1970 Datsun 510
- BRE Tribute
- Set up for Autocross / Street Legal
- Built 1600cc with 4-Speed Manual
(Please note: If you happen to be viewing this 1970 Datsun 510 BRE Tribute on a website other than our Garage Kept Motors site, it's possible that you've only seen some of our many photographs of this vehicle due to website limitations. To be sure you access all the more than 195 photographs, as well as a short walk-around-and-startup video, please go to our main website: GarageKeptMotors.)
"That (BRE-Brock Racing Enterprises) team was so good, I don't think I was ever on another team that was quite as good as that one, and I was on a lot of great teams." - John Morton, winner of the SCCA Trans-Am series, 1971 and 72; interviewed by Andrew Golseth, Petrolicious, October 2016
That John Morton quote nicely sums up why the Trans-Am competition BRE Datsun 510 has become one of a handful of cars that define an era in racing. In case the 1971-72 Trans-Am racing series is not fresh in the memory cells, an online search for "Against All Odds: BRE" will bring up a terrific YouTube video of Morton's epic 1971 year. For any motorhead, it's 26 minutes well spent. That was the year the red-white-and-(some) blue Datsun sedans became motorsports legends. Morton's car wore Simonize livery, the number 46, and the bold racing stripes angling across its front flanks. If ever there was a car that deserved a "tribute" re-creation, it's the BRE Datsun 510.
Offered here is just such a tribute, and a very respectful-and competitive-one at that. This Datsun's conversion was no simple matter of paint and decals. This is a competition-crafted auto-crosser built to compete. John Morton would approve.
The car's paintwork faithfully replicates Peter Brock's original design on the 1971 car: brilliant red graces the grille area, hood, roof, trunk, and rear-end; the fenders and doors are white. The "missing headlight" in the front grille on this car does not match the original, but does provide additional radiator-cooling. "Competition" over style. The sports sedan's decals and door numbers reflect its current owner's wishes, but retain the style of the original car. In one deviation from the BRE car, exterior body panels on this tribute are free of damage (the original car "traded paint" with BMWs and Alfas any number of times). This car's lowered ride-height matches the original. Panasport-style wheels stand in for the 13-inch Libre wheels on the original, and wear Hoosier competition tires, strongly suggesting the tribute is meant to perform, not just look mean.
Inside, the serious-business cabin is red-paint-on-metal throughout. It has been stripped of all unnecessary trim, including all seating, but a single professional Kirkey racing seat for the driver. The floor-shifted 4-speed sits squarely... on the floor. A full cross-braced roll cage with substantial side protection is in place. A fire-suppression system, full complement of AccuMeter and SW-branded competition gauges, beefy flip-switches, and a Momo steering wheel speak to the car's legitimate competitive intent.
With a hopped-up 2.0-liter under the hood, Morton's 510 made about 190 horsepower; the tribute car retains its 1600cc engine tuned for auto-cross competition. Shock towers are cross-braced. Adjustable racing shock absorbers are mounted. Enhanced engine cooling is in place. The car's undercarriage showcases the four-wheel independent suspension (with added swaybars and adjustment hardware) that, together with its low overall weight, helped give the 510 a competitive advantage. In spite of its auto-crossing history, the underside of this car shows no noteworthy damage.
The faithful-to-the-original condition of this 1970 Datsun 510 BRE Tribute is presented in the more than 195 high-definition photographs, together with a short walk-around-and-startup video mentioned earlier, available at the GarageKeptMotors site. That said, there is no substitute for an in-person, up-close inspection. (Sorry... no "test auto-crossing" runs.) We do, however, encourage inspections by interested parties at our Grand Rapids, Michigan showroom. We ask only that an appointment be made by phone or email in advance. Our showroom is not open to the public.
Reflecting on what has become of racing in the modern era, John Morton was a bit wistful during his Petrolicious interview: "It's too complex now. The technology, it's fabulous, but I don't care about that aspect of it, and it's taken over the sport. I liked it when it was a simpler sport and sadly more dangerous. It's hard to explain. You don't want people to get hurt, I used to cry when my heroes were hurt or killed racing, but the romance of the danger is almost gone, and that's what made it alluring."
As much as anything, that sentiment supports creating a tribute to "The Most Famous Datsun of All Time." And it demands that the tribute be as faithfully executed as the #65 offered here.