For the past 13 years, the Japanese Classic Car Show Association has gathered a collection of import favorites, from the storied Z-car lineage to the somewhat obscure—at least to those not in the know - in order to hold a celebration of sorts. The gathering, dubbed JCCS (Japanese Classic Car Show) seems to grow every year not only in car owner participation, but in general fandom, and this year marks one of the heaviest crowds we've ever competed with for photo ops.
The once barren front lot of the Queen Mary Events Park in Long Beach, Calif. that served as little more than an open walkway with a few cars scattered about as you headed for the grassy show area is now jam-packed with display cars, vendors, and this year an estimated 6,000 visitors. Those vendors helped to make up the 60 total booths in attendance and that first taste of classic import flavor that you encounter is but a portion of the 320 total registered vehicles crammed into the park waterfront. A slight change this year added the popular Street Neo ('80s/'90s era favorites) but capped registration at just 20 cars as the influx of classic vehicles and vendors filled almost every inch of the venue.
Having attended eight previous JCCS events, some of the changes over the past few shows are apparent. Many of the builds now rely on authentic, often hard-to-find wheels, sometimes re-barrelled and customized to complete a specific look. In addition, the engine bay detail and overall cleanup is at an all time high with some going as far as reworking their firewall, tucking everything in sight and eliminating anything not deemed as critical. It's a far cry from the days when an old-school car owner bolted on a set of wheels and flairs and called it a day. Now, with so much scrutiny and the low-key, though always-present competitive nature, the build levels have been elevated and the quality is better than ever.
The staff at JCCS did a great job of positioning a large chunk of the display vehicles in specific areas based on model type. With a large group of Z-cars in one section, 510s in another, and Datsun pick up trucks in yet another section, it made it easy to compare one build to another and really soak up the direction some of the builders were going. There were still plenty of random cars parked throughout the show and every few minutes we were hit with another surprise, something completely unique, or a favorite that slipped by during our initial stroll through the park.
In recent years, some automakers have joined in to support the event and show off some of their classic collections. The likes of Honda, Mazda, Toyota, and Nissan sported oversized booths packed with various models from their early days that included passenger cars, motorcycles, and championship winning racecars.
With the momentum building year after year, and 2017's show likely to have the best reception yet, we can't wait to see what next year brings. Don't miss out next time around — keep tabs on upcoming events at http://www.japaneseclassiccarshow.com.
A classic 510 with some more modern touches like the much larger than stock bronze TE37s and SR20DET swap and what looks to be Downstar Inc. engine bay hardware.
Ultra wide shoulders and hips on this FB RX-7 along with some serious rubber out back make perfect sense when you get a glimpse at the monster lurking under the hood.
Nobody in the '80s had any idea that the 2JZ-GTE, one of the most highly sought after engines of the '90s, 2000s, and arguably even in current times, would look right at home in the chest cavity of Toyota's early model sports car.
At around 2,000lbs, this '71 Datsun 510 sedan doesn't need much power to get moving. Of course, having a 400+hp SR swap helps to bring the fun factor up multiple levels.
New-school wheels with an old school feel — Work Wheels' Equip 40 is one of their latest designs and features a simple design that harkens back to the '70s and '80s. Its reception by the classic import tuning community has been overwhelmingly positive.
Eric Straw's flawless RB26-powered R31 Skyline came back this year and looked, well — it looked flawless. Expect more on his ridiculously cool build in the near future.