The Japanese Classic Car Show, put on by Terry and Koji Yamaguchi, is always a cool destination for us. It's one of the few low-pressure, family-oriented events we cannot miss. The anticipated sight of glistening Toyota Starlets or Datsun 510s is like a Yamzy dream. This year's third annual JCCS in Long Beach also coincided with Mazda's 40th anniversary of the Rotary and Toyota's 50 Years in America. The show was loaded with the best old-school Japanese iron from across the Pacific. Toyopets, RX-3s and Corollas of every chassis number prior to '85 were all on display. To walk around this show was to enter a timewarp in which vintage Skylines and fully decked out Mugen CRXs still roam the streets, along with SR20DET swapped Datsun Z cars and slammed Toyota Sprinters. Dual side-draft carburetors abounded with cars sporting the coolest 13- to 15-inch wheels from SSR, Hayashi Racing, Hoshino and WORK. Think you know JDM? Think again. The old-school JDM class was in full swing with fender-mounted mirrors, classic "smiley" bumpers, "SP" taillights and whale tails you could have a picnic on.
Mazda brought out a full display of vintage racecars, including its Savanna and FC3S, as well as the newest GT class racecar. Jay Leno took in the event, talking with fellow car nuts throughout the show. PJ Bonafacio, well known in this community, had the coolest Toyota Starlets we've seen to date, while Toysport brought out their infamous convertible with the deep-dish SSR Fins. Meguiars' "Car Crazy" was on hand, filming and interviewing show goers. Car clubs from the early '80s like Bosozoku Racers and Shoreline Racing came to show off their vintage Celicas. With '72 Skylines around one corner and Toyota Crowns around the next, it was a visual overload.
With the amount of detail and affection given to all these cars, it would be impossible to say what we thought was the best of the show. Everything from the purest carbureted, Wink-mirrored RA24 Celica to the mongo-turbocharged and injected Bluebird were on hand. If you missed it, we have great news for you: For the first time, a DVD of the JCCS including show coverage and some cool old-school running shots will be available this December at www.japaneseclassiccarshow.com. See you at the next show!