Happy 510 Day from JNC

On May 31, 1971, it was the dawn of the SCCA Trans-Am 2.5 Challenge, a series which would turn the Datsun 510 into the Goliath-slaying David of the motorsports world. At the race held at Bryar Motorsports Park in New Hampshire, BRE entered John Morton’s No.46 510 for the first time. Morton was the fastest qualifier but his legendary 510 suffered mechanical problems that resulted in a DNF. That gave privateer Lothar Stahlberg of Utica, New York in his No.71 car the very first manufacturer’s championship point for Datsun in the US. The rest, they say, is history. Happy 510 Day from JNC!

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3 Responses to Happy 510 Day from JNC

  1. Dave Patten says:

    I was there! a 14 year old kid with his Dad. This was the first outing for the BRE 510 and the car was a rocket.

    They pitted and went down several laps while repairing the car’s rearend. Upon re-entry Morton started un-lapping the field, but there wasn’t enough time left.

    It wasn’t until years later that I got to meet John Morton. He said the Bryar race was his first as a professional driver and he was never so nervous before a race start.

    The Bryar event was round 2 of the 1971 2.5 Challenge. The first was at Lime Rock on May 8th, won by what would become Morton’s nemesis, Horst Kweck in his Alfa Romeo GTV.

  2. Michael Pearsall says:

    Soon after my high school graduation I was made aware by my brother in law there were these small nimble sedans that could corner and brake unlike my prized ’63 Impala that I loved cruising in and enjoying the occasional stop light to stop light action. He took me for a ride in his BMW 1600. What an eye opener. Then I realiized that these little Datsuns I;ve been seeing popping up all over the place kinda shared a lot of the same engineering fundamentals and this guy Pete Brock was tearing up the tracks with his team led by John Morton.

    I had to find a 510 for myself and set out to find one a community college student could afford. I had to ask my Dad to loan me a small amount to afford the blue 69 2dr I found at the local Ford dealer lot. My Dad having been a proud WWII vet still had a few grudges in him and didn’t share my enthusiasm about my pending purchase conscerning a car from the Land of the Rising Sun.. He did give in and went to the dealer to get it with me. He kinda had to because I did not know how to drive a stick.

    I’ll never forget how that emerging smile on my Dad’s face that seemed to peel back the years and smooth out his frown lines as he took to my new 510 as he maybe imaging himself on the grid competing in the 2.5 Challenge.

  3. pete240z says:

    I was at the SVRA races at Road America two days ago and there were two 510’s and two 2002’s leaving the grid in one of the smaller bore classes and some of was watching from the fence. I looked up and this older guy standing there was John Morton and he too was watching the cars go out for practice.

    Except it wasn’t John Morton – just an older guy that looked like him but with me looking at 510’s and 2002’s, then him, my brain told me it was John Morton.

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