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Peter Brock’s 510 at SEMA

News, SEMA  /   /  By Chester Allen

Photo credit: Norman Woo

SEMA turns Las Vegas into Gearhead Heaven every October, and I was lucky enough to stumble upon an unassuming little 1971 Datsun 510 parked outside of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The green car looked very clean and original — pretty much like the econobox, grocery-getter it was born to be, but it was really a sleeper.

First, a Chevrolet 350-ci engine was crammed into that tiny engine compartment. Second, the owner and builder is the famous Peter Brock. Yes, that Peter Brock — the guy who developed the original Corvette Sting Ray race car, the ultra-famous Shelby Daytona race car and the guy who originally turned Datsun’s modest 510 coupes into world-beating SCCA TransAm race cars. BMWs and Alfa Romeos couldn’t keep up to the Brock’s 510s. Brock is also a world-famous car designer.

Peter Brock Datsun 510 BRE V8

It appears that, after all these years, Brock still loves 510s.

“It started as a father-son project, but my son lost interest,” Brock said with a laugh. “So, I just made it kind of a sleeper.”

That 350 engine, much like the ones you can so easily find on eBay cranks out 300 horsepower, which really makes the light 510 scoot.

Brock installed a Braille Lithium battery, which is a lightweight racing battery that weighs less than 10 pounds, which is much lighter than the stock battery, which weighs 41 pounds.

“It’s expensive, but it makes a big difference to a racer,” Brock said.

Peter Brock Datsun 510 BRE V8

A front end from a 280Z also is in the car.

Brock’s company, the famous Brock Racing Enterprises, which is based in Henderson, NV, built that sleeper of a 510. But if you look closely, you can see two big exhaust pipes under the car. And, when that 350 Chevrolet engine wakes up, everyone knows that car isn’t a grocery-getter anymore.

Now might be the time to hunt down a 510 — whether you want a good economy car that made history — or you want to build a sleeper of your own.

“There used to be lots and lots of them, but they’re getting hard to find,” Brock said.

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  1. AK Porter November 1, 2012 at 3:36 pm Reply

    One really cool car!

  2. eBay Motors November 1, 2012 at 4:42 pm Reply

    We agree!

  3. Trent McMickens November 2, 2012 at 1:33 pm Reply

    That was my very first car.The one I had was orange.I put stereo speakers in the back seat.Then a cb intenia on top of the trunk with a squirrel tail on top of the intenia.I also put craiger rims on it so I was the man back then.I loved that Datsun 510.I could never find one after that for sale.

  4. Russ Meaagher November 12, 2012 at 7:48 pm Reply

    I’ve own a few…this one is spectacular! Disappointed to see drum brakes especially since they went through all the trouble in stuffing a bad ass V8 under the hood. If I got a chance to own one like this…I would!

    • eBay Motors November 12, 2012 at 8:08 pm Reply


      Did you get a chance to get to SEMA this year?

  5. Brian Thompson November 15, 2012 at 4:34 am Reply

    I really like the engineering put into that 510! I’m on my 5th 510′ you just can’t get away from the fun of these cars..

  6. bubba-leroy November 19, 2012 at 7:18 am Reply

    Say how about some shots of the interior?

    • eBay Motors November 19, 2012 at 7:35 am Reply

      We would have liked to include pictures of the interior, but the 510 was locked up with the windows rolled up when we took photos at the show.

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