One Owner! 5k Mile 1980 Datsun 510

Many enthusiasts tend to have warm memories of the original Datsun 510, the cheap sports car that could run circles around more powerful motors provided the track turned twisty. It was sometimes seen as an alternative to the pricier BMW 2002 and often went wheel-to-wheel with the Bavarian wonder. But the 510 name lived on, just not in quite as memorable form. This, too, is a Datsun 510 – it’s a 1980 model. It’s got five doors, an automatic transmission, and is a far cry from its forebears’ sporting instincts. But it is a survivor, and a car we very rarely see today. Find the later 510 here on eBay with bidding at a slightly shocking $11,100 with the reserve unmet (also shocking.)

Nissan knew what it was doing when it rolled this car out, which was actually known as a Violet in other markets. The 510 was a home run and the company knew it, so why not slap the iconic badge onto a new-for-America model? The Violet was rear-wheel drive after all, and still available as a coupe, wagon, or a sedan. But obviously, something was lost in translation, because enthusiasts don’t seek out this generation of the 510 for track days and car shows with the Japanese Nostalgic Car crowd – though a specimen like this would undoubtedly be accepted by that audience.

Despite the Ohio license plate, the 510 doesn’t appear to have any significant rust. Note the dealer tag – this 510 was for sale on Facebook Marketplace a few weeks ago for $5,000. You can read the full story here on Motorious.com. Now, the eBay listing states that the 510 is listed for sale by the original owner, but the dealer tag seems suspect. The original listing on Facebook was in Fairfield, Ohio and it’s now in West Chester, about a 20-minute drive. It could be the same seller but the dusty, garage-find pictures from the Motorious link aren’t included in the listing, which seems like something you’d do if you wanted to hype this up as a real-deal barn find.

Regardless, $5,000 was indeed too low of a price for a rare survivor like this. I don’t know if it’s necessarily worth double, but if the original owner pulled the ad in hopes of a better deal, good for them – and if this is a flipper who’s about to easily double his money, well – the market is telling us it doesn’t care how this survivor 510 got here, just that it did. So, if a 92 horsepower four-cylinder with an automatic transmission and plenty of cargo space rings your bell, it may be worth giving this rare 1980 Datsun 510 a closer look. Would you rather have a ratty first-generation 510, or a later model survivor like this?

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    Looks like Nissan’s answer to the Corona which was Toyota’s offering at the time. The greenhouse also looks a lot like the Stanza. Remember the Naps-Z engine? Americas first taste of a 4 cylinder with 8 spark plugs.

  2. Howard A Member

    Here’s another example of rare must mean 5 figures, regardless of what it is. It doesn’t exist today? 5 figures. Don’t get me wrong, great cars, probably cemented Nissan as a major contender, as the original 510, IRS aside, was a crappy car. These were a stark improvement, no inside shots, kind of odd, but in this condition, how bad could it be? I may be a few decades off, but 5 figures for this is pretty far fetched,,,but here we are.

    Like 3
  3. angliagt angliagt Member

    $11,100?I wonder if that’s a “shill” bid made by a friend
    of the sellers.
    I like the looks of these,but they were totally boring to drive.
    Lots of more interesting cars out there for that kind of money.

    Like 2
  4. mike henry

    I could buy this, park it in my driveway, and watch it rust away to nothing. Maybe pop an Aerosmith cassette in and re-live the 1980’s in style.

    Like 2
  5. Steve Clinton

    This is simply laughable. I wouldn’t care if it had 0 miles, it will never be worth much, even if you box it up and store it. $11,100 and reserve not met? What the heck is wrong with people?

    Like 3
    • Burt

      It went for $14,200.

      Like 1
  6. Ron Morrison

    While not a “sports” car, the early 510s were a blast to drive with the 4-speed, not so much with the AT. In 4 door or station wagon configuration, they were relatively quite popular with the 20-35 age group. Interiors were unexciting and may not have stood up to long term usage. Body shells prone to rusting, but what cars were not in early 1970s.

    • Steve Clinton

      “not a “sports” car” “Interiors were unexciting and may not have stood up to long term usage.” “Body shells prone to rusting…” other than that…LOL

  7. Bhowe Member

    I for one really like this vintage of cars especially imports as they had such an impact changing our market. I’d love to have this in my collection but, and I usually never say this, this price is absurd. Owner please lower the price so that someone that will preserve and care for this car can afford to buy it. Collectors like me would enjoy adding this but at this price it limits how many a person can have in the collection

    • Steve Clinton

      I totally agree. Anyone with enough money to spend on a collector car would be able to find a REAL collectible car for this price.

      Like 1
  8. MarveH

    Small cars with automatic transmissions are just a shame, especially in the 1980’s when they couldn’t get out of their own way.
    The ask on this is optimistic, at best. Any old car is interesting for a variety of reasons but a car like this has to be at impulse money. The original $5K was more like it and now, cleaned up, $6500 on a good day with the wind at your back.

    Like 1
  9. Fernando

    This model was sold in Mexico as Datsun Samurai. It came with the 1800cc motor and 5 speed stick (compared to 1600cc 4 speed stick in sedan and wagon versions). I had a 1981 and kept for 6-7… great reliable car.. but not fast at all.

  10. Jag6736

    This is the same car that was listed on Facebook Marketplace back in November for $5,000.00. Motorius wrote a small article on it.

  11. Lincoln

    Way too high of a price tag.

  12. Chris Londish Member

    They were called Stanzas in Australia and only came as 4 door sedan a poor and less sophisticated replacement of the excellent 1600 although I think the change was because of local content laws, we didn’t get the 5 door model which would have maybe made more popular

  13. scott m

    Car I learned to drive on, 1965. Parents def early on the import car trend. I also had an Allstate moped at the time, I used to run it up and down the block trying to push start the damn thing. My parents went out of town every weekend, and I learned to hotwire the Datsun. Smoked huge amounts of tobacco, and my non smoking parents never said a word. One night, having illegally absconded with 510, I tried to show my friends how cool I was by backing up using only the rear view mirror. Smashed in the rear quarter on the first set of a dually semi tractor. Learned a lot of respect for my father who somehow found the owner and offered amends.

    Like 1
  14. Glenn C. Schwass Member

    That is sweet. I don’t know what is a good price but for someone who had one and wants another, they’ll pay it. I’d have to have a stick if I needed it…

    Like 1
  15. Bluebird

    “If you like the old one, you’ll love the new one.
    If you love the old one, you’ll hate the new one.”

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