Datsun 510 390 WHP 350 LB-FT Of Torque"I was tired of getting pulled over and ticketed every week in my '03 Evolution. I got fix-it tickets and State Referee tickets for emissions, modified exhaust, even ride height, and window tint. I was fed up," Stewart Gibbs says. "I knew it was time to do something different, unique, and most importantly, smog exempt."
With a sound idea in his head, it was time for this 21-year-old Yuba City, Calif., native to find the perfect platform. "I've always loved the 510's body lines and appreciated the car's racing heritage. So I was off to find a 'cream puff.' After weeks of looking at hacked and rusted buckets, my father called me up and said he found a mint 510 locally. About $1,500 later, he was rolling home in the tired automatic L16."
"It was crazy clean. Every nut and bolt was intact and original. Nothing had been messed with, nothing changed. It still sported the original hubcaps on all 13-inch steelies. Although the paint was a bit faded, I couldn't argue with this 35-year-old car. My dad even said it was too good of a car to tear down for a project. I thought the opposite; this was the perfect candidate."
Night after night, bolt-by-bolt Gibbs, manager of Jerry's Stereo, stripped the interior, motor, drivetrain, windows, the works. He sent the shell and other key pieces 45 minutes south to Revolution Autobody in Sacramento. A rare '73 JDM Datsun grille, only available in Japan on 1973s, was flanked by HID headlights and an aggressive induction system. The HIDs were scavenged from an Infiniti FX45 and retrofitted in new housings with 4100k bulbs and new ballasts. Since the projectors are bi-xenon, the high beams in the FX45 housing the inner headlamp openings in the grille would be void, so Gibbs conjured custom air funnels to give a meaner yet functional look. All trim items were reworked and Gibbs also acquired a pair of rare metal pillar vents, NOS euro taillight assemblies, and front JDM turn signal markers. The entire stainless exterior was re-polished to a retina-scorching shine and re-installed.
Stewart had been stockpiling parts to make his vision a reality for months. With the body laid up for paint, a pile of parts accumulated in the garage. The car was sprayed in what Stewart calls "an awesome sparking blue," also known as Infiniti G35 Caribbean Blue, and returned three months later. Without hesitation the task of putting Humpty Dumpty back together again began.
A Datsport conversion kit, steering brace, and Nismo motor/tranny mounts were used to drop a Blacktop SR20DET engine into the bay. Phil Lee from Speed of Sound in Sacramento took the baton from Stewart and fabricated upper and lower intercooler pipes for the custom three-row front-mount intercooler.
The S13 vintage SR20DET runs a Garrett GT30R turbo secured by a LoveFab log-style exhaust manifold and a set of 264-degree HKS cams. Beyond spooling, the SR's chorus of boost is sung by a TiAL Sport's 38mm wastegate and a Sard blow-off valve. A custom turbo-back exhaust system terminates with a rare, handmade Veilside titanium canister. On the cold side, a polished GReddy large plenum intake manifold adds a bit of sheen to the scene.
Tuning is always key to the success of any turbo-oriented buildup. Stewart is using a Z32 MAF, and a reflashed and calibrated ECU from Enthalpy Racing in Florida to accommodate the upgraded 750cc RC Engineering injectors. The rest of the fuel system consists of a 16-gallon RCI fuel cell, a gold Sard fuel rail, trunk-mounted Walbro 255lph pump, and custom lines. An A'PEXi S-AFC NEO is employed to fine-tune the combo, which is running on the wastegate spring at 16 psi. Stewart estimates power at 390 to the wheels with more on tap.