Chris Forsberg's Insane SR20DET-Powered Datsun 510 Wagon Debuts at SEMA 2017

Click the video to hear what Chris Forsberg has to say about his wife's new grocery getter

Click the video to hear what Chris Forsberg has to say about his wife's new grocery getter

Three-time Formula D Champion Chris Forsberg just can’t leave well enough alone. He purchased a clean and straight 1972 Datsun 510 wagon off of Craigslist for his wife Michelle to drive. But before she knew it, the talented drifter and car builder was tearing the PL-510 down to the bare chassis to make it a more modern, powerful, safer, and more street-able daily driver. The first step was to remove all rust from the 45-year-old car and replace it with fresh metal.

First displayed as a completed project at the AEM booth at the 2017 SEMA Show, the 510 wagon proved to be a real show-stopper. While the project started out in Chris’s two-car garage, it was clear he needed some space/help so the whole operation was moved over to RAD Industries.

Starting underneath the car all the worn ball joints and bushings and tired shocks have been replaced by a Techo Toy Tuning front end including a coil-over conversion, various rods and links, and a pair of camber plates for up on top of the inner fender.

The original Safari Gold paint was reapplied, but with metal flake and a clear coat top

Much work was required to fit the flairs. Check out the prototype rear suspension and the rear discs

At the rear is a custom four-bar plus Panhard bar solution (remember Datsun 510 wagons were fitted with solid rear axles and not IRS) also developed by Techno Toy Tuning that utilizes coilovers to replace the leaf springs and shocks.

Under the hood is a full-tilt SR20DET by Mazworx in Florida. It’s literally one of those “best of everything” builds: an oversized tapered conical AEM air filter, carbon billet intake manifold, top-mounted Garrett GTX turbocharger, Supertech valvetrain, JE pistons, all held together with ARP hardware. An oversized aluminum racing radiator replaces the tiny stock unit. Backing up this drift-worthy motor is an upgraded automatic so as Chris says “you won’t be splashing your morning coffee when you’re trying to shift gears.”

The exterior features CarbonSignal full-flared fenders, a real trick on a PL-510 wagon which required three separate pieces to align perfectly. The body was sprayed by Sam’s Autoland in the original factory Safari Gold with some added metallic and a clear coat too, as Chris puts it “give it that extra shine we’re looking for.” The stock color also helps to keep its Q-Ship factor low, but it has been fitted with a 2000GT-X Skyline grille, for the cognoscenti to recognize this is no ordinary wagon as if the lack of front and rear bumpers and the addition of a front spoiler weren’t enough.

The turbocharged Nissan SRD20 engine fits in the 510 wagon like a glove

The engine bay is super sanitary. Any unneeded holes were welded and ground smooth before paint

Wheels are massive era-appropriate Speedstar MKIII, which Chris modified to what he believes are the largest rear wheels ever fitted to a 510 wagon. Behind the wheels is a big brake kit from Techno Toy Tuning that features Wilwood calipers on all four corners.

Interior comforts have not been forgotten as, after all, this is supposed to be a daily driver. Dynamat was installed around the interior to keep engine and chassis noise down, while a modern air conditioning system has been fitted along with the Los Angeles-mandatory GPS system. Reclining Recaro seats keep driver and passengers secure and comfortable.

Chris has been an AEM-supported driver for a number of years, but with the number of choices out there why does he favor AEM? “We choose AEM because we’re always looking for reliability, even in our street cars. AEM has such a wide variety of intakes that they’ll fit any car you’re looking for, whether it’s a street car or a race car. We want to make sure we keep all the particles out of the engine because if you let any of those particles through, you’re going to have a failure.”