC has been tasked to give it the first propper cleaning in 44 years, and it’s amazing to see this small Japanese car getting the same level of attention as the detailing specialist would give a rare Ferrari or Porsche.
The turquoise body (aka light blue, code 562) is covered in chalky white oxidized marks. To get that out, the detailer goes over everything with fine grit and a yellow wool pad. To make the paint restoration even more obvious, they did a 50/50, making down the middle of the car so can see a sort of before and after. But sadly, buffing is probably not going to be enough, as the lower body rust probably requires a respray to fix. But a shiny paint job could be just what owner Derek needs to start work on this iconic early Datsun.
What is the Datsun 510?
You could argue that the Datsun 510 is one of the most important Japanese cars to be imported to the States. The automaker had very limited success with its earlier 210 and 310 models when in-house designer, Teruo Uchino was tasked with making something that looked less British-looking and targeted the tastes of US buyers with sharper lines.
Its official debut came in 1967 and for that era, its engine might have seemed small or underpowered. The Datsun 510 received a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 96 horsepower and 99 lb-ft of torque. It proved quite successful all over the world.
The 510 is also famous Stateside for participating in the Trans Am Series, racing in the sub-2500cc class, which it won in 1971 and 1972. Daily driver? Check. Racecar? Check. And also, they made a little pickup version.