Japanese Classic Cars at Pebble Beach

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance collector car competition brings together some of the rarest and most elegant classic automobiles in existence. Most of these rolling works of art have origins in Europe and America, and most were built before World War II. To provide additional perspective on automotive history, Infiniti once again partnered with MotorTrend to present the Japanese Automotive Invitational at Pebble Beach. With an impressive display of Japanese classic cars located above the Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Japanese Automotive Invitational provides unique insight to automotive innovation originating from Japan.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content Experiencenbsp1989 Autech Zagato Stelvio AZ1
Most people won’t have heard of this one — we certainly hadn’t. This unique Stelvio AZ1 came from a joint effort between Autech and Zagato. Built on a Nissan Leopard chassis (Leopard was the Infiniti M30 in the U.S.), there were only about 100 examples of the Stelvio AZ1 built. Autech was Nissan’s performance division (like Mercedes AMG or BMW M) until it merged with NISMO earlier this year, and Zagato is an Italian coachbuilder — undoubtedly an interesting collaboration. This 2+2 coupe sports a 3.0-liter V6 engine producing 276 horsepower sent to the rear wheels, so it’s likely a fun driver with plenty of spirit.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
1989 Autech Zagato Stelvio AZ1

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
1989 Autech Zagato Stelvio AZ1

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
1989 Autech Zagato Stelvio AZ1

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content Experiencenbsp1968 Honda S800
In 1966 Honda introduced the S800 as the successor to the S500 and S600. The design clearly reveals how the S800 was heavily influenced by British sports cars of the era. This fun little roadster is powered by a small 4-cylinder engine managing 70 horsepower — not much by today’s standards, but at the time this was on a par with its British competitors. According to Hagerty Insurance, the little Honda roadster reaches 60 mph in about 13.6 seconds and has a top speed just under 100 mph. Honda built 11,000 copies of the S800, but the diminutive sports car was never sold in America.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
1968 Honda S800

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
1968 Honda S800

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content Experiencenbsp1999 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec
Many American auto enthusiasts pined for this sports car of the new millennium, which was never sold in America. And those in the know covet this car with good reason: the specs are impressive even by today’s standards. The GT-R V-Spec boasts a 2.6-liter twin turbo inline 6-cylinder engine that generates 276 horsepower and 293 lb-ft of torque. Power gets sent to all four wheels via a 6-speed manual gearbox. The V-Spec stands out from the standard GT-R with more air intakes in the front bumper, a widened body and an adjustable rear wing constructed of carbon fiber. This example is one of only 282 built and is valued at more than $450,000.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
1999 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
1999 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content Experiencenbsp1975 Nissan Skyline GT
The fourth-generation Nissan Skyline, this generation was also referred to as the “Ken & Mary” or “Kenmeri” Skyline — after a very successful ad campaign in Japan featuring Ken and Mary enjoying the countryside in their spiffy Skyline.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
1975 Nissan Skyline GT

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
1975 Nissan Skyline GT

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content Experiencenbsp1972 Datsun 240Z
The Z car has always been popular among car enthusiasts, and now even more so thanks to the introduction of the latest Z car. This 240Z on display at the Japanese Automotive Invitational in Pebble Beach demonstrates what automotive enthusiasm can create. This car has been completely redone from top to bottom, including new paint, updated bodywork, modern suspension and brakes, and a full engine swap. The interior has also been completely, painstakingly restored.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
1972 Datsun 240Z

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
1972 Datsun 240Z

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
1972 Datsun 240Z

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content Experiencenbsp1986 Toyota Corolla AE86R
One look at the 1986 Toyota and its obvious this car is far from stock. Owned by racer Dai Yoshihara, this Corolla is incredibly quick thanks to its turbocharged engine sourced from a current-day Honda Civic Type R. To handle power that was never meant for a 1980s Corolla, this AE86R features a modern suspension with KW coilover shocks as well as wide fenders and a unique rear spoiler. Even the mirrors are special, made from magnesium and carbon fiber.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
1986 Toyota Corolla AE86R

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
1986 Toyota Corolla AE86R

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content Experiencenbsp2003 Honda S2000
Back in the day the Honda S2000 was a great car to drive in stock form, but this example has been dramatically enhanced by parts from Spoon Sports, a brand well known for Honda performance. Additions include new bumpers, sculpted fenders and unique wheels with Spoon Sports’ signature blue brake calipers. What really stands out on this S2000 is its roof; the one-of-a-kind design features layers of venting to keep air flowing without disrupting aerodynamics.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
2003 Honda S2000

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
2003 Honda S2000

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
2003 Honda S2000

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content Experiencenbsp1997 Honda Acty
The Honda Acty was never commercially sold in America, but was incredibly popular in Japan as a versatile Kei-class work truck. With special graphics, a rooftop tent, rally-style roof lights and larger tires, this super compact Acty looks like it’s ready to head out on an overland adventure. In recent years, thanks to a rising interest in niche Kei-class vehicles, Actys can now be obtained in America through specialized importers, and spotting one on American roads is a true unicorn sighting.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
1997 Honda Acty

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content Experiencenbsp1991 Acura NSX
This mid-engine 2-seat sports car from Honda’s luxury division challenged the exotic sports cars of the day when it went on sale in August 1990. The first production car with an all-aluminum chassis and body, the NSX drew power from a 3.0-liter DOHC 24-valve V6 engine producing 270 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque, mated with a 5-speed manual transmission. Hand assembled by a team of special technicians, in its prime the NSX was the most expensive Japanese production car ever, costing a cool $65,000.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
1991 Acura NSX

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
1991 Acura NSX

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content Experiencenbsp1971 Datsun 510 Wagon
Although this vehicle may have started out as a typical Datsun wagon, on closer inspection it’s anything but ordinary. Owner Jun Imai has been modifying the 510 off and on since he purchased it in 2009, and it looks like it means business. The owner worked with GReddy Performance Products to replace the standard engine with a turbocharged Nissan unit. Throw in some big wheels shod with performance tires and an intercooler mounted up front, and this Datsun wagon looks ready for the track.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
1971 Datsun 510 Wagon

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
1971 Datsun 510 Wagon

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
1971 Datsun 510 Wagon

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
1971 Datsun 510 Wagon

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
1971 Datsun 510 Wagon

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content Experiencenbsp1971 Nissan Skyline GTR
This example of the first-generation Nissan Skyline GT-R is clearly ready to go racing.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
1971 Nissan Skyline GTR

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
1971 Nissan Skyline GTR

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspJapanese Automotive Invitational
1971 Nissan Skyline GTR

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content Experiencenbsp2003 Infiniti FX45
When Infiniti introduced the FX45 in 2003, it was a radical styling departure from SUVs available in America up to that time. With sleek lines, an aerodynamic body and an aggressive front end, the FX45 certainly stood out from the crowd. Power comes from a 315-horsepower 4.5-liter V8 engine, and the FX came with a long list of standard amenities. This particular example is owned by a former Infiniti designer who happens to be responsible for creating the stylish piano key taillights on the new QX55, which interestingly happens to be inspired by the original FX.

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