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Japanese Classic Car Show 2012

Leonard Mayorquin September 24, 2012 Car Shows 12 Comments

There was a time when saying “Japanese Classic Car” was an oxymoron. How could a Japanese car be a classic? All Japanese cars are just appliances that you throw away when you’re done with them. A to B transportation that inspires no one. They were just good a good meal for the tin worm.

But here in So Cal we have developed a fascination for the old Japanese cars. So Cal, thanks to its relatively dry weather, is very friendly to cars that would have normally just rusted away in any other part of the country or the world. Here in the birth place of almost every car culture trend, you will see modified versions of even the most pedestrian models of Japanese cars. Guys will buy the car that they remember their mother or father drove while they were growing up and go all out modifying them. Not too different from the Hot Rod and Muscle Car world. You see a body shape you like and then start adapting parts you find from other models or even makes to make the perfect car for YOU. That is the culture which the Japanese Classic Car Show celebrates (JCCS).

This was the 8th Annual JCCS, and 7th yearly pilgrimage for me. I have never owned a classic Japanese car, but I do appreciate all cars. I also appreciate what they are trying to do and what they have done with the event. They are spot lighting a previously largely ignored part of So Cal’s car culture. So Cal has always been a large market for Japanese makes and as long as those cars have been sold here they have been rodded up.

But the rodded examples aren’t the only ones celebrated. The unmodified survivors and restored examples are also celebrated. If you can appreciate a perfect survivor Nova, or Mustang why can’t you appreciate a perfect survivor 240Z or Honda Accord. At one point they were just fun toys or appliances but they are now scarce enough to look at in amazement. You can remember when you and your buddies piled into a 1984 Accord just like that one and headed off to that party, or when you and your buddy drove the canyons in that 240Z. Fact of the matter is many of these cars have succumbed to old age and rust prone steal and have all but disappeared. So to see so many of the in one place is a great sight to see.

This year I caravanned down to the show with a group of six Nissan GT-R’s. I was expecting them to just hop on the freeway and go balls out like in pretty much every other “caravan” I’ve been on. But that didn’t happen. This was probably the best caravan I’ve been in, everyone followed the speed limit and stayed together. When we arrived most of us stayed together and while the guys in the GT-R’s got out of their cars and were shocked by the 103◦ F weather, though I wasn’t. I had been cooking in my car with no A/C and leather seats.

I was happy I had my media credentials too! That meant I was able to get water and soda for free while they had to pay $3-4 for each drink. The heat was as hot as the cars at the show, but we still stayed and enjoyed the show as best we could. Everyone was vying for whatever shade they could find. All in all it was still a good time even with the sweltering heat, and I got to meet some cool people.

When I got to my car I was once again super thirsty and grabbed the bottle of water I had left in the shade behind my passenger seat. BAD idea, it nearly burned my tongue from how hot it was! Note to self: Don’t do that again.

Link to full gallery. I suggest you go to the gallery. There might be some pics you like more.

  • John

    Wow, makes me wish I moved from NYC to California. Off all the classics, something about vintage JDM gets me going

  • I have a complaint, which has nothing to do with your post.

    The 240Z is a great looking car. Stop putting stupid front air dam bumper/valances on them. Do people actually think those look good?

    <img src="http://classicjapanesecars.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/datsun-240z-ad-green.jpg"&gt;
    The stock body is just so right.

    • Plecostomus

      Heresy, G-nose and FLARES FOR THE WIN. The body works great both with or without a front bumper and with or without an airdam, but the G-nose is extra sexy.

      • Disagree. The non-stock air damn G-nose whatever makes the car look like it was modified by a high school kid.

      • Agreed.

    • EmbracingEntropy

      I agree, the 240Z is sweetest in stock form. I don't necessarily dislike the ones with spoilers and flares, but they look cleanest without add-ons. I don't, however, care for the wheels on the pic of that green car.

    • Spring-heeled Jack

      Wasn't that air-dam a factory piece? I'm sure I saw it in the Datsun performance parts catalogue in 1973

  • mike
    • SVT2888

      Oh, yes I was drooling all over it! 😉

  • Van_Sarockin

    Was that a 2000GT, and a Turbo Justy? Such a bounteous creation.

  • Ooh, Honda City Turbo AND the Motocompo. Wow.

  • EmbracingEntropy

    Wow. I love seeing so many unfamiliar old cars. I'm a longtime fan of the Datsun Bluebirds, which are nicely represented, but what is that dark purple Mazda? It has the rotary-shaped grille emblem, but the earliest Wankel-engined Mazda I've seen other than a Cosmo is an RX-3, which this is not. Is it an R100? I love it.