Founder thought it would be a one-time event. Now, 10,000 people are expected
Asked what aspect of the annual Japanese Classic Car Show most pleases her, event organizer Terry Yamaguchi responded “family affairs,” explaining that, for example, father/son projects were at the top of her list.
The 15th Japanese Classic Car Show is scheduled for September 21 at Marine Green in Long Beach, California, and figures to be another showcase of amazing vehicles and incredible stories that go along with them.
More than 500 vehicles are expected. That’s a figure three times greater than the turnout for the inaugural show in 2005, a show that Yamaguchi launched by word of mouth. At the time, the show was intended to be a one-time event. However, the momentum grew so quickly that the show not only was repeated, but needed to move to a larger venue. This year more than 10,000 spectators are anticipated.
“Well organized,” doesn’t even begin to describe the experience. From before the crack of dawn, volunteers assemble the show field in orderly fashion according to make and model. The dedication and professional execution of the event are reasons I’ve shown my own vehicles at the event for the past five years, even though it’s held about 400 miles from my home.
Yamaguchi’s own Kyu-sha (Japanese for ‘old car’) collection shows a clear affinity for Toyota products, with an impressive lineup of four Celicas (two 1977 liftbacks, 1972 and a 1973 coupes). She also has two Toyota pickups (1969 Hilux and 1980 pickup) and a 1972 Datsun 510 wagon.
As time goes on, vehicle eligibility for the show has evolved, just as the Japanese collector car community has evolved. Prior to 2015, registration was available only for vehicles produced in 1985 or earlier. Then a special “Neo Classics” show was spun off for vehicles a decade newer.
Now, the show welcomes any vehicle up to and including model year 1995.
“Getting the newer Neo Classic era 1990s models involved is a natural way to evolve the show,” Yamaguchi said.
The 15th annual show will feature the 50th anniversary of the Nissan 240Z and other such milestones.
For more information, see the Japanese Classic Car Show website.