Have you ever left to buy the car you’ve always dreamed of, only to return home with something else? Lasse Korpela from Seinäjoki, Finland a.
Lasse was about to buy his next project car, a Datsun 160J (710), when he spotted a 1969 Datsun 1600 (510) with 66,000 original kilometers on the odometer. Despite a long parking period, the 510 sedan was in good condition. It was in its original condition and still had plastic wrap on the door panels. A quick fix would make it work, but Lasse had other ideas. A deal was made and it started.
I’m always up for a good sHakotan style construction, but you rarely see them here in Scandinavia. So when I come across one I want to know more, and Lasse was happy to show me his build while on display at the recent Custom Motor Show (AKA Elmia) in Sweden.
We could say that the term shakotan means crazy fender flares, insane negative camber and an exposed oil cooler hanging from the front of the car. Although this type of modification is consistent with the iconic Japanese modification style popularized in the 1980s, shakotan the cars come in several flavors. Lasso has taken an ultra-clean approach with its 510.
But not only is the exterior of the Datsun clean, but the finish is exquisite. Each panel was perfected before being repainted in Mercedes-Benz Rubinrot Red. Front and rear bumpers, chrome trim, door handles and emblems are all new parts. The same goes for the wing mirrors, which Lasse bought from Nissan in Japan.
What couldn’t be bought new, Lasse had custom made for the 510 – door hinges and lamp frames being two such items. It really looks like the car rolled off the production line just a few days ago.
Lasse is a man of culture and never thought of altering the exterior lines of the Datsun, or making big changes to the chassis. He wanted the car to drive low though. HSD Monopro coilovers designed for the Nissan RPS13 200SX have been customized to fit the 510, with Volkswagen Golf upper spring plates added to the rear.
Under the Datsun, every component was either sandblasted and powder coated or zinc plated. Among other improvements, Techno Toy Tuning adjustable billet tie rods are present at the front and polyurethane bushings now replace the originals everywhere.
For wheels, Lasse went with an old-school JDM favorite—SSR Longchamp XR4s. You could say that definitely 13s or maybe The 14-inch wheels would be more befitting of the age of the car, but the 15s that are fitted to each corner look great.
When Lasse bought the wheels, they were 2 pieces and measured 15×6.5 inches; now they are 3-piece with custom outer lips, slatted centers and custom made ‘XR4S’ center caps. Finished specs are a working 15×8-inch for the front and a 15×8.5-inch for the rear.
The benefit of bigger wheels is bigger brakes, and the Datsun now stops much better than it did originally with Wilwood Dynalite 4-piston calipers and Wilwood 273mm floating discs in the rear. front, and a Nissan Primera GT P11 disc setup in the rear.
Inside the Datsun, Lasse kept things clean and simple, starting with a custom stainless steel roll cage that took him 25 hours to polish to its mirror-like shine. The original seats were reupholstered in factory style and fitted with TAKATA Racing harness belts, and the center console, which was badly damaged, was repaired and painted to match the rest of the interior. The steering wheel is made entirely of carbon fiber, while the shifter surround is a handmade piece, knitted in a bride style by Lasse’s wife.
While a few modern fittings have found their way into the build, under the hood the original 1.6L engine from the 510 remains, albeit in higher specification and simply stunning in the detailed bay.
You would half expect to see a front-mounted SR20DET, but Lasse never had any performance intentions for the Datsun. However, with the help of a few upgrades – a ported A87 cylinder head with a custom Koneistus Perälä cam and an aluminum intake manifold running twin FAJS 45mm carburettors and Matalamäki Racing speed stacks – it gets along well with around 150 hp.
The original 4-speed manual gearbox also remains, but now works with an R160 differential and VLD shafts from a Subaru Impreza WRX STI.
I have to make special mention of the strut bar, which Lasse designed himself and mounted up to the RPS13 endplates.
Lasse’s 510 is fantastic in every way, and a great example of not having to go crazy when you want to build something that stands out – which the Datsun certainly did at Elmia this year.
Not one to sit idle for long, Lasse already has another project in the works, this time based on an R32 Nissan Skyline. Think authentic Bee*R body kit and a stroked SR20DET. It looks like another Speedhunters projector in the making…