HomeMediaInaugural Japanese car show at Pebble Beach worth the uphill hike

Inaugural Japanese car show at Pebble Beach worth the uphill hike


Editor’s note: Follow all of the action and updates on our special Monterey Car Week page.

You had to hunt some to find it, but it was worth the search — and the walk — to seek out the inaugural Japanese Automotive Invitational, staged up on Peter Hay Hill adjacent to the Infiniti stand at Pebble Beach. 

Car collectors, especially those tuned into the younger generation of enthusiasts, know that cars from Japan are an up-and-coming category in the hobby, and Nissan’s luxury brand, Infiniti and the Motor Trend Group decided it was time “to bring even more diversity to the premier celebration of classic, vintage automobiles and demonstrate the prowess Japan brings to the industry.”

So, for two days this past weekend, a diverse group of cars were showcased on a wood-chip carpeted hilltop location between the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance show field and the Gooding & Company auction venue.

The cars on display ranged from micro to motorsports, from everyday to exotic, from sports to sport utilities.

Don’t be surprised if the Japanese Automotive Invitational spawns a major Monterey Car Week show along the lines of a Concorso Italiano, a Porsche Werks Reunion, a Legends of the Autobahn, or the new British show that launches in 2019.

And don’t be surprised if sometime, and perhaps not too far down the road, some of these same vehicles are showcased just down the hill, on the 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


  1. Hey, that little green Integra looks familiar! Nice write-up, Larry. I’m excited to be a part of the growing appreciation for Japanese classics.

  2. Hi Larry- as a child of the dirt cheap post "oil crisis" unwanted American muscle car bonanza, I never really considered Japanese autos until I was sent to the Middle East as an advisor in the early ’80’s- that certainly brought the wonderful lil trucks by Toyota and Nissan to my attention. Then I was a roomie in college with a guy who had a first gen Honda Accord, with over 300,000 miles on it when the floor collapsed from rust- the motor, untouched save for normal maintenance, ran fine the day the driver’s seat fell through to the parking lot, the trans shifted smoothly and accurately, and everything worked as should save for the body shell, which had succumbed to the salt hysteria Indiana inflicts on cars during the "winter".
    In grad school, in Indianapolis IN, I had a roomie who had a 2 litre Porsche 914 as well as a 2nd gen Honda CRX- the lil glassback ‘Rex would outrun, out-turn, out mileage, and out reliable the 914 every day, but especially in the rain or winter, and it was cheap to fuel, maintain, insure, and didn’t attract tickets either.
    But I became a believer in the craft of the Japanese automaker when I traded my well-worn ’68 GTO for a day to my friend to try his first-gen Mazda RX-7. Jesus wept. And they only got better, which applies to the majority of Japanese cars, if not to ours.
    I do think that the modern Japanese design vernacular, which seems to be based on meth addicted teen anime fan fantasy, isn’t going to hold up like the, oh, first gen Supra/Prelude/240Z/RX-7… and, my opinion only, the first gen Acura NSX which I believe to be the absolute pinnacle of Japanese design. Yeah, the new Lexus 500 coupe is cool- but that grille, ack! And the last gen RX-8 was pretty ripping- but take a long, slow, observant walk-around of any first gen NSX.
    Pebble Beach worthy, indeed. I am glad that the ruling car snobs are finally recognizing Japanese efforts. If the stars align properly, such recognition may serve to rein in the current Japanese sci-fi/anime "design" trend, where no panel, no matter how small, can escape "sculpting". And gratuitous black plastic hex pattern "vents".
    Ya disagree, take the same sort of NSX considering walk around a new Camry, Prius, or (OMG) the new Civic hatchback. How does this even happen? And the Type R? Who green lights this kind of misguided metalbending, anyway?
    Peace ‘n’ love


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