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Parking Spot Car Feature: Roger Kennedy’s 1972 Datsun 510

Cruising the grounds at Griot’s Garage during our September Caffeine & Gasoline we came across this tricked out old school Datsun. Roger Kennedy owns the 1972 Datsun 510 and he has modernized his ride with an engine swap, updated rolling stock, and enhanced the suspension, making it a dream machine for any vintage import fan.

The Datsun 510 was offered in America between 1968 and 1973 and in Japan under the Bluebird banner for considerably longer. The car was built as an answer to the BMW 1600 and served as inspiration for the 1991 to 1994 Sentra SE-R. Thanks to an advanced for the era independent rear suspension the Datsun was a proven and successful race platform back in the day and remains competitive in vintage racing circles today.

The Dime was originally powered by an L-Series carbureted four cylinder and was offered in four-door sedan, wagon, and two-door hardtop configurations. Through the years the 510 has been a coveted project car with its L16 or L18 engine often discarded for a Mazda rotary, Nissan SR20DE or SR20DET, or some other lightweight boosted powerplant.

Roger’s Datsun stands loud and proud with a fully polished SR20DET under the hood. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four banger, originally offered in the Japanese market Silvia in the 1990s, has been enhanced with a GReddy large-plenum intake manifold, Nismo radiator, a Garrett turbo wrapped in a heat insulator blanket, and a GReddy Airinx intake. Other under hood goodies include a GReddy catch can, GReddy shock tower brace and a Tomei Power spark plug cover plate. Roger told us the SR20DET has pumped out 387 wheel horsepower on a chassis dyno and that the car is a fun and responsive drive.

The exterior of the old schooler features beautiful blue paint, an SSS Bluebird grille from Japan, aggressive front lip spoiler, JDM-style fender-mount mirrors, and a set of vintage Volk Racing wheels.

We will be on the prowl again tomorrow as Griot’s Garage hosts another Caffeine & Gasoline at our Flagship Retail Store in Tacoma. The theme will be race cars and our Auto Display will feature a pair of historically significant Ferrari Formula 1 racers, a Colin McRae WRC Ford Focus from DirtFish Rally School, a mid-engine Mini, and an impressive Porsche 908 with a LeMans racing pedigree… among others. It’s must-see TV and we hope to see tons of cool cars in the parking lot and invite you to come join in the fun.

Have fun in your garage!


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