Japanese Nostalgics at the 2010 Art Center Classic


The Art Center College of Design is one of the top transportation design schools in the world, and each year the Art Center Classic gathers some of the world’s best automotive forms in a show that would make Jeremy Clarkson weep with envy.


Graduates of the college include Henrik Fisker, Chip Foose, J Mays, Chris Bangle, and Larry Shinoda, top stylists that have penned many of the most beautiful cars to hail from Germany, Italy, France, Britain and the US.


This year, however, the theme was Freedom of Motion and several Japanese cars were acknowledged as part of the growing fascination with Nihon classics.


One of the prime examples was Chris Breyer’s restored-to-stock Datsun 1600 Fairlady Roadster, a gorgeous example that looked perfectly at home among vintage Jaguars, Alfa Romeos and Fiats.


In the “Light Weight Sports Car” category was TORC President Joji Luz’s Toyota Sports 800, a recent JCCS Best of Show winner.


It rained all day, allowing for some great photo opportunities to catch Mother Nature’s own tears on cars that are usually garaged 365 days per year.


Chris’s Datsun has only ever seen rain twice in his 15 years of ownership, and this was one of those times.


Designer judges awarded trophies to cars such as the 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic — the most expensive car in the world, having sold for an undisclosed sum over $30 million recently — and the very first Shelby Cobra.


But guess who walked away with the People’s Choice Award? That’s right, the 1967 Toyota 2000GT owned by the Toyota USA Auto Museum!


One sad note, though. One of two Lexus LFA supercars in the US was originally supposed to make a showing, but a scheduling conflict prevented it from doing so. It would have been grand to see it next to the 2000GT, much like the parings of the 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C with the 2007 8C CompetizioneMercedes 300SL and SLS AMG gullwings, Mini Coopers, Ferraris and Porsches.


Still, it was a good gathering because many of the car enthusiasts present had never even heard of the cars like the 2000GT or Sports 800. They were in good company, and you can see the gallery below to get an idea of what shared the lawn last Sunday.

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5 Responses to Japanese Nostalgics at the 2010 Art Center Classic

  1. Kevin Lee said:

    good stuff that incorporated the non JNC cars for sure

    So when is anyone gonna show the Hakosuka and the Kenmeri on stage ? :D

  2. Nigel said:

    They need to see a Laurel SGX on the lawn.

  3. Dan said:

    favorite quote of the day from guy pulling up in a Countach – “THAT’S a Toyota?!” (about the 2000GT)

  4. Tyler said:

    Dammit, CCS needs to do this so I can see them too. Great coverage; I never imagined their show would have these!

  5. bert said:

    It’s great to see the Sports800 and 2000GT Toyota duo finally getting some much deserved respect. But I was wondering, who got the cred for designing the 2000GT? Satoru Nozaki, or Count Albrecht Von WILL TAKE CREDIT FOR ANYTHING THAT IS NOT MY IDEA Goertz?

    I was in Borders not too long ago, and picked up some classic design book (can’t remember the title) and it had a black 2000GT on what looked like enkai meshies!!!! I was suddenly hit by a case of rabies until i looked down and saw the author had given credit for the design to my least favorite German car guy! :(

    BTW-The Bugatti Atlantic is the most oddly bueatifull car ever made!