VIDEO: GrassRoots Garage comes to California for Datsun Heaven

The online space for car videos is pretty crowded, but a favorite among the JNC staff right now is Australia’s Grassroots Garage. The editing is straightforward , their videos aren’t crammed with fancy drone tracking shots, and the host has a great accent. But it’s honest and, well, grassroots. They recently came to America and shot a whole lot of footage for a series called Datsun Heaven.

Showing just how diverse the Datsun 510 platform is, the series starts out with what is a pretty rare swap. SoCal native Miguel Cervantes installed a built Xterra V6 into his green 2-door.

Part two features Raymond Medeiros‘ 1971 510 wagon, which stays a bit closer to stock with an L-series, but a bigger 1.8-liter tuned with fuel injection and individual throttle bodies. We love the cleanliness of the engine bay and agree wholeheartedly that it needs no repaint.

In the third installment, Grassroots Garage talks with Ben Pila, owner of a 510 bought and built in the 1980s and kept in period style. It features a beautiful Mikuni-fed L20B stroked to 2.4 liters with a modified Nissan Hardbody crankshaft.

The fourth episode profiles Raymond Oca’s clean 1973 2-door, which runs yet another configuration under the hood, a KA24-T setup with ITBs from a Suzuki motorcycle.

Next, we take a break from the flurry of 510s to head to SEMA, where super friend of JNC Jay Kho’s DR30 Skyline was on display at the Enkei Wheels booth.

Part five returns to SoCal with John Ross Huckins’ 1972 510 Wagon, a car we’ve seen at many shows and are always stunned by. Not only does it have SR20DET power, but John redid the entire rear suspension with a 4-link and coilover setup.

Episode six features Sebastian Hill’s yellow 2-door. It also runs a K-series, but a naturally aspirated KA24. We can attest to the drivability of this car, as it is also a Touge California veteran.

The next video returns to SEMA, where they interview Troy Ermish, builder of Daniel Wu’s Tanto 510. Since it emerged from Ermish’s shop, it of course sports an L-series motor, but this one takes perhaps the ultimate form, a Rebello 2.4.

It isn’t until part seven that we finally get a 510 with a configuration we’ve seen before. Nelson Irwin’s 1971 510 wagon also has naturally aspirated twin-cam KA24 power, and is a father-son project many years in the making.

If this is 510 overload, it seems that Grassroots Garage isn’t even close to being done with their Datsun Heaven series, especially given the other familiar faces in the background that have yet to be featured. It’s really great to hear the owners tell their stories in a straightforward fashion and see the genuine enthusiasm shown by hosts Peter and Ryan from halfway around the world. We look forward to seeing more.

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26 Responses to VIDEO: GrassRoots Garage comes to California for Datsun Heaven

  1. MikeRL411 said:

    They should come and see my original RL411 !

  2. John Williams said:

    All these episodes except the SEMA one’s were filmed at my shop. What a great day it was. To say Peter & Ryan are Datsun crazy is an understatement.

  3. Ryan and Pete said:

    Thanks so much for the kind words JNC!!!!
    John we can’t thankyou enough for opening your shop for us! Annnnd we can’t wait to share your beautiful Wagon 👌🏻

  4. Raymond said:

    Buy who was the star of the show. It was me. That was a good day and those Aussies are bad ass.

  5. Mattwithoutyou said:

    I loved the Aussie dudes and they were all great cars. The color of that Tanto 510 has really grown on me.

    Random memory time. The last time that particular car ( 510 of Daniel Wu’s ) was posted, one of the biggest idiots that ever lived (apparently) came into the post and misread a comment, (which was innocuous enough “as read”, I think someone quoted a mild criticism from the original write-up but the guy didn’t understand quote signs, and thought the commenter was criticizing the car himself…yeah, it was really that dumb), then just wouldn’t let it go no matter how many times people pointed out to him he was wrong, and then just devolved into ALL CAPS YELLING I CANT HEAR YOU THATS FAKE NEWS HUH UH THATS NOT TRUE WRONG WRONG WRONG style trolling, that the JNC comment section had been mostly immune to.

    It was one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever read, and I actually avoided the comment section here for awhile. Seeing the car in this post brought back a flood of emotions, I must have got PTSD or some such.

    • MIKE said:

      YEP! AND YOUR IGNORANCE KEEPS ON GIVING THIS FORUM A BAD NAME. .SUCH COMMENT AS FROM DAVE FROM FUTO FAB HAVE YET TO RESPOND TO WHY HE HAD TO USE A FAMOUS ACTOR’S BUILD TO PROMOTE HIS BUSINESS BY SAYING HE SHOULD HAVE WENT AND GOT A MORE RUSTED OUT CAR TO BUILD SO THAT HE WOULD USE FUTO FAB’S PARTS AND PROMOTE HIS BUSINESS..THAT WAS JUST POOR TASTE..ESPECIALLY FROM A BUSINESS THAT WAS SUPPOSE TO BE PROFESSIONAL AND USING DANIEL WU’S POSTING TO DO SO. THAT WAS UNCALLED FOR..ANYWAY YOU SPELL IT…GO BACK AND READ THE POST..ITS STILL THERE. YOU ARE JUST BUTT HURT, BECAUSE SOMEONE WAS BRAVE ENOUGH TO CALL IT OUT AND MAKE IT A VALID POINT. GET A LIFE..AND GO CRY TO DAVE AT FUTO FAB, YOUR MOST LIKELY A GOOD FRIEND OF DAVE’S TO CARRY THIS THIS FAR. AND COME TO HIS DEFENSE..,.AND DAVE HAS YET TO COMMENT/JUSTIFY ON WHAT HE DID ON THIS FORUM..TILL THIS DAY. ..NO RESPONSE. TRYING TO GET CHEAP ADVERTISEMENT BY COMMENTING LIKE THAT ON SOMEONE FAMOUS.. AND THEIR BUILD..IS JUST POOR TASTE AND REALLY REFLECTS HOW THEY ARE.

      • Mattwithoutyou said:

        Mike, he didn’t say that. I can’t believe you’re still lurking. Dave from Futo Fab quoted the original author, a comment he made. Re-read the story and see that he was responding to the original author, saying it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a pristine car to start with because he makes reproduction panels to make any car pristine. Nothing you have said has any correlation to anything anyone else said, which makes everyone involved think you are either a:crazy or b: someone who is a competitor of Dave from Futo Fab out to smear him. He’s not going to respond to you because you’re crazy and nothing you say makes any sense at all. I’m guessing you’re some geezer who found his way onto The internet, and that’s okay, we need geezers too-but when you’re proven wrong, bow out, apologize, and log off, don’t start slamming the keyboard with wild “all caps” accusations. I’ve never met Dave from Futo Fab, regrettably I’ve never even owned a Datsun, I’m just someone stunned that people like you exist, and I’m convinced you must be trolling.

    • MIKE said:

      AND YES ..MATT-WITH-OUT- YOU …IS A GREAT THING ON THIS FORUM. IN CASE YOU HAVE NOT READ THIS IS..JAPANESE NOSTALGIC CAR. HENCE JAPANESE CULTURE RELATED CARS…SUCH PEOPLE LIKE YOU DOESN’T EXIST IN JAPAN..PEOPLE OF JAPANESE CULTURE JUST DON’T DO OR SAY IGNORANT COMMENTS LIKE YOU. THEY KNOW BETTER. THIS FORUM HAS AND EXISIT FOR JAPANESE CULTURED CARS AND THE WAY OF THEIR THINKING WHICH MAKES WHAT THEY DO AND BUILD GREAT…AND CONTINUES TO DO SO. ONLY IGNORANT PEOPLE LIKE YOU COME ON HERE AND MAKE TROUBLE, POST TRASH AND RUIN THIS GREAT FORUM..YOU STAYING A WAY IS PROBABLY THE BEST ADVICE GIVEN TO YOURSELF. HERE ON JAPANESE NOSTALGIC CAR.COM ..MATT-WITH-OUT -YOU ..SUCH A FITTING NAME

      • Mattwithoutyou said:

        Mike, better people than I have tried to explain this to you before but I feel like I have to try.

        “Our only gripe is that it seems a fairly clean bone-stock example was used as the donor, and we hope future builds start with something a bit more far gone.”

        This is the thing Dave posted that made you so upset, but Dave didn’t actually write it, Ben Hsu did. It’s in quotes because Dave was responding to Ben. Look in that article, right by the last picture and read the text of it. Ben wrote that, and Dave was responding to him. I’m not him but I assume he hasn’t come back to answer your “allegations” because you are not even reading correctly what was written. Dave Patten had no criticism of the build, and Ben Hsu had a very mild, if valid one. Before you hit the caps lock and start bashing away at your keyboard, think about what I said, and see how silly you are acting.

    • Ben Hsu said:

      Mike, this is Ben, who wrote the original article. Matt, and others, are absolutely correct. I was the one who originally wrote in the article that I wished they started with a less pristine example. Dave was simply quoting me. I’m not trying to take anything away from Troy or Daniel’s vision and work. It is obviously an incredible car. Anyway, I didn’t mean for my words to create such a commotion. It’s my fault, not Dave or anyone else’s. Let’s put it to rest.

      • Mattwithoutyou said:

        Ben, for what it’s worth I’m sorry for my part in bringing it back up. I thought I was just relaying a funny, relatable, story about Internet comments in general and how the weirdest things stick with you, I would never had done it if I hadn’t thought it had been put to bed long ago, I should have known better. I love this site and I’m grateful to you who make it happen, please accept my apology.

      • Ben Hsu said:

        No worries, Matt. Glad you are here and contributing your thoughts and comments. All good!

      • MIKE said:

        THANK YOU BEN FOR CLEARING THINGS UP AS YOU CAN SEE FOR FACE VALUE WHAT, IS WRITTEN ON THE INTERNET ISN’T WHAT IT SEEMS TO BE. AND WITHOUT AN EXPLANATION FOLLOWING UP TO EXPLAIN THE REASON BEHIND IT.,. WHEN IT WAS WRITTEN. I DID NOT SEE YOU AS THE AUTHOR OF THE POST..JUST DAVE . AND WHEN I RESPONDED TO IT..NO ONE CAME FORWARD TO EXPLAIN IT( IN A POLITE MATURE MANNER)..AND DAVE DID NOT POST AN EXPLANATION.. THE RESPONSES FROM MATT AND OTHERS..JUST BASHED THE RESPONSE I POSTED AND DID NOT PROVIDE AN MATURE RESPONSE…JUST AN YOUR AN A$%$h&&LE..IDIOT..( WHICH IS THE WRONG RESPONSE AND APPROACH ..A SIMPLE
        POLITE EXPLANATION WOULD HAVE BEEN SUFFICE..IT WAS WRONG FOR MATT AND OTHERS TO JUST USE THE KEY BOARD TO POST ABUSIVE LANGUAGE, INSTEAD A SENSIBLE, MATURE RESPONSE…, WHICH IS ALL TOO ALL TO COMMON ON THE INTERNET AND THE FORUMS. WHEN I FIRST CAME TO THIS FORUM., I THOUGHT IT WAS DIFFERENT AND HAS ALOT OF CLASS, GOOD KNOWLEDGE AND NO NONSENSE. AND DIDN’T LIKE TO SEE THIS FORUM END UP TO BE THE SAME. THIS FORUM IS TRULY A GREAT PLACE AND BEN ..YOU DO A GREAT JOB OF PROVIDING LOTS OF “HIT IT ON THE NAIL” INFORMATION AND KNOWLEDGE..ITS NOT TRENDY AND SPEAKS THE TRUE FACTS AND KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT JAPANESE NOSTALGIC CARS AND CULTURE IS TRULY ABOUT. A LOT OF THE YOUNGER GENERATION DON’T UNDERSTAND WHERE, WHAT AND WHY THESE CARS ARE…AND THINK THEY ARE JUST COOL CARS, YET THERE ARE FACTS AND REASONS WHY THEY ARE WHAT THEY ARE TODAY AND HOW THEY’VE BECOME WHAT THEY REPRESENT IN TODAY’S AND AGE. I HAVE SEEN YOU SPEAK AND REPRESENT THESE CARS, AND CAN SEE THAT, YOU HAVE A DEEP PASSION , KNOWLEDGE OF THESE CARS AND STRIVE TO PROVIDE IN GREAT, TRUE AND ACCURATE DETAILS TO WHAT THESES CARS REPRESENT IN TODAYS DAY AND AGE…THESE CARS EXISTED BEFORE THE RICE ROCKET BECAME POPULAR, WHICH SETS THE FOUNDATION TO GREATER AND BETTER PLATFORMS FOR THE CARS THAT ARE AVAILABLE TODAY…AGAIN THANK YOU FOR YOUR RESPONSE/EXPLANATION ..AND THE GREAT WORK YOU DO .., PROVIDING A GREAT FORUM TO DISCUSS THESE GREAT CARS. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK! I KNOW YOU WILL BECAUSE ITS A PASSION i CAN SEE YOU HAVE AND IT WILL CARRY ON IN THE REPRESENTATION OF “JAPANESE NOSTALGIC CARS”

        • Mattwithoutyou said:

          Mike, I’m really interested in who you are as a person. Your response here is fascinating, and I think indicative of a larger problem in society in general, but I read it with great humor.

          According to your response, you’re walking away the hero here, the onus was on Ben to explain himself to you, and it was really his problem that you misunderstood, no “sorry for misunderstanding, sorry to Dave for my wild accusations” just an all caps tirade full of dishonesty and grandstanding about your generation vs mine. It is us who should be sorry.

          The thread you are referencing is still open, anyone who wants to can look and see that I didn’t call you an asshole or give you multiple rude responses, I refrained from posting at all in that thread. Yeah, I never typed a word. Others did try and explain it to you and I don’t think they were being really rude, either.

          Your very first post attacks Dave from Futo and then goes on to say his reproduction panels are actually thinner than stock. Someone measured and called you out on that and then you changed tactics completely, never mentioning the thickness issue again.

          We have crossed some sort of event horizon in this country where facts don’t matter, whoever yells the loudest gets to decide what goes. Your discourse has been more uncivil than anyone else involved, but you just painted yourself the victim here when you have repeatedly led the charge about something you were dead wrong about.

          And your bit about “these kids just don’t get it”, I hear the same condescending attitude from older relatives all the time, because they read Bill Gates is giving away his fortune to random Facebook users and there’s nothing some dumb kid like me can say to make it untrue, or any other such nonsense. I grew up in the 80s, I’m almost forty years old. I don’t know everything, in fact, the older I get the more I realize I barely know anything, but I know enough to say when I’m sorry.

          So I apologize for your ignorance and I regret my role in spreading it. I’m done with this topic and I regret it entirely but I will not let you smear my name around. Good day sir.

          • MIKE said:

            AGAIN, SEE HOW YOU ARE ..MATT TRYING TO BE FACETIOUS..”So I apologize for your ignorance and I regret my role in spreading it. I’m done with this topic and I regret it entirely but I will not let you smear my name around. Good day sir.” AFTER ALL THE CLARIFICATION, YOU STILL PERSIST TO TRY AND GET THE UPPER HAND AND HAVE THE LAST WORD..DESPITE..ITS BEEN DONE AND OVER WITH..YOU HAVE A DEFINITE CONTROL ISSUE..YOU CONTINUE TO BASH…According to your response, you’re walking away the hero here, the onus was on Ben to explain himself to you, and it was really his problem that you misunderstood, no “sorry for misunderstanding, sorry to Dave for my wild accusations” just an all caps tirade full of dishonesty and grandstanding about your generation vs mine. It is us who should be sorry.

            The thread you are referencing is still open, anyone who wants to can look and see that I didn’t call you an asshole or give you multiple rude responses, I refrained from posting at all in that thread. Yeah, I never typed a word. Others did try and explain it to you and I don’t think they were being really rude, either.

            Your very first post attacks Dave from Futo and then goes on to say his reproduction panels are actually thinner than stock. Someone measured and called you out on that and then you changed tactics completely, never mentioning the thickness issue again.

            We have crossed some sort of event horizon in this country where facts don’t matter, whoever yells the loudest gets to decide what goes. Your discourse has been more uncivil than anyone else involved, but you just painted yourself the victim here when you have repeatedly led the charge about something you were dead wrong about.

            And your bit about “these kids just don’t get it”, I hear the same condescending attitude from older relatives all the time, because they read Bill Gates is giving away his fortune to random Facebook users and there’s nothing some dumb kid like me can say to make it untrue, or any other such nonsense. I grew up in the 80s, I’m almost forty years old. I don’t know everything, in fact, the older I get the more I realize I barely know anything, but I know enough to say when I’m sorry….AFTER THE FACT YOUR STILL AT IT. YOU NEED TO DEFINE IN YOURSELF BEFORE TRYING TO DEFINE OTHERS..AS YOU TRULY HAVE ISSUES. I HAVE NO INTEREST IN PEOPLE WHO JUST ACT LIKE OUR CURRENT PRESIDENT…A BIG BABY, WHEN HE DOESN’T GET WHAT HE WANTS HE THROWS A TANTRUM.ACTS LIKE A BIG BULLY..PROBABLY WHY YOU STRUGGLE MENTALLY WITH WHAT YOU POST ON HERE.
            THIS WAS A SIMPLE MISUNDERSTANDING, AND IF PEOPLE WHO CHOOSE TO HAVE A SITE AND POST A MESSAGE, RESEMBLING A NEGATIVE CRITICISM.. WILL INDUCE A RESPONSE..THAT’S WHY WE HAVE THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH..BUT WE HAVE TO BE CAREFUL WHAT AND HOW WE SAY .” THERE ARE NO TWO HUMAN BEINGS ALIKE IN THIS WORLD” WE JUST NEED TO RESPECT EACH OTHER. MATT YOU SEEM TO HAVE A CHIP ON YOUR SHOULDER AND WANT TO HASH IT OUT THE 1ST CHANCE YOU GET..AND WONT GIVE UNTIL YO HAVE THE UPPER HAND OR LAST WORD. IF THAT IS THE CASE THIS SITE AND FORUM IS NO SUCH PLACE. DO YOURSELF A FAVOR..ACT LIKE AN MATURE ADULT AND HEAD TO YOUR OWN ADVICE..LOOK IN THE MIRROR TO WHAT YOUR TRYING TO SHOVE..REFRAIN FROM RESPONDING TO GAIN ATTENTION FOR YOUR SELF GRATIFICATION. NO NEED TO RESPOND AS YOUR A LOST CAUSE..IT WILL JUST ESCALATE, AS YOU DO NOT HAVE THE ABILITY TO BE MATURE NOR COMPREHEND WHEN TO JUST LEAVE THINGS ALONE

      • Ben Hsu said:

        Awesome. Thanks for the reply. Glad we cleared things up!

  6. Jigg LePeouf said:

    All these car videographers must all have the SAME source for bad music. My god!

    Although, The Smoking Tire’s podcast old intro music took the cake. Probably the worst “music” I’ve ever heard.

    At least with these other car videos it just sounds like an extended track of the same lame song. How can people with such good taste in vehicle sounds be so hopelessly tone deaf?

    • Ryan and Pete said:

      I’m sorry that after watching you focused purely on the music in this episode, we will take your feed back on board and would love some suggestions on what back ground music we should play.
      Thanks for watching
      Cheers mate,
      Ryan and Pete

      • Jigg LePeouf said:

        It’s very, very difficult not to notice it if the video starts and ends with it.

        So, in other words you could easily hear it…watch the content and “forgive” it…then be blasted with it again as a painful aural reminder.

        Implying that I watched the videos and only focused on the music would be entirely false. I repeat, categorically not true.

        As for suggestions…is there really any need? Just get some from a colleague or acquaintance who listens to quality music or knows a license-free source. Basically, just look for any music that doesn’t sound like that.

        Somehow, humankind managed to conclude that music used in vintage adult films was unilaterally BAD music. I don’t understand what’s so difficult. It’s not even a matter of subjectivity when music is THAT bad. Much like those films, people can watch this car content and overlook the music selection, but it’s not doing the videos any favors now or in the future.

        Of course, due to the binary, Western, reactionary, hive-mentality I’ll be blasted as a heretic for making an “unreasonable” demands…purely out of my own selfish desires. Yet, that would completely miss the point.

        Therefore, here’s the warm and fuzzy PC way of communicating to make the same critique.

        “Hello, my name is Stewart and I’m eternally grateful and happy to see all content on the Internet. I don’t have a disgruntled or offensive personality and I’d prefer to consider everything awesome! However, if I could, I’d like to make a small suggestion that shouldn’t be carefully considered because I’m a pion. Well, here’s that suggestion:

        I’m not completely satisfied with the music selection on these videos. However, I know how sensitive people can be about such matters so I won’t request any changes, but I’d lukewarmly like to make my personal feelings known in this open forum. I’m terribly sorry if my humble opinion has caused an emotional distress to anyone reading this or who actually liked the music selection in said videos. Thank you for listening.
        smiley face 😀

        #metoo, #awesome, #lovethehive, #positivity, #slightlyoveropinionated, #imsosorry”

        It’s worth noting that at the end of the day I don’t really care if it’s changed or not.

  7. Negishi no Keibajo said:

    Wow…

  8. Raymond said:

    Ryan and peter it’s your show and you guy Rock. Thanks again and to you Nostalgic boys for the love of the 510’s.

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