Sitting Since ’84: 1972 Datsun 510 Wagon

At first, I thought this Datsun 510 wagon was sporting a cheap repaint. But after seeing the interior photos, it’s clear this is the real-deal, Kermit-green from the factory paint code, as the floors, engine bay and door jambs all share the same color. Looking a little battered but otherwise complete, this 510 Wagon here on eBay is listed with a Buy-It-Now of just $1,399.99.

These early Datsuns are prone to rust, much like anything Japanese from the era, but this one is far from the worst we’ve seen. The seller notes the driver and passenger floors are in need of replacement, and that the rear quarters and front end sheetmetal will also need attention. There’s a missing tail light lens on the driver’s side but all glass looks good.

Doors appear solid as well, and the carpets have already been removed. Sometimes this is a good thing, as it shows potential buyers exactly where the concern areas reside, but it also means the next owner will have to source a carpet kit. Seats look OK – not great – and the interior in general is in need of a strong cleaning. Sadly, this wagon is an automatic, but it seems most of these early Japanese wagons were optioned this way.

The engine bay is perhaps one of the bright spots, as it looks relatively unmessed-wish aside from some rats’ nests of wires. Shock towers look good but the engine does look dirty; the seller says nothing about its ability to turn over freely. It does roll, stop and steer and the e-brake works, so it has that going for it. Would you attempt to rescue this Datsun 510 that’s been sitting since 1984?


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  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    33 years ago, in 1984, a friend of mine gave me one of these. We’d been working together painting houses, fresh out of college at Ohio State. The 510 was our paint wagon, and it never failed.

    He bought a great old Chevy van to replace the 510, and just gave me the Datsun, which I drove for two years.

    I recall some electrical bugaboos with the car, so I got a used engine wiring harness from a 510 sedan at the local bone yard, carefully marking each wire and where it connected. After carefully installing the harness, the car wouldn’t start. I noticed that I had 3 wires left over…then I realized the donor car was an automatic, so I twisted the 3 wires together and voila! the damn car started! It was some kind of relay I guessed.

    The car was super ugly, but it served me well, and despite the POS car, I was able to meet a beautiful ballerina from the local ballet company, and we’ve been married 31 years now. Shout out to the Datsun 510 wagon.

  2. misterlou Member

    Back in the early 90’s a guy in one of the flats next door had one these. Parked it on the street in various spots throughout the neighborhood. In the back seat behind the driver there was a seated dummy made entirely of cotton balls. Inevitably I’d be walking home at night and the silhouette of that upright back seat passenger would always scare the crap out of me. I always referred to the owners “The Cotton Ball Man”.

  3. XMA0891

    The only car my dad ever bought brand new was a ’72 wagon – White over dark blue.
    The thing it seemed to do best was deteriorate – We called it the “Rotsun” – I remember being able to push my fingers through the tops of the front fenders. It had to be disappointing on some level to see the car rot away before you’ve even finished paying for it. That was just the way it was with that era of vehicle in the Northeast. The memories… We made it.

  4. Oingo

    The sedans are good for racing if you can get one that is not toast. I was given a 69 in 77 or so after our ex elderly neighbor a 80 year old widow and nearly blind was sold it with her thinking she had bought something for her daughter. Upon looking at it she was able to determine that it was junker with new plugs and wires so it would run. My father the junk collector took it and gave it ti me. Me and a pal took drill and wire wheel to it and found body filler an inch thick which we were quickly covered int. Pulled a wheel confirm the death sentence was applicable. I kicked a fenders off with ease and we crushed the roof in. Engine ran well. Dad was mad and we were glad to have had the chance to ensure that deathtrap was not sold to anybody but auto salvage.

  5. stillrunners lawrence Member

    Yes…my girl’s parents bought one of these green one’s new…it also had the wood grain….remember that new car smell it didn’t have then but it went though many a kid and held up…..luckily she’s still holding up and her hair still smells dreamy…

  6. Alford Pouse Member

    Had one of these in Colorado Springs. It had one thing in common with my early Subaru Wagons. Engine was still running great when the body was rusted away! Lasted about the same miles mid 200 thousand.

  7. Frank Romance

    Almost close. My wife at the time, bought a 1980 B210 Wagon in about 1985. 5 speed( even though she wasn’t standard friendly) good little car. Silver Blue (sort of).

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