One of our favourite nostalgic car shows in any country is Classic Japan, which is held in Melbourne, Australia in December every year. Melbourne is 1000 km away from JNC‘s Australian HQ in Sydney, so it’s also an opportunity to gather some friends for a weekend away of good food and great cars.
As we headed south, our nostalgic convoy consisted of the Barrel Bros Cedric, the JNC Project Hakosuka, and the lovely Hako and Kenmeri of my good mates Mark and Brad. I’m sure you’ll agree, that your choice of road trip companions is quite important!
The JNC Hakosuka ran like a champ all the way down and back. 1000 kms, and a full day of Nissan straight-six induction noise later, we arrive in cosmopolitan Melbourne, for the Classic Japan show.
Organised by the Toyota Car Club of Victoria, it’s a professionally-run show that’s getting bigger and better every year, with 550 cars in display.
But as always, it’s the staggering variety of cars, with pretty much all of the nostalgic j-tin car clubs showing up and displaying all manner of cars that you simply never see. So you’ll spot a R130 Luce Rotary Coupe (Mazda’s only FWD rotary, and also the only car every fitted with the unicorn 13A rotary), and it’s parked next to one of the two Cosmo Sports at the show.
One of the Cosmos was the rarer, short wheelbase early model, of which there were only 343 made.
Naturally, all the vintage Skylines had to park next to each other. Joining us at the show, was the latest addition to Australia’s Hako community, a lovely KGC10. It’s new owner only received the car off the boat a week ago, and moved heaven and earth to get the car registered, so that it could be at the show.
Parked just opposite the Cosmo was a wonderfully well-preserved, period-correct MR2, complete with the ultra-rare JDM roof rack option (and the owner has two). Being able to pore over things like this really make the long drive worthwhile. AW11 otaku, this dude is your king.
Nearby was the the JDMParts Autozam AZ-1. Only a small number of these gull-winged, mid-engined turbo kei-cars were made in the early 90s. This particular one has been enhanced with a Ford RS200-esque vintage bodykit from Madhouse, and the wheels and stance set it all off to a tee.
Spotted at the JDMParts stand were some JDM rarities, like a 10-inch AC Courreges from the early 80s, rather dwarfed by an ex-Le Mans Rays Volk centrelock.
This Toyota Sports 800 was sandwiched between a Cosmo and a Century, for the ultimate in Aichi contrasts. The owner of this car owns a few other modern sports cars, “but the little Toyota is the most fun.” Amen.
And being a show organised by the Toyota club, you can bet that there was plenty of Nagoya eye candy everywhere you looked.
If Sydney is the Hako capital of the world (outside Japan), then Melbourne could lay claim to being the nostalgic Celica capital. Daruma and TRD Racing Jackets as far as the eye could see! All beautiful examples, too.
This one was a common favourite. He too, drove 1000kms from Adelaide to be at the show.
At JNC, we’re big fans of Mitsubishi’s big brawler coupe, the GTO, so it’s good to see them begin to appear at shows.
The rest of the show was an eclectic mix of everything from neoclassic Miatas to the truly vintage, like this Honda 360, with its diminutive twin-cylinder engine dwarfed by the spare tyre in the engine bay.
Vintage competition cars were represented by a period-correct Galant GTO and a lovely Violet 160J, both finished in liveries that raced in Australia’s Southern Cross Rally.
Now here’s a rarity. In Australia, the Holden Piazza got a scathing reception from the Aussie motoring press, it was undercut in price by both the Prelude and the Celica, and as a result, they are quite a rare sight. But here’s one, rolling tastefully low on Work Equips and showing off its lovely Giugiaro curves.
From there, we go to the more upright lines of the S54B Skyline. The Prince Club is quite active and always puts up a good showing.
There was also a smattering of really nice survivor-spec cars too, from a lovely 80s Supra. to a 60s Cedric wagon. The latter was a tank, with everything seemingly made of really thick metal.
I haven’t seen one of these in years, but this show had not one, but two mint Corolla 4WD wagons. This one was super clean and trailered to the show.
With almost 600 interesting cars, it really is hard to do justice when you’re reporting on this show. With the sheer variety of marques and styles, half a day isn’t really long enough to take it all in. We’ll definitely be back again next year. If there are any Sydney-based JNCers who’d like to cruise down with us in early Dec 2017 for next year’s show, get in touch!