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Miata, NSX, LS 400, GT-R: New for ’89 featured as Toyota Museum hosts Classic Car Festival


The year 1989 was a milestone for the Japanese auto industry, which launched two world-class sports cars — the Mazda Miata and Honda/Acura NSX — brought back, after a 16-year hiatus, the Nissan Skyline GT-R; introduced a revolutionary luxury sedan, the Toyota Celsior, known in the U.S. as the Lexus LS 400; and the Subaru Legacy Touring Wagon, a vehicle that significantly upgraded that automaker’s image in its home market.

That remarkable year will be celebrated November 17 when the Toyota Automobile Museum hosts the 12th annual Classic Car Festival from 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at Meiji Jingu Gaien Park in Shinjuku, Tokyo. 

 “The theme of this year’s exhibition is ‘Japanese Vintage Year 1989’,” the AutomotiveWorld.com website noted, adding, “In the latter half of the 1980s, Japan was in the midst of the asset price bubble, an era in which every automaker developed a succession of new technologies, and which saw memorable cars launched in a variety of genres, from luxury sedans to personal coupes and sports cars.”

Toyota museum, Miata, NSX, LS 400, GT-R: New for ’89 featured as Toyota Museum hosts Classic Car Festival, ClassicCars.com Journal
Vintage car parade is one of the festival activities

The day begins with a parade of classic cars from Jingu Gaien to Ginza and back to the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery, where most of the day’s activities are taking place. Throughout the day, around 100 “automobiles of owners’ pride” will be showcased. 

From 12:45 until 1:15, the focus will be on the cars of 1989 with the Japanese automakers showcasing their historic models from that year.

Also featured are a 1914 Ford Model T touring, 1937 Horch 853 and 1967 Jaguar E-type roadster.

Petersen museum showing 19 Japanese performance cars

Toyota museum, Miata, NSX, LS 400, GT-R: New for ’89 featured as Toyota Museum hosts Classic Car Festival, ClassicCars.com Journal
1978 Dome Zero prototype is among the Japanese cars on display at the Petersen | Museum photo

Can’t get to Tokyo? Consider visiting the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, where 19 Japanese performance cars are on display.

“As part of its ongoing celebration of Japanese culture and automotive tradition, the Petersen Automotive Museum has gathered the most unique and iconic Japanese performance vehicles in the world under one roof,” the museum said. “On each floor of the museum, guests will find rare examples of Japanese craftsmanship that encompass a broad range of styles including post-war classics, heavily-modified tuners, supercars and futuristic prototypes.”

Those levels range from the Vault down in the basement, with a 1997 Toyota Super Turbo and 1968 Honda S600 coupe, to the “Japanese Supercars” exhibit in the Chuck Wegner Gallery and, on the third floor, the 1967 Toyota 2000GT roadster from the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice. 

“In one day at the Petersen, guests can experience 60 years of Japanese culture and automotive tradition,” the museum’s executive director Terry Karges said. “Our Japanese car collection not only covers the past six decades of Japanese dominance in the domestic market but truly illustrates the artfulness and shrewd attention-to-detail that is characteristic of the Japanese design philosophy.”

BingeTokyo Circuit racing at Corvette museum track

In keeping with our Japanese car theme, this weekend, November 3-4, the National Corvette Museum’s Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky, will host BingeTokyo Circuit Battle 2, an event for Japan-made vehicles. 

The event will include classes for two groups of novice drivers, as well as for intermediate and advance racers.

So, what is BingeTokyo?

“We are simply car enthusiasts who love to push ourselves and our cars to our limit in a controlled environment,” the organizers explain on the entry form. “Our mission is to simply have fun, and share our passion with others. We welcome drivers of all skill levels and backgrounds. We keep our groups uncluttered and keep a tight schedule to ensure everyone is able to enjoy the maximum amount of seat time during our events.”

Toyota museum, Miata, NSX, LS 400, GT-R: New for ’89 featured as Toyota Museum hosts Classic Car Festival, ClassicCars.com Journal
Robert Petersen and Parnelli Jones in the winner’s circle | Museum photo

Petersen readies race-car exhibit, Parnelli Jones fete

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles unveils its new exhibit, “Legends of Los Angeles: Southern California Race Cars and Their Builders,” on November 8 at a special reception, and to all museum visitors the following day. 

The reception also will pay tribute to California racer Parnelli Jones for his successes in a variety of motorsports disciplines, including off-road, Indy, NASCAR and sports car racing.

“Southern California’s passion for racing became apparent in the early 1900s,” the museum said in announcing the new exhibit. “The temperate climate and diverse landscapes provided limitless opportunities for racing. Metropolitan cities became home to large racing venues, dry lake beds became the site of land speed trials, airport runways became drag strips and mountains became off-road courses and hill climbs.

“Reflecting this diversity, the exhibit will present race cars by the region’s renowned designers and engineers including Fred Offenhauser, Harry Miller, Frank Kurtis and Max Balchowsky.”

AACA Museum extends Retromobile trip deadline

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, has extended the deadline to register for its road trip to Retromobile in Paris to November 30. The trip is scheduled for February 6-11, 2019, with an optional extension to the Champagne region of France. 

For details, visit the AACA travel website.

Seal Cove exceeds car-lift goal

The Seal Cove Auto Museum in Maine reports that its effort to raise $2,000 to provide a lift for its garage totaled $6,330 so the lift soon will be installed, making it easier for the museum mechanics to maintain the car collection.

Special events this weekend

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, stages “Autos & Ales” on November 2

“Buses and their Impact on the Civil Rights Movement” is the theme for a special exhibit opening Saturday and running from November 3 until January 30, 2019 at the Museum of Bus Transportation in Hershey, Pennsylvania. To open the exhibit, W. Peter Conroy of the Freedom Riders Park in Anniston, Alabama, will offer a special presentation.

The International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., stages its annual Parade of Trabants car show Saturday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on F Street NW in front of the museum, where as many as two dozen of the East German Cold War cars are expected to participate.

Toyota museum, Miata, NSX, LS 400, GT-R: New for ’89 featured as Toyota Museum hosts Classic Car Festival, ClassicCars.com Journal

The LeMay Collections at Marymount in Tacoma, Washington, hosts a Sock Hop on Saturday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. The event is held in the Marymount gym, which features Dixie, a 16-foot neon sign found decaying in a field in Coos Bay, Oregon, by Randy Nicholson. The sign was restored by the museum’s restoration team.

The California Automobile Museum in Sacramento stages “Whiskey, Cars, Cigars,” its “high-octane party” and fund-raiser on Saturday from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank, California, features Matt Stone and Ed “Isky” Iskenderian from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, signing of their book, Hot Rod Empire, the story of Bob Petersen and Hot Rod magazine.

Mark your calendar

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles unveils its new exhibit, “Legends of Los Angeles,” on November 8 at a special reception, and to all museum visitors the following day. The exhibition features 12 racing cars built in Southern California and in particular pays tribute to racer Parnelli Jones.

The 11th annual “Vets’n Vettes” event runs November 8-10 at the National Corvette Museum and its NCM Motorsports Park. The program includes laps around the track, road tours and participation in the Bowling Green (Kentucky) Veterans Day Parade. Registration closes October 23.

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, hosts a Corvette Racing Weekend on November 9-10 with driving events, a dinner featuring racers Doug Fehan and Tommy Milner and Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter, and other activities.

“Tuners@ACM” is the title of a new exhibit opening November 10 at LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington. The exhibit opens with an “art-in-motion” event from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.

Autobooks-Aerobooks in Burbank, California, features Randy Cannon and his book, Stardust International Raceway: Motorsports Meets the Mob in Vags, 1965-1971. The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. until noon and also will serve as a reunion for anyone who raced at the Stardust circuit.

The Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile in Torino, Italy, hosts author Luca Ponzi at 6 p.m. November 15 to present his new book, Sergio Marchionne: The story of the manager who saved Fiat and conquered Chrysler.

On November 16, the AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, hosts an “exhibits Preview Party” from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. offering the first look at its new fall/winter exhibits: “Land Yachts: post WWII Luxury Convertibles” and “Dodge Brothers Display: Mid-Atlanta Dodge Brothers Club.” The museum also will be decked out with its “Cars & Christmas” displays.

The AACA Library in Hershey, Pennsylvania, has converted its 16mm film collection to digital format and will share six of them during a series starting November 17 with the showing of The Films of Jam Handy at 1 p.m. Handy was an Olympic swimmer who became a film producer and did instruction and training movies for General Motors from the 1930s through the ‘50s.

Other titles to be show are Ab Jenkins, Salt King on December 15; several car-based comedies on January 12, early AACA meets on February 16, the Gildden Tour history on March 23, and Shell Oil’s History of Motor Racing Part I & II on April 13.

The REVS Institute in Naples, Florida, hosts “A Special Evening with David Hobbs and Andrew Marriott” on November 16 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. featuring their book, Hobbo — Motor Racer, Motor Mouth: The Autobiography of David Hobbs.

The annual library sale at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, is scheduled from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on November 23 and from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on November 24.

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, stages its Polar Express pajama party from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on November 30.

America On Wheels’ 11th annual Moonlight Memories gala in Allentown, Pennsylvania, is scheduled for December 1 from 6 until 10 p.m.

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, has opened registration of its Museum In Motion trip to the 24 hours of Le Mans race in 2019. The dates are June 6-17, 2019, and the trip includes four nights in London and three nights in Paris.

Does your local car museum have special events or exhibitions planned? Let us know. Email larrye@classiccars.com.

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 ClassicCars.com, 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.


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