Why do people love Nissans so much? Our final installment of our Nissan Jam coverage, offers an explanation. Perhaps it’s the sheer diversity of not just the cars from the factory, but that of the custom styles they inspired.
Speaking of inspiration, the official JNC booth car was none other than Roy De Guzman’s world famous Hakosuka. We spent the day before the show driving it through LA, where Angelenos young and old threw countless thumbs ups our way.
We’ve done in-depth features on Roy’s car before, but this time we were marking the occasion of the 2017 Hot Wheels version hitting the stores. It was the perfect showcase for both the full-size and 1:64 scale car, and it garnered non-stop of attention. Roy’s autograph hand was looking pretty tired by the end of the day.
Nissan Jam played host modern Skylines as well. The Skyline Syndicate gang was out in full force, with everything from Hakos to R33s and a fleet of R32s like Lerry Liu’s albino Godzilla. We rarely see Crystal White examples, but the color shows off its muscular fenders hunkered down over Volk TE37s wrapped in Advan Neovas. Its clean look disguises a full HKS turbo setup and a slew of rare NISMO accessories, though.
It wasn’t all kaido racers and Wangan monsters. Nissan Jam celebrated the diversity of the marque with a even immaculately preserved examples of the lowliest economy offerings. Rogelio Martinez’s 1974 B210 and Kimberly Hall’s 1981 210 (but actually a B310 chassis and affectionately named “Stanley”) showed just how devoted Nissan owners can be. It was absolutely heartwarming to see how loved these cars were.
Another expression of Nissan love was in the once hugely popular minitruck style. Though a woefully underrepresented style at most shows, we were stoked to see Alvaro Orellana’s 1993 Hardbody V6 standing in as the sole delegate of the hydraulic-shod, tailgate-swinging lowrider community.
A 240SX Convertible isn’t typically the first platform that pops into mind when VIP style is mentioned, but Kayleen Segawa’s somehow pulled it off. A metallic black paint job definitely helps, but all US-market S13 verts came with automatic transmissions, a trait that lends itself to the VIP lifestyle.
There’s nothing like a good old Hako on Wats to represent classic Japanese street style. Takeshi Takahashi’s L28-powered 1971 KPG10 will be one of several JDM imports running the Touge California this weekend and we can’t wait to see it on the road.
Lurking nearby was the ultimate super saiyan evolution of Godzilla, an R35 GT-R NISMO brought to the show by Nissan North America. In black, the 600-horsepower supercar killer looks like something Darth Vader would drive.
This girl’s stanced R35 was one of the most popular cars at the show, and we hear it was running a prototype electric motor.
One of the coolest vehicles at the show was an 18-foot camper built on a 1984 Datsun 720 chassis. We can’t imagine it being that peppy with a 2.4-liter inline-four under the hood, but with a pull-out awning, over-the-cab sleeping area and incredible retro stripes, it was a total blast from the past.
Brian Holloway’s 1975 Datsun 710 was one of our Editors’ Choice picks from last year, and it continues to impress us. It’s hard enough finding parts for a 710; but JDM Violet grille, badges, lights and fender mirrors? It was truly a labor of love, making an already amazing car even more so.
Sometimes, the beauty of a car is in the story. Nathan Barnett remembers seeing his grandfather’s 1972 Datsun 521 during his family’s yearly visits. Sadly, Nathan’s grandfather passed away in 2016, but he left the truck to his grandson, along with a log book of every oil change, set of tires and maintenance procedure.Its is estimated to have over 300,000 miles on it, but it looks fantastic, still with its original motor and paint.
Likewise, Stephen Yarber was the original owner of his 1972 Datsun 1200 2-door sedan. He’s kept it for 45 years, all original including even the slot mags, which were a popular dealer option back then. It too has had its 5-digit odometer turn over a few times, but it still looks amazing.
Joining the ranks of other bone stockers was an imported 1990 R32 GT-R in the traditional gunmetal gray. The extremely clean example was sourced by Tokyo Skyline dealer Utilitas and imported stateside for one lucky new owner.
Amazingly, someone imported a 1981 R31 Skyline GTS hardtop sedan. This car was a rare beaut, and a peek through the pillarless windows revealed a glorious three-pedal setup. it was also painfully of the era, with seats ensconced in Skyline doilies and incredible period-correct Impul R701 wheels.
The R31 may exude 90s stockness, but a style that is nearly impossible to pull off properly is a period correct 90s JDM tuner look. That’s why one of our absolute favorites of the show was Giovanny Lopez-Barragan’s 1993 240SX. With old school flat-faced Panasport G7s and every 90s aero add-on you could imagine, it was a time warp straight from the pages of Hyper Rev.
Perhaps the most stunning S13 was Ivan Ceballos’ 1992 240SX, nicknamed the Burgundy Unicorn. That’s because Ivan had recently purchased it from its previous owner, a 78-year-old man who had the car detailed every month and garage-stored, with every service history receipt since it was driven off the dealer lot 25 years ago. At age 19, Ivan won the Youngest Owner award, yet he intends to preserve the car as is, giving us all hope for the next generation after all.
Rick Ishitani’s 1971 Hakosuka GT-X, powered by an L20 on 40mm triple Mikunis and lowered on K-Spec coilovers had been throughly gone over since its appearance at JCCS last year. Though the car was beautiful, Rick took home a special recognition award for his work in raising money for the Law Enforcement Memorial Fund via his Sonkei Blue clothing line.
Finally, it comes time to pick one car with which to bestow the JNC Award. This year, we chose Joel Tan’s race replica 1972 Hakosuka. Even though we have seen it at several other shows, and it has a pretty standard L28, it’s not about the performance per se or how many accessories were shoved into it. It’s more about what the car represents, and that is this: In a marque of many diverse styles, some that have been honed for decades, it is one of the best tributes to the glory days of Nissan motorsports that we’ve seen stateside, and that’s where it all began. Congratulations, Joel!
That concludes our 2017 Nissan Jam coverage. In case you missed it, check out Part 01 — Starting with Z, Part 02 — Celebrating 50 Years of the Datsun 510, and Part 03 — All Together Now. You can also see coverage from 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).