Around the Corner – NorCal’s Old School Import Meet

During my summers growing up there was a classic car meet every Thursday in the parking lot of a local diner. For the most part it was old school American cars. There’d be the usual variety of Mustangs, Camaros, and Darts. Plus a couple Bel Airs or Thunderbirds.


There was never much in the way of compact cars. One Porsche 914 or Volkswagen Bug might show up to represent the Euro contingent. But besides a tastefully modded Ford Pinto (I wish I had pictures to prove how sweet it was) the flavor of small classics, typically of Japanese origin, never really showed.


While the appreciation of Japanese cars has been around long before they reached “classic” status, it seems only recently that their acceptance has become more mainstream. A side-effect of that has been the upswing in value of certain cars, but a more meaningful one has been the proliferation of local meets dedicated to this genre.


The Facebook page for NorCal’s Old School Import Meet has been popping up on my radar for a while now, but I only just recently managed to attend. The San Francisco Bay Area has a lot to offer in terms of car community, but a lot of it is concentrated in the South Bay around San Jose, which is about an hour from me. That, combined with the traffic of our ever increasing population makes it a considerable commitment to hop in the car after work and head down for a weeknight meet.

But I’m glad I did.


A quick Google search defines Community as “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” And it’s one of those things you don’t really notice until you experience it.


I have a lot of opportunities to talk cars in scenarios outside of meets like this. Occasionally, mentioning Corollas, Cressidas, or any Japanese car that isn’t a 240z gets a scoff and an eyebrow raise. But not so at this meet. If, like me, you aspire to the Datsun B210 your father had in high-school. Or to a Toyota Starlet like the one you used to spot in your grandmother’s neighborhood, this meet is for you.


The showing this night may have been a touch small, owing to the chillier temps as of late, but things seemed all the better for it. There we were, a small group. Just meeting, chatting, and enjoying these cars that for the longest time were “other” to more mainstream enthusiasts. There were the usual Datsuns and Toyotas, but if you swung by early enough you would have caught a Mazda RX-4 sedan and a Suzuki Cappuccino. Even a Volvo 144 came by to represent the Euro contingent.


It’s just a great way to spend a Thursday night. Be sure to like their page. And if you’re local, check out the meets in the New Year!


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