Now in its fifth year, Nissan Jam has grown beyond its humble origins as a dealership show. While there’s still a ways to go before it catches up with events like Toyotafest in both caliber and scope, the Nissan, Datsun and Infiniti show looks to be on its way there. Of course, when one thinks Nissan, the Z is the image that is conjured first and foremost, and the Jam attracted a diverse gathering of Nissan’s most famous marque.
Despite being the oldest branches of the Z family tree, the S30 Zs continuously prove they have an appeal that transcends generations of enthusiasts. From resto mods to Rocket Bunny kits, hot rod aesthetic to Nihon street style, the show cars ran the gamut.
A few special Zs from Z history made appearances, including the original 240Z of Yutaka “Mr K” Katayama, former president of Nissan USA, and the Phantom Z conceived by Yoshihiko Matsuo, one of the Nissan designers who penned the S30 Fairlady Z.
The best example from the preservation school was Christopher Merlo’s beautiful 1974 260Z. It was particularly impressive, as it had been thoroughly restored and repainted in its original 304 Gold color with great care, even though the 2.6-liter cars were the least popular of the first-gen Zs.
The show was even graced with the presence of an unexpected guest, BRE driver John Morton. When asked to select his favorite car, he picked Teddy Yonenaka’s 1973 240Z. Teddy says he built the car as an homage to his father, who ordered an original 240Z back in 1969, as well as all the fond memories of the car he had as a child. As a prize, He received a Revell BRE 240Z model kit, which John autographed.
One of our favorites was Barry Gollings’s 1971 240z. Stroked into a Rebello-built 2.6-liter, with a Fujitsubo exhaust, and Watanabe wheels, it was probably the one closest to a Japanese street fighter style.
Moving into the realm of S130s, perhaps the most amazing example was Tony Hunter’s silver 1982 280ZX. As our Touge California rallymaster noted, it was in great shape even for a car that had clocked 100,000 miles. Instead Tony has logged over 600,000 miles and the car still looks incredible.
However, the generation of Z that best represented this year was the Z31. When they first started emerging onto the scene, their affordable prices meant that many were bordering on beater status. Now, most examples are either period correct treasures or well-done customs in modern style like David Macias’ shakotan sled.
Lee Strother’s 1984 300ZX was mind blowing in its originality. According to Lee, it has been maintained at the same Nissan dealership where it was bought when it was new. It has everything that ever came with it, including the window sticker, sales brochure, original Nissan car cover, and storage bags for the removable T-tops.
Roy Quintana’s SSR-themed Z31 was bagged on an air suspension with a TBO front lip. The graphic scheme is brilliantly designed, with SSR livery reminiscent of Fukuoka style kaido racers. Cleverly, the roll call’s Tamiya logo matches the colors, giving the car the look of a custom-built model kit.
Last but not least there were two 50th Anniversary Edition Z31s in contrasting styles — the first a slammed on large BBS wheels and white letter sidewalls so popular with the kids these days, and the second a Touge 80s veteran with the coolest slit headlight covers on Earth.
To be continued…
We’ll have more Nissan Jam coverage, but in the meantime, in case you missed it check out Nissan Jam 2016 Part 01, Part 02 and Part 03, 2015 (Part 01 and 02), 2014 (Part 01, 02, and 03), and 2013 (Part 01and 02).