We have made it very clear over the last week or two that we love the Japanese Classic Car Show in Long Beach. This was our second time there, and even between the two years it was clear that this show is growing fast. From what we heard, parking was a bitch and trying to get a clear photo of your favorite car was near impossible, mainly because 100 other people were trying to do the same thing.
But that is a good thing. It is clear that love for nostalgic Japanese cars is growing in the US, and growing fast. We at Lamley are perfect examples. Only a few years ago we were all about Astons and Audis, while quietly ogling over the Japanese cars we grew up with and admired from afar. But we thought we were alone. Soon we discovered that many others shared our love for these cars, and soon after came across Japanese Nostalgic Car, JDM Legends, and all the other fellow j-tin geeks. Literature is filled with stories of the ugly duckling finally finding its family, and I know that story happens over and over again with Japanese car enthusiasts discovering there are many like them.
Now here I am putting JCCS on the calendar in pen, finding myself explaining to friends at work why I go to LA to look at “a bunch of old Datsuns” and actually making it sound interesting, spending a chunk of change on gas going from TJ Maxx to Marshall’s all over the west to get more Boulevard Hakosukas and Datsun Wagons, and personally committing myself to showing more and more fabulous Tomica Limited Vintage models to the world via the Lamley Group.
And that is where we are now. Yeah, the excitement is high when I see Hot Wheels doing a Datsun 620 and EF Civic, but for me collecting joy is at its peak when another Tomica Limited Vintage is added to the collection.
It was evident at JCCS. From the time I arrived early in the morning to the time I left with a sunburned head, the cars I most enjoyed were those that were, or appeared to be, perfectly preserved from the era from which they came. Stock Hondas (which had a huge presence at this show), Toyotas, Datsuns, and Subarus constantly stopped me in my tracks and required a cellphone pic. I can totally appreciate the lightly to heavily modified, but era-correct like these beauties will always be my favorites:
These are just a few, and there were MANY others. But the show-stopper for me was JDM Legends’ S54 Prince Skyline 2000GT made up to look like the 1964 Japan Grand Prix racer:
Wondering why this car in this replica racing livery is important? Skylines aren’t Skylines without the S54. Give this a look:
Which leads to what we wanted to show. Seeing JDM Legends’ Skyline obviously made us think about the Skyline itself. Through the years, there have been signature models, namely the C10 2000GT-X Hakosuka, C110 2000GT-R Kenmeri, and good ol’ Godzilla, the R32 and R34. But there is a lot more to the Skyline story, and thankfully for us diecast collectors, Tomica Limited Vintage is out to make sure we know about it.
Tomica Limited Vintage, Tomica’s highest premiere line, has done several Skylines. But what you don’t see are those cars most associated with the Skyline badge. Instead TLV has tackled several lesser-known models from the same era of the Kenmeri and Hakosuka, and added more from before and after.
We don’t have them all, but we have a few. We thought we would show a few, including one that happens to be #1 on my favorite TLV’s list:
Prince Skyline 1500 – the S50 Skyline, what the S54 racer above was based on.
Nissan Skyline Van – Hakosuka, only in wagon form.
Nissan Skyline 1800 Deluxe – Hakosuka, only as a family sedan.
Nissan Skyline 2000RS – More recent, pre-Iron Mask version from the early 80’s.
And now my favorite, the Nissan Skyline Wagon 1800 Sporty GL. Kenmeri, only as a wagon.
I have asked myself many times what model I would want if I were allowed just one classic Japanese car to put in the garage. This is it. I have always loved the look of the Kenmeri, with its pronounced wavelike. And I have also always loved wagons. Combine the two, and you have my dream car.
Would I keep it stock? Yes, except I would lower it just a bit. The cool thing? TLV models have shocks, like old Matchbox, and with the help of a (poorly edited out) pen, and can see what that looks like. And I have to say…perfect: