When the Datsun 510 rolled onto US shores, it carried the future of the brand on its shoulders. Sure, Datsun had set up a dealer network exceeding 600 locations, and some inroads had been made with ‘early adopters’ and those ‘oddball’ citizens who were eager for a simpler, smaller vehicle. But in 1968, big cars, big horsepower, and big gasoline expenses were the rule of the day.
Had the 510 not been a high-quality, affordable, excellent-handling car, Datsun might well have never introduced the Z car and Nissan as we know it may never have crossed the ocean. Thankfully, the Dime was a smashing success and made believers out of a skeptical American populace.