I love this blurry little photo, which was included as part of a “World of Datsun” spread in a 1976 brochure called “A Guide to Nissan Motor Co. Ltd”. This couple from Singapore are clearly loving life, most probably because they have a brand new scarlet Violet SSS Hardtop, slammed on polished slot mags. Awesome.
The whole ‘New 510’ thing was never going to wash with American buyers, particularly those who had experienced the original 510. The ‘New’ 510 was in fact a Datsun Violet A10 model, which elsewhere in the world was known as a Datsun 140J or 160J, or as a Stanza down under. With its live axle rear suspension, its dynamics were no match for the original PL510 model sold in the US, although it did go on to great racing (and rallying) success. It just never gained the cult status of the original.
This hatchback version arrived in on the UK market only in 160J SSS form, with a twin carburettor 1.6 and 5 speed gearbox, although I’m not sure if it would have been any faster than its American sibling, which came with a 2.0 litre single carburettor L20B.
I have always liked this series of illustrated adverts (there are others for 620 and B210 too) as the main illustration looks like the box artwork on old 1970’s Matchbox cars…
I won’t go into too much detail here regarding the history of Nissan Motorsport’s Datsun 160J SSS Turbo race cars… I’ll save that for a future post… but for now here’s a brief outline of the story. Nissan had been dabbling a little with turbo technology from the start of the 1970’s, and in 1974 it unveiled its wild, 300 horsepower LZ20B, Turbo powered Violet SSS (KP710 model). Unfortunately, the timing was pretty poor, as the fuel crisis had hit hard in Japan and it wasn’t really viable for Nissan to take its fire breathing, gas guzzling Violets racing in there. So the racers were shipped off to Malaysia, where they were entered into the Selangor Grand Prix, via Datsun importer Tan Chong and Sons. In the export markets the Nissan Violet was known as the Datsun 160J, so the cars were title and liveried accordingly…Continue reading Datsun 160J SSS Turbo
So, finally my French Datsun 1600 SSS is home and I can finally take a close look to see just how much work I have taken on. The answer is… rather a lot! The rear quarters and boot floor are particularly poor, as are the sills, and the interior is in terrible shape, although remarkably the dash top isn’t split! Fortunately, I have plenty of parts stashed away including lots of new panels, original carpet and seats. A European 510 SSS is a very rare car and so it’s going to be worth every effort to restore it. Thankfully all the important SSS parts are there and serviceable. Literally the only SSS part that needs replacement is the gear knob. Click through to take a look at the car as it currently stands…Continue reading Datsun 1600 SSS
Time for the next installment of my continental adventure. In part 2 I made it all the way to Polisot and bought a 510 SSS. Now, at 3am in the morning, I had recovered from a day and a half without sleep and hit the Autoroute again. This time headed west towards the Vendée, more specifically an area right on the edge of the Vendée and Deux-Sèvres, a bit south of Pouzauges where an old friend of mine lives. Only about about a 440km drive…Continue reading La cinq-cent dix: Part 3
…And so continuing from yesterday’s post, I arrived in France! As I needed to be chez M. Martin as soon as possible, I elected to travel via péage (toll road) which adds a bit to the cost but simplifies navigation a little. The penalty for travel this way is that there is not much to see but I did take a few snaps along the way…Continue reading La cinq-cent dix: Part 2
Exactly one week ago, whilst sat in front of my computer enjoying a lovely cup of tea, I thought I’d have a casual browse of the marvelous French classified ad website, Leboncoin. There’s always interesting cars for sale on Leboncoin, even the occasional Datsun, although those are usually limited to models which are often not terribly desirable to me. However this time an audible ‘mon dieu!‘ was uttered when the first thing I saw was this…
Now, I have been fiddling around with Datsuns for a pretty long time, and this has to be the first time I have ever seen a European spec Datsun 1600 SSS for sale. The legendary 510 SSS. I can’t imagine that many were sold in Europe at all! For me this model is the Holy Grail of 510’s (even more so than a Coupe), and one which I had never honestly expected to see let, alone have the opportunity to acquire. I had to buy it!…
I have been trying to learn a bit of French for the last year, but I’m a very long way from being able to communicate, as I’m still very much at beginner level. Regardless, this really had to be done, so using what little I had learned, along with some Google translate assistance, I fired off an email asking the seller if he had a Carte Gris (the French registration document), if it was more or less complete and whether he could email me some more pictures. I did make a point of stating that French wasn’t my first language (although I’m sure he could have figured that out!) but avoided trying to communicate in English as feel that’s a bit rude.Continue reading La cinq-cent dix: Part 1
The image used in this ad is a heavily cropped version of a photo which Nissan used in other ads and brochures at the time. The original image shows the whole car, a 710 SSS which is sat low on some polished mags. If anyone has a copy of that pic please message me as I can’t find it anywhere!