There is perhaps no other model more beloved at JCCS than the Nissan Fairlady and Fairlady Z. The revolutionary sports car changed perceptions of what a proper driving machine could be, and earned legions of loyal fans for nearly five decades. With a record 10,000- spectator at this year’s show, it was impossible to capture every car, but here are some of the fairest ladies of JCCS.
Masa Kotani’s 1971 red G-nose and Kunio Izumi’s blue 1970 with a stroker 3.1 are key members of the famed PCH Midnight crew.
When Miguel Armas set out to restore his 1969 1600, he wanted to take an original a route as possible. A period correct R16 motor was rebuilt, mated to an appropriate 4-speed manual transmission.
Miguel also brought his airbagged 1972 240Z, which was restored to its original color and still has its original block L24.
A trio of Fairlady Roadsters included Tom Prather’s red 1969 2000 and Bart Desirello’s candy 2.2-liter stroker SR20DET-powered 1968. Behind them, Larry Knorr’s black 2000 has been in his family since 1967 — according to Larry, his father-in-law bought it new and his wife rode on back shelf to elementary school. He received third in the Best Datsun Roadster class.
Behind it was Dan Vels’ green 1969 powered by a Honda S2000 motor. It took second place in the Best Datsun Roadster class.
Karen Desirello’s 1966 may have the perfect commuter option — an SR20DE with an automatic.
Raymond Lui’s orange 240Z and Mike Nakawatase’s brown 240Z, and Mike Sameshima’s blue 200SX represented old school street styles in the Cruise Nisei corral.
Martin Escuin’s 1977 280Z is reportedly just a two-owner car with a documented 80,000 miles on the odometer and original blue plates. The unique burnt sienna paintwork was done by SoCal legend PJ Bonifacio.
We weren’t able to talk to the owner of this silver 240Z, but we admired its clean presentation with classic Watanabes and unadorned lines.
Edgar Sierra’s 1970 2000 was another one restored beautifully to original spec.
Hunter Hayes’ Z caught our eyes with its classic white paint scheme with red valve cover and gunmetal Watanabes. Hunter built the car with his wife, so bonus points for the family effort.
We didn’t catch the name of this blue Z’s owner, but it was notable for what our resident vintage racer Glenn Chiou called, “a very 2006-era build” highlighted by Panasports.
The 240Z owned and customized by former Nissan USA president Yutaka “Mr K” Katayama is a JCCS regular. Only in SoCal can you find historically important cars like this simply lurking in a row of other Zs like it’s no big deal.
Tein USA took the opportunity to showcase their old school coilover kits on two different Zs.
Star Road showed off a big-bumpered 280Z alongside its RX-3. The maroon Z was the perfect US-spec companion for the tuning house’s more famous demo cars.
Speaking of which Jay Ataka of JDM Car Parts built a flawless 240Z featuring the Star Road body kit. You could easily mistake it for the actual Star Road demo car, except it was done on a LHD US-spec Z. For his efforts, Jay won a Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Workmanship.
Ian Stewart’s 1981 280ZX wears a Kaminari body kit designed and installed in period. In fact, it was the first Kaminari S130 to wear the kit, and served as founder Erik Cutter’s personal car and the company’s demo car for many years. It is preserved as it was, with 3-piece Gotti wheels and a Jim Wolf turbo kit.
The crew from Z Car Garage debuted Randy Jaffe’s Pandem-kitted 1971 240Z. It’s probably the most extensively built Rocket Bunny Z in the country, with a 3.2-liter stroker motor under the hood. Randy, a fanatic Z and Porsche collector, combined his two loves into one car with a Jägermeister livery tribute to the famed schnapps-sponsored race cars. The orange graphics graced some of the most famous Porsches ever, like the 914/6, 934 RSR, and 935. Randy also received the Farthest Traveled trophy for coming from Alpharetta, Georgia.
Mike Wodopian is the original owner of his 1974 260Z, one of the most intricately resto-modded ones we’ve seen. With extensive period mods, the car is a former Gold Cup and People’s Choice winner at ZCon. This time, it took home another award, second place in JCCS’s Best Z category. Mike was among the farthest traveled at the show too, hailing from Romeoville, Illinois.
Steve Pharr’s 1975 280Z had just 20,000 original miles when he found it. Unfortunately, due to lack of use much of the body looked like the section of sheetmetal seen on the ground behind it (rusty and corroded). Steve took the opportunity to install an authentic IMSA widebody kit and a stroker 3.0-liter engine. The faithful IMSA race replica went home with the coveted Best Z award.
To be continued…
We’ll have more 2018 JCCS coverage coming up, but in the meantime, in case you missed it, check out Part 01 — JDM, Part 02 — Toyotas, Part 03 — Hondas, Part 04 — Subaru and Isuzu, Part 05 — Trucks, Part 06 — Mazdas, Part 07 — Nissan Bluebirds, and Part 08 — Sunnys, as well as a spotlight on the Wild Cards and the first Honda race car in America.