When we left off last in part 1, we had just finished up our day-long trip out to the San Leandro Bay.   It’s quite a distance to travel all in one shot but because we made such good time we had decided to do a little exploring around San Francisco since we had a whole day to kill before the meet on Sunday.   We decided to all pile in Ryan’s 4-door to simplify parking and make the trip over the bay bridge and into the city.

Can you tell Ryan’s been working out?  He also drove without A/C,  with his arm out the window the entire way through the desert and now has one really sunburned arm, and one really white one…  it’s pretty awesome.   Our first stop once we made it into the city was Japan town (weird I know),  right in front of the Fatlace store which also happened to be one of the only places where cars weren’t parked within a fraction of an inch from each other.

We were also right across the street from the Peace Pagoda, an iconic fixture in the heart of Japan town which was apparently designed by  Japanese architect Yoshiro Taniguchi and presented to the city of San Francisco by the people of  Osaka, Japan.

The day went by all too quickly though as we had to head out early to Santa Clara for a delicious Yakitori dinner at Sumiya that was put together by our good friends Peter, Ivan, Reid, and Eric.  It’s always great to get together with old acquaintances and talk cars and life (one in the same for most of us) with great food, and drinks.  Thanks guys!  With our bellies full we decided to head back to the hotel so we could get up early for the meet the next day and scrub the bugs off the cars that had accumulated over the last 800 miles.

We then made our way to the meet to get set up, we were lucky to be able share a table with Eric and Ivan who both designed some very cool shirts just for the event.  Hisashi from Nostalgic Hero magazine was also present with quite a few magazines for sale, hopefully we’ll get to see some of his coverage of the event soon.  We also brought along the best merchandise man in the game and my trusty co-driver on the trip, Todd to help us sell some stuff to help pay for gas.

Right next to us was also a very special guest that Ivan had arranged to make an appearance….  the one and only Mary from the famous Ken and Mary ad campaign that Nissan had used extensively during the 73-77, C110 body style Skylines in Japan.   We had some time to chat with Diane Krey (Mary) and the fascinating life she had lived being a cultural icon on the other side of the planet.    It had been some 40 years since she had even seen a Kenmeri Skyline so it must have been quite a flashback to be escorted to the event in Ivan’s personal car.

She brought out some very cool memorabilia along with her including some original sales brochures, a scrapbook full of old photographs as well as this beach towel that was given to after the unfortunate passing of the late Jimmy Zinnai (Ken).  According to Diane this event was the first time it had ever been opened since she received it.

She was also kind enough to bring these great photos that she would signed for anyone that wanted one, this one currently resides on Ryan’s desk right next to his collection of  Bieber photos.

I tried bringing an old dashboard from the Kenmeri we had here at the shop to have her sign but the Hotwheels car was much more travel-friendly.

And before we knew it, the lot had already starting filling up with some of the finest classic Japanese machinery Northern California has to offer.  510’s roll DEEP up here!

Props to James, Ivan and everyone else involved in organizing the event and choosing such a great location to have it in.

It was absolutely fantastic to be able to see some of the cars that I have spent so much time with and inherently become attached to in one way or another over the years running this business.

Peter’s car was also looking better than ever sitting on a brand spankin’ new set of Hayashi’s…  unfortunately he wasn’t able to stay long so I had to steal this picture from Bohan.   I forgot how great that Ivory looks, especially when you are used to seeing Hakosukas in the same shade of white.

And you already know how I feel about Big Red, which also gets better every time I see it if that is even possible.   I’m not sure how Eric refer’s to his car but that’s what I have decided to brand it since I have seen a package of Wrigley’s Big Red, cinnamon gum in the center console every time I’ve seen it since the day it left our shop.

And this lineup is a big part of why we decided to make the trip all the way up here, the largest gathering of classic Skylines on U.S. soil.

A pretty impressive showing on both ends, I was adamant about bringing the DR30 because I thought they would be underrepresented at the meet but I was pleasantly surprised to see two more fine examples in attendance as well in the same iconic red and black combination.

 The meet wasn’t just about Skylines though and while there were only around 100-150 vintage cars in attendance the quality represented was very high.   This TE27 built by Patrick Ng was so perfect it nearly made my head explode.

From the Tom’s Igeta’s, to the Frankenstein built 3-T/2-T, 1940cc engine combination…

To the vintage TRD buckets and spotless interior, you almost forget this started life as a U.S. model Corolla.

And the underside looks just as good as the top, original Tosco leaf springs?!  Good luck finding another set of those!

Something else I never seen on a Mango are these polycarbonate headlight covers…   I don’t say it often but the only one word describes this car,  perfect.

Speaking of perfection, I finally got a chance to meet Nick and his immaculate Lime green S30 Z in the flesh as well.

Which has one of the best looking L-series bays I think I’ve come across yet…  oh yea, did I mention it’s a Rebello motor?

And this was quite the pair, two different origins of manufacture with a similar taste for nostalgic motoring…  classic Mini’s  are definitely cool but you know where my heart’s at.

Showroom stock, RHD Sunny 1200 anyone?

I’ve never seen a Celica look so good with so little…  sometimes simplicity is key.

Then again, sometimes you just need some huge flares and big meaty slicks and  this Z has plenty of both.

Same goes for this little monster, it must be nice to be able to run race tires year round…

This one sporting a tidy carb’d 4AGE setup.

This convertible Honda S600 would be the perfect candidate for taking highway 1 all the way up the coast, something that is definitely on my list of things to do before I die.

4 cylinders, 4 carburetors, 11,000 RPM tachometer and chain drive….    you need to be part motorcycle mechanic for this one.

And maybe this one too.

The AE86 was also very well represented, from the dying breed of stock lift-backs, to tastefully modified coupes.

Nice Levin conversion on this one,  well done sir.

Yes, we’re still on a hunt for the perfect shop truck and this longbed 620 ticked all the right boxes.

There was also a surprisingly large amount of 521’s and 520’s, the one on the end was running an SR swap and some pretty crazy suspension modifications.

Low-down 610’s are always a welcome sight.

And this has to be the first boso-style Corona I’ve ever laid eyes on…

More Celicas…  some restored,  while others wear their age with pride.

There were plenty of SR20 swapped 510’s at the meet and this engine bay in particular provided some inspiration for the SR/510 I’m currently working on.

A lonely goon wagon and someone who’s probably waiting for their significant other to quit talking cars already…    I know that look well.

This 2 door had great style.

The swap meet area was also a great spot to wander around and find that one part you’ve been looking long and hard for.  There was ton’s of 510 and S30 stuff which is probably what attracted Mr. Garrett here…   nice to finally meet you BTW, you know our shop is always open next time you make your way through.

I somehow made it through with my wallet intact but Ryan picked up a  few bits for his Hakosuka that I’m sure you’ll be seeing soon enough.  At this point by the time we had made it back to our booth,  the show had started to thin out which meant that it was time for one last shot of our trusty companions by the Bayline before we parted ways.

Our coverage of the event was far from a complete picture of all the amazing cars that turned out so if you’re looking for more I recommend checking out some of  these guys for some great coverage:

Speedhunters part 1 

Speedhunters part 2

Historic Japanese car gathering

JDM Chicago



Stance Nation

We still have the rest of the day left in SF as well as an action packed trip back home but this post is long enough as it is so that will have to wait for the final installment in Part 3…

See you then.