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…