A few months ago some of the guys on the JCCS forums had thrown around the idea of organizing a meeting of vintage Skylines due to the fact that there were now enough imported to the states to finally be able to have a significant gathering. Ivan, the owner of one of the first Hakosukas we ever sold here at JDML and founder of the Historic Japanese Car Gathering group were up for the task and with the help of a few other dedicated enthusiasts they were able to put together the first annual Bayline gathering at the beautiful San Leandro Marina in Northern California. It would be ludicrous for JDM Legends not to be involved in the first gathering of classic Skylines on U.S. soil so with that we decided it was time for a little road trip!
We’re relatively close to the West coast here in Salt lake but we were still looking at a 1,500 mile round trip so that means that a proper supply of tools and spares are a must. We do as much as we possibly can here to improve the reliability of our vehicles here at JDM Legends but the fact of the matter remains that these are still 40 year old cars and anything can happen, so it’s always best to be prepared. A couple of days before we left, we also re-built the differential in the DR30 and swapped out the 4-speed transmission for a 5-speed in Ryan’s GC10 to hopefully bring down the RPM’s a little and get a little better gas mileage, I guess this will be as good of a reliability test as any, right? :)
We also just had some fresh new stickers printed up for the meet that are an homage to the original PMC-S (Prince Motorist Club Sports) graphics that used to adorn the old works Hakosukas back in the 70′s. I promise these will eventually be available on the site.
With everything packed into the trunk that we could possibly fit, it was time to hit the road. It’s definitely a long time to be behind the wheel but views like these from the cockpit of the DR30 make the trip a little easier.
The first stop on the road was for an obligatory shot next to the world famous Bonneville Salt flats that are located just a few hours West up I-80 from the shop. We contemplated a trip out onto the salt but conditions are notoriously inconsistent out there and we definitely didn’t want to get stuck this early in the trip so we decided to save that adventure for another day.
One more quick snap of Wendover Will,
And we then continued our journey into the vast, open expanse that is the Nevada desert…
A whole lot of nothing for the next 5 hours although I guess there are a couple of things besides gambling and fireworks that people will make the trek all the way out to the middle of Nevada for as explained by this group of billboards that I found quite amusing.
Yep, this is brothel country. And while those are some pretty classy looking limo’s I think we’ll have to pass.
We also came across this crazy looking structure that from the best I can tell from the 5 seconds I had to look at it as we whipped by was that it looked like some sort of Indian burial ground… if not, it sure could have been.
Right around the lovely town of Lovelock, Nevada we had our first sign of trouble with the DR30. We pulled off of the freeway for gas and the DR just decided to stop running altogether. After a quick inspection it turned out that we weren’t getting any fuel so we decided to pull everything out of the trunk to see what the problem was. After jiggling a few wires and tightening a few connections it seemed that we had fixed our problem as we were able to get it running properly again but not being completely content I decided to stop by the local parts store to see if I could find a backup pump just in case. I knew we obviously wouldn’t find anything specific to the DR30 but any inline pump would at least keep us from being stranded in the desert, unfortunately they didn’t have a single electric fuel pump of any kind in stock so we decided to pick up a tow rope instead and push it to Reno in hopes of better luck there.
On our way out of town I noticed this piece of work parked on the side of the road… maybe if I was in the market for a 4×4 conversion for an XJS Jaguar I would have had more luck at the local parts store.
Next stop, Reno Nevada. We had a few minor hiccups along the road that seemed to be the fuel pump occasionally struggling but for the most part it seemed to run just fine, so here I was stuck with the difficult decision of whether or not to try and source a fuel pump locally and then try to swap it in the middle of a parking lot somewhere, or just push our luck over Donner’s pass through the Sierra Nevada mountains and see what happened. It might have just been the particular Taco Bell parking lot we decided to stop at but I felt like I was literally stuck in a real life episode of Reno 911 with degenerates and shady characters every which way we looked so with that in mind we decided to push our luck and jet because at this point there was no way in hell I was going to be working on this car in the dark in downtown Reno, I’ll take my chances with the pass.
Before we left Reno in the dust we did however come across the only car withing a 500 mile radius that even comes close to the angular 80′s awesomeness of the DR30 in the form of a Subaru XT, and there was no way we were getting out of there without a quick shot.
And up the pass we went, and boy was it a welcome sight after hours and hours of desert wasteland.
All the way up until we finally made it to the summit! I guess the fuel pump decided to cooperate and DR30 and Hakosuka ran flawlessly for the entire climb. It’s all downhill from here baby!
From here you can see the Sierra Nevada mountain range for miles, this was definitely my favorite length of road on the entire trip.
There was also this scenic little pond at the rest area that was a nice spot to kill a few minutes and stretch out the legs a bit before we made our way towards the last leg of our journey to the bay.
And after a couple more hours of driving the first sign that we were finally close was the welcome sight of the Carquinez Bridge which is just before Oakland.
We finally arrived at our final destination at the San Leandro Marina Inn at about 12:30 A.M. after gaining an hour crossing into the Pacific timezone and we were so worn out and tired that I don’t even have a picture to back it up. And that’s about wraps up day 1 of our road trip to the bay, I’ll be back tomorrow with our experiences from San Francisco and the Bayline meet so be sure to check back!