Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Japanese Classic Car Show, 9/15/2012

2012 marked the Japanese Classic Car Show's eighth year, and my eighth consecutive year of wanting to go.  From where I live in San Diego, it's about 130 miles one way to Long Beach, and in the past there had always been something to conspire against me making it - work, home repair, a summertime flu - the type of stuff one deals with when not effing about with cars.  This past Saturday I finally attended, and it did not disappoint.  

I estimate there were two-to-three hundred cars sprawled around the beautiful bay side park where the show is held, every last one something interesting, special or rare.  Shakotan style Cressidas, tuned 240Zs, early Skylines and rotary Mazdas, Kei cars, engine-swapped 510s, "Mango" Corollas, AE86s, 2000GTs, slammed pick-ups and everything else imaginable - if it's old and Japanese, there was probably an example parked somewhere on the grass.  Many cars were completely original, having earned a warm, soft patina through decades of loving ownership, others restored to better-than-factory standards.  Besides a few neat old stockers on hand, nearly everything was modified on some level; multi-carbed tunes and wild engine swaps were thick on the ground, and the collection of vintage wheel candy was almost unbearable.

There were some pretty cool vendors on hand, too.  Magazines, tuners, and a guy with an incredible and wallet-wrecking collection of Tomica, Choro-Q and AutoArt models - again, so much selection it was overwhelming.  I came away with a stuffed Dampachi for my desk at work and a few t-shirts.  How I managed not to blow a few day's wages on models I do not know.

Living in sunny SoCal for the past ten years, I've had the good fortune to see a lot of good car shows - JCCS though, is a great car show.  The wide variety of quality machines and friendly atmosphere remind me of more casual events like Cars & Coffee, something I can't really say about many other judged car shows I've attended.  Despite the 100F+ weather and hellish LA area traffic, I highly recommend it - definitely worth a road trip, or even a cheap plane ticket.  Next year we'll make a weekend getaway out of it, and stay at the big boat.

The Queen Mary Hotel is docked at the same park where the show is held, and attendees are entitled to special rates.  It's a very interesting destination of its own, showcasing the luxury, style and engineering of a bygone era on a massive scale.  From what I hear, the halls are largely empty of staff (and surveillance), allowing for exploration of the deepest bowels of the ship, from engine room to areas of the keel nearly forty feet below the waterline.

A big thanks to those at JCCS who saw fit to give a rank amateur such as myself press credentials, too.  I'm sorry if I didn't use them properly - because I was so late to sign up, I never received a packet.  Because I'm a noob I had no idea what the privilege entitled me to.  Again, cheers guys.

With a little luck, I'll be there next year showing a KP61 Starlet.  I can't wait.


  1. Hi, thats my black mitsubishi galant vr-4. Great website you have here, you take some phenomenal photos. I drove out to Ca from phoenix, Az with my girlfriend, my friend and his wife. This was our first time attending JCCS and my first time ever entering a car into a show. Looking back I would have liked to had more time to clean the car but I think she showed fairly well considering that I had been working on her up until 3 am thursday night, then woke up at 8 am loaded up and drove to Long Beach. I brought a bunch of tools and a spare alternator but I only ended up using a philips screwdriver to adjust the '93 headlights I just put in thurs pm/am. Other than a small exhaust leak at the wastegate due to a old worn out gasket, the car ran flawlessly.
    Thanks for recognizing my car, the competition there was fierce. I was humbled to say the least and know that I need to step up my game. The "mango" ae86 was insane, as were a bunch of those big turbo 510's.
    If you have any other photos of my car I would be grateful if you could spare a moment to email them to me at MRF993 at hotmail dot com.
    I hope to make the JCCS show next year, if you see my car, come say hi.
    - Mike

    1. Hey Mike,

      Thanks for commenting. Your car was one of my favorites, I've always had a soft spot for rally homologation cars, what the British like to call "turbo nutter bastard" stuff, and the rarer the cooler IMO. I'd love to have a Legacy RS and Galant VR-4 parked next to each other in the garage, in honor of the dawn of that Japanese-led era of dominance when they were still using larger platform cars.

      Glad to hear you didn't have any troubles, I know how old, complex cars can be... those who say "it's part of the fun" are smoking something. Glad you could make it out. I brought my wife, brother-in-law and a friend and we all had a great time, even wifey.

      I wish I had more photos of your car to share, sorry. I was so overwhelmed I just kinda circled randomly snapping things here and there... I must've looked insane. The show definitely needs more Mitsus though - hope to see you there next year, I'll be sure to say hello.



  2. Pretty cool pics of the show. Thanks for posting up my AW11

    1. Your car was probably my favorite of the whole show. I had a Super Red II '89 NA that looked just like yours, albeit with less 3SGTE. Where can I get more info about your car?

    2. Hi Alan,

      I don't have a dedicated website at the moment but can tell you a little about the build history.

      The car is also originally an '89 NA. We performed the 3SGTE swap back in summer of '09 and the got it BAR'D a couple of months later at Mira Mar City College (SD). The paint and body work was done at Auto Perfect Body Shop in Sacramento. Here's a link to my Flickr Account if you want to check out some pics and vids: http://www.flickr.com/photos/55668975@N05/

      Thanks again for the compliment,


    3. Thanks for sharing, Tou. I'm looking for a KP61 right now, but if I can find another clean AW11 I might be tempted back into that game. Hope to see you again next year.