Japanese Classics to join Pebble Beach concours lawn for the first time

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

Presented by

Japanese Invitational Infiniti Concept 9 Japanese Invitational Infiniti Concept 9

A celebration of Japanese innovation and design, this year’s Pebble Beach will see the first Japanese Automotive Invitational take place

The manicured lawns of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance have historically never hosted all that much Japanese machinery.

However, a new event for the Monterey Car Week calender seeks to change that. In association with Infiniti, the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance shall play to the first Japanese Automotive Invitational running over August 25 and 26.

Pebble Beach represents the highest level of classic car collecting, usually reserved for the utmost storied marques. From Aston Martin to Zagato; in the past, icons of the East have done little to make waves with the high-brow Car Week crowd.

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Just a few breakout cars from Japan have passed through auctions to the surprise of many of the usual well-heeled attendees. To put it plainly, there was once a time where the manicured lawns of Pebble Beach would have laughed at the notion of a Japanese car gracing their hallowed grass.

But times are changing, and Japanese cars are only going from strength to strength in collector communities.

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The first shockwave came in the form of a Toyota 2000GT, back in 2015 it was the first Japanese car to fetch more than $1 million at auction, and put the usual high-brows on notice. In years following, just a few Japanese cars have gone under the hammer, including the Mazda Cosmos and 1972 ‘Hakosuka’ Nissan Skyline GT-R (above). Each fetched a modest (for Pebble Beach) few hundred thousand dollars, but never stole the show to the same effect as Toyota’s E-type rival.

Infiniti’s Japanese Automotive Invitational may bolster the burgeoning collector appeal however, further displaying decades of Japanese design and innovation.

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The two-day Invitational will display cars such as the 1964 Datsun 1500 Roadster, 1966 Toyota 2000GT Convertible (a one-off car used by James Bond in the 1968 flick; You Only Die Twice), and the 1970 Mazda Cosmo Sport.

Of course, the lead sponsor Infiniti will be bringing some of their illustrious machines such as the Infiniti Q Inspiration concept, the open-wheeled and wonderfully retro Prototype 9 Concept and… a 1994 Infiniti J30?... For a brand that started in 1989, I guess they were a little thin on the ground for "classics".

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The Japanese Automotive Invitational is a unique new event for Car Week and Pebble Beach, and aims to be "the premier experience dedicated to Japanese automotive achievements, culture, personalities and the future of Japanese-inspired innovation and design".

You can find the stand inside Pebble Beach on the way to the main Concours.

Car Week kicks off in a matter of weeks, so if you have a penchant for Japanese Classics and will be around the Monterey area, be sure to check out these exemplars of the up and coming Japanese collectible scene.

 

Japanese Classic Car Value Guide home page

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