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Japanese Classic Car Show - Hidden Valley Park

Scene: Hidden Valley Park - Irvine, CA

Charles Trieu
Dec 7, 2009
Photographer: Joey Lee

There are plenty of car shows for all the new and current imports, but JCCS is the only multi-manufacturer show we have for strictly older Japanese imports. Surprisingly, JCCS has grown a lot the last five years. I'm not sure how people are finding more cars, but the show has definitely encouraged a lot of people to build the cars they've always wanted to.

Sstp_1001_01_o+classic_car_show+toyota_celica Photo 2/26   |   Japanese Classic Car Show - Hidden Valley Park

I'd like to call myself an old school enthusiast, but even I can't name every make and model of the cars that show up. The imported right hand driven cars from Japan, I don't have a problem identifying. It's those odd left hand driven cars that had super low production numbers, and the ones that people have shipped here from all over the world, that I need help naming. Some of the more unusual suspects included a Toyota Century, Mazda Cosmo, Toyota Sports 800, and Mistsubishi/Colt Celeste. Along with those uber rare were the uber classics. Does anyone really get tired of seeing a Toyota 2000GT or a vintage Nissan Skyline? You don't get to see many of these but once or twice a year, so I'm really in awe when I get to see all the cars at once. I can't even remember the last time I saw something like a Mitsubishi Starion or a Datsun 610 outside of this show. I was surprised to see more 'Ken & Mary' Skylines this year than ever before. This car is quickly becoming my favorite Skyline, possibly even more than the popular 'Hakosuka'. Yes, it's strange but that's what I love about old cars. They are a time capsule of awkward forgotten style.

The best part about this show is it's a show for true car builders. You just can't have an old car project without knowing how to wrench and restore. This is not a show where candy paint, stereo systems and money impresses the crowd. It's all about the rarity, originality and the buildup. Even if your car isn't done yet, you can still bring it to JCCS. People here definitely understand long-term projects and don't discriminate. One of my favorites this year was a half complete Datsun S30 Z. Whether intentional or not, the mismatched fender, rusted parts, and ill-fitting Hayashi rims gave this Z a charming 'Hood Ride' style that you don't see too often with older Japanese cars.

If you were one of the fools that left early cause it was too hot, you were hungry or whatnot - you missed out! My favorite part of the show is at the very end when all the show cars leave. Hearing the carbs fire up and actually seeing all of these relics in motion, taking that slow road out, I realize and confirm why I love cars.

By Charles Trieu
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