It seems like I find myself ending up at Fuji Speedway more often than any other race track in Japan. If I’m honest with myself, it is probably because I still have not gotten my Japanese license and getting to some of the other race tracks by public transportation alone is incredibly annoying. Its also incredibly expensive (trust me, I have plenty of experience in this). That being said, I found myself once again up at 6:00am and on the train riding to Fuji Speedway for the Track and Show Event hosted by The Check Shop, and praying it was not going to be cancelled due to the bipolar weather Japan has been experiencing recently.
The show was entertaining for a while, but I was looking for something a little more ‘special’ and unique. That was when I bumped into Hirano-san’s four door Datsun 510 and knew I found my icing for the stance cake.
Therefore, I waited for Hirano-san to return to his car before telling him how much I was in love with his 510 and had to shoot. He was more than happy to hear this and thus, the very impromptu photo shoot took place right there a few yards away from the main display area at Fuji Speedway.
Besides the immaculate condition the 510 was in, and the beautiful Barramundi designed Forged Toman 16″ Wheels, what really stole my heart at first glance was what was hiding under the carbon fiber hood. Hirano-san bought this car and has had it under his care for a little over 20 years and he knew that the original 1.6 L Series engine was not going to be enough power for what he had in mind.
So, he did away with that and went with something a little more modern: a natural aspirated SR20DE modified by the minds at S&A Autocreate, Individual throttle bodies and N2 Style Exhaust manifold .
Every time we cranked the SR20 to life, the beautiful noise that bellowed from the ITB’s caused a bunch of people to wonder what was going on and to watch our little impromptu photo shoot. No pressure right?
Before meeting with Hirano-san, I was assuming that his 510 was a track car due to the rear seats being removed, a full roll cage, the fuel cell being placed in the trunk and the slight negative camber in the front, but I had to ask just to make sure.
Hirano-sans smiled when I asked him, told me it was his drift car, and immediately pulled out his phone to show me videos of his car drifting at races tracks, and places that might not be considered a race track and happen to be in the mountains. You know, possibly Initial D status.
As I mentioned before, the interior for the most part has been stripped, the back seats removed, caged, and the front seats have been replaced with Status Racing Seats and Simpson’s racing harness.
The original dash gauges have been replace with a more modern and digital display versus the original analog display.
However, the factory radio, air con unit and glove blocks remain intact giving the car that perfect blend of new technology but keeping some of the old school feel.
It still amazes me that a car nearly 30 years old can be as beautiful and sometimes even more desirable than something in this decade. Only a few yards away, there were brand new M4’s, Ferrari 458, new BRZ’s, Porsche GT3’s and even a Lamborghini Countach as I mention before, just to name a few. Hell, even a Mercedes Mclaren SLS showed up to the event and yet, they did not steal my attention.
I did not have the desire to sit around and find the owner of the SLS and ask to hold a shoot for his car. Yes, the SLS is stunning, powerful, and incredibly rare.
However, when I saw this 510, I instantly fell in love with it. What is it about a classic car that can make you go ‘yes! I gotta have it’? It’s not like the older cars come well equipped or more equipped than their newer counterparts.
No power windows, no power locks, no power steering, no ABS, no navigation system, and the list goes on and on and yet, we tend not to care. To the pure enthusiast, all we really want is a car that allows us to truly enjoy the experience of driving.
Classic cars such as Hirano-san’s 510 are the purest form of this driving experience. Yes, there are modifications done to the car, however they don’t interfere with this driving experience, but only enhance this experience.
It is just you, the car, a steering wheel, three pedals, and the road in front of you.