One of Nissan Jam’s proudest accomplishments is gathering a hugely diverse field of cars from Nissan’s long and storied history. From 1960s to modern day, from mini-trucks to drift machines, from lowliest Sunny to mightiest GT-R, the Jam had it all.
Case in point: Where else are you going to see a bone-stock S110 Silvia — resplendent in two-tone gray looking like it just stepped out of a time machine from 1981 — right next to an S15 Silvia, its descendant four generations removed? We’re not quite sure how that S15 was even allowed into the country, being far less than 25 years old and all, but there it was.
We also had cars like this 810 Maxima Wagon present, beautifully original and rocking faux wire wheel covers with the Datsun “D” logo in the center. Those were probably a dealer option back in the day.
Here we see two Nissans that could not be more disparate. The 310-series Bluebirds like Leo Del Cid’s Datsun 312 were the first “modern” Nissans to emerge from Japan’s post-war reconstruction. From a 1.0L OHV four-cylinder churning out 45hp, it’s separated by just 30 years of evolution from the R32 GT-R. twin-turbo supercar in sheep’s clothing and one of the most technologically advanced cars of its time. Incidentally, Leo’s Bluebird won second place in the Nostalgic Datsun category.
Even a pair of B13 Sentras made an appearance, the hopped up SE-R spec reminding us that wickedly fun Nissans don’t have to come in Silvia, Skyline or Z form. Henry Delgado’s red ’92, swapped with an SR20VET, took home the Best Sport Compact award.
On bit of a somber note, some attendees honored Yutaka Katayama, a pivotal figure in the early days of Nissan USA. The ebullient Mr K, who passed away earlier this year at the age of 105, was fond of saying “Love cars. Love people. Love life,” a quote commemorated on Jill White’s 240Z. If you’d like one of these stickers of your own, you can get them at Datsmo.com.
S30 Zs comprised a significant portion of the entries. The best story we heard was from Paul Taniguchi, who’d just recently acquired his 1975 280Z from his aunt. She was the original owner and had kept it for 40 years but was simply planning to donate the old car before Paul caught wind of her plan and immediately bought it. With nothing but a quick detail, the car emerged showroom clean.
The Z31 squad turned out in full force. In shows past, 300ZXes of this generation tended towards more conservative mods (at least visually) but it’s a new style for a new generation taking cues from bosozoku and hashiriya alike.
Taking first place in its category was Jon Frampton’s 1967 Fairlady Roadster. Local builders Kevin’s Roadster Designs conducted a frame-off resto-modding that saw the insertion of an S15 SR20DET with P11 variable valve timing head. Power is sent through a 6-speed transmission and a Mazda RX7 rear axle, while the brakes come from a Z32 in the front and an RX-7 in the rear. Normally I don’t like faux carbon-fiber, but the hydro-dipped pattern on the dash makes for a striking contrast with the chrome gauges. You can tell a monumental amount of work was put into this build.
David Jones took third in the Best 510 category with his 1972 sedan, painstakingly restored to original spec. It’s good to know there’s at least one concours-ready 510 out there.
When we first saw Joshua Leach’s RHD Bluebird Deluxe at the first Nissan Jam it was still rocking the stock L14 engine, 4-speed and original seats. Now it’s grown a set of Bride Zetas IIIs and an L18 with Weber 40 DCOE carbs running power through a 280ZX 5-speed and R160 diff. Despite its changes it still appears charmingly original from the outside, garnering it a second place award in Best 510 category.
In Part 01 we mentioned that the venue for the show, West Covina Nissan, once held its own shows 20 years ago long before Nissan Jam existed. Jesus Hernandez was attending those shows already in the very same 1970 Bluebird Coupe he brought this year. Perhaps it was only fitting then that he took home first place in the Best 510 category.
We loved the fact that there were two Datsun 210 coupes at the show. Kimberly Hall’s brown 1981 was a gift from her father, who passed away just a few months after he bought the car. In the 25 years since that time, she’s gone through painstaking efforts to restore this memento of her dad to showroom condition. She’s pulled an uncracked dash from a junkyard, rebuilt an OEM clock, and even cast another rear quarter-panel emblem from an existing one. Now that’s dedication!
Alana Gregorio also inherited her 210 from her father, a gift before she had her driver’s license. Later, he wanted to sell it, but she refused and is probably the coolest kid in her class as a result. Alana won second in the Best Sunny class.
The well-deserved Best Sunny prize went to Mark Duncan’s beautiful RHD 1971 2-door sedan. Sunnys of the B110 generation are incredibly rare in the US, and the lines of this body style are particularly elegant. The pillars are especially graceful, providing an overall sense of lightness.
As the end of the show drew near it came time for the awards. Max Moosman of Nissan USA’s social media team presented Richard Madlangbayan with the People’s Choice award for his 1972 240Z. The prize also came with a $150 NISMO jacket.
Next, JNC‘s very own forum admin Matt presented Mike Parente with the JNC Award. What car won this dubious honor?
Mike is the proud owner of a 1988 Nissan Pulsar NX SE Sportback with just 45,000 miles on the odometer. The car remains 100 percent original, right down to the modular clamshell hatch (which came in dark gray from the factory).
The Pulsar was like a concept car come to life, with its swappable rear section that came in either hatchback or notchback form. Mike even has the original tool kit and instructions on to swap out the section. Neither had ever been used.
Mike says that back when these cars had just hit the market, he worked next to a Nissan dealership lined with rows of brand new examples. He couldn’t afford one at the time, but kept the idea of owning one in the back of his head. Decades later, he began the search again but found that used examples were often beat up or missing the pieces necessary to switch out the back section.
Naturally, when Mike came across this example, he jumped on the opportunity. It was complete and original in every respect and yes, he has the notchback section at home. For Matt and me, the decision was easy. We wanted to give recognition to a model that would typically not win much because it is so easily overshadowed by Zs and Skylines. We think it’s high time a Pulsar got its due. Congratulations, Mike.
If all of this has you feeling like you missed out on yet another great SoCal car show, the Japanese Classic Car Show is coming in September, and registration opens July 1.