It's 510 Again!Wed, 20 Nov 2013 00:00:00 -0800
Any sports or sporty car driver worth their gear oil will remember the mighty Datsun 510 - the front-engine, rear-drive coupe, sedan and wagon that gave racers on a budget something that was just as fun to pilot as BMWs and Alfas of the day. From 1968 to 1973 you could have as much fun as any of those guys with fancy European rides. While a little more boxy than its competitors, the 510 was nonetheless nimble and extraordinarily fun to drive.
Now Nissan has brought back the 510 in the form of these two Tokyo concepts, the IDx Freeflow and the IDx NISMO, both revealed on the show's first press day.
You can see more than a little 510 in the two concepts, too. Even the colors were reminiscent of the 510: one was Sahara Gold and the other distinctly BRE. The B of BRE was even there, the great Peter Brock, whose Datsun 510s won Trans-Am championships in 1971 and '72 in their red and white livery.
While officials were vague about drivetrain specifics, we heard that the concepts are both runners, sitting on top of old rear-drive Silvia S15 mechanicals with 200-plus horsepower underhood. We hope that's true.
Several engines have been bantered about as potential production powerplants for such a car, with the most common being four cylinders and about 2.0 liters in displacement. But that's purely speculative. The press release mentions an ideal engine in the Freeflow as a 1.2- to 1.5-liter gasoline engine mated to a CVT transmission. The release also says engineers proposed a 1.6-liter four for the NISMO with another CVT. Attention Nissan: No! Do not do that! Manual transmission and at least 2.0 liters is mandatory to avoid shooting yourselves in the foot!
Maybe it's too early to send letters forbidding a CVT. Maybe it's not too early.
We asked Nissan's chief planning officer Andy Palmer if there was a platform these cars could be built on.
“Absolutely there is a platform we could use,” he said, but did not elaborate.
If you look in the past at promising Nissan concept cars that went into production you'll see that there's a gap of about three to four years, which would put the return of the Datsun 510 at 2016 or 2017.
We have opened a savings account.
By Mark Vaughn