Historic Pit Stop:SCCA ProRally 1978
Les Nelson's Rally 510 circa 1978
Les Nelson competed in The SCCA pro rally series from 1977 to 1981, but was really a
conservative driver..."I didn't want to roll the car off a cliff and as such my
best accomplishment was 9th place."
The car had some rally history before Les acquired it. He believes it was competed in the 1973 Olympus Rally which was the first pro rally to be staged in the Pacific Northwest and was also the first
event that Les participated in, that time as a worker timing cars at a finish control.
The car had another owner and then was rolled over a bank on a local
rally...then Les bought it and began competing. Eventually he did the paint
job which was only a few weeks old in the photo.
Then as Les got into helping with the route for the Olympus rally, this car
was used for several years to find and measure roads for that event.
This car has the Datsun Safari suspension, Bilstein shocks, welded stock
differential, Dellorto sidedraft carbs, SSS head and flattop pistons, datsun
rally cam, balanced 1800 crank in rebored 1600 block, roll cage, comp belts,
battery relocated to back seat area, trip computer driven off right front wheel...
plus a long list of other features and mods....with many parts taken from John Rodgers 510 (5th in 1973
Press On Regardless Rally).
Les Nelson still owns the car, along with another 510. He intends to get it off-road worthy again...
"There were many many competitors that chose the 510 for Rallying and
I guess it was probably the most popular until Mazda came out with their
rotary engines (RX2,RX3). You will still find some of these old 510's out
competing in local events and hopefully this car will get a taste of gravel
This is how the car sits now. Thanks to Les for the Photos and the History.
Have you or do you own a Vintage Datsun Racer? Send me details of your history and of the car.
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