Japanese Classic Car Show Proves Success in Long Beach

         Families and car enthusiasts from all over gathered for the 17th annual Japanese Classic Car Show which took place at Marina Green Park in Long Beach this weekend.

The long stretch of green grass was covered with pristine classic cars for the attendees viewing pleasure. There were imported vehicles, trucks, SUVs, track cars, prototypes, and other classics for those who wanted to see the various paint jobs as well as modified interiors. Sung Kang, the actor who plays Han Lue in the Fast and the Furious series, was signing autographs at a booth for a brand he co-owned called Student Driver.

As people walked in, they were immediately hit with humidity and views of the big crowds that were surrounding vendors who were selling items such as clothing, model cars, stickers, rims, sound systems, and plenty of other accessories that enthusiasts would be interested in. The cars were all aligned by categories ranging from the best type of vehicle per manufacturer to some more broad categories such as old school or truck and SUV. Food trucks serving mainly Japanese-influenced dishes were open and a few vendors such as Yokohama and Nissan gave away free items to those who filled out some information.

         “Car shows like these are great because they create a community where enthusiasts, collectors, and industry representatives can hang out and talk,” said Richard Gallegos, a California State University, Long Beach transfer student. “Everyone who comes is also exposed to a car subculture where anyone can have their own unique style.” Eventgoers seemed enthralled with the sights of the brightly colored cars or beautifully modified engines which were easily worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Car owners discussed how much time, effort, and money they have put into their project. There were those who use these cars daily and then others who used these cars strictly for showcases such as this one.

“It helps educate the younger generation and the general public because at one point or another every one of us had a relative, an aunt, a friend or even you personally that still drives a car like this,” said Frank De Jesus the owner of a Toyota Celica which was entered into the showcase. “These cars were disposable cars, they weren’t meant to be legends… On an auction block yes, a mustang is probably going to outbid my car but realistically, my car is rarer than a mustang and with that being said these cars are going up in value drastically.”

         Most of the car owners were approachable and would answer any questions that people had. There were imported vehicles with the steering wheel on the right as opposed to the left side that most are used to. Some of these cars if caught on the street can be automatically crushed due to certain safety laws that California has in place. Even the vendors were showing compassion to those who had questions about the products they were trying to push.

“This is our second year at JCCS. We did last year at Anaheim, and this is our first year at LB. We’ve been coming here as spectators for many years, but this is the second time we’ve brought Sung’s cars. We support our other friends like Greddy, Garage Active, Kaido House, Nostalgic Honda, and Erick’s Racing,” said Brendan McGrath, general manager for Student Driver. “It’s a good reason to get the community together and meet each other and trade ideas and just have a good time with cars and the hobby we like.”

By Andrew Ayala