Nissans, Toyotas, Mazdas, Hondas, Acuras, Motorcycles, and More!
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.
A first-gen ’89-’94 240sx with a Silvia S13 front end conversion fires up. So many of these are turned into doriftu cars.
The Datsun 240Z was produced from 1969 to 1973, with a 2.4-liter (duh) SOHC straight-six making 151 hp.
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.
As gray as the clouds that hung over the show.
The Toyota AE86 remains one of the most sought-after drift and performance cars on the market.
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.
Another AE86, AKA Toyota Corolla.
Lexus GS 350 F Sport goes looking for parking.
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.
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.
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.
1990 Toyota Cressida.
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.
That’s the Hayabusa gas tank in the trunk of the Publica.
…and this is the ‘Busa block in the Publica.
1981 Toyota Starlet, in white, 1982 Toyota Starlet in blue.
Our friend Jon Seidel wheeled this vintage Yamaha onto the grass.
These Hondas were both converted to cabriolets by Straman.
The Suzuki Samurai is highly capable off-road.
Justin Hernandez’ 1992 Honda Civic Si.
Spoon Sports is a tuner specializing in Hondas and Acuras.
This is the only known photo of organzier Koji Yamaguchi during setup time for the Japanese Classic Car Show.
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.
The Honda ACTY came in microvan and pickup truck configuration and was made up until last year.
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.
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.
There were many Acura NSXs on hand…
…as well as Toyota Celicas. This is a ’72 Celica GT.
Keyword: Our 50 Favorites from the Japanese Classic Car Show in California