Emma Bell’s 1971 Datsun 1600

Emma Bell has big plans for her cool survivor Datto

Photographers: Charlie Sant

As a young’un, Emma Bell had strong automotive influences from her dad, which forged in her a love of 70s Datsuns

Nowadays she’s immersed in all manner of revhead stimuli thanks to her partner, Charlie Sant of ProFlo Performance.

Emma plans to turn her ’71 Datsun 1600 into a stout streeter, and we were keen to find out more.

First published in the June 2023 issue of Street Machine

How’d your car journey start, Emma?

I grew up around cars. Dad was always working on them, and I’d help by handing him tools and so on.

Dad was into Aussie muscle and 4WDs but bought a Datsun Sunny paddock-basher, which my sister and I both would thrash around. Later on, my friends had 1600s, 1200s and Sunnys, so I got hooked on Datsuns.

Tell us about your first Datto.

I bought a running 1200, which I later pulled apart to do up. I had the Datsun resprayed but never got it back together, as I needed to sell it when I moved from Mackay in Queensland back to New South Wales in 2018.

About a year later, I was keen on another Datsun, but I wanted an auto, which you don’t see too often. Eventually, I came across this original 1971 Datsun 1600 GL with a column auto sitting in a Blue Mountains car dealership. I’m now the third owner.

What was the first mod?

The height! It sat high and it had to be slammed – it took a few goes to get it sitting right.

Then we added whitewalls and swapped the original hubcaps for the rare GL caps. Next, Creative Signworx vinyl-wrapped the roof in white – that looks great with the whitewalls.

For the interior, I found a set of Recaros on Marketplace, which I had trimmed in a vinyl similar to the original black. At the front, we’ve added an aftermarket Super Sonic grille for the Japanese look.

Get out in it much?

Yeah, we cruise it on weekends and sometimes I’ll cruise it to work, but I have an SV6 VE Commodore wagon as my daily. Even though my 1600 has been slammed, it still handles pretty good.

My biggest drive so far has been an eight-hour round trip to Mudgee for the 1600 to be in my mum’s wedding. That was a long way, especially as it was in summer and the Datsun has no air conditioning!

What’s the driveline?

It’s the L16 1.6-litre engine and all-factory driveline. We’ve tidied the engine bay, but that’s it for the moment. We plan to change that in the future, maybe going to an SR20 engine.

I’m still deciding on exactly what the upgrades will be. Being around ProFlo Performance has definitely impacted the style and ideas I have for my Datsun, especially seeing all the tough cars they build.

I want my 1600 to have their level of quality and style – tubbed, very low and a tough engine to suit. I want an all-round car that I drive to the track, race and also cruise.

Girls — wanna be famous? Send pics, car details and contact details to: Iron Maiden, Street Machine, Unit 9/3-5 Gilda Court, Mulgrave, Vic 3170. Or email: [email protected].