Adding Modern Interior Conveniences to a Datsun 510
When the 510 was new they were many things to many people. Cheap transportation to some,
budget racecar to others. One thing they weren't, luxurious. Even for the day they were
somewhat lacking in amenities. There are some Datsuns that came later that had more refined
interiors, some of their pieces swap easily into a 510. Here is list of such parts an a general
description of what is involved in addiing them to your 510.
- Day/Night Rear View Mirror:
From 240z, 260z, 280z '77-'79 200sx. The Z-car
mirror clips into the original 510 mounting plate. The 200sx mirror screws in place of the 510
mounting plate. These mirrors are of higher quality meterials than those that originally came
in the 510, as well as having the day/night switch.
- Interior Grab Handles
From 280zx (2+2). The 280zx interior grab handles are
the right size to screw into the threaded holes behind the head liner on the interior of the roof of
the 510. Suggetion: find the holes in a parts car or junkyard 510 before poking holes in your nice
headliner. There are a few different holes some of which are not threaded in the general area of where
the grab handle mounts. There are holes on the 510 for four grab handles one above each seating
- Retracting Seat Belts
From '77-'79 200sx. The 200sx has retracting seat belts
that are ideal for a 510. They have an upper mount that features a loop that hangs about 8 inches down
from the top mounting bolt. This makes the belt run across your chest and not your neck which is
much more comfortable and probably safer. The only draw back is that they are typically either
green or maroon in color.
- Shoulder Belts For The Rear Seat
From '69-'71 510. The 510 sedans (two and four
door) have threaded holes
in the unibody above the parcel shelf that were used for shoulder belts for rear passengers in other
markets. All you have to do is take a set of 510 shoulder harnesses and bolt them in place. The other end
will attach to the stock rear seat belt lower buckle. It is possible to adapt retracting belts in the back but
I have never seen it done.
- Clear Dome Light Lense
From '87-89 Sentra and various other Nissans. Some
80's Nissans have a dome light that is the same as the stock 510 domelight. The lenses are clear
and seem to be of a sturdier plastic than the originals.
- Center Console
From '76-'79 B210. The B210 has a small center console while
not being anything fancy at least has a proper shift boot and place to put change, etc. Be sure to
grab the console and that goldish colored mounting brackets that make installation a breeze.
- Cable Throttle Linkage with Improved Pedal
From '80-'83 200sx . These pedals
fit into the 510 with minimal modification. They match the other pedals reasonably well and they
hang down rather being hinged at the floor, which makes them ideal if you are putting in new carpet
and you don't want to cut a hole for the gas pedal. They also convert the old mechaincal linkage to
a more modern cable type linkage.
- Cool Foglight Switch Idea
From '70-'72 510. I use a stock 510 headlight
switch to run my foglights. They mount fairly easily in the empty hole where the map light switch
would be. Simply remove the roll pin that the knob hooks onto, cut the shaft down about 3/4" and
drill a small hole across the end of the shaft to put the roll pin back into. Now the knob will be not
stick out so far when the foglights aren't on. You may want to look for the '72 style knob which
has a pictogram of a head light on it rather than saying "lights" this will make it less confusing to
someone borrowing or stealing your car. If you have a map light the fog light switch will also
mount in the hole on the lower right of the radio console part of the dash. The switch is two position
so you can use the second position to turn on additional fog lights or mount a small clear fog light
under the rear bumper to use as an auxilary back-up light (aka tailgater blinder light).
- Armrest Upgrade
From '76-'84 Volkwagen Rabbit Four Door. The rear door
armrests are a nice swap into a 510. They are similar in design to the stock 510 armrest but they are
sturdier. You will need to grab the nylon mounting inserts when you grab the armrests.
- Better Side lights - NOT really a Modern Interior Conveniences BUT....
Misc Donor cars. The only tested side lights that work GREAT are off the 1978 Toyota Celica. The rears are the same as Toyota used on just about every car they produced between '78 and '85. + There are rumors of some 240Z owners that are using 89 Hyundai Excel marker lights. According to the rumor -"They are the right size and fit much flusher to the body."
Who knows? Maybe..... Hell give it a try!
- Heater Upgrade
From '76-'79 B210. The B210's ( and maybe '77-'79 200sx's) have
heater blower motors similar to the 510's but larger. They can be swapped in with a little cutting and
caulking to avoid leaks. Be sure to get the motor and the "squirrel cage".
- Budget In-Dash Tach
Uses 2" Aftermarket Tach. Many aftermarket gauge
manufacturers sell mini-tachometers that are about 2" in diameter. These guages fit perfectly inside
the chrome circle in the empty would-be-tach hole. They allow you to retain your idiot lights and
some of these tach's can be had for $25-$50. It's no factory tach but it's cheap and it doesn't make
your interior look as '60's muscle car-ish as a 6" tach on your steering column does.
- Shortened Turn Signal Switch
Uses Stock SwitchOkay, this one is obvious,
but it never occurred to me until I saw it on someone else's car. If you are using a smaller diameter
steering wheel, the turn signal switch sometime protrudes out beyond the rim of the wheel. This makes
it feel awkward and occassionally get bumped when doing some spirited driving.
Solution: remove the little rubber pad from the end of the lever. Cut a few inched off the end of the
lever and put the little pad back on. Now why didn't I think of that?
If you have a good idea for upgrading the 510 interor with cheap parts, let me know. This, like all the
other articles on this web-site are always in a state of ongoing construstion (much like the roads here
in Albuquerque). Email Me with suggestions.
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More to Come... Stay Tuned...
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