Though only in its third year, Nissan Jam has become a regular on the nostalgic car show calendar. For 2015, the show moved from its former home to a new location, West Covina Nissan. The larger space allowed for more cars than before, as well as the opening of the all-Nissan show (which already incorporated the Datsun brand) to welcome the Infiniti marque as well.
The venue, West Covina Nissan, has been around for a long time and held similar shows of their own some 20 years ago. The showroom was a different building altogether but the shows were well attended. The dealership is part of the Sage Automotive empire, whose owners have quite a collection of classic Nissans that include a BRE 510 replica and low-windshield Datsun Fairlady Roadster.
Nissan USA brought out their just-released 2016 Maxima, a 300hp sedan that seeks to bring back the 4DSC name. While the lack of a manual transmission (or even a traditional automatic, for that matter) precludes it from true “4-door sports car” fame, it is a supremely comfortable cabin worthy of any Infiniti.
We invited Kevin Yeung’s flared out 240Z that made such a splash at the Z-Bash to be the official JNC booth car. We selected Kevin’s car because the white beast exemplifies a lot of trends coming out of Japan at the moment that combine new school tech with old school flare.
The wheels, for example, are classic Work Equip 03s, but inched up and deep-barreled and given a modern black finish. The motor, too, is a proper L-series instead of an RB or SR, but rather than stick strictly with triple carbs Kevin chose to turbocharge it using an 80s-era setup with HKS surge tank plenum. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine this car gliding down the Wangan, duking it out with R32s and Blackbird 911s.
Our very own forum moderator Matt brought his Infiniti G20, which turns 25 this year. I can already feel Matt staring daggers at me for calling it an Infiniti, though, as he’s converted it to Primera spec, complete with intercooled SR20DET that US-spec G20s never got.
Cars were lining the streets as early as 7:00 am, causing quite a bit of commotion on streets adjacent to the dealership. When the gates finally opened for show cars at 9:00, the roll-in was a sight to behold. John Williams was one of the first to appear with his 240Z proudly bearing his recently earned “I Survived the JNC Touge California” decal.
By far, the most dominant model present was the classic Z, comprising about one quarter of the 130-plus cars in attendance. It can be rather difficult to photograph Zs because usually all you get is a wall of front-hinged bonnets, but every color, engine displacement, and body style you could imagine was represented in full.
Of course, being an all-Nissan show means it’s not just classic Zs. Plenty of gawk-worthy 350Zs and 370Zs were on hand as well, showing off their well-sculpted badonks.
The presence of both old and new afford us the experience of seeing not just classic Skylines, like this pair of red and blue Hakosuka, fine as they may be.
Instead, we also have the pleasure of observing multiple generations of Godzilla eye candy, 30 years’ worth of Japanese steel never actually sold on US soil.
Holding court at the Datsmo booth was company founder Josh Kreat’s 1977 280Z 2+2 and a fine selection of Datsun-themed stickers and JDM parts straight from the motherland.
Meanwhile, International Vehicle Importers brought something slightly different than the typical Godzilla: a Skyline GTS-t sedan. Since the R32 turned 25, IAV has been quite busy with orders of federally legal Bubble Era Skylines.
No list of iconic Nissans would be complete without the Silvia. Here, three generations are arranged, including Giovanni Franco’s white S14, pro drifter Stephanie Rodriguez’s pink S13, and Richard Mena’s 1987 S12 that’s been in his family since new.
Our favorite, however, was Rene Rivas’ 1989 coupe in the classic silver-green over gray two-tone. Rene tells us that he bought the car (which had been painted another color) thinking that he was going to paint it white, but when he took off the topmost layer and saw the S13’s hero color underneath, he knew he had to bring it back. The decision seems to have paid off, because the car was gorgeous.
510 Datsuns and Bluebirds could be found in abundance as well, including Mynor Campos’ beautiful JDM Coupe.
With its period BRE spook and molded flares and blacked out window trim, this 510 wore many of the modifications popular with American J-tin during the pre-internet era. Matt was pretty sure this car attended the old West Covina Nissan shows back in the 90s. Whether it was under the same ownership is a different story.
Sebastian Hill’s simple two-door sedan, which you may remember from the recent Touge California, is powered by a KA24DE but you wouldn’t necessarily guess it from its stock body lines. While we at JNC can respect the work put into any project, our fondnesses definitely gravitate towards the clean, less-is-more approach.
In addition to all the canyon carvers and Wangan brutes, Nissan Jam also welcomed the humble pickup. In past years, Datsun 521 and 620 trucks dominated the field, but this year we were greeted with some D21 Hardbody pickups as well. The Safari Gold 620 pickup shown here belongs to Alain Montiel, who served as the official Nissan Jam MC.
Last but not least, my personal favorite category — wagons. Sadly, there weren’t a whole lot this year, but Raymond Mediero’s 1972 510 and Jouse Elias’s 1973 610 goons made a nice roof-racked, fender-mirrored duo.
We conclude (because of today’s date) this installment with William Woerz’s 1973 Datsun 610, which has been in his family for 34 years. According to William, it is the only 610 in North American with the L4N71B 4-speed with overdrive transmission option. The L20 motor is also built with a JDM W53 cylinder head and 38mm Hitachi carbs. Happy 610 Day!
To be continued…
We’ll have more 2015 Nissan Jam coming soon, but in the meantime, check out our coverage from Nissan Jam 2014 (Part 01, 02 and 03) and 2013 (Part 01 and 02). Also, if you missed out on Nissan Jam, prepare yourself for the upcoming Japanese Classic Car Show. Registration opens July 1!