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EVENTS: 2017 Solvang Datsun Roadster Show!

Filed under: Events
by Alvin G @ 1:23 am on May 4, 2017

 

The 2017 Solvang Datsun Roadster show took place on April 22. Now in its 30th year, this event continues a tradition of uniting owners from all parts of the world in a little town just outside of Santa Barbara. There is something for everyone here: shopping, food, wine-tasting, outdoor activities, and in the last weekend of April an epic gathering of Datsuns!

  
 

This year I was fortunate to bring my roadster and family to enjoy the weekend…

 
 

…and it was a fantastic show with perfect weather and close to 100 Datsuns on First Street in downtown Solvang:


Photo: Michael Anderson

On to the cars! Here are some highlights from the day…there were only a handful of 1967 2000 roadsters this year. Some of these cars are considered the “cream of the crop” with full restorations or OEM levels of detail like Mike Young’s SRL #266:

 

Winning best of show was this SR311 #0086, frame-off restored by Steve Pettersen:


This Right-Hand-Drive model had neat details like Enkei Compe-8 wheels, rear parcel shelf bracing and a km/h speedometer:

 
 

Roadsters were arranged by year and class, either stock or modified. The organizers did a phenomenal job of staging everyone!

 

Going the Distance

The Solvang Show draws roadster owners from all over the US, and world! We can always count on Jim and Susan to make the trek from Sonora, Mexico in their ’68 SRL with matching trailer.  Richard and Erika visited from the Netherlands and drove from Bellvue, Washington with their host, Ted Heaton. Catch their Roadster road-trip over on 311s.org.

   
 

Stock is Good

Solvang showcases everything from pristine to highly modified examples of roadsters. These two early 1600s were very sharp with requisite whitewall tires, chrome-ringed gauges and classy red interiors:

 

Sitting perfectly as a bookend to the low-windshield 1600s was Mike’s 67.5 SPL.  With a Solex carb’d R16 stroker, factory (high) roll bar, red interior and Watanabe wheels this car is very tasty:

 

 

Engine Swaps

Like the 510 and Z cars, the Datsun Roadster chassis accept many engine swaps and several caught my eye this year.  It is worth mentioning that this year’s show had the most SR20 swaps to date. I parked in a row of about 8!

 

I first saw this VG30-powered ’67 last year:

   
 

The S2000-powered ’69 SRL made a return appearance and it still blew my mind. Such a clean, OEM-level install:

   
 

Two SR20-swapped roadsters deserved some further inspection. John Daly’s ’67 sported a neatly integrated A/C unit on the NA S15 and a factory-like hardtop. What I thought were SSR MKii wheels were actually “Migu” units. Note split front bumpers:

      
 

Kevin Desirello’s ’69 had a simple, clean aesthetic. S14 SR20,  Z32 brakes, RS-8 wheels and clever “SR20” badging were all nice touches:


   

It is always good to see show favorites returning year after year with constant evolvement. Ted Heaton drove his Spriso Motorsports-built ’66 all the way from Washington.

 

The Plymouth Prowler Orange beauty has an S15 SR20DET with 6-speed and Ford rear end. Other nice details include wide RS-8 wheels and Mercedes G-Wagen headlights! Ted was very proud of his power-adding badges :

  
 

Trends?

If you think engine swaps are gaining popularity what other trends are developing? Hardtops are slowly showing up. With factory-like options from aftermarket companies you too can have a body-color (or any finish) hardtop for your roadster:
…[read more]




FOR SALE: 1971 Datsun 510 SR20DET

Filed under: Featured Cars and Projects
by Alvin G @ 2:39 am on December 7, 2016

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Talented fabricator and Nissan/Datsun restorer Eric S. is selling his SR-powered Datsun 510. Please see our For Sale page HERE for more details.

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EVENTS: 2016 Japanese Classic Car Show

Filed under: Events
by Alvin G @ 2:50 am on October 6, 2016

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Every year, one of my favorite events to attend in Southern California is the annual Japanese Classic Car Show in Long Beach.  JCCS is like a big reunion of old school friends, surrounded by the finest vintage metal made in Japan. The iconic Queen Mary cruise ship and the Long Beach skyline is a perfect backdrop for Zs, 510s, Skylines, Rx-7s, Rx-3s, Celicas, Corollas, Land Cruisers and other interesting Japanese old school cars!

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Founded by Koji and Terry Yamaguchi, JCCS has been running for 12 years strong now and the bar is set higher ever year. I love this show and the Z Car Garage crew keeps coming back every year to soak up the sun, see old friends and drool over some spectacular vintage builds. This year, I was invited to show my roadster at the Japanese Nostalgic Car booth. JNC was having a Fairlady Roadster-themed day to coincide with the debut of Hot Wheels’s new release, the Datsun Fairlady 2000 and I happily obliged.

Enter The Tekkamen

Before road-tripping down to Socal the fun started with a shop visit from our Oregon pals Diamond Dave and Eric Straw. They were also heading down to JCCS to show Eric’s freshly restored 1984 “Tekkamen” DR30 Skyline.  We dyno’d the Skyline and chatted for a bit before setting off for LB the following morning:

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Arriving Friday evening before the show had its benefits. We staged the roadster and Eric unloaded the DR so we could have a relaxing morning on show day:

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While staging our cars we came upon the empty parking lot with two mean looking RocketBunny  “Boss” kitted S14s. Left: Robb Ferguson’s KA24DE-T powered creation and Steve Pham’s unorthodox turbocharged BMW N54 turbo. Wildly different but very cool with interesting interior/exterior cues abound:

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Attendance was impressive but surprisingly not over-whelming like previous years.   At JCCS we love that every pass up and down an aisle of cars reveals a new detail, emblem, decal, or set of wheels.  The folks at JCCS also take care of their show participants…in addition to the T-shirt they also supplied us with Pocky sticks! This has to be a first for a car show. I can’t think of a better snack at 9am in morning surrounded by J-Tin and the beautiful shoreline:

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Nissan’s return to JCCS

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The OEMs participated in record numbers this year. That’s right, in addition to Mazda, Toyota and Honda our beloved Nissan participated again since debuting last year with a great showing of rare and unique vehicles from their vault. They even chose JCCS to unveil the 2015 Nismo GT-R for the first time in North America! My favorite was the BRE Datsun 510 race car, sent over from Tennessee HQ just for this event. Nissan’s “DNA” collection also included included a 1969 Nissan Patrol and 1960 Datsun Fairlady SPL213 Roadster:

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Here are few of my favorite Nissans and Datsuns, starting with that not-so forbidden fruit commonly known as the hakosuka Skyline. There was no shortage of C10 chassis Skylines this year and my favorite was Rick Ishitani’s restored 1971 2000 GT-X. Our friends at JNC arranged for this Hako to be displayed with Matchbox’s release in the Nissan display.  A mint interior, correct spec badging, spot-on stance with re-barreled and step-lipped gunmetal Watanabe wheels stuffed under flares set this one off from the rest.

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Just across from the Nissan display, however, sat an authentic 1971 Skyline GT-R. Yes,  the real deal unicorn status, KPGC10 hakosuka!  Displayed with the trunk open, appropriately sized Watanabe wheels and mighty S20 engine it was a real treat to see.

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More C10s in the parking lot:

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Kenmeri Skylines too!  Patrick Soliman’s RB26-powered stunner (right)

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This 240k came to JCCS all the way from UAE. The current owner added his own touches:

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DR30  Skylines!

Eric’s 1984 “Tekkamen” or “Iron Mask” Skyline was a rotisserrie-restored, RB26DET’s powered, Brembo-braked masterpiece. He won awards for Best JNC and 2nd place for Best Skyline, both well deserved! Look for a detailed feature soon.

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Jay Kho’s 1983 DR30 Skyline

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R32s a plenty:

We drooled over this white R32 from International Vehicle Importers. VOLK CE28N wheels with Project Mu calipers and a spoiler-less trunk made this one stand out from the rest.

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An impressively bone stock R32, followed by a pretty metallic blue R32 with R34 wheels I spotted in the parking lot:

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Above Right: Finally, SAGE automotive group put together a “generations” display ranging from R35 to C10.

 

Z-Car Extravaganza

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Z cars from all generations were in full force with cars spanning the tarmac near the Queen Mary to the bayside lawn.  I’m a big fan of subtle modified Z’s but I can also appreciate pristine, bone-stock examples and the occasional shakotan build. This S30 had subtle body-colored flares, deep Simmons wheels and a neatly executed RB25DET engine swap, another case of the “why wasn’t this car in the show?!”

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By contrast Richard Madlangbayan’s RB25DET-powered S30 is wildly flared with a killer Gulf-inspired livery and extensive aero.  To-die-for NISMO LM GT2 wheels were re-barreled and stepped up to 18″ by FiveOneWheels. Check out the rear diffuser, side skirts and spoiler too:

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It’s hard to believe that last year it looked like this:

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Rich’s new aesthetic choices ticked all the right boxes…the now 500hp RBwas icing on the cake, well done!

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This S30 sported molded in flares housing gorgeous step-lipped SSR meshies. Clean and simple:

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Next to the silver Z was Taka Sato’s 1971 S30. Built in his garage and regularly exercised on local SoCal road courses, Taka’s Z sports Glowstar wheels, fender flares color matched to air dam/rear panel and neat, functional items in the interior.

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Stock is good: The nicest stock S30 in orange

 

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Glenn’s Race CAr

Since 2015 we have been following Glen Chiou’s heroic restoration of the #39 race car piloted by Loren St. Lawrence in the 1970’s. The best part, to us, is that Glenn is doing the restoration by himself and with the help of several key Datsun folks like Troy Ermish and Les Cannaday at CDM. Glenn was at JCCS while finishing up a race at the Coronado Festival of Speed…Do It In A Datsun!

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Z31s were plentiful too! :

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Some 2+2 love. This 1974 280z was lovingly restored…only at JCCS! http://jdm-car-parts.com/

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The Nissan S12 chassis has been growing in popularity. Known as the “200sx” stateside there were some cool examples of both hatchback/coupe bodystyles. S130s were also represented:

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The only Z32 sporting Stoptech brakes, SSR wheels and subtle JDM cues:

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Although Mr.K passed away last year, we think he would enjoy roaming around JCCS. Mr. K’s very own G-nose 240z, now owned and currently driven by his secretary!

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Datsun Fairlady Roadsters

The Datsun Roadsters enjoyed prime bayside parking this year at JCCS. Down in numbers from previous years, the selection still wowed the public at the main show entrance.  SoCal roadster owners lined up their cars with both stock and modified examples while the JNC booth provided a nice bookend with lots of goodies. We were honored and proud to have our roadster on display, so big thanks to Ben and the gang at JNC!

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JNC’s Fairlady-themed display included commemorative T-shirts,  Hot Wheels giveaway and autograph session with legendary engine builder John Knepp. It was great to see him having a good time with fans:

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And of course, yours truly couldn’t resist a photo op with the man himself

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John Baker’s 1969 Datsun 2000 was one of best stock restorations on display. I’ve seen it evolve recently with nice attention to detail for keeping things period-correct. Take a look at that engine bay!

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Kevin Desirello of KRD Roadsters built 4 roadsters in the display. In true “best son ever” form, he built these SR20DE and SR20DET-powered roadsters for his mother and father, respectively:

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You might recognize John Frampton’s 1967 SR22VE-T monster from our SEMA and Solvang reports. Also built by Kevin, the 341whp, fully restored silver bullet is now featured in SuperStreet Magazine!

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On either end of the roadster display were Harlan Katz gorgeous ’66 SPL with a KRD installed SR20DE and Jon Toktas’ stunning ’69 SRL.

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My favorite color combo for the roadster is Black/Red:

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Not in the 311 roadsters display, Jeff Silvey’s bonkers SPL212 racecar which debuted at The Solvang Show was a polar opposite to the stock SPL213 Nissan displayed a few steps away. A built S15 SR20DET drivetrain puts power to the ground with a full S13 IRS! ps. Jeff also built a Z18ET diesel powered NL320(see below) truck…he’s kind of a nut, in a good way:

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In the parking lot I spotted Monty’s ’69 SPL.   Former owner Garm Beall (Subaru 360 owner currently) setup this roadster with a hot-rodded U20 and rare Hayashi center-lock wheels:

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Datsun 510s

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This year felt like an incredible number of Dimes were displayed! The shiny engine bay of this Datsun 510 stood out and sported some Volk TE37 wheels, Brembos and a loud interior. Not everyone’s taste, but it certainly reminded me of a TSR Fabrication (Mario Lozano) build that made me long for the days of the All-Datsun Meet at Mt. Shasta. Good times. Reminiscing aside, it’s hard not to appreciate Mario’s superb fabrication skills and weld porn, see the beads on that expansion tank!

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More Dime goodness:

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Not a Dime

But extremely rare, cool and placed next to the 510s was this Hino Contessa 1300S Coupe. Owned by Myron Vernis, thank you so much for sharing this beauty with us! Only at JCCS, people!

 

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RHD Datsun 610 and Sunny:

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Dogs Love Trucks!

Datsun trucks were kind of scattered about the park area. Jeff Silvey’s turbo-diesel NL320 truck:

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Kenny’s 320 pickup and a 520 pickup:

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And finally, a 510 regular attendee I never get tired of seeing with 13B turbo power, Brembos and VOLK RE30s:

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Toyota

Toyota always has a huge corporate involvement and brought an assortment of race cars and a rare 1967 2000GT.  This year felt like the AE86s and Celicas were not as numerous but Celica-Supras and Cressidas were sweet!

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Great showing of RA29 (Liftback) Celicas! The red car had perfect, meaty fitment on Epsilons meshies. Actually, all 3/4 of these Liftbacks sported some variation of mesh wheel…I dig it:

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My favorite Celica though was this blue specimen on SSR Formula reverse meshies….super sano build:

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Brad Reynold’s MX32 Cressida looked fabulous. Sitting on full black Glowstar wheels and running a full 2JZGE engine swap this is my kind of sleeper:

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This AE86 Corolla had me double-taking. RHD, with “Black Limited” decals indicated a very rare, outgoing 1987 model that marked the the end of RWD and beginning of the FWD AE92 platform. Regardless of its authenticity, those massively lipped WORK Equip 01s had me drooling:

 

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I’m a sucker for the A60 Celica Supras with their bulging fender flares and blocky styling. These two had choice mods like Watanabe and SSR wheels, plus a big surprise under the hood:

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Not one but TWO Celica ‘verts: bone stock, and gangsta-fitted!

 

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E70 Corolla with a hot rodded, injected Toyota twincam:

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Land Cruisers!

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And if you are in to the whole supercar thing, there was a Lexus LF-A near the entrance and a LC500 inside:

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Finally, what is probably the best juxtaposition of Toyota entrants at JCCS…The coveted 2000GT and, wait for it…a first gen Camry:

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Honda

Honda brought several interesting cars including the recently restored, first ever N600 imported into the US:

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You can read about the restoration by renown Honda specialist Tim Mings HERE

The “heritage” theme continued here the new NSX along with a NA1 beauty. Here is our good friend Jan Trondsen who actually helped design the new car.

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In a sea of CVCCs and N600s, most from years past a few cars did catch my eye.

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Left: a road racing 1973 Civic, and right: Bob Klemme (fellow roadster owner of SRL #004!) showed this little ’71 N600 monster powered by a 1200cc Yamaha superbike engine

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The 80’s and early 90’s Civics are some of my favorite Hondas. I was surprised to see no EF-chassis hatches but there were some heavily modified CRXs

1st and 2nd gen CRXs:

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My favorite Honda was this white EA-T chassis. Followed by the almost DR30-Skyline-like Honda Accord Coupe (3rd gen) and 1st gen Acura Integra. All were superb, representative examples.

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Mazda

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Mazda brought out a few gems of their own with probably the best OE display including the R100s from the Monterey Historics Races, 1979 IMSA GTU RX-7, freshly restored 767B, ND Miata and a 1967 Cosmo Sport:

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Albert Medrano’s 1971 RX-2 looking sinister with deep-dish BBS RS wheels:

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We remember Kelvin Chung’s pretty 1973 RX-2 and Armando’s 1974 RX-4 from the Touge California:

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Mazda’s iconic RX-7 series was well-represented with SA22 and FC models. From preserved stock and built-to-the-hilt turbo 13B examples it was a Rotary fanatic’s fantasy, especially in red. We even spotted a turbine-powered FC!

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Mitsubishi

Our fellow Datsun Roadster owner and friend Mark Nakashima’s freshly restored ’72 Dodge Colt (Mitsubishi Galant) coupe also deserves its own feature. He drove the little pillar-less coupe down from Hollister!   A 1980 Lancer converted to full GSR spec was also a rare sight to see:

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We first saw this full Time Attack prepped Starion at SEMA 2015. It has been further developed with extensive aero and an LS2 engine swap. A stock, Starion in silver was nearby:

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We can’t forget Matt De Mangos’ Colt Galant GTO, another Touge California veteran:

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Subaru

You can always count on Subaru nuts to bring out the quirky cars. Garm Beall’s famous butterscotch 360 van is aways a crowd-pleaser. You must see this thing in person to appreciate its diminutive stature. This year there two vans!

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Wheels For Fantasy

I personally love going to JCCS because I get to see very rare Japanese/tuner wheels and parts. Preservation of authentic wheels and appreciation of the time and effort spent to find certain specimens that most folks have never heard of in this generation is what I admire most.   My favorite wheel at JCCS: WORK Equip 01:

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Variations on the mesh wheel from BBS, Epsilon, SSR, Volk, Bahn and more. You can’t go wrong! SSR Formula below:

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Step-lipped SSR Formula Mesh, Hayashi, Glowstar, Simmons and Epsilon:

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Modern wheels can work well with vintage metal depending on the build theme. Timeless VOLK TE37 and CE28N:

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Sometimes smaller is better.

Left: The uber rare Techno Racing Yayoi wheels are also called, “Sakura” for cherry blossom. Right: SSR Star Shark:

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Not to be confused with SSR Star Sharks, Patrick Soliman’s insanely sized Hayashi Racing Techno Phantoms:

 

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I have never seen these in person until JCCS! Devil Shadow spoke:

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The quintessential old school wheel award probably goes to the RS Watanabe:

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Many more pictures from JCCS in the gallery!

 

Thank You JCCS!

It is difficult to run a car show and keep up the quality and interest levels but the folks at JCCS have managed to do exactly that for 12 years! No other show gives you the chance to see obscure, pristine, modified Japanese classics…and we look forward to next year’s entrants. We hope you have enjoyed our coverage and please visit our mega-gallery for more pictures. Special thanks to the ZCG crew, Diamond Dave and Eric Straw and Japanese Nostalgic Car for an amazing weekend!

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…[read more]




Happy 510 Day!

Filed under: Events,Featured Cars and Projects
by Alvin G @ 8:19 pm on May 10, 2016

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Happy 510 Day! Rob made a few changes to the turbo setup on his SR20DET-powered dime:

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Earlier this morning in celebration of 5/10 day the Go Green made a few dyno passes. Traction was becoming an issue!

 

 

We hope you are enjoying your Datsun 510s today too!




EVENTS: Touge California 2016 report!

Filed under: Events
by Alvin G @ 11:51 pm on April 12, 2016

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The Touge California 2016 was held April 2 on the backroads of Southern California, starting in Escondido and ending in Irvine. The 2nd annual rally covered roughly 200 miles of scenic and challenging roads through San Diego and Orange counties, including several spirited “Touge” stages through mountain passes.

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Founded in 2015 by enthusiast and JNC editor-in-chief Ben Hsu, the Touge (pronounced “toe-geh”, Japanese for Mountain pass) California is the only all-Japanese vintage road rally in the US. For 2016 Ben teamed up with rally master Patrick Strong to coordinate the route on this relaxed(or so I thought!), non-competitive event.

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The entry list for the 2016 Touge California would make any J-tin fan proud, with a banner selection of 28 Japanese classics from the ’60s through the ’80s.  Mazda stepped up as the title sponsor for the event, rolling out classics like the 1975 Rotary-Engine Pickup (REPU), 1985 RX-7 GSL-SE and a 1978 GLC compact hatchback from its Heritage Collection–all to be driven not just for display!

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We participated in this year’s rally behind the wheel of my 1967.5 Datsun Roadster.  I made the 460 mile journey down to San Diego from San Jose with no hiccups, big thanks to ZCG for the suspension refresh, quieter exhaust and rally prep.  Requisite navigation duties were handled by my brother-in-law Jun K. who resides in La Jolla. On Saturday morning Jun and I drove to the meeting spot and rally start at Lake Wolford, Escondido. I don’t think either of us were prepared for the ensuing adventure!  Upon arrival we were greeted by just over 2 dozen rad Japanese classics:

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The lot was a paradise of vintage Datsuns, Mazdas, Toyotas, Hondas, and a lone Mitsubishi and Subaru. I was immediately drawn to a fellow Datsun Roadster painted in a shade similar to Sora Blue. Owned by John S from Nissan Design America, the 1965 SPL310 was very stock right down to its charming, original hubcaps. The 4-speed shifter did however hide a full 5-speed transmission from a later 2000 model roadster! Bonus points for sporting matching shoes:

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After checking out the cars, rallymaster Patrick Strong briefed drivers and handed us our Route Book, door magnet and “white envelope”(more on this later). At 11am the rally was underway!

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Our first checkpoint would occur 35.9 miles later in the town of Julian, where event coordinators provided us with warm apple pie, of course!

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While enjoying the pie I also enjoyed this tasty specimen, a very rare 1970 Mitsubishi Colt Galant GTO owned and restored by Matt De Mangos:

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A fairly brisk pace with changing scenery led us to a lunch stop at near Lake Henshaw, but not without some casualties. Danny M’s sweet flared S30 lost its rear brakes. The 1977 Honda Civic had to be towed and the REPU truck had exhaust issues. The ultra-rare hubcap from John S’ Fairlady roadster jettisoned somewhere, but we hear he later found it!

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Danny M. bailed out of the Touge safely and caught some of us on video leaving The Round Up Grill, enjoy!

 

Media coverage of the event was also impressive with photographers seen staged at various spots ahead of the rally drivers. Larry Chen, editor of Speedhunters, Andrew Golseth of Petrolicious, Mark Vaughn from Autoweek and even the Petersen Automotive Museum attended. Even JNC’s Ben Hsu was hard at work:

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We were given ample time to enjoy breathtaking views near Mt. Palomar and attack more challenging roads ahead:

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Any notions of this event being “relaxed” and “easy” were thrown out the door as we tried to chase down Smith M’s red SA22 RX-7 on the Touge stages.  The “Couser Canyon Touge” was particularly thrilling with endless high radius turns and a sheer drop-off with no guard rails present. Outside of a track day at Laguna Seca, this 6 miles stretch was enjoyably intense!  As we caught up to Smith at the stop sign he said with a smile “I don’t think anyone is behind us anymore”.  Smith’s RX-7 was shakotan low sitting on NOS vintage Enkei barrels–10″ wide with stretched tires. He drove it passionately 🙂

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What if you didn’t want to drive spiritedly? Afraid of overheating? Remember that “white envelope” we received at the rally start? Inside were alternate routes to ensure that cars/drivers could make it to the next checkpoint safely. The consequence of breaking the seal on said envelope? If opened, participants would not receive the coveted “I survived the Touge California” sticker. One car we were totally impressed by was Mark N’s 1972 Subaru GL coupe. This FWD , 80hp green machine survived indeed…even if it had to be floored in 1st gear to make it up the steepest grade!

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The event coordinators thoughtfully included fuel stops between checkpoints (likely to quench the large rotary contingencies’ thirst!). Speaking of rotary-powered cars these two Mazda RX-2s were ultra-clean and made all the right noises. Loved the different flares and exhaust treatments:

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With over 150 miles under our belts the journey continued on, taking us to Lake Elsinore, over the Ortega HWY to the PCH and our last leg to Corona Del Mar in Newport Beach. The sun was starting to set and it was fun to watch our fellow participants roll in triumphantly.

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This was also our last chance to survey some of the cars before dark, and there were a few surprises under hoods! We suspected this rather butch-looking Honda Civic to be sporting something special in the power department as it seemed to pull quickly in the canyons…sure enough it had a B18B engine swap:

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I love the first generation Toyota Celicas. We followed this TA22 for miles and noticed a un-4cylinder like exhaust note that could only come from a…

 

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…NA 2Jz swap! The transplant was done to an OEM-level of fit and finish with power steering and A/C.

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I think the most significant car to participate was this yellow Datsun 240z. Its owner was none other than Mr.K. We think he would be proud to see that his Z was being enjoyed and it was one of the highlights of the day to be carving through the hills with it.

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Mandatory Datsun content: more Z’s and a couple of 510s in attendance:

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Andrew G’s Toyota Century, complete with backlit plates was a hit with the crowds…he piloted the large luxury cruiser in opulence while on the Touge!

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Lastly, we could not forget the actual vehicle featured on the Touge California poster, Armando’s 1974 RX-4 coupe:

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With the sunset long past I noticed it was 9pm.  Jun gave me final directions to arrive at Mazda headquarters in Irvine.  We were just a few miles from our ultimate destination and final checkpoint where Ben and Patrick mentioned that we were in for a treat!

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The courtyard of the Mazda Headquarters building was lined with classic cars from their Heritage Collection up to the new MX-5, all on display while we enjoyed a catered BBQ dinner. Ben and Patrick got on stage to hand out awards: whomever completed the event without opening the white envelope received a “I survived the Touge California 2016” sticker. We were advised not to place it on our minivans.

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After dinner and dessert, it got better. Mazda PR Director Jeremy Barnes climbed into the RX- 792P race car and revved it up for us to hear the glorious tune of 4-rotors screaming:

 

To top it off, Jeremy gave us a tour of Mazda’s underground collection. This garage beneath the main building did not house “museum” pieces and Jeremy emphasized that each car was driven or in the process of restoration. It was a special treat to see cars ranging from the original Miatas that were introduced to the public for the first time in 1989, all the way to the LeMans winning and weathered rotary-powered race cars.

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After the tour, Mazda sent us off with goodie bags and Jun and I headed back down to San Diego from an 11-hour day of intense driving fun.  Kudos to Ben and Patrick for a seamless event that showcased passion for our cars and driving them. From the epic routes, Touge stages, efficient checkpoints and stellar staff, this was truly one for the J-Tin books.  I highly recommend it for all Japanese classic car owners.

 

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We hope you have enjoyed our coverage of the Touge California 2016 and don’t forget to see our extensive gallery below for more pictures of the rally and Mazda’s collection. Stay tuned for another report as my trip to SoCal was not over yet! The following day I visited Nissan Design America and the Japanese Car Meet at the Petersen Museum all on the way back home to San Jose.

Datsuns Are Driven!

…[read more]




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