Japanese Classic Car Show 2019
1 October 2019 - superstreetonline
Celebrating 15 years of spotlighting the classics
Those who have attended the annual Japanese Classic Car Show (JCCS) over the years have a good idea of what to expect. You're usually treated to a nice ocean breeze to combat those guaranteed sunrays while strolling through a well laid-out assortment of restorations and restomods, and more often than not, you run across something you either didn't know existed or have never witnessed in the flesh. It's always been a fun show to spend the afternoon poring over the details, obsessing about the amount of time and energy put into bringing these iconic chassis up to snuff and sharing long-winded rants about how cars today just don't live up to the look and feel of yesteryear. For 2019, as JCCS celebrates its 15-year milestone, those same sentiments were still in play, but the buzz word of the day was "growth."
Sprawled across Shoreline drive's Marina Green Park in Long Beach, Calif., the 15th annual JCCS is what we'd refer to as a smash hit. If the city block-sized park that was jam-packed with classics from the likes of Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Honda and more weren't enough to signify that, then the entrance line, which ran almost the entire length of the show during the late morning hours, certainly was. For those who attended JCCS 5 or 6 years ago, you probably don't remember ever waiting in line longer than a few minutes, and if you showed up in the afternoon, you probably just strolled right in. That was then, and now, with a massive outpouring of support and interest in these older chassis, you get more car owners interested, bigger crowds and more vendor involvement - all signs of significant growth.
Years ago, I wouldn't have placed JCCS into the "car show tour" category that's established a stronghold amongst the import automotive community. In fact, it was almost the anti-car show, feeling more like an ultra-organized cars and coffee, chock full of history and plenty of knowledge floating around constant conversation. These days the pace has quickened, the attendance numbers dwarf those of the past and JCCS has quietly positioned itself as the premiere event for all things old school in our market. Perhaps it always held that title, but with barrage of visitors willing to stick it out waiting in line to make their way into the park, it's apparent that this event has hit its stride. And if you think there hasn't been any signs of competition to challenge, you're wrong. Those silent battles quieted even further after a decade and a half of progression backed by a loyal fan base and a community of dedicated builders that gets deeper by the year.
As is the standard in recent years, the JCCS staff systematically positioned vehicle makes with one another keeping the visual display cadence throughout the entire park on point. Not a fan of Nissan? Move down a few feet and you're in Toyota land - stomp further down the park and you're surrounded by Mazda builds. It's the type of layout that wouldn't really make sense in a large-scale indoor car show free-for-all, but in this context it makes all the sense in the world.
Overwhelmed by the sheer number of cars in attendance, we'll break apart the coverage into a few different parts, starting with the Nissan/Datsun section of the show which greeted attendees as they made their way through the entrance gates.
While some prefer more common paint choices, others opt for something custom to separate their builds.
This '72 240Z is a perfect example of moving away from OEM as it features a custom color draped over bulging Fiberglass Mafia flares that house RS Watanabe rollers with a color matched face and black lip that just clear Wilwood calipers all around. The upgraded braking is needed to slow the RB-powered Z-car.
This bright green '75 280Z 2+2 model's been fitted with a 240Z grill and bumper treatment joined by custom metal fender flares done so well that they look almost factory.
It's always a treat to see the Phantom Z in person - a one-off shooting brake design custom build that turns heads anytime the cover is pulled off. A shame that it was never a production vehicle, but at that same time a rarity that demands a closer look if you ever have the opportunity, as the detail and craftsmanship are second to none.
The eye-catching red paint will draw you in, but it's the left-hand-drive configuration that'll have you scratching your head. This '77 C110 Skyline was purchased in Australia, shipped over to Dubai for a full restoration and LHD conversion before being brought to the U.S.
As expected, JCCS' Datsun 510 selection did not disappoint.
Coupes, sedans and wagons in all colors and levels of restoration were on hand and you couldn't go more than five steps without seeing someone eyeballing their choice and noting that they either had one back in the day, were in the midst of restoring one or hoping to snag one in the near future. The 510 carries so much nostalgia within its tiny confines that it's near impossible to find someone in the know that isn't absolutely infatuated with Datsun's dynamo.
When it comes to explaining why the 510 is such a fan favorite, the @garage_theory '73 is a great visual aid. From the old school Volk Mesh rollers to the masterfully swapped, SR20 bay, this is a shining example of a well thought-out, timeless 510 build.
Datsun's iconic 510 family is one of the first images you probably conjure up whenever the name is mentioned but you can't forget about the loveable 520/521 and 620 family of mini trucks that were produced in the '60s and '70s, as well.
Datsun's utilitarian pick-up has gained substantial steam over the years and that "tax" can be felt if you're in the market for one in decent condition. Where you might never run into a nicely restored or modded version at your local car show, meet or cars and coffee gathering, at JCCS there was an entire section dedicated to them
Not quite as common as Datsun's 520/21/620 family, this RHD Sunny pick-up has been reworked from top to bottom. Its clean paintwork and impressively straight body accentuated by the Sunny's unique bed design that doesn't separate itself from the passenger area like most small trucks of that era.
Unique Takechi Project Racing HART FR (4-spoke design for 4-lug option, 5-spoke design for 5-lug) sit at all four corners, while under the hood, anything deemed unnecessary has been deleted and the aged paint refreshed and accompanied by classic Weber carbs to complete yet another great build from the likes of the Wild*Cards crew.
Often overshadowed by its younger brother, the original 300ZX was well ahead of its time. Now inching ever closer to its 40th birthday, there aren't a slew of well-maintained versions rocketing down your local freeway and that's what makes a pristine example like this one all the better.