Purist Hunting At The ZCON Car Show

I’ve said it a few times before: static shows are far from my favorite thing to shoot.

This is doubly so for single make meet-ups, but when the name ZCON was associated I threw out any connotations of dullness. Seeing as how I passed up the concours event earlier in the week to get a taste of Atlanta itself, I knew there was no way I’d skip on this.

The last organized ZCON Atlanta sub-event came and went in the form of a good old fashioned parking lot show. The only lot large enough for everyone coming was found at a local baseball stadium, so one could only assume this would mean a decent turnout was expected, and decent it was.


Upon pulling up to the lot I immediately knew I was in the right place. It always amazes me how well the R32 Skyline has aged, but this story is going to be about early model cars only so enough about that. I will have a post dedicated to the more recent stuff that turned up here soon, I promise.


For now, it’s onto the old stuff, the stuff that the majority of attendees at ZCON absolutely love and adore.


When I told my friends I would be heading to ZCON in the first place I got a mixed bag of reactions. They ranged from “awesome” to “it’s just a bunch of purists, you’ll regret it.” But, really, what makes a purist a purist, anyway?


The definition, according to the Google machine, is “a member of a group of English Protestants of the late 16th and 17th centuries who regarded the Reformation of the Church of England as incomplete.” Wait a minute, that’s not right…

purist is “a person who insists on absolute adherence to traditional rules or structures, especially in language or style.” Or, “an adherent of purism,” meaning “scrupulous or exaggerated observance of or insistence on traditional rules or structures.”


Sort of sounds like someone with a stick up their butt, and all too often we all seem to come off that way online.


In person, especially when find yourself in Georgia instead of California, this derogatory description couldn’t be further from the truth.


Everyone has a preference, and these preferences are expressed in what they do with their cars; this much is simple.


But there was just some sort of intangible feeling that I picked up at this final ZCON event that I just don’t really ever get from other static car shows.


Everything looked just that little bit better; every car was interesting and intriguing in its own way.


Despite being dedicated to just one make, so many different schools of thought could be seen in the cars that came out to the event.


To me, this is why travel is so important. You shouldn’t always go to the events and locations that an area is defined by, either — I missed Caffeine and Octane, for example – because so much can be learned from the more organic events and interactions. This goes, of course, for non-car things too, but I won’t go too far off the deep end here.

ZCON was a manufactured event and tons of people traveled for it, but it had a certain amount of transparency that made it more appealing. You knew why everyone was here.


In taking in all of these old Datsuns (and their owners), I found myself with a general appreciation for the purist.


The car enthusiast at large, whoever that may be; those who just love things a certain way. We’re all purists in one way or another, after all.


It’s that almost imperceptible dance inside and outside the box that keeps us — photographers, builders, collectors, fabricators, painters, and what have you — coming back to look for more.


Whether it’s a rare factory-spec car or a V8 swap, we should all be building our cars with a “scrupulous or exaggerated observance of or insistence on traditional rules or structure.” The only difference is, everyone’s traditions are different. Structure isn’t the same for me or you, and it’s this mixing of philosophies that makes a car show a car show.


It really shouldn’t matter what you do to a car, but rather how you do it. Does it make sense? Is it unequivocally better than when you got your hands on it, or than when it was built in the first place?


One would indeed hope that’s the case in any modified car.


Again, it just doesn’t matter what your cup of tea is, and it doesn’t even matter if you have one. Everyone is in a different place in the automotive journey, and one destination – or even a quick stop here or there for that matter – isn’t necessarily better than another.


Like I said, I’m not sure if it has anything to do with the fact that I wasn’t in California, or if perhaps this environment is just the nature of ZCON. But in hindsight, I don’t know if I’ve ever enjoyed a car show as much as I did here.


Maybe it’s just one of those ‘grass is greener’ moments or it’s also possible I just plain imagined what I’m trying to describe. Or, there really could be something to it.

Where I’m from there are a lot of people who take themselves really seriously. I’d say this extends from the car world into everyday life, but I’m guessing it’s really the other way around. People who don’t live in California often don’t realize that living here often means little to no time for cars (or family, for that matter). Is that what was different here, that people are inherently more interested in their cars and the culture around them instead of their professional lives?


I digress, but it seemed that just about every car resonated with me and reminded me at the same time that there’s more than one way to skin a cat. It’s tempting to get too far caught up in the details (or shortcomings, or things that are a matter of taste) in a build, but far more rewarding to look at the big picture.


Why is that car here? Why am I here? How did we both get to where we are right now?


Everyone’s answer is different, but it’s our undying love for cars that unites us all. Or, at ZCON, a love for… you guessed it: Z-cars. On that note, I’ll leave you with this stunning Z31. Old school, but not quite an early model.

Or maybe it is; I think everyone has their own rules for that, too.

Trevor Yale Ryan
Instagram: tyrphoto



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Somehow I'm very interested in that half million mile 280ZX. My dad owned one, and I got to ride in it so it kinda hits home a bit. Any info on that?


I didn't see the owner. That OEM mess of vacuum lines is it's engine bay...non turbo, that's all I know.


some wicked cars here


Need more info on the matte black one in the first pic!


There's a feature on both of those cars on the way :)


any info on that black ke70 wagon?


Man, only one pic of the army green truck and it's one full of people blocking it. Bummer.
There are definitely a lot of cool looking rides in there.


Some serious split rim porn here.


hopefully more on that blue g-nose? anyone know the owner? such a rare sight to come across a light blue z in even reasonable condition, much less the perfection pictured here!


Also, interesting factoid about that car. It's actually a 280z with 240z rear tail lights/panel/front G nose etc.


Yes, that car belongs to Eiji Hosomi who owns and operates Datsun Spirit here in VA. He has a number of amazing Z cars and builds some of the best L series engines in the US.



Great photos! Glad to see my friend Eiji's blue G nose in the mix too!



Thanks! That car is brilliant, wish I took more photos. Saw it on my way out to catch my flight so I couldnt really take it in properly


Love all those old Z cars, my first drive ever was a brand new 240Z with a 280 motor and interior swap my brother and I took for an unscheduled spin and that seated Nissan in my brain forever.
However as time has gone by Nissan DID manage to improve on the old legend, and hopefully with all of the Nissan-oriented stuff coming out this year MAYBE we finally get a quality, detailed, fact and feature-loaded post on the Z32?
Not much excuse with so many at ZCON and Z1, there were several in the background shots so with so many knowledgeable owners around not to mention one of the best sources for Z32 parts (Z1) on hand, how can you guys pass this chance up?




Haha it's coming...


Z cars , Z cars, Zcars...


Marsha was hot, Jan.


Love that z31. I do respect everyones taste, but the billett specialties looking wheels on that dark blue s30....dry heave.


You might think purists "have a stick up there butt" but often times they are the ones preserving these old cars. I'm all for having fun and doing what you want, but it's hard not to cringe when you see people getting into vintage cars and hacking them up. I was the same way when I was younger. Got into e30's, and then bought an old 02 and cut it up and put big 16" wheels on it. I always die a little inside when I look at old pictures of that car...