The past twelve months have seen astounding prices for Japanese cars at auction, but perhaps none were as astounding as a bone stock Datsun 510 that sold recently at the Raeford Concours D’Elegance for $247,000, including the auction house’s 10 percent fees and commission. That price in itself for any 510 would have been astounding enough, but the fact that it was a 1977 Datsun 510 is positively brain-melting.
That’s because what the buyer was most likely after was the car shown above, a 1968-73 Datsun 510. That is the “real” 510 raced by John Morton, the Alfa and BMW beating winner of the 1971-72 SCCA Trans-Am 2.5 Challenge, the one sold in Japan as the Bluebird.
What the buyer got instead was a 1977-81 Datsun 510, which is not a Bluebird at all, but an A10 Stanza/Violet rebadged by Nissan in the late 1970s in an effort to sell some cars by capitalizing off the “real” 510’s rabid following. While it saw some success as a rally car in Australia, the A10 does not have the same cult devotees as the Bluebird 510, and is still plentiful on craigslist for under $10,000.
The recent spike in values has unleashed an influx of treasure hunters onto the Japanese nostalgic car scene. Many of these “collectors” never glanced twice at Japanese cars before, and are in fact just flippers looking to add a few hundred thousand into their pockets. In this case, lack of knowledge about the cars came back to bite them in the rear-mounted fuel filler.
Source: Raeford Concours D’Elegance.