Tomorrow is the Japanese Classic Car Show in Long Beach, and for the first time in four years I won’t be there. Total bummer.
From the details I know, this event will be a monster, from Nissan joining as a sponsor, to Jun Imai signing limited prints at the JNC booth, to a slew of amazing cars, some of which I have seen and been asked to stop drooling over.
One car that is sure to cause a stir in Long Beach is currently making its way from Utah with our friends at JDM Legends. Eric Bizek, whose shop is known to JDM enthusiasts worldwide, as well as to Hot Wheels collectors due to his logo gracing models like the Datsun Wagon Super TH, has been working tirelessly to get this car ready, and I will let him share all the details when it is unveiled at the show. Needless to say, the car has come together thanks to Eric’s skill, knowledge, and plethora of tools. And one of those tools is his trusted shop truck, a much-loved Datsun 620 pickup.
The pickup is such a treat, and a perfect compliment to a shop that is always stuffed with premium j-tin, from C10 Skylines to Mazda Cosmos to S13 Silvias to you-name-it. And the truck is great inside and out. Maybe even better inside. Eric built an 1800 motor with a high compression SS head, twin 40mm Mikuni side draft carbs and 5 speed to replace the 1600. Try not to stare:
To top it all off, Eric employed his friend Joel Nelson (@nelz_son_jole) to HAND-PAINT a classic NGK-style logo and lettering.
The result is mighty automobile bursting with character. I love how the paint is untouched from how it came, while almost everything else is upgraded. And I love those steelies. It is no exaggeration that every time I visit the shop, the 620 always demands as much attention as its more polished counterparts.
Of course that is not how the truck came, especially when you consider Eric paid $500 for it. Outside of that shop-truck-ready paint, it was quite different:
Look at those photos, and then compare with the photos above. Eric knows what he is doing. Eric doesn’t just improve or restore…he creates.
And that is also what Luke Baumstark (@lukeshotwheels) does. Luke is one of the best Hot Wheels customizers in the business, and we have featured his work here many times. But Luke’s work is so good that it has even broken the binds of the diecast world and been featured on Speedhunters. That in and of itself is high praise.
So in the vein of what Eric does with his masterpieces, Luke took on Eric’s shop truck. He grabbed a Hot Wheels Datsun 620, took it into his diecast frankenstein lab…
…and did whatever magic Luke does. The result is a mini masterpiece:
This is where I have absolutely nothing to say. My words don’t do this any justice, and like with Eric’s work, I am just not qualified enough to describe how great this is. Don’t just glance at these photos. Click on these images for larger versions, and go over the details. Look at how the body was modified. The wheel wells. Check out the paint. The mirrors. The decals. The best customs are those that don’t look like customs at all.
This custom will be taking up residence at the JDM-L shop, to keep its 1:1 scale counterpart company. They should make a wonderful pair.
Together with one of the JDM Legends models:
I love art, I love talking to people who are the best at what they do, I love cars, and I love this hobby. It is always a joy to bring it all together…
Happy JCCS everyone…