A new generation of car collectors is making its presence known, and the cars it cherishes and desires are the ones it focused on in the late-1970s and into the ’80s and ’90s. It’s the natural progression of collector vehicles, seen before when the baby boomers took charge and the muscle cars, Corvettes, street rods and European sports cars they covet became regular fare at auctions and car shows.
Looking ahead, the millennial crowd has a penchant for Japanese, European and American muscle cars of their era, and those will be well-represented during the third annual Future Classic Car Show, to be held Monday, January 15, on the two top levels of a parking garage in the Scottsdale Quarter at the start of Arizona Auction Week.
Sponsored by ClassicCars.com and Gateway Classic Cars, the Future Classics show is an unusual event in that it focuses on cars produced since 1975, with a strong contingent of Japanese performance tuners and all-out race cars, and custom Europeans. More than 150 of them, ranging up to the latest exotics, are expected for the colorful event, which is designed to attract younger enthusiasts into the hobby.
While few Japanese cars generally are seen at collector car auctions, aside from the occasional Toyota 2000GT, Mazda Cosmo or pristine Datsun 240Z, the new collectors celebrate the entire run of cars from the Land of the Rising Sun, from the hottest sports models to the simplest economy cars.
Joe Haven of Glendale, Arizona, is one of those hobbyists with a penchant for old-school Japanese cars. The custom ride of his choice is 1978 Toyota Cressida that he’s transformed from a fairly routine family sedan into a fast tuner loaded with eye appeal.
Haven’s attractive gold-colored sedan has been radically lowered on coilover springs and fat chrome wheels and tires. The custom work provides an entirely new look for the Toyota while working with the styling features that attracted Haven to this particular model.
“I’ve always liked the way the first-gen Cressida’s looked,” Haven said. “Originally, I just wanted something cool to drive around town.”
But as time went by, more custom features were added, he said, such as the lowered suspension and wheels, a rear axle from a Toyota Supra sports coupe and the front end from a Nissan 240SX.
Then the custom urge totally took over, and the Cressida was gradually turned into a showpiece. Under the hood, Haven fitted a custom-built Toyota DOHC straight-six engine fed by a Garrett turbocharger, which he says dyno’d out to 535 horsepower. So no, this is not your father’s Cressida.
The manual transmission is from a Nissan 350Z; Haven is partners in a company that produces adapter plates for custom engine/350Z transmission installations. The Cressida was professionally rewired from front to back, Haven said. He applied the custom paint over bare metal.
“I never really intended to make it as nice as it is,” Haven said. “I just wanted something fun to drive, but once I started taking it apart, it just kind of happened.”
Future classics showgoers will have the chance to judge for themselves on Monday.
Another featured appearance at the show will be that of a young woman who has made a name for herself in national racing circles. Sally McNulty, who drives for Team Snail Performance, competes on a national level in the Global Time Attack series. She runs in the Street AWD class, driving a tricked-out 20o7 Subaru WRX.
“I got into motorsports about seven years ago when a friend asked me to attend a track day at the local road course race track,” McNulty said. “Even though I had a Chevy Cobalt at the time, I had an absolute blast and was hooked from then on.
“Well, flash forward to today and now I have a fully built race car and compete on a national level. If someone would have told me that several years ago, I would have told you that you are crazy. I am very passionate about my sport and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
“Over the few years I have been competing, I have had 16 podium finishes,” she added. “Just recently I had a podium finish at the largest Time Attack event in the United States, called Super Lap Battle, which was a goal of mine that I have been working at for three years.”
McNulty’s WRX has been fully worked over, with a built 2.5-liter turbo four with custom headwork from IAG Performance. It has a 20g turbocharger with a front-mount intercooler by Cobb Tuning, and is set up to run on Ignite E85.
“It has full suspension work from coilovers to sway bars and solid bushings in the rear,” McNulty said. “It also features a 4-point bolt-in cage and racing seats. Also, custom front splitter for downforce and chassis mounted rear wing.
“There is a ton more, but there are the basics.”
McNulty’s WRX should inspire some of the tuners at the Future Classics show to apply the same kind of workmanship to their street machines. McNulty said she also wants to inspire young women to take up racing.
“I want to show other females that racing isn’t just a man’s sport or even having an interest in cars isn’t just for men, but for everyone,” she said. “No one comes into the ring swinging, everyone has to start somewhere. I hope that I can inspire someone to take that step and not be afraid.”
The Future Classics Car Show runs from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday in the top-two floors of the parking garage at 15037 Scottsdale Road, adjacent to the Herman Miller furniture store.
Entrants will be competing for awards in five categories:
• Best In Show
• 1975-1994 (Import, Domestic, Euro)
• 1955-2005 (Import, Domestic, Euro)
• Instant Classic 2006-2018 (Import, Domestic, Euro)
• Best Modification
Attendees will be able to pick the Fan Favorite by submitting raffle tickets.
Spectators also will get the opportunity to learn more about the up-and-coming collector cars that fuel a new generation’s passion.