Eyesore Racing cemented its legacy in the 24 Hours of LeMons with their El Cheapo-built “Frankenmiata,” a first-generation Mazda Miata turbocharged with a Mexican-market Chrysler turbo and an array of garbage Miata parts. Not only did the Frankenmiata typically have entertaining themes, but the Eyesore crew has managed to extract 41 races and counting from the car with seven overall wins, the second-most for any car. Before Eyesore became LeMons racers, however, some of the crew had provenance as automotive journalists, of all things. Dave Coleman, in particular, edited Sport Compact Car magazine and one of his builds was this Datsun 510 rally car, which he is now selling on eBay.
One of Coleman’s other great Sport Compact Car stories was the Vettekart-style hacking of a Nissan Sentra SE-R to chase 14’s in the quarter-mile, but he has since gone on to write great things for MotoIQ and, more recently, to take a sweet job with Mazda’s Research & Development team. Anyway, Dave’s a good guy and because of his background as a writer, we’ll just let his words from the eBay description describe the Datsun with the SR20DE (Nissan Sentra SE-R engine) swap:
“So there was this magazine called Sport Compact Car…No let me back up one step: So there was this thing called a magazine. It was like a blog, but it was on paper and it was only updated once a month. It sounds crazy now, but it was still faster than dial-up internet. I worked at that magazine, and wrote a series of articles on this ’71 510 that I built into my first rally car.
It has an SR20DE, the last set of Tokico Prodra-G rally shocks in the known universe, spring rates copied from some East African Safari Rally paperwork found in an old file at Nissan Motorsports, and all the skid plates and roll cages you needed to compete in SCCA ProRally and CRS back in 1999. That is not enough roll cage to compete now, however, so it needs a little updating if you want to get it back on the stages.
Despite its utterly disgusting appearance, the car is shockingly reliable. SR20s are tough, and the engine runs on a Jim Wolf tuned stock ecu, using a trimmed-down factory S13 harness. The rest of the car’s wiring is a relatively new (~10 years ago) EZ Wiring harness. As a result, the car shakes off endless months of just sitting around outside by just firing up and idling. It’s pretty remarkable. The shitty aftermarket electric fan is dead, though, so don’t stop.
The right front corner is bashed in a bit from hitting a tree on a Laughlin rally stage on the Hualapai indian reservation where I learned how bad gravel tires are in the snow.
The roof is dented and the rear window doesn’t seal from rolling at the Prescott Forest rally. If it makes you feel any better, I went wheels to wheels, kept going, and only had to stop because the radiator was punctured in the roll. We patched it up overnight and won the second day.
The right rear fender is bashed in and the rear bumper is folded under from clipping a fence post at a Leon Styles paintball park rallycross. There’s also a pink spray paint tag in that dent because I used to park on the street near a sorority house.
The left rocker panel is bashed in from losing the 2WD CRS championship in 2002. I had it in the bag until the final stage of the season, where I hit an unexpected patch of snow at an unwise speed, bifurcated a control arm on a watermelon sized rock, didn’t lift, continued at a very unwise speed, and finally exited the road when the left front wheel exercised its newfound independence. I landed on a berm on that rocker panel while still traveling at that unwise speed and somehow managed not to roll again.
The roof is mostly beige because the original vinyl top finally unglued itself on the freeway more than 40 years after it was glued on.
The internet has done an incomplete job of archiving this car’s storied history, and eBay won’t allow hyperlinks, so just Google ‘510 rally beater’ and you’ll learn all the internet can tell you. Also, go to YouTube and search for ‘Eyesore Racing Datsun 510 at Laughlin’ That’s a video of it in action in only its (and my) second rally. It had an L18 back then with double-digit horsepower, so the rooster tails are much bigger now.”
You can find the Datsun on eBay right here. Here is one of the clips Dave mentioned: