One Man, Two Datsuns: 510 Wagon & Fairlady 280Z

Datsun 510 and Datsun 280Z Japanese Classics

Datsun, Datusn Z, 280Z, datsun 510, wagon

Graphic designer extraordinaire by trade, and a Datsun devotee by lifestyle, a guy who others refer to as, “Goki” is the epitome of a true enthusiast who appreciates the modernized ride of a nostalgic approach.

Goki’s Datsun 510 wagon and Nissan Fairlady 280Z haven’t necessarily undergone any flawless restoration processes, nor does it run sub-10 second quarter mile times or anything crazy like that. The modifications presented upon these vehicles fit within the parameters of what is efficient in his car lifestyle, both in terms of the daily driven aspect and budget. Sure, there’s small discrepancies such as rust on the undercarriage as well as loose electrical wires here and there; these qualities are not always noted as negative but instead gives unique character that solidifies the intended purpose of the vehicle.

datsun 510, datsun wagon, custom datsun

A little history lesson without being too lackluster; Datsun started as DAT Motorcar Co. in 1931 with “DAT” a simple acronym made up from the first letter of the names from the three founding fathers of the company.  However, soon after they were acquired by the Nissan Motor Co. their name was changed to DATSUN. Surviving through several global tragedies such as WWII, the Datsun name was finally eliminated in 1986 by the Nissan president to strengthen the Nissan brand in the global market. The cool factor in owning one of these machines is that much like the recent Saturn cars, the brand doesn’t exist anymore.

Goki's dog Dood rear 510 wagon

Although there were plenty of coupe and sedan versions to choose from, Goki chose the 1972 Datsun 510 wagon for practical reasons. The extra cargo room of the wagon helps for everything from a tidy chill area for pre-game tail gate parties, but really, it was meant for his furry side kick, Dood. Goki insists “The sedan and coupe 510’s are cool and all, but you cant really take your dog to the beach or load up a few bikes with ease.”

Datsun 510, Datsun wagon,Nissan KA24DE

The first thing Goki realized when he drove the car was the lack of power… not to mention reliability, and fuel efficiency of the engine. The old and tired L-series 1.6 liter Hitachi downdraft carbureted engine was swapped with a modern, fuel injected DOHC Nissan KA24DE engine donor-ed from a 1995 240SX. Considering the vehicle’s smog exempt status as well as the simplicity of this swap made it a perfect candidate for this upgrade.

Datsun 510 wagon interiorDatsun 510 wagon, Japan train handle

The interior is mostly stock with a few modern touches. Custom fit were a center console from a 90’s Honda and a shifter from a Sentra SE-R Spec V, but the best part is the installation of the “Oh Shit” handle taken from a Japanese subway train.

The exterior received a set of old school Hayashi Street wheels and a lowered stance.

Goki Datsun 280Z Konig wheels

The 510 wagon’s evil sibling is this gorgeous 1977 Datsun Fairlady 280Z. This Fairlady’s used mainly as a weekend cruiser but at times, it’s unleashed to satisfy some spirited midnight driving needs. With a new front fascia, fender mirrors, and Konig wheels added, out on the town with his girlfriend, the 280Z turns a lot of heads from people who appreciate a cleanly restored Japanese muscle car.

Datsun 280Z rear alley shot

Goki is an active member in the Datsun and Ratsun message boards, where he serves his talents to the online community by designing unique stickers. These designs are targeted exclusively for the Datsun old school lifestyle mixed with influence from Japanese insignias.

Goki, ponkotsu sticker, Datsun 510Goki, wagon, kyuusha sticker, Datsun 510

His devotion for these machines goes back a few notches in the family tree, where it roots from his influential father also owning several Datsun and Nissan cars throughout as Goki was growing up. One of his father’s current prized possession includes a beautifully restored 280Z which was unfortunately unavailable for this photo shoot.

Datsun 280Z, fairlady, custom ZDatsun 280z side logo

Isn’t it bad ass when it seems like the manufacturers purposely built the vehicle for aftermarket components? One example is that the Autometer gauges fit perfectly with the diameter of the cluster and vents of the 280Z. There are a few hop-up performance gains made to the engine, but Goki claims that its mostly stock. For now, sacrificing factory reliability for performance isn’t very practical for him since he still has to smog the 1978 Datsun.

All car nuts like Goki still wish that their ride will soon one day be categorized as Smog Exempt (especially in Smog-Nazi state of California). As of now, the exemption is labeled as 1975 and older cars. As we make technological progress in lower emission automobiles, will the day of late 70s and early 80s cars becoming smog exempt ever come?