Event Coverage: The Fourth Annual Nissan Jams In Southern California
The same group behind the popular Japanese Classic Car Show once again flexed their muscles and delivered a car show – entitled Nissan Jam – worthy of SoCal’s Nissan and Datsun enthusiasts. For 2016, Nissan Jam journeyed to their newly-established venue at La Palma Park in Anaheim, California for the all-Nissan extravaganza.
Nissan Jam was previously held at West Covina Nissan, but the fourth annual event was moved to a larger and greener venue to better accommodate the vehicles on display, which numbered greater than 200 for the 2016 edition of the show. The event offered a mashup of GT-R’s, then mixed in 240SXs, Zs, 300ZXs and 510s and even a few Infiniti G35s to round out the assortment. Nissan Jam offered spectators free admittance into the event, with the promise of old and new generation Nissans, including the latest builds and trends ranging from high-end show cars, resto-mods, and race vehicles.
There were a slew of show-worthy cars at Nissan Jam this year, but none seemed to compare to this classic Skyline that continually captured the gaze of onlookers throughout the day. The Hakosuka is the forefather of the fabled “Godzilla” GT-Rs (R32, R33, and R34) and an inspiration for the current GT-R supercars. Owning a true Skyline GT-R is an exceedingly rare sight, as they are difficult to find even in Japan. Knowing this, Michael Castillo did the next best thing and converted his ’71 Skyline into a GTR.
Moving in for a closer look, we were immediately drawn towards the engine bay and the upgraded RB26DET power plant. The RB was fortified with a BorgWarner S362 turbo, Microtech LT12 ECU, Bosch 1000cc injectors, HKS 272 camshafts, HKS timing belt, N1 oil pump, Rawbrokerage crank sleeve, and a custom fuel setup with a Bosch 044 fuel pump. When it came to modifying the Skyline, Castillo spent much of his time sourcing only the best parts for his ride – he was equipped with a laundry list of rare and hard-to-find parts for both the exterior and interior. The Skyline was outfitted with a set of custom 15 x 9.5-inch and 15 x 11-inch Panasport C8R wheels dipped in rose gold, a custom front spoiler, semi works flares imported from Japan, an ASC roll cage, Laurel side markers, Tein camber plates, and Wilwood brake masters with Z32 calipers.
Moving inside the cabin, the upgrades include an APEXi tachometer, Microtech hand controller, Hitman steering wheel, Carrozzeria light-up speakers, rare HIPPO bucket seat and a Mickey Mouse subway handle.
“Would you believe me if I told you this ’69 Nissan Patrol has only 19,000 miles on the odometer and is all original and unrestored?” says owner Loius Bircheff.
The collector value of these 4 x 4 classics has been increasing over the past few years as old school trucks have been in high demand. Vehicle records shows that this immaculate Nissan was purchased from the original family – who stored it for over 30 years – before selling it to Bircheff.
The R31 Skyline wagon is such a rare sight to see in the US. At first glance, people might mistake it for a Subaru GL wagon or a Nissan Maxima with fancy badging. But once you pop the hood and see the RB20ET single-cam turbocharged engine, you know this is more than your typical grocery-getter. This wagon was equipped with the later model ECCS (Electronically Concentrated Control System) engine management which eliminates the twelve tiny runners for six much larger ones, though the cylinder heads still retained twelve individual intake ports separated by casting material. It also received a slightly larger turbocharger. With NHTSA laws allowing the importation of vehicles 25 years and older, we’re sure to see more of these affordable Skyline wagons being modified and popping up at shows around the country.
The Chump Car World Challenge is a series of endurance competitions, which range from seven hours to 38 hours in length. Their slogan is “Real Racing, Real Tracks, and Real Cheap Cars”, and the proof is in the pudding with this 240Z. We immediately noticed a pair of kitchen cabinet handles which offers quick access to the hood when performing maintenance. The roof was crudely chopped off and reinforced with a roll cage. The original rear bumper was discarded in favor of a piece of steel pipe while a set of ghetto rigged tractor trailer lights are now used as brake lights.
Thing One and Thing Two – two characters from The Cat in the Hat – play an integral theme to this Z, as shown by the stuffed doll and oversized clock to keep track of time when competing in endurance racing. What’s in the cooler sitting just behind the driver seat? Your guess is as good as ours. Because this is an endurance car, it could be used for a cool suit, but that’s just a semi-educated guess of ours. Never say never in the world of Chump Car.
There were plenty of “work in progress vehicles” on display at this year’s event. One in particular was Ray “Big Tanker” Medeiros’ 1972 Datsun 521. Big Tanker is currently the second owner and has been modifying it for nearly seven years.
The truck is still adorned with its original paint, which is in good condition but faded and showing its age. The mismatched doors and body panels are indicators that this is more than just a show car. The engine bay, on the other hand, is immaculate and easily the highlight of this truck. An FJ20 engine was installed and modified with a set of Jenvy individual throttle bodies and plumbed with a 100hp direct port nitrous kit.
A series of electronics upgrades from AEM Electronics includes coils to EMS4 along with a Hall effect distributor, and the entire fuel system was completed using Aeromotive components. The interior, featuring Corbeau bucket seats, was reupholstered with matching suede panels, then completed by a set of full Auto Meter Phantom gauges. A Nissan GTR push start ignition and Momo Prototipo wheel with matching knob round out the modifications.
“Most people don’t notice the rare clock in the cab and the stainless door trim. The wheels are True Forged customs in 17×7-inch in the front and 18×8-inches in the rear. The brakes are a custom Wilwood disc brake set up with two-piece rotors, and there are custom coilovers. The truck was outfitted with a 1 piece aluminum drive shaft and upgraded with a 280Z 5-speed tranny,” says Medeiros.
Ever walk up to a car at any particular show and wonder what modifications were done to the car? The event coordinators of Nissan Jam helped to eliminate this guessing game by providing spectators with insight into every vehicle build. Every vehicle on display was required to showcase a spec card on their dash with detailed information on various items such as modifications, make, model, and year as well as the show class they were entered in.
While sifting through the cars, one spec sheet in particular that caught my attention was the one creatively written by Nelson Ugarte describing his ’85 300ZX Turbo machine.
“Where do I start? I’ve had this car for a decade now. It was considered a trash platform to build mainly because there was no walk-in store for the Z31 with a catalog you can pick from. It was considered by many to be one of the ugliest of the Fairlady Z chassis. I personally loved it even when it was a bone-stock ugly duckling. The sharp square edges, digital dash display, and bitchin’ Betty made me feel like I was piloting the Batmobile or something.”
Ugarte was definitely thinking out of the box when building this Z, as shown by his heart shaped roll cage built by City Garage Customs and 16×10-inch front and 16×11-inch rear wheels rebarreled and built by 5One Wheels. What about those flares to tuck those massive wheels under?
“The flares were made in my Easy Bake oven,” laughs Ugarte. Well played!
Leonel Del Cid bought out his rare ’64 Bluebird PL312 to the Jam. Serialized as number 19 of only 60 imported to the United States, this fully-restored time machine is powered by the 60 horsepower 1.2-liter Nissan E-1 engine. Nissan also offered the Bluebird in a deluxe version and Fancy Deluxe model. The Fancy Deluxe version was primarily marketed to the female drivers – it was equipped with high-heel shoe holders, a turn signal that played music and a vanity mirror to apply makeup when driving down the road.
Datsun owners like Ignacio Abarcs are among the increasingly growing group within the Rat Rod import car movement. Abarcs took many ideas and modifications he’s witnessed at muscle car and hot rod shows, and applied those ideas to turn his 1977 620 into his own masterpiece. Stanced out on bags and outfitted with Nissan Titan wheels, the Datsun King Cab’s interior received a makeover, including a custom-fabricated steel bench seat. The bed was designed to replicate a military theme with air canisters to mimic bombs while the fuel tank was moved to accommodate the custom frame notch, required for Abarcs’ machine to achieve its ground-scraping height.
Plucked straight out of the pages of Japan’s car scene, this Bosozoku-themed truck would ultimately blend perfectly into the dark subculture that law abiding Japanese citizens love to hate. From the custom fender flares to the shakotan subway handles and shaved and tucked engine bay, this Datsun had all the makings of the 70s and 80s era trucks that would wreak havoc both in and around the Shakotan district streets in Hokkaido.
This successful event proved the move to the new venue was a worthy upgrade, as there was plenty of room for everyone to participate. Check out www.nissanjam.com for more information!