The Datsun 510 was a series of the Datsun Bluebird sold from 1968 to 1974, and offered outside the U.S. and Canada as the Datsun 1600. According to AutoWeek's G.D. Levy, the 510 has often been called the "poor man's BMW." The 510's engineering was inspired by contemporary European sedans, particularly the 1966 BMW 1600-2, incorporating a SOHC engine, MacPherson strut suspension in front and independent, semi-trailing arms in the back. The European-influenced sheet metal design is attributed to Datsun in-house designer, Teruo Uchino.
The engine was pushed through by Nissan USA president Yutaka Katayama, a design developed through Prince, an acquisition, with some Mercedes Benz influence.
Launched in August 1968, it was one of the most comprehensive Bluebird ranges in terms of body styles: a two-door sedan, a four-door sedan, a five-door station wagon, and a two-door coupé (added in November 1968).
This range became famous for Nissan's rallying successes outside Japan and paved the way for greater Nissan sales internationally.
The Datsun 510 released to the U.S. market came originally with the Hitachi downdraft carbureted 1.6L L-series I4 engine, with an advertised gross power of 96 hp (72 kW), a claimed top speed of 100 mph, front disc brakes, 4-wheel independent suspension (MacPherson strut front and semi trailing arm rear- wagons had a solid rear live axle and leaf springs in back), rear-wheel drive, and either a 4-speed manual or a 3-speed automatic transmission. 2-door sedan, 4-door sedan, and 4-door station wagon variants were available. It achieved 20-30 mpg in factory trim (U.S.). JDM spec models were also available in a 2-door coupe body style in either a 1.6L or a 1.8L (1973) L-Series engine. 510's in some markets offered available twin Hitachi side-draft carburetors, which were a smaller version of the British SU (Skinner's Union) design used on Jaguars and MGs. These engines also used enhanced compression and camshaft profiles to produce more power. SSS models (not available for the U.S. 510) offered upgraded instrumentation and interior trim, as well as appropriate exterior badges. All U.S. model 510s received anti-sun glass from 1970-on.
Source: Wikipedia, 2012