Datsun’s 510, a sport sedan for the common man, marks its golden anniversary

1972 Datsun 510 two-door sedan. Photos by Daniel Strohl, unless otherwise noted.

In the 1960s, Japanese carmakers battled for respectability with U.S. consumers, who typically viewed their wares as little more than inexpensive, basic transportation. Yutaka Katayama, then president of Nissan USA — and best known by his “Mr. K” nickname — believed that his company could build an affordable sport sedan that buyers wanted, not just settled for. The result, launched in late 1967 as a...

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