The Datsun 510 was originally a series related to Nissan/Datsun Bluebird remained in production from 1968 to 1974. It was marketed as Datsun 1600 outside the US market. The AutoWeek’s G.D. Levy described the 510 series as a ‘poor man’s BMW’. The reason behind this title might be its engineering that was based on the then up-to-date European sedans, especially BMW 1600-2 (1966), powered by a SOHC engine and featured a Macpherson strut front suspension, while independent, semi-trailing arms in the back. Teruo Uchino, Datsun in-house designer was credited for the European- influenced sheet metal design.
The engine of a car is manufactured through Prince and shared many features with Mercedes Benz. The Nissan USA president Yutaka Katayama was compelled to approve this engine.
The 510 tag was reused for an unrelated Nissan Stanza ‘H510’ produced from 1978 to 1981. The resurgence of the 510 tag was an attempt to capture the magnificence of this range.
The 510 series was introduced by Nissan in August 1968. Among all the Bluebird ranges, the 510 was considered as the most comprehensive one as it was available in wide range of body styles including: a two-door sedan, a four-door sedan, a five-door station wagon, and a two-door coupé (1968)
The 510 series of Nissan proved to be very successful in an international market and helped a lot in raising the sales of Nissan across the globe.
The Datsun 510 sold in United States was powered by the Hitachi downdraft carbureted 1.6-L L-series I4 engine generating 96 hp (72 kW) with a top speed of 100 mph. It featured front disc brakes and 4-wheel independent suspension, i.e. MacPherson struts in front, while semi-trailing arm in the rear. However, wagons received a solid rear live axle and leaf springs in the rear. The 510 series was rear wheel drive and came with either 4-speed manual or a 3-speed automatic transmission.
It was available as 2-door sedan, 4-door sedan and 4-door wagon. The Japanese domestic market also received a 2-door coupe powered by either a 1.6-L or a 1.8-L L-series engine released in 1973. For US factory trim, it offered 20-30 mpg. There were certain markets that received 510 with twin Hitachi side-draft carburetors, commonly used on Jaguars and MGs. It was a smaller version of the British SU (Skinner’s Union). In order to achieve more power, these engines featured improved compression and camshaft profiles. The SSS trim level was available with improved equipment and interior trim. However, the SSS trim level for 510 ranges was not offered in US market.