We are always warmed by the stories of car culture as a force for good. When the Purist Group puts on its annual Winter Drive here locally, we love seeing the pallets of toys for the less fortunate stack up over the course of the event. When we hear that the late Paul Walker's family is carrying on in supporting Reach Out Worldwide, a nonprofit disaster relief charity that in particular helps first responders, we are smacked right in the feels. And that's just the tip of the iceberg - it's amazing to see the acts of kindness that emerge from car people looking to do something positive for society.
We were witness to such philanthropy again recently, when the folk who met through the Japanese Classic Car Show (JCCS) each year got together to put on a mini meet for Ray Kanda. Ray hails from San Jose, Calif., and at 13 is already steeped in the life of a legit automotive enthusiast; he's also battling cancer, which can be a scary diagnosis regardless of who you are and what your background is. In an effort to stoke the flames of Ray's interest in motor vehicles, his dad - himself a JCCS regular with his first-gen. Celica - decided to treat his son to an all-out L.A. car guy trip that included stops at Honda and Mazda's U.S. headquarters, the Petersen Automotive Museum, Mattel/Hot Wheels, and many other places, in addition to the meet put on by JCCS.
Set in the parking lot at Island Eats Hale Aina Hawaiian restaurant in Torrance, several entries you would find at a JCCS were in attendance at the small morning gathering, as well as newer cars and less Japanese ones. The classic J machines consisted of a Mazda RX-4, Tod Kaneko's Datsun 240Z AND rotary-powered 510, a fourth-gen. Toyota Pickup Xtracab mini-truck, and a cluster of first-gen. Celicas that included Greg Yamamoto's RA21 coupe, out on its first voyage post rebuild. Less Japanese and/or less old rides included a Porsche 997 GT3 RS, Audi Quattro, a foursome of R35 GT-R, and more. Dig into the photo gallery to see who else popped by.
Days later, we hear Ray is still talking about the trip. Yeah, it wasn't the biggest turnout, but at the end of the day it's the gesture that counts. You could see it in Ray's smiles all morning long.