Gatebil has always been about fun and unique projects.
Espen Johansen, a 25-year-old industrial mechanic from Møre og Romsdal in the northernmost part of Western Norway has ticked both of those aspects off in building this 1971 Datsun 510 wagon with a bunch of old BMW parts, including an M20B28 engine tuned to 630hp.
In creating this tyre destroyer, Espen employed a simple philosophy. As soon as he got his hands on the little Datsun, he stripped it down, moved the firewall 12 inches rearward, and enlarged the transmission tunnel. These metal modifications allowed for the bigger engine and gearbox combination.
At the Datsun’s heart is a BMW M20B25 block that’s been converted to M20B28 by using an M52B28 crank. If you don’t speak BMW, that’s a 325i E30 engine with a crankshaft from the 328i E36. Although it currently produces its 630hp with 1.5bar (22psi) of boost pressure, the Precision 6677 turbocharger that’s strapped to the side of the engine is capable of producing up to 900hp, so there’s scope for even more madness. To ensure the engine holds together, Wiseco forged pistons and K1 Technologies forged connecting rods work alongside a host of other aftermarket tuning parts.
More BMW parts can be found under the Datsun, starting with a trusty 210 differential, as used in performance models like the E39 and E46 M cars. A custom subframe was adapted for E36 components in the front, where you’ll also find an E46 steering rack. The rear end features E34 control arms.
And the brakes? You guessed it, they’re from a BMW, too, specifically an E36 M3.
Inside we have Sparco racing seats and steering wheel, an OBP pedal box, and a Samsung 9-inch tablet being used as a digital dash with data drawn from a MaxxECU engine management system. A roll cage keeps things safe, and custom boxed in the rear is fuel system utilizing many parts from the Nuke Performance catalog.
While the Datsun has proven itself more than able when it comes to making smoke and going sideways, Espen mentioned that he wants to try the wagon on the drag strip – but not before he fills the tank with ethanol and adds boost. I wish only luck to this crazy guy.