EVENTS: Nisei Week Stancenation & Showoff

7885_Datsun 240Z

Nisei Week has been a Los Angeles institution for nearly two decades. For years the car show capping off a week of Little Tokyo cultural festivities has been a showcase of nisei automotive culture, but now the torch has been passed on to a new generation. 

7927_Honda Civic EG

Regardless of whether or not you think it’s a good thing, it’s happening. Stance is what the kids are into these days, and the long-held tradition has given way to a chimera of old and new. The freshly minted name? Stancenation & Showoff: Nisei Edition.

7931_Honda Civic EF

In case you’re new to JNC, nisei is the the term for second-generation Japanese Americans born in the US, but has come to be applied to third-, fourth- and fifth-gen JA’s too. Some have been hugely influential in America’s automotive scene, and nisei were among the earliest hot rodders of Japanese imports, starting with cars like 510s and Celicas back in the 80s.

7955_Honda Civic EG

With its new focus on stance, the show is attracting a younger breed of import enthusiast. Think super-slammed Hondas and drift Silvias rather than Trans-Am Datsuns or street-drag RWD Corollas.

7953_Toyota Celica A60

Nevertheless, the show is a snapshot of car culture circa 2013, and though many of the cars are new school to us, in fact a good number have already passed that 25-year-old nostalgic threshold.

7916_Toyota Corolla TE27 E70

There weren’t many rightful chrome-bumpered nostalgics present, but Big Mike Muniz and friends showed up with a trio of swapped Corollas — 4A-GE E70s and and Mike’s own 13B-powered TE27.

7903_Toyota Corolla TE27

The old schoolers that did show were no longer niseis. Old school was represented instead by Filipino Americans and pinoy style cars like this classic mango tribute to the TRD race cars of the 70s.

7904_Toyota Corolla AE86

Motormavens‘ and 86Fest head honcho Antonio Alvendia brought his super-clean kouki AE86 to show. We didn’t even notice the Audi R8 beside it until we were going through our post-show photo selection.

7935_Honda Civic Shuttle Beagle7939_Honda Civic Shuttle Beagle

We love wagons, and even more so when they’re given adorably irresistible names. Behold, the Civic Shuttle Beagle, a genuine RHD version of the AWD Civic wagon. It’s one of the rare instances when you can really say “It’s JDM, yo!” and have it be accurate. Plus, it has 80s two-tone, half its factory spec sheet printed on its flanks, and awesome re-barreled stock steelies.

7891_Honda Civic EF7894_Honda Civic EF

Celebrity sighting! Super Street‘s Jonathan Wong‘s personal Civic hatch on Barramundi Toman wheels. We really like like the 80s shade of light metallic blue on what is still a stock-bodied EF with JDM conversion.

7920_Honda Civic Longchamp XRX

Say what you will about hipster Honda builds, but they are keeping some of the most rarest wheels of the last two decades alive. Check out these Longchamp XRXs with the ultra rare center caps.

7896_VIP Volkswagen Passat

In case you needed further proof that Japanese car culture has crossed over: A Volkswagen Passat done up in traditional VIP style, complete with slammed suspension, side curtains, and a big fat fusa hanging from the rear view mirror.

7897_Nissan 300ZX Z32

It’s almost impossible to believe, but it’s just one more year until the Z32 Nissan 300ZX (having debuted in 1989 in Japan) reaches the nostalgic threshold. We first saw Charles Bonilla‘s Z at Nissan Jam, where it was wearing a JNC inkan. Now it’s rockin’ a JNC nostalgic heart as well.

7899_Nissan 240SX S14

We’ve been offering these nostalgic hearts at shows, inspired by the Ai no Skyline decals of the late 60s and early 70s, but have yet to put them in our online shop. Is there any interest? It sure seems to have caught on with 90s Nissan owners.

7944_Daihatsu Hijet7948_Daihatsu Hijet

You might remember Ron Sino-Cruz, who showed a LHD converted Nissan President at Nissan Jam. Now he’s working on something that could not be further from it on the Japanese car spectrum — a Daihatsu Hijet.

7946_Daihatsu Hijet

It’s even rocking 10-inch SSR MkIIIs. He plans a 13B swap, which will be perfect for kei van endos.

7890_Toyota Sports 800

We can hear the hard core JNCers sharpening their pitchforks, so let’s calm their nerves with Toyota Owners and Restorers Club president Joji Luz‘s Toyota Sports 800. It was far from the most attention-getting car at the show, but it was a good history lesson for the young’uns.

7889_Datsun 240Z

Last but not least, this sexy white Datsun 240Z was a good example of where the nostalgic scene seems to be headed — old school car with modern upgrades, a la Star Road. Wheels, like these Work Equip 03s, are old in style but larger-diameter with modern touches like powder-coating.

7993_Little Tokyo Nisei Week

We didn’t know what to expect from the show till we arrived, and we realize many of these cars may not be up the alley of regular JNC readers. Still, it’s a tradition and the only import show that takes place in Little Tokyo in the heart of Los Angeles. What do you think? Has the Nisei Week show taken a turn for the worse or are they just keeping up with the times?

If you prefer a more traditional take on Nisei Week, check out Part 01 and Part 02 of last year’s show.




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9 Responses to EVENTS: Nisei Week Stancenation & Showoff

  1. Nigel says:

    Youth always brings new life, I have seen domestic car shows in some places
    dwindle to 25 cars or so. There where maybe a 100 cars just a few years ago.
    (I think the organizers did good).

  2. E-AT_me says:

    “stock bodied ef”. uhhh. nope. has a full JDM front end on it.

  3. John M says:

    I’m starting to feel like the old guy with my hose in my hand telling those kids to get off my lawn. I did like the Zs and the wheels.

  4. Geoff says:

    I love imports, and unless someone is specifically sourcing vintage OEM and old-or-older-than-their-model-year aftermarket parts, all “restos” and modded cars are a blend of old and new.

    Personally I love seeing JNC next to new blood and witness directly how well they hold their style and presence when lined up with the new(er) cars – give us more!

  5. cesariojpn says:

    Wonder how many of those cars had a hard time entering AND exiting the show.

  6. Bob says:

    Heart decals – yes please!

  7. Dave says:

    Love that Civic Shuttle “Beagle.” Wish there’s a better look of that car; I think they were outfitted with a pseudo-off-road look like Outbacks. Those Civic wagons, some day I’m gonna come across one in perfect shape and won’t be able to resist buying it. For whatever reason, some of THE BEST old skool Hondas I’ve ever seen were at Nisei Showoff.

    And yes to the heart decal…(luckily I bought one from your booth at Toyotafest)

  8. Calmrade says:

    Any more photos of the Beagle? From what I see it looks beautiful!

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