There’s something very cool about car events that stay true to their roots.
The Japanese Classic Car Show (JCCS) got its start in 2005, and while the annual gathering in Southern California has grown immensely in size over the years, its core community-driven philosophy has remained the same.
A huge part of JCCS’s success is the people behind it. Founders Terry and Koji Yamaguchi only needed a small team to run the event in its early years, but today the pair have a small army of fellow kyusha enthusiasts helping plan and execute a day that attracts hundreds upon hundreds of vehicle applications and more than 10,000 spectators through the gates.
It’s not surprising the event has grown into the beast it is when you think about the changes that Japanese car culture has seen over the last two decades.
For a start, the idea that a Japanese car could achieve serious collector status was barely a thing in 2005, and models that command eye-watering asking prices today were accessible to many back then. Then there’s the fact that the modern cars the tuner generation grew up around in the mid-to-late 1990s and early ‘00s are now becoming eligible for inclusion in the JCCS. And that tuner generation is now middle-aged, which means many will be looking to rekindle their love of Japanese performance cars, and perhaps realize a long time dream of ownership if it wasn’t possible the first time around. Others will be wanting to wind back the clock and do it all over again.
JCCS has always had a vehicle age minimum of around 25 years, meaning the newest cars that were eligible to enter in 2005 were those sold around 1980. So for the most part, JCCS was originally all about ‘70s-era Toyota Corollas and Celicas, Nissan Z-cars and early Mazda rotaries. It’s great to see these cars and others still at the core of JCCS today.
For 2023, the JCCS vehicle minimum age cut-off was set at 1995, although some later cars were eligible if their production had started on or before that manufacturing year. R33 Skylines, S14 Silvias, FD3S RX-7s and EK Civics are a few models that fall in that category.
Also included – but only for display within vendor and sponsor booths – were a few car outside of the eligibility criteria. But who could possibly complain about this pair?!
As the years roll on, we are bound to see JCCS eligibility open up to more models as they too reach classic status, but I think the nucleus of the event will always be cars from the three golden decades of Japanese performance tuning – the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.
Long Beach, California is the spiritual home of JCCS, and while the event has moved locations in the past, for the 18th annual gathering it was back to the grass and adjacent carpark at Marina Green Park, albeit with a very foggy start this year.
As it has been for the past 12 years, the Japanese Classic Motorcycle Show (JCMS) for bikes produced between 1950 and 1992 were also included in the festivities.
As America’s first and original Japanese car show, JCCS has become as legendary as the culture and the cars it represents, which is something to be celebrated. And that it will, this time again next year.
Enjoy this huge gallery post – and the extra images below – and stay tuned for a closer look at four interesting cars from the day.
Photography by Darrien Craven