America has some pretty cool dead brands, but they’ve got nothing on Datsun. And while most JDM fans associate it with the 240Z, there’s a variety of other sports cars plus a lot of cool racing going on.
Datsun also made some of the coolest small trucks of all time. Low and car-like, these had the front end you’d associate with some of your favorite Japanese classics. Thus, it’s not uncommon for them to be collected or modified.
We’re quite partial to a Datsun 1200 with Hakosuka fender flares and fancy wheels. But we’ve got something different here, something that goes right to the core of what it means to have a “Nissan.” You see, many fans believe everything is owed to the Datsun 510.
Before that car, the Japanese were importing small numbers of sedans which were seen as too small and British-looking by American buyers. But the 510 was different. It had sharper looks, independent suspension and… the ability to go racing?
The U.S. version of the car made its debut in 1967 with a 1.6-liter engine from the newly acquired Prince Motor Company. It made 96 horsepower and 99 lb-ft of torque. It was so popular that by 1973, Nissan had sold 400,000 units (worldwide). The car also went racing, solidifying the brand’s image.
Of course, the 510 had a pickup brother, the 520. And today, we’re going to ask “What if that thing also competed in motorsport?”
The one asking the questions is actually rendering artist Basel Visions. But he was commissioned by 240Z Guild to envision a racing mini truck. What you see here is going to be the new “shop truck”, an actual build with some very interesting characteristics.
Under the hood, you won’t find a 1.6-liter engine. Instead, a Stillen supercharged VQ35 will motivate all four wheels. As in a 350Z/G35 engine with forced induction making 450-500 horsepower. No wonder they’re calling it a baby GT-R!
Above all, we just love the way this looks. You’ve got the sort of roll cage that makes you want to chuck this around some autocross cones. And the bolt-on fenders remind us of the Chevy C10 with a Tesla swap that just made SEMA headlines. Plus, no matter what car or truck you have, nothing beats a supercharger sticking out the hood.