Long Beach, California
Celebrating its eighth annual event, the Japanese Classic Car Show's gathering of old-school classic resto "JDM" mods and nostalgic show vehicles was once again held at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. Coveted as the best Kyu-sha Shukai, which translates to "vintage car meeting" in North America, the event continues to grow in attendance each year, as the 100-plus degree temperatures didn't dampen attendance or enthusiasm.
JCCS served as a melting pot for all things automotive. It didn't matter if they were from the '60s, '70s, or '80s, if they were Hondas, Toyotas, Nissans, or if they were stock/original or full-on custom. If it was a classic and a pre-'89 or older vehicle, chances are it was at the show. Among the vehicles on display were the first Toyota sold in the United States, a '58 Toyopet Crown, '65 Sports 800, Coronas, Starlets, and plenty of Celicas, Cressidas, and Corollas fully restored, with many retrofitted with newer-model engine swaps, including the more popular SR20DET, FJ20, RB26DETT. There was even the occasional V-8 swap (bless their souls). For enthusiasts who were looking for rarer vehicles, a '69 Subaru 360, which resembled a VW Beetle, was at the show alongside the brand-new BR-Z from the dealer.
The Hakosuka GT-R has remained the most recognizable Skyline model among the tuner market, but the C110 Kenmeri made "Skyline" a household name. The C110 Kenmeri gained popularity in the early '70s due to the famous Ken & Mary television commercials that gave the fourth-gen Skyline its nickname. Diane Krey-Wesley of Ken & Mary, now a high school teacher, made a special guest appearance at JCCS in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Kenmeri Skyline. Diane was on hand to sign autographs as well as talk with fans about being an ordinary American girl who quickly became the most recognizable face in Japan at the time.
Another surprise guest who drew a big crowd was Hot Wheels designer Jun Imai. If you own a Hot Wheels, chances are he designed it. Jun's been responsible for creating the many car models, including the AE86, Datsun 510, Hakosuka and Kenmeri Skylines, Mazda RX-7, Mad Manga, and '70 Celica. As a true car enthusiast, he also brought out his ultra-clean, retro-inspired Datsun 510 wagon while he entertained the crowds with signings and some exclusive vehicle sketches on paper.