You may have noticed that today’s largest automotive events like Barrett-Jackson and SEMA are focused entirely on American muscle cars. Demand for restoring, modifying and owning these cars is increasing year after year, fueled by retirees seeking to re-live the days of their first car, or the one they always wanted. The popularity of these cars has even affected events like the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where fully half of the cars on the show field in 2019 were post-war.
But, one has to wonder: which cars of today will be desired by collectors fifty years from now? Well, attendees at the 2019 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance got some insight into the future of the collector car market at the second annual Japanese Automotive Invitational, sponsored by Infiniti and Motor Trend.
Located at the top of Peter Hay Hill at the Infiniti manufacturer’s booth, the Japanese Automotive Invitational brought together a collection of significant and historic automobiles from Japan. It was a car show within a car show as part of Monterey Car Week.
The exhibit featured an all-star cast of vehicles from Mazda, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Subaru, and Suzuki. Also present were some Japanese makes that are lesser-known in the U.S. such as Hino and Prince. While I didn’t have time to capture every car that was present, here are some highlights:
1963 Prince Skyline Sport at the Japanese Automotive Invitational during Monterey Car Week. Photo by: Trevor Freeman.
1967 Toyota 2000GT, one of several cars on display from notable Japanese car collector Michael Malamut. Photo by: Trevor Freeman.
1969 Nissan R382 Group 7 Race Car, powered by a 6.0L V12 engine producing 580 hp. Photo by: Trevor Freeman.
1965 Honda S600 coupe, producing 57 hp from a 606cc inline 4-cylinder engine and a top speed of 90 mph. Photo by: Trevor Freeman.
A trio of Japanese SUVs: 1996 Lexus LX 450, 1973 Toyota Landcruiser, and a 1972 Suzuki Jimny LJ20. Photo by: Trevor Freeman.
2000 Isuzu Vehicross, possibly the only one to ever come within miles of Pebble Beach. The Vehicross is an unusual 3-door compact SUV produced from 1997-2001. It was only sold in the U.S. for three years from 1999-2001 during which time 4,153 of them were imported. This one is a 2000 Vehicross in Proton Yellow. Photo by: Trevor Freeman.
A collection of Japanese hatchback cars. (Left to Right): 1971 Honda Z600, 1988 Honda CRX Si, 1984 Honda CRX MUGEN, 1992 Nissan Pulsar GTI-R Nismo Edition, and a Toyota Sera. Photo by: Trevor Freeman.
New “Q Inspiration” concept cars from Infiniti, showcasing their next-generation, all electric cars. Pictured behind it is the “Qs Inspiration” sedan. They also had a QX Inspiration SUV (not pictured). Photo by: Trevor Freeman.