Rough but Rare: 1978 Datsun 510 Wagon

This is a strange one, sort of a stop-gap car for Datsun, or, Nissan. Most of us know the legend of the Datsun 510, but this 1978 Datsun 510 Wagon is basically a rebadged Nissan Violet, or Stanza, trying to take advantage of the 510’s storied past. If that confused you a bit, you’re not alone. This wagon is on eBay in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada with an unmet opening bid of $99 (or, $134.63 in Canadian funds). This car is in fairly rough shape but it’s rare and there doesn’t appear to be a lot of rust, which is always nice.

You can see that there will be a fair amount of work to do on this car. And, the seller basically leaves it up to us to somehow know what condition this car is in. Maybe we could have a séance and the spirit world will fill us in on this car. “If you’re looking at this ad, you probably know everything about this car already…” That’s not helpful at all. Sellers, please, for the love of Pete, give us potential buyers some useful information and better photos of a product that you’re trying to sell us on!

Um, sooo.. there’s a wheel missing, not to mention the rear bumper and the right rear tail light. I don’t quite understand how anyone thought that these photos would help to sell this otherwise decent looking and somewhat rare car. This car is actually an A10-series Nissan Violet, known as a Datsun Stanza in Australia and the Datsun 510 in the US and Canada.

Someone at some point has boy-racered this car up a bit as you can tell from the wheels and the exhaust tip. There will be a lot of money and time involved in bringing this car back, it will have to go to a dedicated Datsun collector, I can’t imagine this car appealing to the masses in really any way. One other thing, this car has a salvage title, so there’s that, too.

Other than having blue seats for some odd reason, and the power-zapping three-speed automatic transmission, the rest of the front interior looks pretty good. There are no more interior photos, and you’ve already guessed that there wouldn’t be any engine photos. The seller says that it “ran fine when I parked it in 2012 (sure it still does with a new battery but I make no warranties).” Unlike fake-reality TV shows, any car that’s been parked for five years will need some coaxing to be usable again, probably more than just adding a new battery. This one should have Nissan’s L20B 2.0L inline-four with 97 hp. It’s a shame that this car has fallen this far into disrepair, it really is a rare one. Have any of you seen one of these post-real-510 510s?

Fast Finds


  1. Rock On

    Pictures are almost 5 years old. I can only imagine how much worse this car looks today.

  2. jwinters

    it is beyond me why you guys put stuff like this on here. come on show us something interesting please. this is junk.

    • RichC

      One man’s junk is another man’s diamond in the rough.

  3. AJR

    It is so SAD that people allow cars to fall into such state of disrepair and most times these cars can be sold long before it reaches this condition. Beautiful cars are parked and left to rot away. The owners of these cars have dreams about restoring them to concours condition but that is what it is ” ONLY A DREAM”. Their preference is just let it sit in the element and they never get to it nor allow another person to purchase it. They say “NOT FOR SALE” and “I’m restoring it”…
    What a waste of Great Cars.

  4. Sam

    You have to love how the Japanese derive car names.

    This ones a huge uphill battle. I see potential as a funky resto mod rally wagon with some big hella lights and rack on the roof, etc…think early Saab..

  5. Speedo

    Here is our “new” 510 wagon on Lake Champlain. This was an absolutely carefree car. It never let us down, well over 100K miles. I did replace the carb with a Weber with a manual choke. In the stop light drags, the manual transmission kept you in the hunt until third gear. :)

  6. Don H

    Funny when people put a big old tip on the tail pipe

  7. Stang1968

    I’d buy a 1980 510 hatchback if one came available near me. I like the square lights versus the round ones on the 78-79’s.

  8. Jon Hellinga

    If the L20 was in good enough shape it would be a good donor car for a “traditional” 510. 3 out of 4 wheels is a drawback as is the auto. If it was a manual with all 4 aftermarket wheels, it would be a decent parts donor.

  9. ROTAG999

    68-73 are the good NickleDimes this one not so much have seen a few back in the day not rare to me or wanted. I owned a 69 510 2 door my dailey driver car was a great snow car also miss it more then my 71 240Z do wish i had both of them back. My ex bought the 510 she would call me when it had any minor problems i told her car did not come with life time warranty or free labor…….rofl

  10. Jubjub

    Not particularly desirable. But it was probably a pretty nice, charming little wagon before the owner got a hold of it and added their personal touches. Seems a sad casualty of the Nostalgia Car/Drift/Tuner scene. Lack of the typical terminal rust is a shocker.

    It’s kinda like when you compliment someone’s car, which leads to a conversation where they tell you all about their “plans” and “ideas”. Yeah, it’s their car and they can do what they want with it, and I understand that. But usually they don’t and you end up seeing it during your next excursion at the local pick-n-pull.

    The key ziptied to the wheel is interesting too.

    • olddavid

      Insurance auctions do that at sale time.

  11. Andrew

    The missing wheel is on the ground

  12. Gear Head Engineer

    I owned this car. Well, not this exact one, but one just like it. Almost the same color too – mine was a light beige with beige vinyl interior. I loved it. Reliable, good gas mileage, plenty of room, and it towed my jet ski just fine. Obviously not a powerhouse, but could run 75mph all day.

    I paid all of $450 for mine in about 1990. Drove it from upstate NY to Key West a couple of weeks later. With one guy sleeping in the back while the other drove, we made good time. I wish I had kept it.

    I was pretty excited about this one until I saw the additional photos. Pretty beat up in the back. I don’t think that’s going to buff out…

    – John

  13. Miguel

    Why do you think this car is rare? If anybody here buys this car I sell the tail lights for it as well as many other items. They are reproductions but not bad.

  14. Chris In Australia

    A pooch, then and now.

  15. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    Owner must have swung that tail around, trying to be a tuner guy. The tailpipe adds 30hp. I love the fact that Nissan did an homage to woody wagons by applying a single foot-wide strip of contact paper on the rear tailgate. Funny.

  16. Melvin Burwell

    Looks like a good deal. Fixer upper for somebody with deep pockets. And a little patience.

  17. A.J. Whittaker

    This was my first car! The wheel was off after it was T-Boned while parked on the side of the road. Insurance wrote it off (of course) and I thought it was crushed. I loved that car.

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