San Francisco Shakotan
History Of The Historian

The term shakotan has become a household phrase in the world of Japanese classic car enthusiasts.

Its origins can be traced back to around the middle of the 20th century after WWII, and was a term coined after the younger ‘carefree’ generation, as a subculture found within the zokusha style, which literally translates car tribe or gang.

Though there are endless debates on how the the entire scene surfaced, my theory is that after the allies joined forces to occupy and reconstruct Japan, the American and European cultural behavior and norms found its way into influencing the hearts of the youth in the country. This generation simply gave no f*cks and showed no remorse amongst the Japanese mainstream culture.

They were typically from middle-class or lower-class households, and though some were known as truly dangerous and troublesome, most just wanted to be expressive. So when Japanese auto manufacturers began producing some of what are now iconic classics in the ’60s and ’70s, it only made sense for the zokusha to follow through with modifying their cars with rather unconventional styling choices.


As decades passed, the zokusha influenced enthusiasts were building their Japanese cars all over the world. Some took conception from the kyusha-style cars, which were simplistic and low, while others went balls deep into grachan-style, which stands for ‘grand champion’ and is derived from Group 5 silhouette race cars that possess wild-looking aero dynamics.

But for my dear friend and Nissan historian mentor Andrew Sayre, shakotan was the style of choice with his most recent Datsun 510 build.


During the summer of 1997, with his 16th birthday coming up, Andrew found himself searching through local newspaper ads for his first car. He was immediately drawn to a section dedicated to oddly small, box-shaped cars which stood out amongst the countless amounts of boring and conventional cars listed.

He found himself intrigued by their shape and rather sporty appeal, despite comparisons to newer, more aerodynamic sports cars at the time.

Not knowing what they were, he made cut-outs of the ads and his heart was set on buying one. A couple of months flew by and shortly after becoming a licensed driver, Andrew found himself purchasing what he now remembers as his first 510, and the beginning of becoming a self-proclaimed ‘Datsoholic’.

The car needed tons of work, but it served as his learning tool and set the pathway for his future Nissan endeavors.

Latest & Greatest

Moving forward to 2017, Andrew had already owned upwards of 60 cars, mostly being Datsun 510s, many variants of Zs, and even 620 trucks. However, his ownership accounted for more saving rather than flipping.

As I mentioned in James’ Z article, the numerous number of Datsun owners I’ve met tend to enjoy making a profit on the cars they buy. And who wouldn’t? Basic principles of buying cheap, fixing cheap, and selling expensive are the epitome of the marketplace in every Datsun community that I’ve been a part of.

To reiterate myself, I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but it definitely opens up your listening ear when you hear someone is only out to save the cars they come across, whether it means making money or not.


Pictured above is Andrew’s latest and greatest 510 resurrection. Admittedly, when he first showed me this car, I absolutely could not comprehend anything worth saving on the car. I mean just look at it; it almost doesn’t look like a car anymore. Everything is missing, and yet, Andrew managed to see the potential which I easily overlooked.

His overall goal: Create the best of both worlds, a proper shakotan-inspired USDM 510, with an infinite amount of rare JDM Bluebird SSS coupe trim pieces and options.

My doubtful comments aside, his progression with the vision continued, first step being sorting out body and paint.

Through years of building his other cars, Andrew built relationships with others in the community who were quite articulate in the craft of saving the iconic Japanese heroes. Amongst them was metal-fabrication guru Eric Brogan, who is known for his epic body work and paint. Andrew dropped off the car to him immediately after purchase, and a few moments into inspection, they discovered that the factory color of the car was Cactus Green. It was a special moment for Andrew – this was one of his all-time favorite colors offered for the 510.

With excitement fueling progress, the restoration took sail.


Surface rust was cleaned, some used fenders and a bonnet were acquired, and all things structural were gone through and addressed to ensure the car was as straight and sound as possible.

Since Andrew already had his shakotan vision in mind, things were taken one step further by tubbing out the fenders and getting the majority of the suspension sorted to build the car around the height and wheel fitment of his particular taste.

Mid Progress

After about four months, the metal and paint were completed, and Andrew trailered the car back to his home garage, where the rest of the build unraveled.


I was fortunate enough to meet up with Andrew mid-way through his progress to get some killer ‘under construction’ photos of the car. It was rather muggy that day, which I embraced as it made for some spectacularly dramatic rolling shell photos.

Has an incomplete car ever looked so good?


By this point, fitment and ride height were dialled in, the right-hand drive conversion was complete, and the motor was under assembly. Because this was essentially a ground-up build, Andrew took initiative in having every single nut, bolt, and washer on the car sent out for zinc plating and restoration.


While waiting on the return of those parts, he managed to restore many of the unique SSS trim pieces and factory options back to their former glory. Andrew had been hoarding a mountain of rare parts for many years, including super-rare NOS (new old stock) SSS taillights, waiting to apply them to his ultimate 510 build. Talk about parts galore.

Completion took another four months, as there were a few set backs just as there is with any build. But it was quite exhilarating to see it all play out in front of me.

Shakotan 510 In All Its Glory

After eight months of waiting, the shakotan 510 finally saw movement under its own power. The endless hours of working on the car, section by section, were a thing of past.

I remember the first time Andrew took the car out for a drive – he sent me a video of him driving it to work, with a huge smile on his face. I could hear the excitement in his voice, almost like a child that just got their favorite superhero to sign their favorite comic book. So without any hesitation, the first thing we did was set up a time to meet up for the photo shoot session.


We chose this specific location not only because it was secluded with nice views of another vintage icon – the Golden Gate Bridge – but also because it made sense with Andrew’s ultimate vision for the car.

From day one, Andrew mentioned the term shakotan to me. He wanted it to be an example of how to truly incorporate zokusha – or its subculture shakotan – in modern times, paying tribute to the style on American soil.  The style, the stance, the quality, the no f*cks given attitude, all of it was finally tied together to bring out this one vision in mind.

Holy Details, Batman!

Before wrapping up this article there are a few notable details that I want to give you guys a rundown on, starting with the interior.


The interior in the USDM 510 was pretty standard: You got two front seats, a bench rear seat, some springs in between the floor boards and you, and some useless lap belts. By contrast, the JDM SSS coupe was pretty special: The interior could transform into a freakin’ bed! The interesting story behind the ‘Full Cushion’ interior is that it was essentially a marketing tactic to get your JDM love on – in the car. I mean, when the hell do we ever see radness like this incorporated in cars being produced today?

Other notable interior differences are the rare SSS steering wheel, SSS shift knob, some lovely ’70s fake wood vinyl, a locking glove box, thicker center console, interior light, and SSS four-pod individual gauge panel.


Switching things up to the exterior, obviously the most noticeable difference is the signature SSS sequential tail lights. These lights are some of the most sought after and rare 510 parts to find, and the fact that Andrew managed to score a brand new set is unheard of.

The signature Super Sonic Safari grill replaced the USDM unit as well, with other detailed enhancements such as the Marchal headlights and optional SSS factory fog lamps. Miscellaneous pieces such as SSS trim badging, SSS fender mirrors, SSS side markers, and even the direction in which the wipers move were all addressed to reflect the SSS coupe package.


Of course, it wouldn’t be shakotan without the proper stance and power, so Techno Toy Tuning coilovers were added along with Ermish Racing supporting pieces to get the fitment exactly where Andrew wanted to be. The car is outright slammed, sitting a couple of inches above the tarmac and sporting -5.5 degrees of matching camber all around.


The SOHC L20B has all the goodies, including some serious dual Mikuni 44s, Refresh EL headers, and a Rebello Racing 63DI cam. I must say that I’m a sucker for red accents, so the red trumpets and Watanabe oil cap detail were definitely amongst my favorite characteristics of the car.

Not The Final Appearance

I’ve included a mod list and gallery for your viewing pleasure, but let me be clear in stating that this isn’t the last time you will hear of Andrew on the site. Having this sort of passion for saving cars and building them to this level of quality only means that the future is bright for him.

There are a couple of other projects that are currently in the works, and though I don’t want to spoil them for future readers, I will say that they are rare, not only in the US but pretty much everywhere in the world. Andrew’s collection is growing, and the stories will be shared.

Shakotan 2 and 3 are currently in progress…

Naveed Yousufzai 
Instagram: eatwithnaveed

Andrew Sayre’s Datsun 510

L20B block, ported & polished U87 head, 88.5mm pistons, Rebello Racing 63di cam, Nissan Comp-style intake manifold, twin Mikuni 44mm carbs rebuilt by Josel of Sidedraft Specialties, Datsun 1600 valve cover, Refresh 60 equal-length stainless header, 2.25-inch exhaust, Magnaflow muffler

280ZX 5-speed gearbox with overdrive, shortened driveshaft, welded R160 differential

Suspension/ Brakes
T3 front weld-on coilovers with camber plates, 280ZX front struts & disc brakes, 280ZX rear disc brakes with FutoFab brackets, Ermish Racing rebuilt RHD drag link, Ermish Racing rebuilt RHD idler arm, Ermish Racing outer tie rod steering kit, Ermish Racing RCAs, -5.5 degrees camber all around

Wheels/ Tires:
Atara Racing 15×8-inch wheels, 195/50R15 Toyo tires

Full body stripped to metal, fixed & resprayed the factory 546 Cactus Green, RHD conversion, battery relocated and sunk in trunk floor, USDM rear side markers removed, front fenders modified to fit JDM side markers & fender mirrors, rolled, pulled & tubbed rear wheel wells, rolled & pulled front fenders, hood prop removed & converted to hood shocks, NOS Bluebird coupe taillights with light covers, new FutoFab front & rear bumpers, Bluebird SSS coupe bumper license plate light, factory option coupe taillight supersonic badge (not installed yet), NOS Bluebird coupe front side markers, clear front signal lenses, Marchal headlights, factory option Bluebird coupe Safari SSS grill with fog lights, NOS Bluebird coupe fender mirrors, new Bluebird emblems, new 1600SSS trunk badge, new SSS pillar badges, Datsport rubber all around, Surfside Datsun license plate frame

RHD dash frame, Bluebird SSS coupe gauge cluster, Bluebird SSS coupe glove box with light, Bluebird SSS coupe center dash section uncut with no radio and with map light and optional SSS Safari Grill foglight switch, RHD pedal box, RHD steering box, RHD signal switch & steering column surround with parking lights & hazard switch, Bluebird SSS coupe center console, USDM heater box & controls, Bluebird SSS coupe front & rear seats with fold down & reclining functions, USDM door panels, new factory white headliner, front to rear factory Bluebird coupe SSS harness with factory fog light switch & factory optioned sequential tail light flashing harness, Infinity Kappa K2 bluetooth amplifier, Pioneer TS-X11 speakers

Andrew thanks: Eric Brogan, Josel Cobangbang, Ralph, Peter, and of course my wife and kids for putting up with me.



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I am BEYOND honored to be on this site! If anyone is interested Josel from Sidedraft Specialties rebuilt the carbs and made my car sing! Check out the following video:


Andrew, what front lip is that you're running? Seen it on a few 510s but never got the name!


It's the BRE front spoiler purchased directly from them. Search Brock Racing Enterprises


Andrew, your level of enthusiasm is mindblowing and indicatory!

I really have a soft spot for the 510s and this car is 100 % on point for me. The colour, wheels, ride height, rare parts, all of it together does it for me.

Not to forget, Naveed´s pictures always make me miss San Francisco. I really wanna go back some day, it´s an awesome city.


Thank you thank you thank you. I am extremely PASSIONATE about my cars. I build them how I want them and build them to be DRIVEN!!!! #righthandDAILYdriveN I think out of the past 60 days I have driven my classics on 50 of those...


I´ve seen this on your instagram and instantly started following you. It´s impressive to see, how often you drive those cars and I look forward to see your recent build to be finished. Honestly, I am also passionate about my cars, but restoring such a car in from what it was to the current state is another level. I won´t imagine, how much money you put into this. :)

Sure, cars are mostly built to be driven, but I definitely avoid to daily drive them. :)


I've been working on a similar styled build for a few years now and just wanted to know where Andrew got those floor mats. I've been looking for a set for a while to finish off the interior


They are actually made by Karo out of Japan. I bought them for a different car that isn't done yet so the fit isn't great. I will be putting them in my other car once done and getting a different set for this one. Glad you like them.


Beautiful car, but I don't understand pouring all that time and care and rare parts into a build but finishing it without the real deal Watanabe wheels?


Watanabe's will be honest in the end I had to choose between wat's and the header/taillights and I went with the latter. I feel I made the right choice with the resources I had at the time. Wheels will be the first upgrade a little later down the line. Thanks for the feedback.


Cool to hear the reasoning behind it, and that you're keen to get the real thing on there. Looking forward to seeing the other builds in progress, hoping there's an Hakosuka or 240 on the horizon (or maybe both?)

Naveed Yousufzai

I had a feeling this would come up. The wheel choice is always a subjective topic. Atara does value quality and their wheels are designed after the look. Same concept you'd find with most modern wheel companies such as Rotiform and Fifteen52. The deal Andrew got worked out well for him. Some may agree, some may not, but that's what makes building a car to your own desire fun right? =)


Totally agree with building a car to your own desire, and it's interesting to hear the reason behind the choice, thanks for clearing that up


Gorgeous car - and that full cushion interior is just unreal


Amazing build and amazing coverage of the build! Can't wait to see what becomes of that Hakosuka in the garage!


Spotted already??....


Haha I’ve spent more time than I care to admit drooling over photos of Hakos. Didn’t take long for me to recognize that one.


you and me is literally all I do lol


I don’t even have one yet and I’m already buying parts for it. Kind of my way of making sure my dream car doesn’t just stay a dream.


I like that it's not a monster motor from Rebello (for those not familiar with the 4 cylinder L series motors he builds, some are pushing 2.3 or 2.4 liters and putting out something like 240hp at the crank). This is a much truer 2 liter build, much like what you would have seen in a hot rod 510 of teh late 70s and early 80s. It sounds the part, too!

Now, I'm sure at some point more power would be nice (*cough* LZ2.1 frankenmotor *cough*), but for now I'll bathe in the old school goodness.


BEAUTIFUL... i can only imagine the owners joy when driving something he built up. Well Done on a timeless build, trends will come and go but this one can be pulled out in ten years time and still be relevant like it is now.

you might want to invest in some caster tops or twist the camber tops so that you can pull caster. when lowering older cars the caster tends to push forward and handling is not as sharp as you would like it to be. I lowered my Sunny Truck and it was good, but once i dialed in the castor it transformed it immediately.


Thanks for the insight. I took it to an alignment shop and everything was spot on!


Fair play, that is lovely. Great set of images, too.


Naveed, it didn't take you long to become one of my top 3 speedhunters, kudos, thanks fo rbringing us the best stuff!


Awesome job Naveed, wicked build Andrew!


Awesome Car, love seeing the progress pics. BTW 05-10 Scion tC has the same set up with the front seats that fold down to the rear bench, and the rear bench reclines. Perfect drive-in car.


The first gen xB/bB also has a similar seat configuration where the fronts fold flat to meet the rear bench.


Wow! This car is beyond gorgeous! Well done.

Naveed - really enjoying your articles and photography. Please more.


Been following Andrew on IG for a while now and thrilled his car made it to SH! It's the best looking 510 build I have seen in ages and my absolute favorite color. Reminds me of an improved version of Miss Dottie, the car I regret not purchasing the most. The 510's are such fantastic cars and the values continue to rise. They will continue to become more scarce so I hope this one stays with you forever, Andrew. And when you are ready for the Wat's, I suggest our friend at The Lonely Driver for the best pricing and fastest lead time. He got mine a month or two ahead of schedule and the price point was terrific!



Thanks man!! I must say you might have the CLEANEST factory 546 4 door on the planet! In addition I have been pouring over your z31 and holy crap..........I started browsing craigslist as I have fallen in love with the shape. Safari Gold for the WIN!!!! I already have done business with our friend The Lonely Driver and we have been talking...... :) I appreciate the kind words


Thanks for the kind words, Andrew! I greatly appreciate it. My 16k mile original 510 was the most remarkable thing you could imagine. Seat belts still in plastic etc. It was truly a like new 4 door 510. I had planned to simply lower, swap in a mild L20 and add watanabe's but after seeing the car in the flesh, I realized that would be blasphemy to such a time capsule. I only had it for a month before I decided to sell it to Gary Duncan and now it sits amongst the Duncan massive private Japanese collection In Christiansburg VA. It's in great company with all of his roughly 1000 immaculate Japanese low mileage cars.

Huge thanks on my Z31! It is by far my most ambitious project ever and it has gone full on out of this world now lol! I am attempting to build the worlds best Z31 and hope one day soon when finished that it gets a Speed Hunters feature of it's own ;)

Keep up the great work and again, huge congrats for this feature!



I'm sure I've read about this on a forum somewhere, I think it was when the tail lights were getting restored, truly astounding work. Well done.


I think everyone covered very well just how awesome this car is, and also how well Naveed has been doing with his posts here- simply amazing work by all involved.
Keep it up guys, I am VERY intrigued by what will be coming next as Andrew's taste in cars seems spot-on with mine in many ways, if a few years in between which Nissans interest us most.

Naveed Yousufzai

Thank you for the kind words, everyone! Just trying to share incredible stories of incredible people! Much love!


I haven't even read the article and I'm already upset the title isn't Shan Franciskotan


I was hoping there was someone to help clarify for me what the difference between kyusha and shakotan is? Becuase I've always seen the terms used interchangeably. And while educational, Navheed's explanation wasn't entirely clear. I understand "works" style and grachan, and have always thought kyusha style was simple, clean, very low cars like this one. So when Navheed says this is a shakotan car, not a kyusha, it makes me confused. Please somebody with info come forward.


"The signature Super Sonic Safari" Literally had NO idea what "SSS" stood for, until I read through this feature...

But what a beautiful 510, one of the best I've ever seen.. I quite like the color, in some pictures it has a pale green hue to it, in others, it takes on more of creamy yellow/ivory tone. Hats off to the owner for doing such a terrific job. I wouldn't change a thing on it, it's basically perfect IMO..


Thanks for the kind words. The safari grill was just an option made for 1971 model year coupes that was to commemorate nissans win in the Datsun 510 at the East African Safari in 1970. Super rare grill. SSS actually stands for Super Sports Sedan


SideDraft Specialties on those Carbs though.


Great article and beautiful photos Naveed!!


Good to see the timeless style of building 510s the American way, as Americans have done for about 45 years, lives on.
Substitute the Ataras for Minilites and it could have rolled out of Petersen's press feature from the 1970s.


Thank you! I actually tried to make everything period correct. If the wheels were minilites or watanable then this car could have existed in 1980 since brakes and every other part would have been existence. The only thing that probably wasn't around were the coilovers.....unless they had them on racecars back then.


Honestly, out of all the 510's i've seen, this one is perfect. Everything was on point. Hats off to Andrew, definitely have to follow him on ig


Thanks man! stay tuned to my IG mrfive1oh for the other projects...