Every year our calendar is packed with events, but it's JCCS that I really get excited for. You have to give these car builders props; not only are they restoring these Japanese classics with hard-to-find OEM parts, some choose the gangster restomod path and retrofit rad stuff under the hood, such as 2JZs and RB26s. Since this is a once a year event, chances are you'll see cars that have been under the radar and not at every single show in Southern California like so many others. Also, you know you have something special when OEMs like Toyota, Honda, Mazda, and Nissan come out to support. Now we have to wait another year until these beauties are released from their capsules. Fingers crossed, my AE86 will be ready by then. Here are a few of my favorites from the big show.
Hands down, one of my favorite cars was Dennis Kiyan's '77 Celica from Team Wild Cards. Powered by a BEAMS engine and rocking the new and ultra-sexy Work Equip 40 wheels.
Another beauty from the Wild Cards team is this '72 Datsun 510 built by Gilbert Susana. It's powered by an SR20DET that's been plucked out of an S14 and fitted with a GTX3071r turbo to give this vintage car a modern day kick.
If you think Patrick Soliman's Kenmeri was dope before, check out his new kicks-super rare Riverside Super Rivers. The unsung hero of the show, these wheels were made way back in '81, but have been rebuilt by Izanami Wheels from Japan. Patrick tells us the wheels are directional and the vented fins actually make them functional.
Tommy Dolormente shipped his beautiful Starlet all the way from Hawaii just for this year's JCCS show. A custom air setup brings his KP61 down low and tucks some rare SSR Casablanca wheels.
Colin Frost just finished a 4AG 20v engine swap on his Corolla with a clean Levin conversion.
Looking back at all of the JCCS events I've attended over the years, 2017 was by far my favorite. A great turnout, high-level builds, plenty of surprises, and even with the large number of spectators (including the zombies that seemed to be surgically attached to their social timelines rather living in the moment), we were able to capture plenty of coverage.
Beyond the respect and camaraderie that fills the waterfront air during JCCS, the sometimes comical stories about fixing "this" or replacing "that" at the last very last minute are shared throughout the day and always entertaining. Add to that some big name OEMs, a large number of very cool vendor booths, some of the best old-school builds you're likely to ever see in one place, and don't forget that perfect Long Beach weather on the waterfront, and you have all the makings of a perfect day.
Below are some (but not all) of my favorites from JCCS '17, in no particular order:
It was hard to miss this bright orange 240Z with its rather sizeable turbo, dedicated to pushing air into an LS1 swap, sitting well above the hood line. Recently reworked and painted by SOS Customz before being fitted with Atara Racing wheels, it caught everyone's attention.
The first thing I noticed about this RA21 Celica was the pristine paint and low stance, but when I stepped a little closer I noted some serious rubber on the rear wheels. Coming back around a bit later, the hood was popped this time and revealed a beautiful bay sporting a 1JZ swap and a bit of custom chassis work. Understated on the outside and packing a serious punch - one of my favorite combos.
You might know the name Ginash George from his photo work featured in Super Street, or you might remember his '72 GT-X featured earlier this year. Since then, he's ditched the original L20A and opted for an RB25 NA swap that JDM Legends performed with expert precision.
Speaking of JDM Legends, they also brought this insanely clean 240Z to blow minds. Volk TE37Vs, a body straighter and cleaner than the day it rolled off the assembly line, and an absolutely spotless bay bring together one outstanding S30 build.
I've got a soft spot for Datsun's little '70s-era pickups, and these two examples stopped me in my tracks. Jose Tarin's 521 is what some might refer to as a sleeper with its unassuming khaki paint and stake rack hovering over the bed. Pop the hood, however, and you're greeted by a 3sge BEAMS swap that looks like it came that way from the factory, along with an electronic power steering setup.
Jason Taylor's Datsun has a few paint scuffs here and there and that just adds to the character of his badass build. Under the hood you'll find an SR20 swap that looks right at home, along with some custom hard lines and an aluminum radiator. One of my favorite pieces on his slick build are the Epsilon Campeao Do Mundo rollers.
There have been a number of Honda's loveable Z600s and CVCC-era Civics attending JCCS over the years, many of which are meticulously restored to factory condition. This example however, went a different direction entirely. Sporting CCW wheels, custom paint, and a B-series swap that includes a modern touch with its coil-on-plug technology really stood out.