Japanese Classic Car Show 2019 Coverage… Part 1…


Every year I attend the Japanese Classic Car Show in Long Beach and every year I find myself questioning why the cars are getting newer and newer. Then that unsettling thought in my head reminds me that the cars arent getting newer—were all just collectively getting older. Its a classic car show but were starting to get to that age where we should be a part of the show now. Fuck, we are the classics now. Its crazy to think that some of these cars that are represented at these shows are the same ones we once grew-up dreaming about some day building. I think 1999 is the cut-off year now to participate and even that in itself seems a little crazy. In a few more years an RSX or S2000 is going to be a Japanese classic. What the hell, man…

It still feels incredibly odd seeing an S14 at JCCS or even a DC-chassis Integra but I guess we just have to accept that fact that these cars aren’t new anymore. Hell, they haven’t been new in 20 years. Despite my lack of acceptance of reality, I do enjoy going to the show. I’ve gone every year now for the past….let me think…I don’t know, like ten years? I can’t even keep track anymore. The show doesn’t change a whole lot and it only feels different the last few years because of the change of venue. I’d say maybe 70% of the cars remain the same year-to-year and the other 30% are the cars that are a bit newer and slowly funneling into the show because they’ve reached the cut-off. I guess that’s what makes this show fun because it always just seems a bit frozen in time. Minus the newer cars coming in of course. JCCS is also the only show that my friends and I ever wait in line for. Most of the time we’ll find our way into a show somehow just based on connections and people we know. I don’t think we know anyone at JCCS though so every year, we show up early and wait in line to get in. I think we waited about an hour to get in this year and I can’t remember the last time I waited that long for anything, but hey, you gotta support the community, right? It’s great to see this show is continuing to grow every year and more people come though it generally just feels the same walking around annually…

It’s nice to get out there though to check out some classic Japanese builds. You always run into something really rare or incredibly quirky so the show is anything but interesting. I also always run into people I don’t expect to see at JCCS…at least it feels that way. If I really think about it I think I just run into the same people every year and it will just illicit the same reaction because my brain is just used to it…

This year we wanted to switch things up a little bit and tried something different. Instead of just attending and doing the usual photos/Vlog, we decided to use some of Ryan Der’s camera equipment that he recently acquired. He’s been getting deep into film photography and is constantly looking around online to buy old cameras. Let me tell you, when Der gets into something, boy does he dive head-first into it. The guy has levels of dedication that few have ever witnessed. That’s what made his Civic build so great because he was so into it. I’m still trying to get him to be interested in cars again but right now, his focus is photography. About a month ago, he acquired what added up to be around $10k worth of old cameras and camcorders (obviously he didn’t pay that much for it) on eBay. There was some new dead stock equipment in there but a lot of it was from the ’90s and before. We thought it’d be really cool to do a Vlog using a new (from 1996) JVC Compact-VHS camcorder at JCCS to show how car shows would have looked like had it been filmed back in the mid-90s. The Japanese Classic Car Show was perfect because there were so many older vehicles there and 90s-era builds to really help capture that vibe. If you haven’t seen the Vlog, click here to check it out. We couldn’t get the battery to last long enough but definitely captured enough of the show for people to understand what we were trying to do. It even got linked on Jalopnik.com and they wrote a little piece on it. Pretty cool. We didn’t expect the type of response it got and were honestly expecting a lot more negative feedback but it turned out way better than we had hoped. Anyways, I thought about making the photos look old but that’s just too much work and the VHS-C footage is plenty enough to feed that want for nostalgia. Here are some of the photos I captured that afternoon…

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CR-X from CYBER car club with a Wings West aero kit that’s been partially-molded paired with custom re-barreled Mugen MR5 wheels…

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1st generation (RA) Toyota Celica Liftback which has been repainted an olive drab type of green, sitting on Hayashi Street wheels…

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Under the factory clam shell hood is a custom turbocharged Toyota 3S-GE BEAMS swap running a Panic-Wire harness…

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Jay Kho’s R30 Skyline RS-Turbo coupe on Watanabe wheels traveling to California from Las Vegas for JCCS representing the popular WILD*CARDS car club…

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Jared from Hakone Motorsports’ Kaido Racer-styled S30Z on Advan Racing A3A wheels custom-built to fit snuggly under the over fenders…

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Though GReddy has long been a staple in the import community and a heavy presence in Southern California, this year’s JCCS event was actually their first, represented by their Pandem FC build and Kenji Sumino’s Civic hatchback…

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Many of you should be very familiar with Kenji’s personal Civic build, which is also known as the Hot Wheels “Super Treasure Hunt” Civic. This has been a passion project for Kenji in the last few years as he found a renewed love for Hondas tinkering with this ED/EF…

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GReddy turbocharged B18C1 swap with a modernized distributor-less ignition system with Ignition Projects coils, custom breather box, and one-off water-to-air intercooler system which has been purposely crafted to resemble a factory B-series intake air box…

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The water-to-air system uses the air conditioning system to function properly and has just been completed recently…

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One of Kenji’s personal favorite wheels of all-time and a set of wheels that he actually built the car around; 15-inch SSR EX-C NEO wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza RE71R…

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The Civic might be his personal project but from what Kenji told me recently, the GReddy-built Pandem FC3S RX-7 might be one of his favorite projects that he’s ever completed…

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Don’s Mazda RX2 sedan sitting low on SSR MK3 parked at the Function&Form booth…

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Raul Toledo from WILD*CARDS’ HR31 Skyline on RS Watanabe wheels wearing a traditional Calsonic livery…

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Parked at the Pro Shop Noble booth was Ian Perri’s custom S130 280ZX build which he also uses as a weekend drift car…

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Custom vented metal fenders wrapped around Advan Racing A3A wheels…

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Pro Shop Noble’s 326power Zenki S14 sitting on Work Schwert wheels…

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If you didn’t know, JZA80 Supras qualify as Japanese classic cars now and there were a couple at this year’s JCCS event…

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Chris Ortez’s A80 Supra is far from wild but is definitely one of the more intricately put-together Supras you’ll ever see. One of the things that stand-out immediately besides the white Desmond Regamaster EVO wheels is the OEM active-aero front lip which is actually motorized and functions depending on speed…

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Like his previous Infiniti G35 build, his love for ARC (Abbey Road Company) is very evident, with his 2JZ-GTE engine adorned in the tuning brand’s components…

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Rare ARC front strut bar on Ortez’s turbocharged Supra…

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Inside Chris’ Supra is a full catalog of TRD gauges, four of them mounted to a custom color-matched gauge pod, and other accessories like a TRD steering wheels and booster seat on the passengers-side…

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Recaro Tomcat seats with matching Tomcat rear seats on the Supra…

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GReddy GREX Alcon brakes front and rear which have been restored and refinished by Chris…

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Ryan Der capturing some footage of Chris’ Supra for our vlog with his 1996-spec JVC handheld camcorder…

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If you enjoy the finer details of a build, Chris Ortez’s Supra is one you won’t want to miss if you catch it at a car show…

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We never got the Mitsubishi Pajero 2-door here in North America so it’s always cool to see them pop-up at events like the Japanese Classic Car Show…

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Rarely-seen Burnout front bumper on this FD RX-7…

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The first and original U.S. Mugen CR-X Prototype which normally resides at the Honda Museum, taken out for display once a year at JCCS…

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Rocket Bunny PS13 240SX on Work Meister S1R wheels once owned and built by Ryan Novak, now in the capable hands of a new owner. I actually shot a model on this car once at Rywire, not sure if the new owner even knows…

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RB26DET engine swap in the cleaned-up engine bay of the S13 which was wired by Rywire Motorsport Electronics…

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A chassis we don’t see very often these days at car events is the B13 Sentra, better known as the Sunny in Japan, represented here on this red Sentra SE-R with the JDM Sunny front grille…

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The SE-R variation of the Sentra was quite a capable machine and tuning platform, powered by this SR20DE engine which had 140HP from the factory and also was equiped with a limited-slip differential…

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The Revstar Garage Wonder Civic running an OsakaJDM wing and white Mugen CF48 wheels…

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This ED Civic hatchback is sitting on rare 80s-era Bridgestone-produced Walter Wolf Racing RA-1 wheels. If you don’t know Walter Wolf, I suggest you look up the name, as he is quite the polarizing figure who was not only on Interpol’s Wanted List, but also was the first Canadian to own a Formula 1 Racing team and have three specially-made Lamborghini Countach’s named after him. Talk about wheels that tell a story…

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White Civic hatchback with a Purple Speed carbon front lip and Mugen RnR wheels…

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Nicely-executed B-series set-up under the vented hood of the Civic with a shaved engine bay and teal valve cover…

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One more shot of the Civic, with more photos to come in Part 2 of 2 coming up next. Thanks for looking!…

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4 comments

  1. Aren’t those wheels on the white EG a set of Mugen RNRs, not MR5s?

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