Exploring The JCCA Parking Lot

What’s the most exciting thing about the Japanese Classic Car Association’s New Year’s Meeting? The parking lot of course, but for this very last gathering in Odaiba there was another spectacle that people were enjoying – the ridiculous police presence.

Keeping an eye on the usual array of old school shakotan rides that park up in the lot next to the venue were around 20 officers who arrived on 10 police bikes and in six patrol cars. That might seem like overkill when all they were doing was overseeing all the vehicles leaving the event, but it’s the message Japan wants to send to the modified car community.


Sure, a lot of these cars are loud, low, and some don’t have front number plates, but the vast majority of owners are beyond polite. They drive slow and they don’t show off.


In other countries, historic cars are given special number plates and are exempt from road taxes and yearly inspection checks as they are considered a part of history that needs to be preserved and looked after.


By contrast, the authorities in Japan don’t like old cars, or old anything really. So if you add modifications to an old car, you’re almost considered a criminal.


But it’s not a hard thing to understand. In a country where new is better than old and where hardly anything gets preserved, it makes sense that the authorities would want polluting and noisy cars eradicated from the roads. It’s confusing as hell, as Japan also has a massively backwards way of thinking and is stuck in the past when it comes to following outdated customs and practices. This is the place where most people will drive EVs in a few years, yet also a place where fax machines are still a very common way of sending documents.


It’s also the reason why I always go out of my way to showcase these amazing cars. They’re are as much a part of Japan as sushi and anime, or the massive Gundam that stands in front of the DiverCity building in Odaiba. If only the people that run Japan actually got this.


So with the bitching out of the way (apologies, but someone has to tell it like it is), let’s move on and check out the awesomeness that poured out of the carpark as the JCCA event came to an end.


The mix was of course varied, mostly Japanese, but with some surprise showings from the odd vintage piece of American iron.


This ’84 Firebird Trans Am looked sensational.

The whole exit parade was being filmed by a bunch of local YouTubers as well as yours truly, so I do hope you caught the live stream on our Instagram channel.


Does anything remind you of the exuberant ’80s as much as a car wearing Koenig Specials badging? Unsurprisingly enough, quite a few made it over to Japan during the bubble period, and this 560 SEL is one such car, a beautiful example of pimped-out luxury sedan with serious attitude.


The police didn’t stop the driver – back in the day he probably owned them.


They did however get a little busy when these two cars attempted to make their way out. Whistles were blown with aggression and the two drivers were asked to pull over to one side.


The problem? There were no front plates on the lead car, and the plate on the Corona behind it was bent behind the front-mounted oil cooler. The owner had to bend it back straight and attempt to refit it.


Everyone’s licenses were throughly checked, admittedly done in a pretty polite way as Japanese police are known to do. There’s no arrogance or overuse of power here, that’s for sure.


The infringements were quickly taken care of and both cars were back on their way.

In The Hunt

JCCA isn’t just about cars. There’s always a cool bike presence to check out, much like this little gathering that was happening in the park next to the venue.


On to the parking lot itself…

It might have been late in the day, but the place was still buzzing with some pretty amazing cars to be seen, like this wild bosozoku Z31 Fairlady.


And of course the little Autozam AZ-1 in the back there. This is possibly the king of kei sports cars from the early ’90s, simply because it had oh-so-cool gullwing doors.


It can be pretty hard trying to navigate an area filled up with so much awesomeness. Where do you point the camera first? Which cars should you check out in detail?


This is what the stuff of dreams is made of: Japan’s best known classics presented in a variety of tastes and favours, and all there to be enjoyed.


Is this really what Japan wants to ignore and try its best to make disappear? This is a legacy of the country’s automotive history and a visually beautifully example of how people express themselves via the various styles out there. It should be protected and allowed to flourish.


This diminutive Suzuki Cervo rocked a set of Impul Hoshino Racing G5s like nothing I’ve seen before. Much like today, tiny kei cars have always oozed character; they are cars that manufacturers take more of a gamble on when it comes to design. Most of the time it’s weird, but that’s possibly because it takes years – if not decades – to mature.


My pick of the bunch was this DR30 on Shadow Spoke rims, one of the cleanest executions I’ve seen. Spot on stance, subtle overfenders, Vitaloni mirrors, and a little bit of bosozoku style on the inside with a yellow half cage.


Then again, it could have been this Hakosuka on Watanabes. It really is impossible to choose…


The rotaries were well represented with this trio of SA22s.


And another beauty I spotted later on.

Everywhere you looked there was so much history. Check out that perfectly maintained Honda City Turbo, and the silver Bellett from a time when Isuzu used to make some seriously nice cars.

Japan’s Uniqueness

The sprinkled dose of modified stuff kept me in a constant state of surprise.

VWs anyone?


If the ton of Mooneyes events I’ve attended since starting with Speedhunters back in 2009 have taught me anything, it’s that Impala station wagons are the coolest station wagons of all. This is one model I’d love to build up to my own spec.


From the most American thing ever to the most Japanese thing possible – an EF9 Civic SiR ready to hit the Osaka Kanjo-sen.


I can’t say I’ve ever been a massive fan of the Skyline Japan, but what surprised me most about this particular example was the blue-tinted taillights. It’s not the first time I’ve see this, but it’s a curious modification to say the least.


Before someone sends me a digital slap for not showing any AE86 love, here’s a pair of them – one Levin and the other Trueno flavored.


And here’s a Nissan Cedric that thinks it’s a race car. Matching dice and bucktooth spoiler for extra effect.


Back in the day, long before the police got so strict, this parking lot would have been filled up with many wild creations, like this roof-chopped Crown.


It’s basically a fun way to show the police the middle finger, with red flashing lights, a massive rear spoiler, and serious looking takeyari pipes. It screams ‘please pull me over, I want to create trouble!’


Alongside was something very different. This is not an ordinary 365 Cabrio, but a far wider, more badass interpretation of one.


It made the 911 next to it look almost insignificant, which it wasn’t of course.


I’ll end with a pair of Italians to balance things out.

That’s it for the parking lot, but I’m not done with the JCCA New Year’s Meeting just yet. I’ve got more I want to show you from the event itself, so I do hope you’ve enjoyed this intermission.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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What's gonna happen next year? :(

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I'm sure they'll find another location. I'm guessing Fuji Speedway, it's always everyone's safe option


At least in Japan the police are polite and you don't get done for having more than 3 clicks of the hand brake, no windshield washer fluid and window tint , like I have been "defected" for. And it's not random either.. They had to do a U turn and speed up to get me down the road. $$$

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Australia? Yeah I have to say, for the pain in the behind they have been over the last few years since Super Street's monumental fuck up in Odaiba, we are still pretty lucky in the grand schemes of things. They never check cars over unless it's something obvious and unless you get pulled over in a temp check station they set up at parking areas when they want to send a message out. It's both good and bad, good as we aren't harassed like in other countries, but bad because it's obviously getting stricter


Why not send a fax to the authorities? hahaha
Seriously... telling them how important it is to preserve the automotive culture. (I wish it were that simple)
I hope one day all car people in Japan do something, send letters or videos to change how "police" see them.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

LOL I sent a fax today. How many people can say that! But seriously, it's down to the current political mindset, we can only hope as the old and opinionated dinosaurs are replaced in places of power and a new generation of more open-minded thinkers come in, Japan can change. So probably by 2073 ... :D


outside is more exciting then at the inside... that y people always judge a book by its cover n headlines.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

That's a proper motto in Japan, right down to the people. Your stressed out average salary man may be an amateur bass player in a jazz band on the weekend or may like to dress up as a woman and walk the streets of akihabara to show off his new high heels :D


So 356 feature coming up?

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Still asking around about it! Certainly deserves it uh!


I will agree to this, would love to see a feature. As a side note, excellent post as always Dino!


I always love the parking lot articles, always piques my interest.

One thing I have been wondering about is speedhunters' commitment to covering motorcycles as well as automobiles, because I remember that you guys announced a while back that you were doing that, but I haven't seen a huge amount of content yet...

The other thing I was wondering is that if all of the submitted articles were read and approved by an editor, could there be an editor that specialises in motorcycles and could provide information on motorcycles featured in articles?

As a Motorcycle Enthusiast (ME) I feel as though this is needed.

For example reading this article I was interested in the police force's motorcycles, being Honda Cb1300s, but there is not even an allusion to them in the text.

Same with the Bosozoku bikes pictured. (At least they are acknowledged in the article)

I have been an avid reader of speedhunters for around five years now, I am into automobiles as well as motorcycles, and your content is generally pretty awesome. I do think that if you want to grow your audience to include MEs greater care will need to be given when publishing content. If it isn't other MEs like me will take notice and tune out.

I hope that this criticism is taken constructively and helps,


"It’s basically a fun way to show the police the middle finger, with red flashing lights, a massive rear spoiler, and serious looking takeyari pipes. It screams ‘please pull me over, I want to create trouble!’"

Maybe this has something to do with the police being so strict? Maybe the general public has grown tired of all the Bosozoku stuff and other recklesness. They put 2 and 2 together, old cars and bikes equal trouble. I live and breathe old cars, and I have for all my life.

As I was younger, there was nothing cooler than showing off with a burnout in public and making loud noises with a car, but even back then it was all about the cars and not about pissing off the police or the common people, so I knew my limits. There has always been people that have set their sights on the latter though, and just use motorized vehicles as their means to an end.

These days, as the noose around our beloved vintage cars gets tighter and tighter, I hate to see jerks making it even harder for us, with their uncontrollable urge to piss of The Man. There's a time and a place for a bit of reckless driving, burnouts etc, just be careful of where and when you get into it. All this knuckleheaded ACAB stuff is just a bit juvenile, isn't it?

By the way, we don't have any special treatment for vintage cars in Finland either. It's just the so called "historic cars" that have special plates and tax exemption. The thing with them is, no modifications are allowed for historical accuracy and you only get to drive them 30 days in a year. The rest of us, with our modified old cars have to pay for everything just like the other guy with his daily driven car. It's an expensive three to four months of rainy summer that we get to enjoy them, and then the cars get parked for the winter. This is something that most people don't get in countries where they can enjoy the stuff, almost the whole year round and take it for granted.

I don't claim to know the Japanese culture that well and I'm not a cop myself, but all I'm saying is that there's always a reason for things getting stricter. Reading about how the car/bike culture can be in Japan, it's not surprising at all..


I had met that silver 911 in Akihabara back to January, looked sooo good.


Had a chance to meet that silver 911 back in January, looked pretty awesome.


This reminds me of something my dad told me once.

Back in '68 when he was in the Marines and stationed in Japan, he said he never felt so disgusted in his fellow man as when he saw a Yokohama cop motion a civilian to come over to him - and the guy walked up and bowed to the cop.

I should add that my dad could teach college-level courses in The American Revolution from memory and considers it a national tragedy that R. Lee Ermey was never elected President.

He's as patriotic an American as they come and believes that no man has a right to lord over another - which is why the cop incident bothered him so much.


So Juicy. Love all of it

I hope to attend one day at new location


Seeing some of these cars bring back great memories of Okinawa in the early 90's. Thank you!