TREASURES FROM ACROSS THE POND
10th Annual Japanese Classic Car Show
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Thu, Sep 25, 2014
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Don’t look now, but it’s been 10 years since the first Japanese Classic Car Show!
It happened again. It was time to line up the Mazda Eunos GT, the Datsun 620PU, the Toyota Corolla GTS AE86, the 1971 Nissan Skyline, and the Subaru 360 together next to the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. What a vision. This time, however, it was the 10th anniversary of the annual Japanese Classic Car Show.
It was after the 1973 oil crisis that Japan’s Big Three of Honda, Toyota, and Nissan really flocked the American consumer market. At first, Americans were focused on the fuel efficiency and reliability of the Japan’s small kei cars. But Acura, Mazda, and others all added speed, style, and luxury. Today, Toyota and General Motors are head to head as the largest automobile manufacturers of the world.
Japan’s car industry began in the first years of the 20th century. In 1911, Kwaishinsha Motorcar Works began the manufacturing of the DAT car. This would evolve to Nissan Motors (see LA Car’s “To the Beat of a Different Drummer”). In 1917, Mitsubishi Model A was built by the Mitsubishi Shipbuilding zaibatsu (business conglomerate). Toyota - formerly a textile manufacturer - began building cars in 1936. Henry Ford established a production plant in Yokohama in 1925, followed closely by his rivals at GM and Chrysler. After World War II, most Japanese relied on motorbikes and small trucks. As the economy improved, the kei cars became more common by the 1960s. Export vehicles followed, and the rest, as they say, is history.
When Japanese cars first arrived on American shores back in the 1950s and 60s, no one could have predicted they would one day rise to collector status. But 10 years ago, Koji and Terry Yamaguchi did when they held the first Japanese Classic Car Show. On September 27th, the show celebrated it’s 10th anniversary. As in years past, we saw a collection of the pioneering Toyota Coronas on display as if they were still in 1965, along with an array of groundbreaking Datsun 510s (see LA Car’s “In Search of the First Datsun 510 Tuner”), a contingent of Honda 600s, the first rotary-engined Mazdas, the beautiful Toyota 2000GT, and the rest of the automotive cast from the other side of the Pacific pond at the port of the Queen Mary.
The 10th Annual Japanese Classic Car Show took place on Saturday, September 27, 2014 at the Queen Mary’s Harry Bridges Memorial Park in Long Beach, California. Link opened into new tab: formulad.com/schedule/results