Nightlight | Classic Fanciness

March 8, 2011

Night-Import: Photography by Mark Bello

d8 copy

You're walking or driving around the streets of Washington and hear metal scraping or see sparks flying on the freeway and notice it's a Datsun 510, the owner not caring about what's going on and looks forward driving in style. The ride has already been featured on Slammed:Society and Sarapbuhay, but why not introduce it once again with the help of our photographer Mark Bello.

Here it is, the one that makes other classics kneel down when it comes to fitment. Daily driven with style, the Datsun 510 belongs to Raphael Echols.
Night-Import: What made you get into cars in general?
Raphael: I've always loved cars since day one, with a wide range of cars that i loved from old Camaro's to Vw Bugs. My first car was a civic, that i honestly loved. I trolled the Honda forums and had my favorite Honda builds but as i was slowly building my Honda to my likings, i totaled it.

My ImageMy Image
One of the 'looks' that strike us is definitely the rustiness surrounding the car. But somehow, even though we prefer fully painted cars and get paranoid with paint chip marks, Raphael's Datsun was aesthetically pleasing to many.
We were wondering why Raphael decided to purchase a classic in a young age and to hear the story about his building process with the car.
Night-Import: How long have you owned the car? History of it before the build?
Raphael: I've had this car for about 2 1/2-3 years now. I pulled it out of a guys back yard after it sat for 10 years pretty much as a shell for $500 with no title or bill of sell... Horrible deal. it was green from mold, completely stock with a blown l motor and 4 flat tires. I guess you can say its come along ways.

Night-Import: What issues have you encountered during the build?
Raphael: Ha. Countless issues. This car has been a tough project. Its had 5 motors, 5 rear diffs, 2 sets of tie rods, etc... This was not a cheap build. You wouldnt think so by looking at it, but thousands of hours and thousands of dollars has been spent on this car to get it where its at. I can now say I'm finally happy with it.

What we all do want to know is definitely the specs of the wheels and suspension. When you thought the Datusn was running on coilovers, think again. The suspension setup is made from a variety of suspension parts from different cars. Fronts are 280ZX struts with YB VW Rabbit Inserts and rears are 1969 Camaro Rear Shocks with d50 Truck Springs. As you can see, the result was astonishing.

Night-Import: What made you get into the stance scene?
Raphael: It kinda just happened. I always loved slammed cars, and had plenty of motivation from Jeff Hinos at Ratsun Garage. He was the first person i saw with a lowered ratty 510 and i fell in love instantly.


If the exterior was pleasing enough, take a look inside and under the hood. Unique shift knob? indeed. But what's really noticeable is the KA24DE engine swap. All in all, Raphael had many things in mind and it was accomplished.

Night-Import: Who or what inspired the direction of modifications on this car?
Raphael:hmmm.. I honestly think you can tell a lot about a person when you look at their car, and my car screams my personality in your face. But i'd have to say Dillon Cook's rusty 4 door got me into 510's.

Night-Import: On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with the outcome of this project?

Night-Import:Who helped you build this car?
Raphael: Countless names, but i'd like to make a shout out to Frank Cook and Jeff Hinos for the countless hours they spent on this car with me. Never could have done it with out them, and Dillon Cook for his share.


OBX header
No name intake
All egr and emissions junk removed
2.5 inch straight pipe
Custom rear sump oil pan (sits 3-4 inches higher than crossmember)
Oil pick up built by Frank and Jeff from Ratsun Garage.

H4 Lights with 6000k HID's
"other than that i keep it simple." <- Epic. A reason why I mentioned riding in style Interior
Custom shifter extension with a 50 cal bullet
Dynamat everywhere
Racing harnesses
Juicy J Brown Sugar spokesperson

Wheel & Tires
14x7 -15 wrapped in 165/50/14

True static setup:
-Shortened 280zx struts with kyb vw rabbit inserts in front
-Short tube 1969 Camaro rear shocks with d50 truck springs
No adjustments possible
Around 1/2 inch clearance

Smaller Napsz tranny
Shortened driveshaft
r180 rear end


Night-Import:Any future plans for the car?
Raphael: Going turbo has been the plan for a while but as the gas prices rise, part of me is pushing towards a more aggrasive stance and a rebuild to keep the mpg somewhat high. Dont really wanna run premium at 6 bucks a gallon with a boosted 2.4l on a daily.

Mark Bello wants to personally thank Ryan Phillips for this last photo. Lastly, I'll end this feature with our last question to Raphael.

Night-Import:What is your most memorable moment with this car?
Raphael: To many to name.


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