Progress Bar R32 Part 20: Mission Accomplished (mostly)!
When I first got tangled in the saga of my beat-up old R32 eight years ago I thought it would be a minor side project to do when I could spare time from my main focus on my R35 GT-R. She was a runner but had faded paint, a tacky-looking engine bay, and an interior that could only be described with whatever the Japanese words are for "kinda nasty".
My basic goal at first was just to make her look decently presentable - something I could drive for fun and take to local car meets. She wasn't supposed to become any sort of show car. After freshening up the paint the plan was to do some minor interior refurbishment and simple mods and mostly leave it at that.
But then the motor decided to file a motion to vacate its position. After recovering from the shock, one opportunity after another presented itself to upgrade my forlorn Skyline and the project snowballed from there.
Finally the goal morphed from making the car look "decent" to "something worth taking to a car show". And then I figured if I was going to be more ambitious then why not aim big and try to take her to the largest vintage JDM car show in the United States: Japanese Classic Car Show in Long Beach. It seemed like a goal worthy of the resurrection of a 1 in 500 Nismo GT-R.
I'd sort of been able to hit that goal already back in 2020 when the pandemic-related shutdowns forced JCCS to stage a virtual show on YouTube using photo and video submissions from participants. Back then the organizers were kind enough to choose my little project as one of the "Workmanship and Presentation Award" winners, and you can still view the videos and event information on YouTube and the JCCS website.
Its one thing to win an award based on pretty pictures but a very different thing entirely to actually try to win one at a real show with the actual car. It's much easier to hide flaws and make something look stunning when you just have some photos to go by after all and besides, bragging about snagging an award from a virtual show seems a little like boasting about going on a date with a Taylor Swift standee.
Finally though, after three more years of hard graft, fiscal irresponsibility, and more than a few times of questioning my sanity I finally had the chance to take my "little side project" to the actual show.
This year's show was on October 7th and to make it there on time I took the day before off work and me and a couple of friends carefully loaded my R32 onto a U-Haul trailer and made the 300 mile trip to Long Beach. Our stay at the Queen Mary Hotel for the night got off to a rocky start due to some parking lot issues but after that got sorted we had a great stay onboard the historic ocean liner. On that note, if you can manage it I highly recommend spending a night or three on the Queen Mary since its such a unique experience...and that's whether or not you believe it could use a visit from the Ecto-1.
But the grand old boat was a side attraction from our main destination of course so early Saturday morning we unloaded my Skyline from the trailer and drove the couple of miles to Marina Green Park where JCCS was being held. We almost got lost thanks to heavy fog that had drifted in overnight but the magic navigation fairies in my phone got us there after a fashion.
Around 2 o'clock the moment all the entrants were waiting for came and the awards were announced. Thankfully despite some quality competition my little Skyline project didn't go home empty-handed and she was awarded third place in the Best Nissan Neo Skyline category (Neo because they separate the newer 80s and up cars from the Old School models like the Hakos and Kenmeris)!
In case you're wondering about first and second places - the top prize went to this fairly stock but well-kept 1989 R32 GT-R. According to my friends, the JCCS judges tend to put a higher value on preserved examples of cars versus ones with extensive mods so that seemed to be key for this car's win.
Tastiest of all though was the winner for best Skyline overall which was this superb Hakosuka GT-R which was entered and exhibited by a JDM parts store:
Of course, there were a lot more awesome cars at JCCS - half the entrants seemed to be Nissans or Datsuns of one form or another - and aside from them there were many other things to check out like the manufacturer booths and the various vendors so I'll try to share more photos in a future post.
For now though, the saga of my R32 has reached an amazing high point. It's not over though as I still need to work on some nagging issues - foremost of which is the AC that decided to crap out on me in the weeks leading up to JCCS. Thankfully I didn't need it for the show and it's cooled down now here in sunny Arizona where I can live without it. Even without the soothing comfort of climate control though I plan on finally enjoying my Skyline the way she was meant to: by driving her around!
Until next post, enjoy your own driving and stay safe!