Inspired by contemporary BMW's, and considered by some to be a 'poor man's BMW' the Datsun 510 was a car range produced by Nissan of Japan from 1968. Introduced in late 1967, once it arrived in America in the fall of 1968 it became an instant hit.
Sold in America as the Nissan Bluebird (510 series), it was also sold in various countries as the Datsun 1600 it was the 3rd generation of a line of cars roduced by Datsun (Nissan).
Under pressure to design more modern vehicles to appeal to the American market, the president of Nissan Mortos, Yutaka Katayama inspired young industrial engineer Teruo Uchino to expand his creativity and talent. Given an open door to use his natural skills, he took part in designing a model that was a mixture of the 310 and 410. The result became the 510.
Kazumi Yotsumoto, the head of Nissan's design studio enhanced the 510 by fulfilling his aspiration of creating a car that ‘was noted for its responsiveness and precise handling'. It was the engineering of this vehicle that made it more noteworthy than its design style. The lightweight aircraft style monocoque design and the unibody construction of the Datsun 510, a first for Nissan, contributed to its permanent place in automotive history.
The version released to the U.S. market came originally with a 1.6 L L-series engine, with 96 hp (72 kW). The Datsun 510 came as either a 4-speed manual or a 3-speed automatic transmissing and was available as a 2-door or 4-door sedan or a 4-door station wagon.
Unique about the earlier Nissan/Datsun vehicles is their ability to easily interchange most parts and allow for upgrading with little ease. Engines, transmissions, suspension setups and much more were convenient enough to be swapped between vehicles with only minor modifications.
The original 510 has received much aclaim during its brief history along with a good reputation. Considered to be the most important car ever exported by Nissan, the 510 had an exceptional balance of cost, engineering and style.
The 4-door Datsun 510 sedan was cost efficient with its affordable price-tag of $1,996.
Production on the 510 continued until 1973 before being replaced by the 610, a version that had been in production in Japan since 1971.
When production ended in 1973, more than 500,000 cars had been sold.By Jessica Donaldson