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1971 Datsun 510 - BRE Replica

Lawrence Keller honors a legendary past

Text By Rodrez, Photography by Rodrez

If the name Peter Brock - Datsun 510 historical icon - doesn't sound in any way familiar, you're missing out on a huge chunk of automotive history and one of the most storied careers in motorsports.

Having served as an important piece of the GM performance puzzle in the late 1950s, Brock went on to start his own company, Brock Racing Enterprises (BRE), in the '60s, and his story of success only grew. He spent time designing cars for heavy hitters like Toyota and Triumph, began his own very successful race team and even captured a pair of C Production National Championships with a 240Z. In the early '70s, BRE's Datsun 510 took home the 2.5 Trans-Am Championships - twice. The success on track turned out to be a curse, as the competition feeling that they couldn't keep up began dropping out of the series, leaving BRE with no one to race.

Read more about Brock Racing Enterprises' tumultuous experience with Toyota

Lawrence Keller, owner of this '71 Datsun 510 knows all of the above like the back of his hand. A devout old school aficionado, Keller set out to piece together a 510 to pay homage to BRE's deep-rooted history.

The original 1.6-liter engine was pulled and replaced with a 2.0L L20B mill complete with forged pistons, Isky cam and dual 40mm Mikuni carbs. At a scant 2,200lbs, the car moves, but it's the handling of the 510 that makes it such a cult classic. Designed with an almost perfect weight distribution and rear-wheel-drive configuration, the Datsun 510 shines through the turns.

Keller's version incorporated Ground Control coilovers and 280Z front struts along with front and rear sway bar upgrades. Ten-inch front rotors and four-piston Wilwoods took over the front stopping duties, while the rear drums were trashed and replaced with matching 10-inch rotors anchored by two-piston Wilwood calipers. Keeping with the old-school look, a set of ARE Libra rollers in 13x7 are wrapped in Yokohama A-509 tires and the car is lowered tastefully and comfortably, intended for weekend fun.

The 510's exterior sports a complete BRE-inspired paint and sticker theme and almost hides a custom touch that was wrapped up in the JDM SSS grill that sits above the Spook front spoiler. Keller removed the cars inner lights, built custom housings and installed '02 HID 4-Runner fog lights that you probably won't notice unless you really take a closer look. The custom touch doesn't take away from the overall theme of the car, and that's no accident.

Continuing the theme inside the cabin, a set of BRE pedals were further enhanced with BRE-themed pedal assemblies that add a little more detail. Adorning the JDM center console is an array of plaques and memorabilia from various events he's attended. An Autopower four-point roll bar, custom bucket seats with RCI harnesses and Momo steering wheel were also installed to complete the interior checklist.

We see replicas attempted with just about every import brand whether it be an Integra attempting the JDM ITR look, or perhaps a Nissan in search of the Fairlady Z theme, but few are as complete and inspiring as Kellers '71 510 that screams "old is gold."

Behind the Build

Lawrence Keller's 1971 Datsun 510

Engine 2.0L L20B; Forged pistons, 11:1 comp; Isky cam, 480lift/270 duration; Dual 40mm Mikuni carbs; JDM velocity stacks; electronic ignition with MSD 6A; 2.25-inch exhaust with Flowmaster muffler

Suspension Ground Control coilovers; 1-inch front anti-sway bar, 3/4-inch rear anti-sway bar; 280Z front struts

Braking 10-inch front rotors, 4-piston Wilwood front calipers; 10-inch rear disc conversion, 2-piston Wilwood rear calipers

Wheels/Tires 13x7 ARE Libra wheels; Yokohama A-509 205/60-13

Exterior JDM SSS grill; custom headlight housings - 2002 4Runner fog lights & HID; front/rear euro lenses; Spook front spoiler; Bullet-style side mirrors

Interior JDM center console; custom racing seats; RCI 4-point harnesses; Momo steering wheel; Autpower 4-point rollbar; BRE wrapped panels and rear seats; new carpet; new headliner; custom painted BRE pedal assemblies; BRE pedal covers, shift knob

By Rodrez
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