Z Fest 2014

On a glorious Sunday in August, Team RedlineNorth headed to a very unique car show we never have actually attended before in person. This year’s Z Fest event took place at the Canadian Heritage War Museum located beside Hamilton’s International Airport which played the part of an excellent backdrop. Since after walking through the hangar filled with some of the most famous warplanes ever built you soon entered rows and rows of restored Nissans parked and shining on the tarmac.

Organized by members of the Ontario Z-Cars Association, Z Fest is an annual event here in Ontario for Z model Nissan enthusiasts to show off  their Nissan and Datsun vehicles. The event’s aim is to celebrate all Z-cars from the early Datsun models through to the current Nissan name plates and this year’s event did not disappoint. This year’s event was slightly larger than in years past since it was the 20th annual Z-Fest. While on site there was a whole array of Z-cars (Fairlady Z in Japan) from present to past including the 240z, 260z, 280zx, 300zx, the 350z, and 370z not excluding the odd G series, GTR, and Skyline.

Nissan 300 ZX Twin Turbo

1990 Nissan 300 ZX Twin Turbo

We were lucky enough to bump into one of our local correspondents who actually covered the 2012 Z Fest event for RedlineNorth. Unfortunately for us he was not reporting from the event this year since he had his “pride and joy” entered in the show and shine. He currently owns a stunningly clean but heavily modified 1990 300 ZX Twin Turbo which is pushing over 400 HP at the wheels.

Nissan 300 ZX

Cooling down the turbos

Back end of 1990 300 ZX

Back end of 1990 300 ZX

Here’s a glimpse of some of the other cars…..So many nice ones to choose from.  Although we did primarily focus our attention on the 300 ZX models.

Nissan 300 ZX

Awesome 90s Nissan 300 ZX

Nissan 350Z

Nissan 350Z Convertible

 Nissan 300 ZX

1989 Nissan 300 ZX

San Francisco Skyline

Continuing our focus on Japanese cars this week, the following video entitled San Francisco Skyline takes a look at pair of Skylines owned by Ivan Jaramillo. He talks about the interest that the cars bring when he drives them on the streets in and around San Francisco, even from people who don’t know what they are. Jaramillo’s philosophy is to drive these cars as much as he can so he can enjoy them, as opposed to looking at them in a garage, which has a certain logic.


On Saturday August 18th, members of the Ontario Z-Cars Association brought their Nissan and Datsun vehicles to Brantford Nissan for the 18th annual Z-Fest. Its aim is to celebrate all Z-cars from the early Datsun models through to the current Nissan name plates.  The whole array of Z-cars (Fairlady Z in Japan) were present including the 240z, 260z, 280zx, 300zx both early and late versions, the 350z, and 370z not excluding the odd G series, GTR, and Skyline. One of our local correspondents kindly attended the day long event to capture Nissan’s unique history as the maker of Japan’s “Corvette” models.

Nissan 240z’s

Awards at Z-Fest are given to both stock and modified classes of cars.The show consisted mostly of early Datsuns, primarily 240z’s.

Nissan 260z

In contrast to all the modified 350s and 370s, most of the 240, 260, and 280 cars were stock with only minor personal touches.

Nissan 280zx

It was very inspiring to see the spotless, rust-free engine bays of these 30 year old cars.

Modified Nissan 240z

There was quite a poor showing of the Z31, the 1984-1989 version of the Nissan Z. And of the models that were present, most were stock and in fact, many were “Garage Queens” as their owners professed to how little they are actually driven. This would account for their stellar paint and unmolested interiors.

1985 Nissan 300zx

As always, there was a good showing of the 1990-1996 300zx. Although there were not as many heavily modified Z32s as in year’s past, there were many bone stock and very low mileage cars including a 30,000km 1990 model. The Z32 model provides a solid platform to create a variety of looks in regards to engine performance and exterior styling.

Nissan 300zx

Nissan 300zx

Modified Nissan 300zx

Having been equipped with a twin turbo system from the manufacturer, it is quite easy and relatively inexpensive to build up the 300zx engine to incredible power levels with the innovative parts targeted at the enthusiast.

Nissan 300zx z32 engine

There seems to be more and more 350z’s and 370z’s on the road all the time, and this was evident at Z-Fest.  Although the 350z and 370z come standard with 287 hp and 332 hp respectively, their engines are non-aspirated.  However, many companies have since released turbo and/or supercharger kits to transform these models into true Japanese, fire-breathing dragons.

Nissan 350z’s

Nissan 370z convertible

With all the Nissan models parked side by side, it was easy to identify the 240z’s sleek and timeless lines. Originally introduced to the North American market in 1970, it truly was ahead of its time.  Similarly at the event, it also became apparent Nissan’s styling was not iconic during the late 70s and mid 80s. However, with the release of the Z32 in 1989, the Z-car lineage got its Mojo back with the rebirth of the iconic Z design which has been continued through to the current 350z, and 370z models.

Today, Nissan has a new model which has been taking the sports car world by storm – the Nissan GTR also known as “Godzilla”. Built with the highest technological innovations available, the Nissan GTR is able to compete on the track with any of today’s supercars while only costing the price of a top of the line Corvette.

Nissan GTR

Make sure you check off next year’s date for the Z-Fest event as it is a must see for any Nissan enthusiast.

The roots of Japanese Touge Drifting

Tōge or Touge (峠) is a Japanese word literally meaning “pass.” It refers to a mountain pass or any narrow, winding road that can be found throughout the mountainous regions of Japan.  Historically, road engineers in Japan created a series of S bends in steep roads that provided access to and from high mountain elevations in order to decrease the incline, thereby making them easier for commercial trucks to pass on the two lane roads. Around twenty five years ago, these same roads became the hallowed grounds to which the sport of “Drifting” was born. Japanese, motorcycling legend turned driver, Kunimitsu Takahashi, was the foremost creator of drifting techniques in the 1970s. He is noted for hitting the apex (the point where the car is closest to the inside of a turn) at high speed and then drifting through the corner, preserving a high exit speed. As professional racers in Japan drove this way, so did local street racers “hashiriya”  and over the years, these passes have become mythical locations for auto enthusiasts as they provide a challenging and thrilling course to test the limits of cars. Although the J-Pop soundtrack is a bit dated, the video provides a flavour of the Japanese drifting culture in Osaka region.

Keiichi Tsuchiya (known as the Dorikin/Drift King) became particularly interested by Takahashi’s early drift techniques and began honing his drifting skills on these same mountain roads and quickly gained a reputation amongst the racing crowd as he took them to the next level. In 1987, several popular car magazines and tuning garages agreed to produce a video of Tsuchiya’s drifting skills in his Toyota AE86 (Corolla).The grainy low budget video, known as Pluspy, became an international hit and inspired many of the professional drifting drivers on the circuits today. The video certainly mirrors the “Land of the Rising Sun” with its contradictions as the mood transforms from intense to melodic around 4 minutes 30 seconds while as a viewer you are wondering why someone left the slow motion button on.

The combination of Japan’s immense affluence in the late 1980s and early 1990s along with the rise in the aftermarket modifications available for their domestic car models resulted in a dramatic rise of the sport across Japan.  Drifting has since exploded into a massively popular form of motorsport in North America, Australia, Asia and Europe. Most recently, with the box office success of films such as Fast and Furious – Tokyo Drift the whole World is now familiar with the Japanese car scene. This is the iconic heavily tuned Mazda RX-7 from the film.

Here are some other famous Japanese modified models widely used for “Drifting” – Toyota A86 Corolla, Honda NSX, Nissan Skyline R32, Nissan Skyline R34, Nissan Silva and Toyota Supra.