Japanese Classic Car Show 2017

This past weekend Patrick and I attended the 13th annual Japanese Classic Car show in Long Beach California. Personally, this was an automotive event that I needed to see for myself.  The show did not disappoint and I was able to connect with some long time friends and colleagues in the automotive industry.  Many of the folks I met owned their cars for decades and had a level of appreciation that you don’t often see with today’s “enthusiasts.”  It’s one thing to follow a build online, but it’s great to actually talk to the owner and learn more about the car and what he/she went through to get their car to this show.  

I was also debuting my hakosuka at the jdmlegends booth with its new motor.   For those who didn’t know, I decided to send my car back to JDM-L after last year’s SEMA.  The car needed some minor restoration work and we also talked about possibly completing a motor swap. As much as I love the original L series motor; I really wanted something a bit more practical, safer, and reliable.  So with that said, we decided to go with an RB25 NA build with ITB’s. I felt this gave a more old school vibe to a modern motor. 

Below are my shots. Just a quick disclaimer- I didn’t take too many due to the very harsh sunlight. I apologize in advance if I didn’t get a pic of your ride…

Click on each pic for a higher resolution version:

This was the first time I shot at an oudoor event in California. With the harsh sun throughout the day, I was happy to get to the show early. Allen Lugue was the recipient of some really nice morning light.  His AE86 was looking sharp on a set of Watanabe Wheels.

Really cool to see a bōsōzoku style bike outside of Japan. 

Paul’s Hakosuka was a real inspiration for my build. His car was featured in Super Street years ago with an RB25 NA build. Since then he’s opted for more power and is now running an turbo powered RB26.

In addition to my car, JDM Legends brought this really cool bluebird on Hayashi Streets. After speaking to the owner, I would not be surprised if another vintage Japanese car is added to his collection…

The next car that JDML brought was this very nice S30 on Volk Racing TE37v’s owned by Daniel Song.

The Work Wheels / Chasing J’s booth had an impressive showing. Nestled between the booths was Dennis Kiyan’s Celica liftback on Equip 40’s. 

Joe Haven’s MX32 Cressida on SSR MK1’s. I have been following his build on IG and was hoping to get a peak at the 1JZ. 

TD Garage MX62 Cressida

Even the parking lot had some cool cars. Check out this neat s30 on Glow Star Wheels.

Another Celica…

Eric Routhe’s 4 door Hakosuka on SSR MKii’s. The flared rear was a nice touch. 

Reunited with my Hako! 

The swap isn’t entirely finished as the team at JDML have run into some clearance issues and other challenges that go into these unconventional motor builds. I have to thank my friend Ilia for suggesting the RB20 finned valve covers. This is one small piece (and rare) that give the motor a more interesting and retro look. We had them powdercoated gold to tie into the GTX theme.  I have an idea for the coilpack cover, so stay tuned for that… 

Really nice Honda N600.  My original L20 motor (~90hp) is  beast compared to this. 

Beautiful TE27 Corolla.

Another S30 rolling into the show.

This grilled cheese Pastrami sandwich was on point.  With only a few food trucks on hand, the lines and wait did creep up around lunch time. 

A shot of Paul’s engine with the Number 7 Racing Team oil cap. 

Two wheel stood out this weekend- The equip 40’s simply due to amount of cars representing them, and of course Pat’s Riverside/Super Rivers that were re-lipped and painted by Izami Wheels/Japan.

Pat’s Kenmeri- Just stunning. 

Couple more Skylines from Team Wild Cards.

Roy makings some last minute adjustments to his Hakosuka before the show starts. If you want his car, look no further…..

Clean FD RX7 leaving the show.

Joel Tan’s Works-Style Hakosuka. The vintage livery never gets old…

Very cool KP61 Starlet all the way from Hawaii. 

MKIII Supra as mint as they come…

Vintage Rotary truck.

Jonathon Wong’s Civic EF supporting the Osaka JDM booth.  Can’t beat this look with the 1-off Rocket Bunny aero and Mugen RNR Wheels.

Z Car Garage stunned everyone with their OS Giken TC24B1Z at last year’s SEMA. Although that Hako has since been delivered to their customer, they debuted another one of these motors in a 240z. Just stunning.

Z31- possibly the most underrated Z car?

SR20DET powered 510 wagon 

Pretty cool to see this 1981 Toyota Celica IMSA GTO race car.

Wrapping up this set with one last parking lot gem…


Toronto S15 Shoot

This past week I was in Toronto and met up with Mike Martino (@vsmartino) for a quick photo shoot of his beautiful Nissan Silvia (s15). Originally I was planning on strobing the car, but unfortunately I forgot my backup batteries.  Anyways, here are some shots using natural light. Look out for this car at Final Bout in a few weeks.

Click on each pic for a HIGHER res version. 

Richy Contreras ’77 Datsun 280z

Back in January I received an email from Richy Contreras. He simply said that his s30 was nearly done and he hoped to have it for our season opener.  At first read; I was like “cool,” but I didn’t expect much.  To be honest with you guys, I didn’t know much about his car or build. Many of the local s30’s may be very clean, but lack some character in my opinion (one exception is Christine’s Z).  I think the main reason for this is the fact the Datsun Z was introduced to the American public in the early 70’s- Many of the older owners have a more conservative approach in terms of modification and style.  With that said, Richy attached some photos and I was left in awe.   I love older Japanese cars, especially when they are executed in a shakotan/kyusha style.

I immediately knew this car was going to get alot of attention. Sure enough, it become a social media darling after hitting the Instagram explore page.  I mentioned to Richy that I thought his s30 may have a shot for a print feature in Super Street Magazine.  He was humbled by this possibility and interested in pitching the car.  Sam Du (editor of SS) probably gets tons of submissions on a daily basis, so I never bother him unless I feel a car fits the SS mold.  Sam agreed, and the car was slated for the “back in the day” feature in the October 2017 issue.   Here are some of my favorite shots from the feature.  Although the print version doesn’t come out for a few more weeks, you can ready Richy’s story online here.

Please click on the photo for a higher resolution version of the shot!  You can also head over to the SS feature listed above for some more additional photos.

Mini Meet

It’s hard to believe that it’s mid July, and this was our first mini meet this  year.  What people don’t realize is that setting up meets isn’t as easy at it seems. As the organizer you have to take responsibility for finding a good location,  making sure management approves, and possibly securing permits.  We also tend to lose locations fairly often and this is why this entire process is exhausting. The worst is when we do all the ground work and other random groups come in and piggy back on our location. I mean, it’s not our location per se, but people lack originality these days and don’t want to put in any effort. These other groups tend not to enforce any rules and we end up getting blamed if something bad happens. It’s been a constant revolving door and then we have to move on to the next spot. 

With that said, I’ve been getting some texts from multiple friends asking when we are planning our next meet, FNL’s, etc. My schedule has been pretty crazy this year, but I really want to get back to our roots and organize more of these “mini meets.”  As you guys know, we don’t advertise all over the place and we try to make these meets fairly low key. People find out about these meets from the forums (not as popular like the old days), word of mouth, or my private posts on Facebook.  Even though maybe 300+ cars showed up on a random Wednesday night, everything ran super smooth.   Be on the lookout for another mini meet later this month! 

If you got to the meet early, it almost looked like an NSX gathering.  This was actually no accident. There was already a pre-planned NSX meet at the neighboring Portillo’s.  I invited the guys over to the JDMC meet and we had about 15-16 NSX’s in attendance. This was probably the most amount of NSX’s I’ve seen at one place in years.

Everett with his always revolving set of wheels..

Danny with his bagged ISF / RSF front conversion…

Fish with one of the first Rocket Bunny kits came out with some bronze Rotiforms…

AJ brought his rare IS300 wagon with manual transmission.

WRX with JZ/RWD? wow… this was something I didn’t expect to see and probably wasn’t easy to do.

Not sure if this was a debut, but Ilia and Josh from Team Proceed brought their new cars to the meet. Knowing these guys, expect some big changes to the FD and S14….  

New JDMCHICAGO Pocket T’s & Stickers

New for the summer are some high quality pocket t-shirts and stickers. Click here to access the store. We ship world wide! Click on the  image for a higher resolution look!