Datsun 510 Station Wagon 1978 model L20B OHC Engine


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Memphis, Tennessee, United States

Features and Specifications

Make: Datsun
Model: Other
Type: Wagon
Year: 1978
Mileage: 300,000
Color: Tampico
Engine: L20B OHC Naturally Aspirated
Cylinders: 4
Fuel: Gasoline
Transmission: Manual
Drive type: RWD
Interior color: Gray with Black Front Seats
Drive side: Left-hand drive
Vehicle Title: Clear

1978 Datsun Other

1978 model Datsun 510 Station Wagon

-Manufactured in Nagasaki, Japan in Autumn of 1977.


Features:

L20B OHC four Cylinder Engine

(Legendary - just keyword “L20B” on YouTube.)

Weber Redline Two-Barrel Carburetor

(Ditto, legendary company of carburation.)

Fuel tank has been relined.


Service needed:

Engine needs a new timing kit installed (kit available at eBay Motors)

Carburetor needs new gaskets and basic reconditioning (kit available at eBay Motors)

A new muffler is probably a good idea, but this motor sure sounds good open!

Left Rear brake needs parts, as it is currently seized.

Needs new tires.

Needs a battery.

All the other basic things like oil change. transmission oil change, etc.


Cosmetic Condition:

Well . . . it’s dirty! But none of the body panels are missing and none of them have dents.

There are a few rusted-through spots as shown in the detail photos.


A Little History . . .


After manufacture, this vehicle shipped from Japan to California, and was originally sold there. The family that purchased it used it from the showroom floor until 1983. At that time they had moved to Memphis and drove the car from Cali to Memphis. My father bought it from them soon after they listed it for sale in an Auto Trader magazine. He knew it would get good gas mileage and that the cargo space would come in handy. The vehicle was mainly used by my mother for getting groceries and running other errands. She bought a new car but kept the Datsun 510. When I returned to Memphis after graduating from college, I adopted the 510.


A great vehicle for hauling my drum set and/or audio gear, I put a lot of miles on it. When I was working out of Port of Miami, I drove it from Memphis to Miami and back, twice. In 1995 I drove it from Memphis to Los Angeles for fun and to visit some friends. I never worried about it breaking down. Since it was my only vehicle, I maintained it very well. I am not a great mechanic, but I found this motor fairly easy to maintain myself, so it was fun.


Sometime in the late 90’s the head developed a crack. I found one in good shape at a salvage yard, but the components on it were not so good. I had always used full synthetic oil in the 510 engine. The components on its head were in excellent condition, so I had a professional shop Frankenstein the two together. They took the good components from my original head and built a new one, taking care of any planing and whatever else a head shop does in the process. I was able to reinstall “Frankie” myself with the help of a cousin, and the 510 was back in business.


By then I felt ready for a Weber. I had already rebuilt the original carburetor, twice I believe. I had a little cash, so I stopped in a Roy Rogers auto parts store and got the Weber. I will never forget the sound of the engine after I got the new carb online. I had left the pipes off, so I even made a recording when I first cranked it up. Then I reinstalled the exhaust mani and took the car for a test out on New Allen highway (the local “drag strip”). It ran like a rocket!


By then I think the odo read 293,000, or something like that. I enjoyed driving the car for a few more years. It started running real rough in 2002, and I couldn’t work it out. But I was fairly sure what was happening. Then one day it started sputtering while trying to crank. It seemed to be turning smoothly enough, but just wouldn’t start. The timing had jumped. Compression tests showed the head and other things doing okay, but the timing chain had just had enough.


I bought a new car. Another wagon! Only this time one from Michigan. No offense to the Auto Industry of the Far East; they obviously make great stuff. But I got a great deal on my Buick.


If you are still reading this, I can only guess that you are interested in the Datsun 510. I would also guess that you know much more about the L20B engine than I do. In any case, I can sell the 510 to a metal scrapper for $350. But I would rather sell it to you and give you the opportunity to restore it to its original glory . . . or even one better. And if you are only interested in the engine or just the Weber, send a message and we can work out a price. I have the original box for the Weber, which is currently home for the 510’s original carb.


JSR

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