EVENTS: 2012 Japanese Classic Car Show, Part 01: Debuts

The 2012 Japanese Classic Car Show has come and gone, and this year’s was the hottest one yet. We mean that literally, as it was an unseasonably scorching 100-plus degree day, rare even for SoCal in September, but that didn’t stop throngs of enthusiasts from turning up in droves. In Part 01 of our JCCS coverage, we’ll go right to this year’s big debuts. 

Jun Imai‘s incredible shakotan goon just might be one of the lowest Datsun 510s in America, if not the world. As our own John “Datsunfreak” Roper says, “Due to the double layer sheetmetal of the rear quater panel most 510 guys will tell you that getting a wagon this low is impossible. I’m glad Jun didn’t listen to them.” Jun’s wagon sports some awesome retro vinyl representing Yokohama Tire, Kousoku Yuen and JNC and rides on some of the shiniest SSR MkIIs known to man.

If you think Jun’s graphics look killer, that’s because he is a professional Hot Wheels designer, and was at the JNC booth signing toy cars for fans. Jun also brought this prototype of his own ride, to be released in 2013 as part of the Hot Wheels Boulevard series.

Speaking of Hot Wheels, our friends at JDM Legends came, as promised, with a 1:1 scale version of the Hot Wheels Mazda RX-7 released earlier this year. The IMSA-inspired car is absolutely sinister in black, gold and red. We will have an in-depth feature on this car soon.

Does the livery on Brandon Ozaki‘s Mazda RX-7 look familiar? It may appear very similar to the JDM Legends car, but Brandon is the man at Mattel who came up with the the Hot Wheels car’s livery (his name appears on the doors as B. Ozaki, as does the number 20).

This is his own interpretation of the Hot Wheels car, and if you look closely you can see that there’s some metal flake flair in graphics. The color combo is simply outstanding.

Another incredible period-correct motorsports-inspired car was Joji Luz‘s Toyota Celica with TRD wide-body kit.

In contrast to the tributes of old school Japanese racing machines were bone-stock classics like this 1983 Honda Civic with only 42,000 original miles. Purchase price in 1983? $8,354.50.

Janet Fujimoto and Duane Tomono‘s amazingly restored 1985 AE86 Corolla coupe  is one of the cleanest hachirokus we’ve ever seen. It recently underwent a down-to-the-shell restoration and was put back to original USDM GT-S spec.

We were stunned to see not one but two Chevy Sprint Turbos at this year’s show. GM rebadged the Japan-built Suzuki Swift GTi, which came with a 993cc turbocharged and intercooled engine and could hit 60mph in 8.8 seconds — a pretty amazing feat in 1985!

Kenneth Norman‘s red Sprint Turbo complements Josh Dresslove‘s white one perfectly. Both are 1987 models and have been lovingly restored to stock spec. It’s rewarding to see these extremely rare cars preserved for posterity.

Speaking of rare, someone finally got their hands on a C30 Nissan Laurel. This may look like a typical old street car from Tokyo, shallow Wats and all, but Brian Anderson‘s rare hardtop coupe is SR20 powered.

Ricardo Ramirez‘s 1972 Datsun 1200 was a cleanly done street machine packing a Nissan SR20DET under the hood. This swap almost looks like it came from the factory that way.

SR, KA and CA swaps are common fare for Datsun 510s…

but this gray two-door was packing something a bit more unorthodox under the hood — a carbureted Nissan V6.

Another incredibly rare find was Steve Kopito‘s 1972 Mitsubishi J20C Jeep, built under Willys license after WWII. This was built up until 1998 with little to no change in design and is sure to excite military vehicle buffs.

There’s plenty more JCCS coverage coming up, so stay tuned.

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22 Responses to EVENTS: 2012 Japanese Classic Car Show, Part 01: Debuts

  1. Pete240Z says:

    Once again I applaud on how well this show is put together. Kudos to the organizers. NEXT year I will be going……

    • dankan says:

      Kudos to the organizers indeed. And kudos to the owners of the cars. Some of those cars are just stunning. I think the best part is the diversity. So many brands, with so many posibilities for how to express oneself in metal. About the only thing I think I haven’t seen at this point is a late-50s Toyopet Crown rocking a 4A-GE and Watanabes…

  2. Nigel says:

    Nice coverage guys !!
    Jun’s wagon looks awesome and I like the C30 Laurel too.
    (Waiting to see more).

  3. bert says:

    In contrast to the tributes of old school Japanese racing machines were bone-stock classics like this 1983 Honda Civic with only 42,000 original miles. Purchase price in 1983? $8,354.50.

    And just 10-12 years before that, everyone was balking at paying $7,000 for a Toyota 2000gt!

  4. bert says:

    What does Joji Luz do for a living, that allows him to have so many incredible cars, start up and maintain the worlds greatest car show, and raise a family?!

  5. Pqjim says:

    Looks like a great show this year. I missed it as I was in the hospital for surgery. My black RX-7 (previous winner of best RX) is also in the hospital after having an engine fire. We both will be back next year!

  6. matt says:

    being such a scalding day, i spent more time talking to people and staying cool

    fantastic enthusiasm from mark(?) honda specialist who’s been to EVERY JCCS

    and to Ricky, pleasure to finally meet you (we have A LOT to talk about, and hope to see you next year too)

    and overall thanks to everybody who came by the booth with their jnc excitement and positive vibes

  7. toy_yoda says:

    I’m gunna have to make the trip to the show someday, great coverage guys!

    Please tell me the fender mirrors will stay on the prototype 510!?!

  8. Justin says:

    Great coverage! Dan and Ricky take really good photos! I was awestruck to see the cars at the show.. cars I’ve only seen on the internet and have heard about in folklore. Also… Jun Imai’s wagon looks amazing in person! I loved the interior touches

  9. Louis says:

    That gray 510 was ridiculously nice. So well put together it’s dizzying, it was one of my favorite cars at the show!

  10. Ken says:

    Hoping for another 4 part coverage! I had a blast this year as always.

  11. Jun says:

    It was an awesome day with Ben, Dan, and the rest of the JNC crew! And thanks to all of you for stopping by the JNC booth to say hi and talk shop. Even if you were only trying to duck into the shade for a few minutes!

    • Toyotageek says:

      Jun, missed your appearance due to volunteer duties with JCCS, but I hope Ben & Dan can convince you to make it out to Toyotafest next year – especially now with the Celica coming out! 🙂

  12. cesariojpn says:

    Is there ANY stock 510’s left in the USA at all? All i’ve seen have been pretty much modified to death and back.

    And i’m calling shenanigans on the AE86. it’s not “restored” if it doesn’t sport stock alloys that could theoretically be thrown onto the car by the dealer upon the sale.

    • Benjamin says:


      A dealership installing aftermarket alloy wheels after a customer has purchased a car is a pretty common thing in the U.S. Those may be the wheels that were on it when it was driven off the lot in 1985.

    • Brooks says:

      There’s a nice unmodified 4-door 510 in maroon down the street from me. Stock hubcaps, even. About the only thing I can see on it that’s not stock is the JNC window decal!

  13. Kaydubbs says:

    Great photos so far!! Really wish I could have been there. Been thinking about planning an MA60 road trip next September. But will she make it in one piece…

    Lets see Part 02!

  14. Paz says:

    SOOO RAD!!! I hope to go one day… JCCS actually motivated us to try and start a Japanese classic car meet here in Atlanta… lol if anyone is in GA we will be having a meet for old J tin, Oct. 21, Shorty Howell Park, off Pleasant Hill Rd, Duluth GA

  15. Rotarylover89 says:

    That 510 with the VG30 carb is AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL…i’d love to see the build thread and some videos of the car going through the gears at WOT!! 😀

  16. yoda says:

    I should add, the red and white Turbo Sprints represent the entire color selection of that model.

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