A Car Nerd's Guide To JapanAn insider look at car culture in Japan.

You probably haven’t heard of the the Nostalgic2days show before. It’s not a big international motor show like the Tokyo Motor Show, and it’s not as crazy as the automotive circus that is the Tokyo Auto Salon. Despite flying under the radar for some time, the Nostalgic2days show celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, and it’s definitely a must-go if love Japan’s classics.

It’s also a lot smaller and more intimate than many shows, and that’s part of the appeal. It felt like a country fair show you’d go to out in the sticks, except it’s held in the grand Yokohama Pacifico convention center.

Perhaps the fact it’s not in Tokyo is why part of the reason why this show felt so honest and unpretentious. It was held over a weekend and this year more than 27,000 people attended the show to see the 276 classic vehicles on display to revel in nostalgia.

Mazda showed the Roadster Restoration project

I had previously said Japan lacks shows and events centered on classic cars, but it turns out that’s not quite true. It’s more a matter of finding out when and where said events are held. This was the second time I attended the Nostalgic2days show and since last year it’s gotten bigger and better.

Even though it’s gotten more attention recently, it’s not exactly busy or packed. The cars are spread out nicely and there are never massive crowds on both days.

Second-generation Mazda Cosmo

The organizers of the show are Nostalgic Hero magazine, which is key because it’s a classic car show done by and for classic show fans. They say it’s the largest trade show of Japanese classic cars, or what the Auto Salon is to tuner cars but for classics.

The main difference is there’s about 95 percent fewer booth girls and as a subsequent result 100 percent fewer pervy old men. What that means is everyone at this show is here for the cars, or car-related things.

It’s held a month after TAS, so you get some overlap of the cars on display, yes there are some modified cars here too but generally they’re all quirky pre-2000s cars. It’s more than just Japanese cars too.

New & Old: BMW M5
A reminder how cool Volvo wagons are
A very mint Legacy GT

Last year there were no displays from manufacturers—the cars on display were from specialist shops and dealers. However, this year Toyota, BMW, Volvo, Subaru, and Mazda had stands in the center of the hall showing off some of their beloved classics and their modern equivalents.

While BMW had the E28 M5, Volvo had a trio of effortlessly cool cars, and Subaru had some quirky models, it was the Toyota GR Sports 800 Concept that caught my eye.

This was completely restored by Gazoo Racing and received a power boost from 40 HP to 75 HP and the interior was redone. It’s meant to be a promotional vehicle, but I need one in my life.

Everywhere else though, the cars displayed were also for sale. Come at the risk of your bank account. Particularly if you have a fondness for Skylines.

The Skyline ‘Hakosuka’ GT-R
R31 GT-S Wagon
R32 GT-R
R33 GT-R 400R

If they renamed this show “The Great Nissan Skyline Show Featuring More Skylines” it literally wouldn’t make a difference. Everywhere you looked, there was a Hakosuka or Kenmeri.

There were a couple of R32s, a R33 represented by the mouth-watering 400R, and no R34s (probably all hidden away waiting for their values to skyrocket).

Amazingly, there were several R31s displayed at the aptly named “R31 House”, the bronze colored GT-S wagon was a particular highlight for me.

The ¥98 million ($914,340) Kenmeri...

Right in front of the entrance as people walked in, there was a special display of some of the best cars in the show. The obligatory Toyota 2000GT was there (valued at ¥113,000,000/$1,054,290) and of course a Hakosuka Skyline GT-R.

But the red Kenmeri GT-R really caught my eye. Apparently only seven of these left the factory in red, but even a one-of-seven car doesn’t justify the ¥98,000,000/$914,340 asking price here.

Yes, you read that right.

The more humble 2000GTX Kenmeri
The cars display by East Car were in stunning condition
Completely restored

There was a Skyline of every flavor for every taste. Whether you wanted one completely stock, recolored, or track ready, it was there for you to see.

It was quite interesting to see all the different variations of the same car. Some modifications were done quite similarly with a few differences here and there. The pair of Kenmeris at the East Car stand were particularly nice as they weren’t GT-Rs but GT-Xs instead, showing some love for the “lesser” versions.

An original Toyota 2000GT

There were a couple of 2000GTs spread around the show as well. Prices for these still seem to hover around the $1 million mark, though the car auctioned off by BH Auction at TAS last month ‘only’ went for ¥83,600,000/$779,988.

But if you desperately want a car that looks like a 2000GT without the 2000GT price tag, Rocky Auto has the solution. They make the 3000GT replica.

The Rocky Auto ‘3000GT’

The chassis is entirely new and original built by them. The engine is Toyota’s 2JZ and can be had with either a six-speed manual or four-speed auto. The best thing is they’ll even do a Roadster version, just like the one from James Bond.

The catch? Well, one of Rocky Auto’s 3000GT will cost you around $187,000. It’s not cheap, but it’s a fraction of what an original 2000GT would cost.

I wonder if Rocky Auto have ever received LS swap requests for the 3000GT?
Silver Dome Zero

Speaking of priceless Japanese cars, welcome to the Dome Zero. This was by far the best car I saw at the show simply because I wasn’t expecting to see one, let alone two. Cue flashbacks of playing Gran Turismo on a PlayStation 2.

I didn’t know much about Japan’s failed supercar project; I always thought there was one prototype car (the silver one) but lo and behold there’s a red car as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were one or two other prototypes out there. Funnily enough the engine used in the Dome is a Nissan 2.8-liter inline-six, an engine that was in probably most of the other cars on display.

Red pill or silver pill?

Other cars that caught my eye included a U.S.-spec Nissan 240SX convertible. It was left hand drive and even had a California plate on it. Apparently it’s been for sale for two years. I wonder why he’s having difficulty selling a left-hand drive Japanese car in Japan. But still, if anyone in America wants it back it’s listed at a reasonable ¥2,490,000/$23,232.

Another car/vehicle was the super kawaii Mazda Porter truck, powered by a 360cc two cylinder engine. Look at those massive anime-style headlights; don’t you just want to pick it up and take it home? It’s not something you’d buy, but adopt.

US-spec Nissan 240SX convertible

If you want something bigger but from the same era, then there was also a 1969 Toyota Crown Utility. I didn’t even realize they made Crown pickups but it was reminiscent of an Australian Holden or Ford ute.

Is the Mazda Porter the cutest truck?
The Toyota Crown Utility

Between this show and the Automobile Council, classic car shows are starting to pick up pace in Japan. There are a few events spread throughout the year such as the Suzuka Sound of Engine and the Asama Hill Climb (an event I’m dying to check out) but I hope shows like the Nostagalic2days continue to go strong. More than anything it was an educational day out, encountering cars I hadn’t seen before and reading up about them afterwards.

There were many more cars to talk about but it’s probably best to check it out and immerse yourself in all the classic JDM glory. This show won’t take a whole day to check out so once you’re done here, the Nissan Global Headquarters is a short walk away, and the NISMO Omori Factory is nearby too so you might as well check those out too.

You know, just in case you haven’t seen enough Skylines.

FC Convertible
Bonnet art
One of many takes on the Skyline
First generation Nissan Cima
Datsun Fairlady 432
Honda S600 & Mazda R360
Subaru SVX
Ford Falcon (but doesn’t it look a bit like a Hakosuka?)
DeTomaso Pantera
Subaru Cyclone
Honda S800
Before and after
A few Toyota sports cars
I’ve always wondered if an old Fiat 500 would fit inside a new one
Look familiar? These were at the 2018 Tokyo Auto Salon too
x100 and that’s basically the price in USD
Skylines as far as the eye can see
Escorts of the Ford variety are hard to come by in Japan
R31 House had many R31s
This Skyline was pretty cool
Oh look, more Nissans
Second-generation Toyota Hiace
The Celica was one of my favorite Japanese sports cars
R31 Skyline GTS-R
From when Isuzu made cars: the 117 Giugiaro Coupe
From when Isuzu made cars: the Piazza
From when Isuzu made cars: the Bellet GT-R
Oh and many, many model car sellers
Some 911s
Pop up or pop down?
Can’t forget about the Subaru 360
There were some, but not many, modified classics
Basically, the old Levorg
Which would make this Volvo 750 the old Polestar 1?
Oh Eleanor
If you buy a car from a dealer called ‘Profit’ don’t expect a bargain
I didn’t see Mel Gibson anywhere
“Military” vehicles even though Japan doesn’t technically have a military
Datsun Bluebird 1600SSS, overall winner of the 1970 African Safari Rally
I forgot how handsome the Honda Prelude is
Toyota Towace; when a Hiace is too much
What’s a group of Leopards called?
Interior of the Toyota GR Sports 800 Concept
As well as a classic car show, it was also a place to buy and sell parts
Looks fast even standing still
The rear-engined Hino Contessa
I doubt I’d be able to afford even this much of a 2000GT
Oh look, another Hakosuka
The Nissan BE-1, related to the Pao and Figaro
Simplistic interior of a Corolla
Might as well finish this off with another Skyline

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