The 2014 Japanese Classic Car Show is less than three weeks away. It’ll be a milestone event as the JCCS reaches its 10th year in existence. We hope you can join us at the Queen Mary Park in Long Beach, California on September 27th. Doors open at 9am.
This landmark moment in the Japanese classic scene, however, does not come without controversy. This year, JCCS organizers have begun screening entrants, enforcing a long-standing rule that cars have to be up to a certain level of quality in order to be admitted into the show. Owners with cars that don’t meet that requirement are politely refunded the entrance fee and registration turned down. This has spawned some debate, but we at JNC say it’s a good thing.
It’s been 10 years since the first JCCS. JNC started a year later in late 2006, and in case you don’t remember the automotive landscape at the time, the idea of a classic Japanese car was considered by many to be laughable. Owning a classic Japanese car was hard. In many parts of the country it was difficult to get a Japanese car accepted into local classic car shows because they were seen as disposable, not worthy of preserving, or simply “Jap crap.”
Now that sentiment has changed for the better, and having a massive show celebrating Japanese cars as classics has done much to change opinions. However, in order for the cars to be respected, we have to respect them ourselves.
Simply admitting cars because they are 25 years old and Japanese is no longer good enough. There is a difference between an old car and a classic. Old cars are used up and will end up as scrap. Classics will be passed from one owner to the next, being made better as time goes on. You might be the coolest kid in school because you’re rocking a JNC while everyone else drives hand-me-down Camrys, but it’s not a classic if your goal is to drive it into the ground.
Furthermore, in recent years, it’s been fashionable to drive rat rods, purposefully “patina-ed” cars, drift missiles and the like. Sure, it may be cool to flaunt your no-fucks-given attitude, but the question must be asked: Is this car destined for the junkyard or the care of someone who will respect and appreciate it? If the trajectory is junkyard, there are other shows for that. JCCS is and should remain the premier show honoring classic Japanese cars.
This doesn’t mean we celebrate only garage queens; classics are free to be driven and in fact should be shared with the public. Still, Japanese cars of the 80s and earlier already face the stigma of being inexpensive and thus disposable. Let’s not prove that point for the haters.
As we mentioned, there have always been standards regarding the cars admitted into the show. Now JCCS is simply enforcing them. They have looked the other way for nine years. Keep in mind that the standards aren’t even unreasonable for a car show. It mostly means cars with significant dents, rust, and mismatched body panels will no longer be accepted.
There will always be complainers who will argue that their JDM tyte “drift slut” or slammed beater is special, and we all know there’s a vast range of customization styles. However, to determine whether a car is an appreciated classic you can always use Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s definition of pornography: “I know it when I see it.”
There are 150 people on waitlist to get into the show. The spectators and owners of Japanese classics deserve to see a the best of the best on the lawn of Queen Mary Park. If we want Japanese cars to earn the respect that European and American cars do, this is a necessary step for the evolution of the hobby.
The best comments on this subject will be judged for Question of the Week in lieu of an actual question. For last week, the winner is Censport for his dissertation on the Nissan Figaro.