2016 Japanese Classic Car Show banner

Japanese vehicles are still a rare sight at “classic” car shows, even in Southern California. As more mature into classic status, however, their historic role in America’s car culture becomes increasingly relevant. If there is one point the annual Japanese Classic Car Show makes perfectly clear, it is that there already is considerable nostalgia for these vehicles. The show is also an opportunity to see Japanese mainland models which, pardon the pun, are totally foreign to me.

On September 24, 2016, the 12th annual JCCS was held in Long Beach, California alongside the historic Queen Mary. The weather could not have been any nicer for exploring a shoreline assortment of more than 300 vehicles.

Long Beach Harbor

Long Beach Harbor where the Queen Mary is permanently moored. The adjacent white dome was built in 1980 to house the Spruce Goose; that aircraft was relocated to Oregon in 1993. Carnival Cruise Lines subsequently acquired the dome for use as a passenger terminal. The JCCS can be seen underway, to the right, along the shore.

RMS Queen Mary

RMS Queen Mary is a retired ocean liner that sailed primarily on the North Atlantic Ocean, from 1936 to 1967, and was converted to a troop ship during WWII. She currently serves as a tourist attraction featuring restaurants, a museum, and a hotel.

As an added surprise, I learned that four of Japan’s major manufacturers (Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Mazda) had staked out areas to show off some of their wares, new and old. There was plenty of ground to cover.

2016 JCCS entry

2016 JCCS entry point

The show was huge and right up until closing I was finding new areas. So, my coverage of the event is far from comprehensive. When going through the pictures it pained me to see cars in the background that I missed in person. Also, these are some of the earliest shots with a new camera while venturing out of the automated settings, so there are some inconsistencies in color and exposure. I’m learning.

The manufacturers had some modern models on display which, combined with all the vendors, gave a sense of increasing commercialism but for the most part displays looked appropriately scaled so as not to draw away from the show’s “classic” mission. The good part is that I got to see some new releases up close. So, we’ll start there.

2017 Acura NSX

The 2017 Acura NSX alongside a first-generation model.

2017 Acura NSX

Unfortunately, I think it does not rival the shock value of the original—to no fault of this design. It is actually quite stunning in person.

2017 Acura NSX

Not only does the original have a unique and timeless design but it had the benefit of debuting at a time when the market wasn’t already saturated with high-end, mid-engined sports car offerings. Participation in the class today scores fewer exclusivity points than it did in the 1990s.

2017 Acura NSX

There is a lot to admire about the new car, despite having no apparent references to its forebearer. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as the freshness can be appreciated but it is curious to find not so much as a nod, apart from a taillight that spans the rear.

2017 Acura NSX

It’s still a six-cylinder car but the new model brings almost double the hp and all-wheel-drive, thanks to a hybrid powerplant with twin electric motors.

2017 Acura NSX

This NSX was painted a brilliant orange-ish red color that worked well with the dark features and restrained metal trim. It’s a shame the paint’s wonderful metallic flecks didn’t translate well in the shots.

2017 Acura NSX

The new car is no doubt a better car in every conceivable metric—that can be measured. Although, its $156,000 manufacturer’s suggested retail price is nearly three times that of the original which, even accounting for inflation, is still a roughly 50 percent increase.

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