Project Car Hell: KA24DE 510 or Turbo 2002?

After the decrepit Crosley wagon just barely edged out the parts-nightmare DAF in yesterday's Choose Your Eternity poll, we figured it was time to put up a couple of projects that would give you plenty of Insane Hoonage Potential for the money (while still driving you completely berserk with frustration and sucking flurries of Benjamins out of your wallet, of course). And, inspired by today's DOTS car, we're going to let you debate the merits of the combatants in the never-ending BMW 2002-Datsun 510 rivalry.


In this corner, we have this Bavarian bully, which has been taken most of the way through a turbocharger installation. Imagine the fun you'll have when the boost kicks in and you start breaking drivetrain parts leave everything else on the road in your dust! Before that can happen, however, you'll need to deal with a few minor issues. For example, the turbocharger is fried and it looks like the plumbing isn't quite all there, and then there's the nagging question of whether the seller actually knew what he was doing when he put the engine together. On the happy side of the ledger, it does have a 5-speed, aftermarket sway bars, a limited-slip differential, and the body is in good shape. $3000 and it's your personal hell.

As we all know, the Japanese automakers have never backed down from their arrogant German counterparts, and this '71 Datsun 510 should be able to give the Turbo 2002 a run for its money, if not leave it in the weeds. Turbocharging is great, but we also dig a big, high-revving, naturally-aspirated four-banger under the hood, and with a 2.4-liter KA24DE under the hood, this 510 should get you arrested the first time you drive it accelerate like a striped ape. The seller is asking a thousand bucks more than the BMW's seller (in an ironic reversal of the original 510/2002 price ratio), but that's because it "runs good" (sic) and is rust-free; however, this ad has the scent of a seller who will respond favorably to a cash offer well below the asking price. The seller is a man or woman of few words, but we're pretty sure the statement "still a project" speaks volumes. What mysteries will you uncover as you dive into this car's innards? What scary corners have been cut? Most important, could it beat the Turbo 2002?


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