The P411 Bluebird had been a best-seller in Japan's growing domestic car market, and the drastic model change was intended to make it more at home in export markets - particularly the U.S., where sales had been burgeoning despite the small sedan's unacceptably harsh ride.
Launched in August 1968, it was one of the most comprehensive Bluebird ranges in terms of body styles: a two-door sedan, a four-door sedan, a five-door station wagon, and a two-door coupé (added in November 1968). This range became famous for Nissan's rallying successes outside Japan and paved the way for greater Nissan sales internationally.
Externally, the Bluebird looked like a slightly scaled-down Arrow
; its wheelbase was 3.2 inches shorter (95.3 in.), overall length was 7.5 in. shorter (162 in.), track was 1.5 in. narrower (50.5 in.), and it was 1.0 in. lower (55.0 in.). Aside from that, you could hardly tell them apart. Both were 4-door sedans with a tapered appearance and curved window glass and bulging doors to provide extra seating room. Underneath the sheet metal the similarity was carried on.
, Datsun replaced its previous unequal-length wishbone suspension with a MacPherson strut front suspension-although Datsun had gone to a trailing link/coil spring rear suspension while the Arrow stayed with a rigid axle and semi-elliptic leaf spring arrangement. In addition, the Datsun Bluebird came with an excellent flow-through ventilation system similar to the Arrow's.
Japanese domestic market 510's were fitted with a 1295cc, 4-cylinder, overhead-cam engine which replaced the previous push rod Four. The new engine was rated at 77 bhp at 6000 rpm, a 10 hp increase overthe previous model. There was also an optional 1595cc ohc engine (stroke was lengthened from 2.36 in. to 2.90 in.; the bore remains 3.50 in.), rated at 109 hp at 6000 rpm.
For the US market, the cars were fitted with a Hitachi downdraft carburetor 1.6L L-series engine, with an advertised gross power of 96 hp (72 kW), a claimed top speed of 100mph, front disc brakes, 4-wheel independent suspension (wagons had a solid rear live axle and leaf springs in back), rear wheel drive, and either a 4-speed manual or a 3-speed automatic transmission. The 510 achieved 20-30 mpg in factory trim (U.S.). JDM spec models were also available in a 2-door coupe body style in either a 1.6L or a 1.8L (1973) L-Series engine. 510's in some markets offered available twin Hitachi side-draft carburetors, which were a smaller version of the British Skinner's Union (SU) design used on Jaguars and MGs. These engines also used enhanced compression and camshaft profiles to produce more power.
SSS models (not available in the U.S. 510) offered upgraded instrumentation and interior trim, as well as appropriate exterior badges. All (U.S.-spec) 510s received anti-sun glass from 1970-on.