Few things merge better than the Long Beach waterfront and 340-plus classic Japanese cars. Add to that another 50 or so special display cars; some old school, others much more modern, and you have the makings of the perfect afternoon car show.
Unseasonably hot, even by SoCal standards, the Queen Mary Events Park hosted the 12th annual Japanese Classic Car Show (JCCS) and offered small bursts of relief with random breezes that made their way past every conceivable type of vintage Japanese vehicle. Some adhered to strict, period-correct restoration guidelines, a handful looked to be roughed up, well-traveled race versions of their former selves, while others incorporated modern-day technology for a potent restomod concoction. Regardless of brand loyalties, every brand was well represented and the turnout was overwhelming. Having attended a number of JCCS events over the years, it's apparent the car quality continues to improve.
Honda has taken an interest in supporting JCCS in recent years and 2016 was no different. With a large booth set up, they featured a number of N600 and Z600s, as well as classic motorcycles, and of course a bone-stock, drool-worthy original NSX parked right next to the new NSX. It might sound strange, highlighting a 2017 model with a '90s hero, but the contrast was well received and the commentary was priceless and generated true engagement - not the kind you measure via social media tools, but person-to-person interaction - something we don't see often enough. On top of that, the highly anticipated Serial ONE, the first Honda automobile imported to the U.S., was masterfully restored by Tim Mings and unveiled by Honda. As expected, it was picture perfect and Mings even fired it up for the crowd before fielding questions.
Not to be outdone, Nissan's booth displayed a requisite 510 draped in BRE livery, a spotless Skyline Hakosuka, and unveiled their latest and greatest, a menacing Nismo R35. Not far away, Mazda was out in full force with a classy '67 Cosmo Sport 11OS that looked to be time capsule kept. A tip of the hat to motorsports enthusiasts everywhere, they also brought along their IMSA GTU '79 RX-7 and the iconic 767B racecar.
Here's a look at just a few of our favorites from JCCS 2016:
Chances are you haven't seen many R30 chassis Skylines floating around, and there's an even better chance if you did, they weren't built to the level of Eric Straws'. His '84 Rs-X build features an immaculate exterior complete with 17-inch BBS rollers, a well thought-out cabin with vintage Orange Spectrum Recaros and a slick custom gauge treatment, and then there's the engine bay. The original power plant was plucked in lieu of an RB26DETT swap that's every bit as perfect as the rest of the car. You can see the finer details of the build on his Instagram: @strawe510.
Flashy, brash, yet refined and classy - Taka Sato's '71 240Z features a little of the old combined with a little of the new for an absolute masterpiece. On the business end, Sato's Datsun is powered by a high compression L28 fitted with triple Mikuni 44 carburetors and he didn't cut any corners in the suspension department either. A long list of upgrades that includes AZC coilovers, T3 roll center adjusters, outer tie rods, and more, he slows his classic with 4-piston calipers that hide behind Star Road Glow wheels and Toyo R888 rubber. Outside, the reworked body received a fresh coat of Rio Yellow from Honda's S2K before Marugen Shoukai ZG flares were bolted on along with JDM fender mirrors.
Albert Medrano's '71 RX-2 is the type of car you look at from a distance and you're all but forced to take a closer look. If the picture-perfect paint and body, complete with custom flares, don't keep you interested, then maybe if you ask nicely he'll fire up the JRX-built 13B Bridgeport mill and you'll no doubt pull out your phone to record the symphony. Oh, and if you're not familiar with Cyber Racing and the weight that name carries, spend some time researching. It's worth it.
Rarely do we come across an MR2 as clean as this Mica Blue '89 version. Perched on Work Meister CR01s, it's about as perfect as it gets when it comes to Toyota's first gen., mid-engine two-seater. Motivated by the factory-supercharged 4AGZE, it relies on Daiyama SKG coilovers and a laundry list of suspension upgrades that most likely transformed this already potent handler into a purebred go-kart. We wouldn't change a thing.
LS swap? Nah. 13B-REW? Nope. Flux capacitor? No, but close. Patrick Huu decided to go with a custom diesel-turbine/electric hybrid conversion for his '86 RX-7. He worked his sorcery and came up with a 60KW turboprop turbine mated to a 132 Ah battery pack and 170kW nominal electric drive motor to motivate his FC.
This year marked the 50th anniversary of the Corolla and this 3TC-powered '71 Corolla, owned by Rodrigo Merales of Tijuana, Mexico, represented well. The custom blue paint is heavily contrasted by blacked-out trim, wheels, and custom fender flares.
A number of Japanese trucks made their way to JCCS and one of the nicest we ran across was this '70 Datsun 521, owned by Daniel Ramirez. It wasn't fitted with fender flares, loud paint, or low offset wheels, but instead Daniel's focus was refined restoration and he nailed it. White walls, a color that echoes a true vintage look and feel, along with a spotless interior make for a beautiful throwback.