Now in its second year, the Japanese Automotive Invitational seeks to introduce the idea of collectible Nihon steel to a crowd that considers a 1954 Ferrari 375 MM not classic enough. Located at the Infiniti booth that sits just outside the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance, it’s a primer for those who arrive at the prestigious golf course to gawk at Voisins and Delahayes. In other words, if you’re wondering what kind of Japanese car a super-rich old guy might be into, here’s a peek.
The oldest cars present were a 1937 Datsun Type 16 Coupe and a 1938 Nissan Model 70, on loan from Nissan’s own collection in Japan. It’s incredibly rare for any pre-war Japanese cars to have survived, but that’s the kind of car that piques the typical Pebble Beacher’s interest.
Some of the earliest sporting Nissans included a pair of rare 1960 SPL212 and 1964 SPL310 1500 Datsun Fairlady roadsters, as well as a 1966 CSP311 Silvia.
Also hailing from Nissan’s Japanese collectionl and making a rare appearance in the US, was a 1969 R382 V12 race car, fresh from a stint at Los Angeles’ Petersen Automobile Museum.
Friend of JNC Scott King contributed a pair of matching 1965 Honda S600s, a coupe and a fully restored roadster.
Rare oddballs included a rear-engined 1966 Hino Contessa 1300S, a rotary-engined front-wheel-drive 1970 Mazda Luce R130 Coupe, and a 1972 Isuzu Bellett GT-R, and 1971 Mitsubishi Galant GTO MR, all from the collection of Myron Vernis.
Perhaps the most familiar of all the Japanese classics, Nissan’s renowned Z was represented by a 1970 Datsun 240Z and 10th Anniversary Edition Datsun 280ZX from Nissan North America’s collection.
Rounding out the performance icons were a pair of Hakosuka Skyline GT-Rs, both clad in silver paint and RS-Watanabes.
Adam Carolla brought three of his SCCA racing Datsuns, including a 510, 200SX, and Z31 2+2.
Honda hatchbacks included a Z600, as well as a pair of CRXes from the American Honda Collection.
A very nice but sadly automatic 1988 Acura Integra RS from Betty Marci and the California Automobile Museum got its own platform.
Representing 80s generations of special edition iconic nameplates were a 50th anniversary Nissan 300ZX Turbo and a 10th Anniversary Mazda RX-7 Turbo.
Glass-canopy cars of the 90s included Subaru of America’s own SVX from their New Jersey headquarters, and a Toyota Sera.
Entering the age of Japanese luxury marques, Acura was represented by a first-gen Legend from the American Honda collection, a second-gen Legend from owner Tyson Hugie, and an NSX from the Malamut collection.
A stunning Lexus SC400 from Paul Williamsen and Lexus USA was the third car to receive its own platform.
A beautiful 1996 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 Spyder from Todd Darling and Scott Mikkelson represented the pinnacle of 90s sports car excess.
Last but not least were the off-roaders, including a LJ20 Suzuki Jimny and 1973 FJ55 Land Cruiser from the Malamut collection, a Lexus LX450 from the Toyota collection, and an Isuzu VehiCross from our friend Baldwin Chiu.
To be continued…