11 October 2009

Japanese classics put on a show

The Japanese Classic Car Show rolled back into Irvine, California, on October 3. The show, now in its fifth year, refuses to be overlooked by the car community – Koji and Terry Yamaguchi have turned it into the largest classic Japanese car event in America and a staple for enthusiasts in Southern California.

The Yamaguchis launched the JCCS in 2005 at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, but were uncertain about the event’s future; they didn’t even bother putting "first annual" on the T-shirts for the inaugural show. But the event’s success exceeded their expectations and the JCCS continued to expand. The show outgrew its original venue by 2008, and it moved to Hidden Valley Park in Irvine where it continues to thrive.

Thousands gathered for this year’s fifth annual show from all over the country to see the 360 Japanese-manufactured, pre-1985 vehicles. The poor economy has not deterred these loyal enthusiasts. “120 cars were first-comers with new projects and many of them won awards,” said Terry Yamaguchi. “The quality of the cars keeps going up, and judges are always amazed by their great restoration work.”

Terry cites a huge availability of parts and the mild climate of the West Coast for the surge in enthusiasm for Japanese collector cars. Southern California is home to some of the rarest collections of Japanese classic vehicles in the country.

Passion and pride were clearly evident on the faces in the crowd. A father and son even flew in from Florida just for the day to catch the show. Kyle Ranauro’s crowd favorite, a 1959 Datsun 1000, picked up Best of JCCS and Best Original Class. Best JDM went to Paul Bischoff’s 1971 Nissan Skyline. Other top cars included a modified 1967 Datsun Fairlady Roadster, a 1971 Mazda R100 and a 1978 Toyota Cressida.

If trends continue, this event will only continue to grow. Mark your calendars for October 2010 if you’re want to go to the best show of its type in the country.

 

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