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our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn
our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

Just before dawn the cars begin rolling out of the Long Beach Arena parking lot, across Shoreline Drive and onto the damp grass of Marina Green Park. This ‘73-ish Toyota Celica GT seems happy to be out of the garage.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

A first-gen ’89-’94 240sx with a Silvia S13 front end conversion fires up. So many of these are turned into doriftu cars.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

The Datsun 240Z was produced from 1969 to 1973, with a 2.4-liter (duh) SOHC straight-six making 151 hp.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

It was followed by the 260Z, which was made from 1974 to 1978 with a larger, 2.6-liter six, but emissions regulations cut power to 139 hp.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

As gray as the clouds that hung over the show.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

The Toyota AE86 remains one of the most sought-after drift and performance cars on the market.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

This third-gen Mazda RX-7 looked cool. That generation had a turbocharged 13B-REW rotary making 252 hp in 1992 and 276 hp by the time production ended in Japan in 2002.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

Another AE86, AKA Toyota Corolla.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

Lexus GS 350 F Sport goes looking for parking.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

Datsun 240Z.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

1989 Mazda 767B. Mazda was one of three manufacturers with a corporate presence at the show. The 767B won its class at Le Mans in 1990. One of the three built sold at Gooding & Co. in 2017 for $1.75 million.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

A total of 1176 rotary powered Mazda Cosmos were produced from 1967 to 1972. The engines made 110 hp in Series I configuration and 130 hp in Series II.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

Abel Ibrarra was one of the front runners of the Import Drag Racing Scene in the ’90s, racing various Mazdas. His team was called El Pollo Flaco, or the Skinny Chicken. This RX-2 is his daily driver.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

1990 Toyota Cressida.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

Big Mike Muniz bought this 1967 Toyota Publica at a government auction, gave the stock engine to Terry Yamaguchi, and swapped in a Suzuki Hayabusa engine. Gas tank from the ‘Busa is in the trunk. Hand-operated clutch from the Hayabusa is on the stick shift. “How come you’re not working for, like, NASA or somethin’?” I asked. “I work at Rivian,” he said.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

That’s the Hayabusa gas tank in the trunk of the Publica.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

…and this is the ‘Busa block in the Publica.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

1981 Toyota Starlet, in white, 1982 Toyota Starlet in blue.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

Our friend Jon Seidel wheeled this vintage Yamaha onto the grass.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

These Hondas were both converted to cabriolets by Straman.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

The Suzuki Samurai is highly capable off-road.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

Justin Hernandez’ 1992 Honda Civic Si.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

Spoon Sports is a tuner specializing in Hondas and Acuras.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

This is the only known photo of organzier Koji Yamaguchi during setup time for the Japanese Classic Car Show.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

The Honda N360 was produced from 1967 to ’72. It was followed by the N600. From this humble beginning came the mighty Honda we know today.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

The Honda ACTY came in microvan and pickup truck configuration and was made up until last year.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles brought this Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle. The wrap on it can be drawn on by children and others. The museum has many other Japanese cars, including an FD RX-7 prototype, ’96 Mitsubishi 3000 GT VR4, Honda N600, 1980 Nissan ZX, 1965 Toyota Crown, and even a left hand-drive 1965 Nissan Cedric, but none of those were ready to take on the Long Beach freeway. Go visit the Pete at petersen.org. It’s an amazing place, with new exhibits all the time.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

At first I was drawn to this 1973 240Z because of its Rocket Bunny wheel arches. When I asked whose it was I got a few giggles, then I noticed Sung Kang behind a curtain. It didn’t look like he was coming out. Brandon McGrath, general manager of Kang’s clothing line Student Driver, came out. He said the car was built in 2015 and displayed at the SEMA show. It even had a bit part in F&F 9. The car is powered by a naturally aspirated RB 2.6-liter straight-six. It looked cool, very well-integrated all around.

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

There were many Acura NSXs on hand…

our 50 favorites from the japanese classic car show in california
Mark Vaughn

…as well as Toyota Celicas. This is a ’72 Celica GT.

Keyword: Our 50 Favorites from the Japanese Classic Car Show in California

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