OR­ANGE CRUSH

Japanese Performance - - WHAT’S IN - WORDS: DANIEL BEVIS PICS: VIKTOR BENYI

Dat­sun 510’s im­mac­u­late or­ange paint­work con­ceals a 410bhp se­cret

There are cer­tain en­gines that tran­scend their ori­gins to find them­selves bask­ing on a sun­lit pedestal in the pan­theon of all-time de­sir­ables. Look at Toy­ota’s 2JZ, for ex­am­ple – a heroic mo­tor in its na­tive en­gine bay en­vi­ron­ment, and nowa­days lib­er­ally ap­pro­pri­ated to pro­duce ab­surd power fig­ures in ev­ery dis­ci­pline from drift­ing to drag rac­ing. Or Nis­san’s RB26 – that straight-up straight-six brawler that leaves lesser en­gines cow­er­ing in its wake as it snorts past with its shouty turbo and end­less swells of ma­cho torque.

Cast­ing an eye to the four­pots, Nis­san’s SR20 en­gine has en­joyed sim­i­lar for­tunes; specif­i­cally the SR20DET, the 2.0-litre tur­bocharged twin-cam that you’d find nes­tled cosily within the bay of a 200SX or a Pul­sar GTI-R. These are in­fin­itely tune­able mo­tors, hap­pily re­spond­ing to stel­lar boost lev­els and a ro­bustly un­com­pro­mis­ing ap­proach to in­ter­nal fet­tling with a cheer­ful ‘Thank you sir, per­haps I can in­ter­est you in some more horse­power…?’ These hal­lowed mo­tors ap­pear in drift cars, drag­sters, he­roes of track, street and strip…much like all the old, writ­ten-off Supras got can­ni­balised for their JZS, so the 200SXS are be­ing sys­tem­at­i­cally plun­dered for their SR20S. It re­ally is that good an en­gine.

What’s par­tic­u­larly no­table here is that we’re look­ing at this mo­tor in the bay of a 1969 Dat­sun 510 – a car which orig­i­nally came from the fac­tory with, even at its most po­tent, an L18 mo­tor; a 1.8-litre SOHC unit that of­fered just 105bhp. A heady fig­ure all those years ago, but the world has moved on now, and then some!

Now, the 510 is of­ten un­fairly side­lined as a ‘poor man’s

THE DAT­SUN 510 IS A CUTE LIT­TLE CLAS­SIC. BUT WHEN YOU ADD IN THE SNARLING FURY OF AN SR20DET, CUTE MORPHS INTO CRUSH­ING…

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