If you ask Karen Brown at Motor Trend about how this year’s inaugural Japanese Automotive Invitational event came together, she’ll tell you, “It took an army.”
The planning, logistics and execution of a car show that brought more than 40 cars from locations across the nation were daunting tasks that she spearheaded for the August 25-26 event in Monterey, California. As Brown said, she had plenty of help: Motor Trend partnered with Infiniti and people like me to make the show happen.
What started as an idea hatched by Motor Trend’s own Ed Loh evolved into a revolutionary event that has been regarded as a success. Never before had Japanese vehicles been given such a spotlight at Pebble Beach
Infiniti, which has had a corporate display at Pebble since 2014, was looking to diversify and expand on its display, especially since the brand is coming up on a 30-year anniversary next year. Remember the Q45 flagship sedan? It’s three decades old!
Naturally, it made sense to showcase Infiniti’s own heritage. But it also was willing to allow its competition into the arena.
The list of participating vehicles was curated internally and cars were sourced from across the country, coming from as far away as Florida, New Jersey and Michigan. Some models proved tougher to locate than others. A first-generation Acura Integra, for example, was on the original list but was not readily available, so they went with a second-generation — mine — instead.
Some cars were sourced from owners (a registration form on the JAI website was made available for anyone who wanted to submit his or her own vehicle), but many cars came from museums as well as the automakers themselves.
To nobody’s surprise, 19 of the 45 cars — or 42 percent of the overall show field — were Nissan and Infiniti models. I can honestly say that prior to this show, I’d never heard of a Dome.
Toyota, Honda, and Mazda had roughly the same level of representation, ranging from 11 percent to 15 percent.
It appeared the 1990s were the best represented with 15 cars making up a third of the show field. Examples from the 1980s were surprisingly few and far between and cars from the 2000s were arguably out of scope here because I don’t know if they yet qualify for a “classic” designation.
All of this will come into consideration as we debrief and move forward with planning for next year.