photo: Estevan Oriol

We’re down the coast, just south of Long Beach, CA right now working on a project and it got us to thinking: there’s a real neat scene in the vintage import custom stuff. Lowered Datsun 510 wagons like Snoop’s deal here shot in front of Long Beach Poly by EO, vintage 13″ Enkeis, aluminum head fours backed up by tiny little 4-speeds…and if you’re on the East Coast, tassled Puerto Rican flags hanging from the rear view…

One of the guys we’re working with down here speaks fondly of the lowered ’65 Bug with “4-spoke Cragars” that he built in 1974 and cruised Whittier, Van Nuys and Garfield Park in. “I saw the lowriders and wanted one, but my dad helped me buy this Bug, see…,” So, he did the hot rod thing and used what was available to him to build his custom. Even took it to TJ for upholstery.

And that’s what we love so much about these little pre-tuner era imports: first, they’re vintage now, so they got that going for them. Second, these old Datsuns and Toyotas and Bugs have a distinct Southern California vibe to ‘em that can’t be denied. Sure, they were slow, compared to the American muscle that dominated the early Seventies when these things really started to show up on the street, but big cubes were never the point. Quick, easy to work on and customize, cheap, small and, at the end of the day, decently reliable transportation for a kid working at Der Wienerschnitzel. Hmmm…sounds a little like the very first hot rods…

3 Responses to “FIVE-ONE-ZERO SKILLS”

  1. Ed says:

    The American cars during the 1970′s weren’t any faster than these cars. That’s what was so amazing about them. Look at this let-down of 1975 Mustang options:

    The same went for the Camaro, Corvette, etc. During the middle of the oil embargo, these Datsuns were not only just as fast as the American “sports cars,” but they handled better and were much more reliable.

  2. Walter McQuillen says:

    there’s a older datsun wagon up the street. sometimes its for sale. it runs if someones dreamin

  3. Drive510 says:

    Awesome photo! I had no idea that Snoop was a fan of 510′s. As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Leave a Reply