Kei Miura’s Next Project

What do you call a preview of an idea? I don’t think there’s even a term for that. In fact, the more I think about it the less sense it makes so I’ll just get right to the point. This unsuspecting, well-used Datsun 521 truck sitting outside the TRA Kyoto shop is Kei Miura’s next project.

I don’t have any renders to show you as Miura isn’t even sure what he’s going to do with the fresh US import yet, but you just can’t help but picture what it might become. I’m seeing it sitting nice and low, the proportions boosted by flares or bigger fender additions, maybe spiced up with a bed spoiler, a bucktooth front lip, and an oil cooler mounted up front Hakosuka-style.


Pandem kit for the 620 truck is already a thing, but as Miura walked around the 521 tidying up some bits and pieces here and there he told me that he’s going to attempt something different with this build.


There’s no doubt that the Datsun was a workhorse in its previous life; there are so many telltale signs that have left it with the sort of patina you just can’t help but love.


Since arriving in Japan, most of the work has gone into getting the engine running right so that when the time comes to start the build it can at least be moved around.

A pair of side-draft carbs and a new valve cover are recent additions, but the energy drink can covering the coil looks like something that was done in the States.


While 521s aren’t exactly plentiful in Japan, Miura wanted something decently sized to transform into the shop’s truck. I think this USDM relic from the late ’60s and early ’70s fits the bill rather well.


There’s a pretty big bed back there to carry boxes and other bits and pieces. The toolbox isn’t actually a tool box but rather the place where the battery has been relocated to.

While I was looking over the 521, Miura threw on some steelies with a pretty aggressive offset to give us an idea of the rugged looks this thing will have once it’s given the Rocket Bunny treatment.


The left-hand drive cabin is actually in pretty good original condition; only a little work is needed to fix up some small details.


Miura will release the renders of this project in a month or two, and from those we should have a good idea of how the transformation will go. In the meantime, what would you guys like to see done?

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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I remember seeing this truck before. I saw it on TJ Hunt's youtube channel and I didn't think it was the truth, until I see it pop up on here. I'm excited to see what becomes of this truck. This might go against the thoughts of many, but I would like to see a V8 in there that ISN'T an LS. Something like a 1UZ or even a VK56 to keep it in the brand could be cool.


So weird..."that ISN'T an LS." So much passion and conviction. I was also a victim of sexual assault by an LS engine...#metoo


Typical "American" response when people call out the fact the motor you are defending is loved and made popular by tightarses who cannot afford real engines and stupid mechanics that can only understand old shitty pushrod designed motors.


Must've been up your bum (tightarse)? So sad mate...


Oh jeez man, I'm so sorry. #youtoohuh?? I can hear the pain in your words.


Lol!!! Comment of the week!


I'd love to see some Pandem style flares like whats on the E36 or the EG6. And in my opinion it would be cool to see a 2jz or an rb26 or something like that in it. My main concern is that it will end up being just a show truck. I would love to see him build it into a functional drift or track truck. I can't wait to see the renders!


I think it'll be his shop truck?


I am such an Idiot. Yes he said it would be his shop truck. Facepalm


If Kei's normal genius is at work, we might even get a new 2018 trend to replace the over fender hype?

Dino Dalle Carbonare

We've been waiting for "the next big thing" for years. Overfenders/flares have been the thing to do since the late sixties... don't think we'll ever see them disappear


Always loved these trucks could never look past the dreaded front "kingpin" suspension. Curious to see what he does to address that. I love the L series with side draft but an N/A KA or SR would be equally as cool. Anxious to see where this project goes.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Don't think he'll engine swap it.


whatever he does, i hope he saves that bed and patina and that rockstar can coil cover

Dino Dalle Carbonare

It would be a pity not to

Matthew Dockery

Shop truck guys. If it's going to be used for parts hauling, he's going to want some more torque and grunt. But there's no reason to chop the shit out of the firewall and make room for a V8 or straight six swap.

I think the ideal swap for this would be a VG33E from an early Pathfinder, Patrol in Japan? (possibly even the VG30ET from the Z31 300ZX Turbo). The VG is a great little V6 with tons of parts availability -- remember, shop truck, it's not like he wants to spend $$ every time he changes a water pump.

The VG would be snug, but honestly anything other than the original A series motors these came with is a problem, you can see how little space he has in there with that L series already. Not as snug as a VQ, but that would be one hell of a magic trick.

He could always keep it L series and just put in a gnarly 2.3L franken-L built from combining a Z24 bottom end and L20 head ;) .

As for the rest of the truck, mild flares with some good front lip integration, and some sexier looking bed hooks (again shop truck, he might want to keep the hooks as tie downs). Bitchin' deep dish steel wheels with the original 521 dog dish hub caps set way into them.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

He won't swap it, even if he's moving parts it's usually boxes with FRP bits inside, hardly heavy :)


All it needs is a lawn chair and a cooler full of cold ones in the truckbed. jk
I'd say do some cool modernization to it, but it seems like the old motor will be kept in place for the time being.


I hope he doesn't go the usual route like you mentioned in the 2nd paragraph. Sucks that we can read him like an open book. As well as nakai san but the end result always makes me happy! It's crazy

Dino Dalle Carbonare

He's told me the 1st of May is the day the renders will be finished. So curious to see what he decides to do


Needs two ls1 v8s one in the tub and the other engine in the bay.

Then a few Chevy badges on it lots of stickers all over aswell and wheels poking 8inches out of the fenders with hello kitty valve caps on the 24inch chrome work equips.

Oh and 4 exhaust stacks with rain caps


Hope he puts an SR20VE in it.


Hope he puts an SR20VE in it. Or an SR20VET with the top mount intercooler (out of the turbo X-Trail).

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

This will be interesting...


An SR20 converted to run on carbs would suit this little ute really well.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

now that's a cool idea!


Value of my 521 just went up! Boom!


I'm gonna say the word.......patina!
Why mess with perfection??? Everything on it has aged so well.
It just needs a nice set of wheels.

I feel OLD by suggesting leaving it original, but there's sooo many Kei truck options over there I can't help it.


Came for cool vintage Datsun content. Instead found misogynistic bull from privileged little boys. Cool.

i do not care about your opinion do not bother replying

go shit up someplace else thanks


says the guy who thinks sexual assault jokes are either necessary or appropriate on a site like this. go fuck yourself thanks


Leave it as is, screams character and that will get attention (not that he needs it) for his w/shop.
Kameari seats or similar, period correct sports s/wheel, chin lip, and period style race livery with his branding.
In the engine, its perfect as is...

That is just me , but its not mine so I am happy to see what it ends up looking like.


Agreed. I think it is great as-is, and I would work with the theme of "humble shop truck" as it might have existed in the 1970s; something that has character but does not get a lot of money thrown at it nor the sort of modification that would take it out of action.

Maybe change to a set of factory bucket seats from something like an 1800 SSS, that might have come available due to that car having an upgrade. Smaller diameter sports steering wheel. Simple, modest bolt on flares if you must, but those wheels are spot on IMO.

Otherwise I look forward to seeing what new ideas he can bring to the tiny pickup wild build genre.


Would love to see something kept raw, with the original patina. A L6 NA screaming. please no V8 for once.


Hmmm, now that's a switch....
This'll be an interesting type of build. Can't wait.


Reminds me of the JDM Legends shop truck a bit.


he should do a rwd k24 swap with a w58 to an r200 open diff.


I am not sure what the application


I'd like to see a small displacement V6 - keep it nice & light on the front end. Shop truck right? Non-turbo, but torquey & driveable daily no fuss. How about swapping out the front suspension to eliminate the king pins? Disc brakes of course...

Brennan McKissick

I know you said he won't swap it but *if* he was going to I think seeing an L series inline 6 would be the best choice to keep it "period" in some shape or form. That aside, I love the spiced up original engine idea and just doing some mild flares, front spoiler and do something with the rear end and then leave it as-is. I love the interior and think the height is appropriate for a shop truck. I think a few little stickers would be good too but please leave the patina.


This is my truck I sold to a broker in Japan. I sold it in December. Glad to see it in good hands.


I would love to see it when it's done!