You might have heard there was a football game in Houston over the weekend. We were in town for the epic clash — something about classic Fords versus Jeep crossovers — but before the big game the local JNC community welcomed us to a Sunday morning meet.
We met up at a shopping plaza in the Greater Heights area of HTX near a coffee and donut shop called Morningstar — a great name for both a java joint and a medieval melee weapon. The old school J-tin scene in Houston isn’t huge, but what it lacks in numbers it makes up for with interesting JDM imports. Cars like 80s Chasers, Carinas, and R31 Skylines would be impossible to register in California due to our emissions rules, but in Texas they’re fair game.
One of our favorites was this imported Mark II Wagon. Owner Jacob McCool says it was sitting abandoned and was sold at auction for just a few dollars. Importing it to the US cost several thousand more, but we give him props for going the extra mile to get one when he could’ve easily settled for a Cressida wagon. It’s amazingly clean for a car that had been left to rot, and we’re glad to see it live on on the opposite side of the world.
Another pleasant surprise was Pecx’s Hakosuka Skyline, apparently quite the famous car in the local car scene. It’s easy to see why. With zokusha stripes and a shout out to Rocky Auto it’s a standout on the streets of Houston, which is basically 80 percent Suburbans and luxury pickups.
Chris Hunt’s Datsun 610 wasn’t imported from afar, but we liked its simple and honest presentation with work done where it counts. The paint is more survivor than show car, but all the trim is complete, the interior was redone in a tasteful manner, matching the dual Weber setup and period correct 1974 Texas license plate perfectly.
The rest of the field was made up of awesome canyon carvers, Corollas and Miatas that would probably be pretty damn fun to blast around the interchanges and ramps of Houston’s sprawling freeways with.
Sadly we couldn’t stay long, but we were glad to make new friends and bond over the love of old Japanese cars. Everyone we talked to had great things to say about everyone else at the gathering (even when they weren’t within earshot!). There was a strong feeling of camaraderie, which is sometimes missing in large scenes like SoCal. Domo arigato, Houston, for showing us a great time and reminding us what an awesome grassroots community should be.