We hit the 10th annual Japanese Classic Car Show. It was awesome. This text will be replaced with a full write up from Davis in a couple of days, but I wanted to get the photos and video up asap. So come back soon!
September 27, 2014
Breaking the mold of the traditional hot rod and custom car shows belongs to the Japanese Classic Car Show in our hometown of Long Beach, California. This was the 10th Annual JCCS event, which had at least 400 cars and 30 motorcycles. The Japanese Domestic Market was spoken here with the inclusion of a Mooneyes booth. American hot rodding and customs has taken off in Japan over the past 10 years and continues to grow as evidenced by the annual Mooneyes sponsored shows across the pond. Maybe some day we’ll get over there for some event coverage.
Saturday’s show was open to all pre-1989 JDM vehicles and motorcycles. Hard fact, it’s been 20 years since we’ve seen the tan and mustard color palate for exterior paint and the original yellow on blue California license plates. Memories of my folks’ 1978 Toyota Corona, Corolla, and Corolla hatchback came back quickly. I learned how to drive a stick shift in that hatchback. I spent many hours inside these cars as we drove across the Western states during school vacation breaks. All three came to an end with a trade-in sale for the upgraded models. Probably the most notable, was a friend in high school who had a ‘73 Datsun 510 2-door coupe which was lowered, primered, and featured gold Western Nugget wheels. That rig was beat down, missing the hood after he wrecked it. First impression just looked like something out of the Road Warrior movie with the flat black paint, sport mirrors and the old school, Wink Mirror. However, no primered projects were allowed in this year’s show. Organizers kept the projects in the spectator parking lot, which can be a show in itself. Everything is for sale right? On the green grass and on the pavement, there were plenty of 510’s, 610’s, 710’s, Fairlady’s, and Bluebirds to name a few. The ubiquitous Z’s and the early Honda Civics also had a strong appearance. Honda Preludes? Yep. Mazda RX-7’s? Definitely. Subaru? Sure. Mitsubishi? Of course.
Import motorcycles are just plain cool, late 1960’s and early 70’s in particular. The change in styling and trends with the emergence of off-road biking becomes more evident with knobby tires and telescoping forks. Famous marks like the Yamaha Enduro or the Hodaka all-terrain two wheelers are now “classic”.
Most of these bikes had a hard life with many swapped parts and neglect. Things change over time and the need for replacement parts for die hard collectors and builders has created new market niches. We met David Kolbo of KDI Reproductions who told us about their Yamaha with new reproduction parts. This bike was so detailed to original specifications with new parts, the builder refused to turn the engine over in fear that it would discolor the exhaust system. It looked like something off the dealer floor. Coolness factor: very high. I’ve wanted one since the first time I saw one in my best friend’s garage when I was a kid. I’ll keep that one on the “get list”. Also on the list would be one of the vintage Honda café bikes. Two-tone paint schemes with chrome gas tanks and low profile handlebars makes it all work.
This event also had special appearances from the original BRE race team, which included John Morton and Pete Brock. These two gentlemen are 1960’s big names in the legendary days of Caroll Shelby School of Racing and the whole Shelby Mustang program. The design, look and feel of Shelby originates with Pete Brock. He got the car bug early in life and made himself successful with automotive design work and race team owner. He had the idea of the famous double blue racing stripes way back in the 50’s when he entered his 1948 Ford convertible in the Oakland Roadster Show. He won an award for his custom car and went on to implement his graphic design elements to the 1965 Ford Shelby fastback. Call that a homerun. At the public opening of the show, they unveiled their 1971 BRE 240 Z tribute car, which had a bit of a rough start with some squeaking belts, but managed to get down the green to the BRE booth. They signed autographs and took pictures for spectators and race fans.
The other great thing about this show, is the racing influences. Your typical rotary engine RX-7 or inline 4 CRX has quite a different appeal when they are prepped for nothing but racing. Lots of registered owners are members of the SCCA as well as HSVRA. We saw quite a few of them in weeks past at the Coronado Speed Fest in San Diego. We have yet to attend a local SCCA event, but hopefully next year. These classic imports are very much alive on the street as well as on the road course. Classic JDM is alive!