Japanese Classic Car Show 2019, Part 09: Trucks, Vans, and Wagons

We have arrived at what could be our favorite part of JCCS, the vans, trucks, SUVs, and wagons. And now, in addition to seeing amazing US-market builds of such cars, their Japan-market counterparts are flooding in. No longer are the importers solely focusing on GT-Rs and Figaros. Here are the best Japanese haulers of JCCS.

We loved Kenny Ueda’s beautifully restored 1963 Datsun L320, especially the setup with the dogs in the cab and bed. As the 90s Nissan commercials said, “Dogs Love Trucks!”

Hector Alvarez’s 1975 Mazda REPU still wore its original paint after 46 years. The stock wheels have been widened for an OEM+ look, while under the hood resides a semi-peripheral ported 13B.

Brian Moehr’s 1975 Datsun 620 was a rare long-bed version. The truck has been thoroughly modernized with an SR20DET, custom 4-link suspension, and ball-joint conversion in the front.

James Yang describes his 1974 620, equipped with an air suspension, as his moto-hauler. Under the hood, though, is a motor some might find blasphemous, a built turbo Ford EcoBoost 2.0.

Landon Brown’s 1973 620 was running a Rebello-tuned L16, and low enough that custom fender work was required.

It seemed that a lot of the old mini-trucks were doubling as motorcycle movers. Here’s a righteous Honda Super Cub in the back of a Toyota HiLux.

Dune Nguyen’s beautifully restored 1967 Toyota Stout also carried a vintage Honda in the bed. When we saw it at Toyotafest, we said it would have won if not for another, ever so slightly cleaner, identical-looking Stout that nabbed the grand prize. Here, it was Dune’s time to shine with a win in the Best Toyota Truck category.

Chris Hoffman’s Dodge Ram 50, a rebadged Mitsubishi, is one of the cleanest we’ve ever laid eyes on. The gradient stripe pattern was extremely era appropriate, as were the chrome wheels and white-letter radials. A true gem that went home with a third place in the Best Mitsubishi class.

Martin and Mario Rosy brought HiLuxes of successive generations of tan HiLuxes, a 1970 and 1975, respectively. Martin took home the second place award in the Best Toyota Truck category.

We’re suckers for wagons, and Israel Rosy’s pale blue 1979 Corolla Wagon was no exception. The entire Rosy family arrived at the show from Tijuana, Mexico.

Ever Ramierz’s 1976 HiLux continues to be a beautifully preserved example. No matter how many times we see it, we’re just thrilled that such a nice survivor exists.

We were stunned to see Matthew Tilden and James Bickel’s matching 1983 Toyota HiLux 4x4s in the ultra-rare 2H6 Creme and Terra Cotta two-tone. Both had been meticulously restored, with James’ having been done so after rusting in a field for 10 years.

Tom Allen’s amazing 1980 HiLux 4×4 had only 66,000 original miles on the clock. It looked great with a canvas topper and FJ40 wheels.

Timothy Garot’s rare 1973 Corona Wagon street rod boasted a completely custom graphic scheme, said to be hand-painted before clearcoating. Vintage Volk Mesh wheels complement the look, which would be right at home at the Yokohama Hot Rod and Custom Show.

Christian Torchia’s 1971 Datsun 510 Wagon was an amazing resto-mod. The L18, rebuilt with forged pistons, FJ20 con-rods, and an Isky cam, gave it a hot rod boost. Japan-market interior and accessory bits completed the look, and a crisp repaint and re-chrome kept the exterior looking fresh.

John Williams’ 510 Wagon is a regular at JCCS, and the latest evolution has it looking Aussie-spec, with rear blinds throughout. Longchamp XR-4s and a Bluebird grille give it a nice street rod style.

Oscar Quiroz’s 510 Wagon looked fairly stock-bodied, but a peek under the hood revealed a surprise — a Mazda 13B rotary swap.

Hans Strube’s incredible 1990 Toyota Crown Wagon turbodiesel was a beautiful example of the standard Japanese family hauler. All original except for the period Racing Hart High-Techs, the 7-seater combined luxury and utility into one sharp package.

Juan Salguero had the only Honda Life StepVan at the show. The kei-sized cargo carrier is one of the few in the US, and an icon of early Japanese motoring (recently, Honda released a new kei van with styling inspired by the StepVan).

We were stoked to see several of Toyota’s luxury vans this year. A staple of Japanese roadscapes, these rolling apartments have been underrepresented thus far. Alex Cortez’s tan 1993 HiAce diesel was a fully loaded model, with amenities such as power curtains, ice maker, and water heater.  Alex came all the way from Seattle, but when your car is your hotel it’s not such a bad drive.

Beside it, Brian Leitch’s blue 1989 HiAce Super Custom was even more well-traveled. A custom interior supported dual twin beds and a solar-powered shower. Brian imported the van into Alaska and drove all the way to Baja, Mexico, in what surely was the trip of a lifetime.

Another two-tone tan-and-brown 100-series HiAce, a breathtaking 1992 Super Custom Limited, was bone stock and sported just 40,000 original miles.

Just about the last car we ever expected to see was a Toyota Blizzard. A rebadged Daihatsu Taft, the small, ladder-frame and leaf-spring off-roader is supremely capable but uncommon, even in Japan. We applaud the owner who brought this stateside.

An off-roader of a completely different type was this Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution. Created to homologate the Triple Diamond Clan’s Dakar efforts, the dune jumper is a truly amazing machine.

We were also pleasantly surprised to find a short-wheelbase first-generation Mitsubishi Montero at the show. Looking like a very well-kept survivor, it is the first time we can recall seeing one at JCCS in the show’s 15 years. Combined with the Challengers and other Mitsus we’ve seen already, it was the strongest showing of the marque in years.

Alvaro Garcia’s FJ40 looked ready for the zombie apocalypse, with ARB front and rear locking diffs and compressors, an Orion 4:1 transfer case, and chromoly axles and birfield joints.

At the Cabe Toyota booth, a safari rack-equipped FJ62 Land Cruiser was displayed alongside a new Toyota 86 TRD Special Edition.

Ryan Richardson’s 1985 FJ60 was a beautiful example of the breed. An Old Man Emu suspension gave it slight lift, and a H55F 5-speed gives the original 2F six a little reprise on California highways. The Land Cruiser has only 135,000 miles, which means it’s barely broken in. Ryan was awarded third place in the Best Toyota Truck class.

Last but not least were a pair of tough-looking 80-series Land Cruisers. An overlander on Volk TE37 off-road wheels was ready to go off-grid with its rooftop tent. Meanwhile, Harold Lacson’s beautiful Antique Sage 40th Anniversary Edition on custom 6-lug Watanabes was extremely well-presented and is consistently one of our favorites.

That does it for the vans, wagons, and trucks. In our next and final installment we’ll see the best of what the show had to offer. To be continued


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4 Responses to Japanese Classic Car Show 2019, Part 09: Trucks, Vans, and Wagons

  1. Datsunrides says:

    Pretty sure that is my old REPU I sold a few years back. If so, good to see it is still being taken care of and improved.

  2. XRaider says:

    ” To beL continued…” typo spotted

  3. nlpnt says:

    Those pickups…so many 2wds

  4. F31Roger says:

    Typically these are overlooked… not as “catchy” as the Datsuns or JDM cars.

    But I love SUVs and vans.

    In 2016, I went to the All Japan Estima meeting and saw some cool vans (I own a 95 Previa S/C and 2014 Sienna).


    More recently, I’ve been running with VanKulture in Cali (where Ilive), but also in Japan and Canada when I travel.

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