SHOWA SNAP: Los Angeles in the early 1980s

Welcome to the first Showa Snap from the US. Taken in Los Angeles in the early 1980s, it contains a glorious sampling of Nihon steel. Right in the foreground there’s three sporty coupes from three major manufacturers, all lined up like they’re in some kind of Car & Driver comparison test. — a Toyota Supra, Mazda RX-7, and Honda Prelude, all first generations. Then in the background there’s a Datsun Z, what appears to be a 610 wagon hiding behind the Cadillac, second-generations of Celica and Civic, perhaps a Mazda 626 coupe on the farthest line with a TE51 Corolla behind it, and even an elusive S10 Nissan 200SX!

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22 Responses to SHOWA SNAP: Los Angeles in the early 1980s

  1. You can almost hear KMET in this photo.

  2. Mark Newton-John says:

    The e-mail says it was taken in Chicago.

  3. Mark Newton-John says:

    Someone should go to that corner of Wilshire and take a picture now for comparison.

    • You read my mind. I’m going to try to get over there around noon today. This picture appears to have been taken from the patio at the Oppenheimer Building, which is closed for renovation at this instant, so you’ll have to settle from a street-level shot.

  4. Phil says:

    I love shots like this, you’d think it was from a car show, but no that’s just the way it was! – If you want I’m happy to do a current US market analysis of the cars in that photo. I’m not super familiar on the years, but happy to do the work if you let know the years. ~Phil

  5. Nigel says:

    Some nice machines in there !

  6. Ant says:

    Is that a Datsun 240K ahead of the van and behind the Civic too?

    I’m drawn to the Prelude though. Just something about a compact coupe…

  7. Chris Green says:

    This brings me great joy! My eyes keep bouncing back and forth between the Prelude and the Seville.

  8. nlpnt says:

    Wow, a lot of coupes. Leading the traffic at the green light, the RA40 Celica, Volvo 242 and Buick Regal were all basically aimed at the same (or overlapping) markets.

    Wagons, too – those seem to be clustered either at the red light or parked along Wilshire. I can positively identify Datsun 710, VW Dasher and AMC Concord and Hornet longroofs along with GM G-body and Mopar F/M-body wagon greenhouses that I can’t see enough of the lower bodies to pin down division and year.

  9. Scotty G says:

    The 200SX would be my first choice – yes, even over the Pinto.. (cough)..
    Is that a Subaru up in the ramp? No, on second thought, the rear side window looks a bit different.

  10. Edgar says:

    If you guys really wanna see some of the greatest jnc footage, watch episodes of CHiPs on Amazon. You WONT be disappointed.

  11. LB1 says:

    Isn’t that a Subar 360 behind the Civic and the Beetle, and could it be an Accord behind that? I also think that it’s a Subaru Leone on the 2nd level of that parking structure.

  12. Speedie says:

    The car next to the Mazda 626 might be a Mitsubishi Galant based Dodge Challenger or Plymouth Sapporo.

  13. Spirit Road says:

    Dope shot! And so much history in one picture!

  14. Robert says:

    I hadn’t realised the US and embraced Japanese cars so early. You took a snapshot like that in the UK in 1980s and you’d be lucky to see one.

    • Bobby says:

      Yes, and this was true even outside of major cities like Los Angeles. I grew up just outside of a medium-sized Midwestern city, and our family had a Toyota Starlet and a Mazda RX-7 GSL-SE in the mid-80s to late 80s. My uncle, on the other side of our state, had a Toyota Celica Supra P-type in the 80s.

  15. Mark Newton-John says:

    On the SN Prelude’s trunk, the dealer-installed trunk rack. Unsightly as hell, makes more money for the dealer, no one ever wanted one, never, EVER seen with actual luggage strapped onto it.

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