M30 Convertible Ownership Experience VHS tape

Being that many of us got into the M30 10 years after it was released (2003), we were still far removed from the era of that “It’s a new car”.

So there are still mysteries surrounding the M30 that will never be solved. But getting small glimpses of when the M30 debuted is always interesting.

Mark Joseph (mmokM30) was recently checking out a convertible and send me these pictures.


I honestly didn’t think this existed!!!



Always interesting!

Hawaiian Mini F31 meet/ dinner

Well, last night Renny (Onevia), and myself (strikevalk) went on a mini curry run at Kapolei CoCo Ichibanya, or Curry House. It was drizzling and gloomy but it’s nice once in a while to hang out with my fellow M30 bretheren. We chatted about little projects here and there, and guess who joined us? None other than Roger himself! Via FB video chat that is. It was cool to have him join us for dinner! It was a tasty dinner, and the brotherhood is still going strong! Other members like J, Kenny, and Dave live here on the island… one day we will all hang out… perhaps with Roger in person as well?



-Mark J

Year of the Leopard


Again going of the notion of the 31st year of the F31, I kinda joked about it being the “Year of the Leopard”. Of course there is no Year of the Leopard in the Chinese Zodiac system. While I joke about it, this past 13 months (October 2017 as of this post) have been full all about the F31 for me in general. It was motivating, inspirational and humbling all at once. It has been all about direction and hitting milestones on for my personal journey.

In 2014, I sold my Black M30 (which I highly prized) to a family friend while I finish school. He was suppose to fix the body and repaint it. In 2015, I found out he crashed it. So my car was gone.

*While I am making this post from my perspective and experiences, it is also truly about representing F31clubThis doesn’t account for the many milestones other M30 owners have made as well.

September 2016 – Catalyst

The true catalyst was when I went to Hawaii. I had to go for a week long cardiology conference and training seminar. I realized it wasn’t far from Ewa Beach and I remember a good chunk of the Hawaiian F31club brothers were there. After some messages, I was able to meet up with 4 members. I first met with Kenny (240sx) and Denny. They picked me up and we went to get some dinner. Next day, I met Renny (Onevia) and Mark (Strikevalk) the 2nd day and we talked til I think 4am… We all had to do something in the morning! But that night was kinda interesting. I rode in Mark’s SR20DET convertible and I saw Renny’s RB26DETT M30. The conversation we had sparked so much interest and direction in my head… I didn’t realize it was sparked in them too. The direction was of preservation of the M30.

Renny and Mark

Hawaii meet up

October 2016 – Journey to Carshop Friend

A week later, I was heading for Japan. It has been 10 years since I was last in Japan. This time, I was with my wife and the focal point was to go to the 30th annual Leopard meet. I’ve been in contact with Kuze-san prior and we were suppose to meet at the meeting. When he told me he wasn’t able to go (meeting was on a Sunday), I said I would like to still meet with him during my trip. I told him I was in Akihabara until Sunday morning, and he said he could meet me Saturday. I also mentioned to him I wanted to visit Carshop Friend and to tell Mr. Kanazawa I planned to visit. He said he could take me there. He then said the Kubo Family would join us.

For over 10 years and a missed opportunity to visit in 2006, this was a place many of the original members of F31club placed high on a list to visit. In a sense it was a pilgrimage. To visit Carshop Friend was to say it was a huge milestone.


Journey to Carshop Friend

October 2016 – 30th Annual Leopard Meeting

I was excited. This was suppose to happen back in 2007. When I arrived, it was a sight to see! This was the first time I’ve seen so many F31s in one location. Not only that, they had 8 M30s there too. Many of the guys on facebook came up to me. It was surreal and when I stopped exploring, I started taking pictures for reference. There were a ton of firsts for me. I’ve seen over 100 F31’s at that point… it was truly insane.

30th Annual Leopard meeting

October 2016 – Osaka meet

Later that week, One of the Leopard Owners, Kazuho Tanaka, met with me in Osaka. He came up to me at the meeting and said, “You emailed me 10 years ago”. He picked me up and we hung out at a cafe. He then took me to his apartment where I saw his other Leopard. This was important because I had tons of questions to ask and he gave me some great answers!


Osaka mini meet

October 2016 – Stance G Nation Odaiba

My last day before I headed back to America, I stopped by Stance Nation. I wasn’t originally going to go, but I had to meet up with Van Kulture Japan members, but also some of the Leopard family was going to be there. I also didn’t get a chance to take pictures with Ogawara-san, so we planned to meet there. I was late because I was at an Estima meeting earlier that day.


Estima Meeting and Stance Nation Odaiba

November 2016 – New Motivation and Mike

Once I got back, I started to get things in gear. First off, I went to get parts for people. I know a few folks needed parts, so I was able to pull from 2 cars in the junkyard. Started to think of getting an M30 again. I wanted one, but I didn’t know which direction on how to get one. Should I buy a cheap one that needs work, or pay the price for a better condition one? I also realized that I should have put so much more effort into many things.

I met up with Mike (SlappinM30). He has been trying to meet up back in the days and the timing never worked out. But meeting with him was great and it sparked many ideas in my head.


Sacramento mini meet

November 2016 – F31roger 2.0

As I was browsing M30s, I came up one that was the Blue Grey storm color. What sold me was the condition was nice. Price was $2900. I talked with my wife and I decided to pick it up. I flew into to Portland Oregon. The owner would pick me up from the airport and drive me to his house. He gave me all the receipts and spare parts he had.

I filled up gas and head back to San Francisco, 9 hour drive away.



Once I got home around 2am. Next day, started to pull out some old Leopard stuff from my Black M30. Started noting all the things that need to be fixed and started to get at it.

November 2016 – Meeting with Jay B.

Meeting with Jay was great. It has been awhile since I met with M30 owners. So we hung out for almost 2 hours during my drive down after buying the M30.

December 2016 – F31club resurrection

I met up with Jacy and he gave me the bare bones back up of F31club. I didn’t mind because I wanted something to get F31club started again. When I got the forums going, it was truly bare bones as many pictures were gone. I started to rebuild threads and added pictures and answered questions with confirmed information.

But I felt it wasn’t enough. Forums used to be the social point for cars, but that has changed to Facebook. Luckily, I took a wordpress class a few months prior and decided to make F31club with WP as the format. While it wasn’t perfect, it gave me something to build off the forums.

While I’m still working on it, I have been pretty happy with it. Keep in mind, I am not a webmaster.


January 2017 – The Plan and F31club

I kept in mind what was said about the 31st year of the F31… How can I make this year something, especially for F31club. How do I keep F31club going? I decided I needed to talk about the history of F31club and the people that made it great. So I started to reach out and find the core group of F31club. I started to get in contact with them and even made list of who I’ve talked to or reconnected with. This was important to me as I wanted to pay respects to THEM. While many of them have moved on to other cars or have stopped working on cars… I was able to get a hold of many, which to me was amazing.

So I decided to build a page dedicated to them. This eventually reached some of the members that were in Australia and Europe.

This is for you guys!

F31 members

Not only that, I felt I needed to explain things from my perspective.

Part 1. Deep Apologies to F31club

Part 2. Rebuilding

Part 3. Inspiration leads to motivation

Part 4. Tracking down F31club members

Part 5. Importance of people


As I said before, you can have a cool car, but be a total douche and you can have junked car with a cool personality. So my goal was to meet people whom I felt were cool and supportive. If I couldn’t meet them, then I would at least talk to them on the phone.

February 2016 – Failed Southern California gathering. 

After getting things going, I wanted to put together a meeting in Southern California. We would base it off a big event, which was JCCS (Japanese Classic Car show) in Southern California. I counted the people that area and thought we could truly break the F31club meeting we held in 2006. But 2 of the main people I was hoping that would help bolster the meeting, both local stakeholders, backed out.

Even with months of planning, we couldn’t get people together. So I kinda gave up hope of getting tons of people together and realize it would probably be more individual meeting or even a smaller group meeting of 3 people.


May/August/September/October 2017 -Trips to Japan

What I didn’t expect was to travel to Japan 2 additional times in 2017. I’ll explain below but it became another symbolic meaning for 31.

Below are the 3 times I went to Japan in 2017.

3 times in 1 year – “3-1

  1. Wandering Leopard – May 2017
  2. Wandering Leopard and cub – August 2017
  3. Wandering Leopard saga continues – September/October 2017

Additionally, If I include October 2016 as of this writing (in October 2017), it is actually 4 times within a year.

 The Saga of the Wandering Leopard 

I can be an extremist at times. When I get motivated, I can be overly dedicated to that topic or object, especially if I feel it serves or can represent something of significance. Sometimes I do these things ambiguously (self serving and for the bigger picture/greater good).

October 2016 was the first time I went to Japan with the sole purpose of meeting the Leopard community. Before Facebook, many of us on F31club were on their homepages in the early 2000s. I wanted to take it a step further and meet many of them because I respect what they have done and idolized their cars.

Tanaka-san mentioned to me that 2017 is important because 31 years ago, the Nissan Leopard was released. So you see the 1986-2017= 31 years of F31 Leopards. The respect and symbolism for the number 31 was important and interesting that these guys cared enough to keep track.

I knew that the Leopard community in Japan would be doing something spectacular. Mr. Kanazawa invited me to Nostalgic 2 days in February (2017), but I couldn’t make it. I didn’t have enough vacation time saved up at work. It was a blessing in disguise as Kuze-san had told me that they were planning a meeting in May.

The meeting was going to be held in Hakone, a mountainous town. Carshop Friend would host. I didn’t know, but it was mainly for Carshop Friend customers. So when I found out other Leopard owners would not attend, I made it a mission to meet as many Leopard owners before that meeting. Not only that, but I felt I had unfinished business with a few Leopard owners that I contacted 10 years ago (Yokota-san and Yosuke-san). I also wanted to meet with Taguchi-san and Noguchi-san because they have helped me with F31club.

This trip was about meeting people, with or without F31s.

After mapping out what I wanted to see and do in the 9 days in Japan, I realized I would be wandering Japan.



Wandering Leopard Pilgrimage was born

If you know me, I have a dry and cheesy sense of humor. I was talking to a Leopard owner and when I told him my intentions during the 9 days, his translation was:


Another person said I was a “Leopard maniac”.

So I figured “Wandering Leopard”.

Pilgrimage is the word I always mention when I go to Japan. I feel as a Japanese car enthusiast, going to these famous gatherings, shows, seeing infamous tuning shops and cars… it’s paying respect to them. So that is how the name came about.

Since the date of the meeting was the end of May, I set up to go around during the week.

After I set up the days, I contacted many people and said I will be in Japan and if you give me time, even short, I will make all effort to meet them. Once people confirmed, I based my schedule around their availability.

Taguchi-san and Noguchi-san lived the furthest away, but I wanted to dedicate time to meet them because they have helped me so much. It was the least I could do.

Also Okuni-san (who I met last year at the October 2016 meeting) said he wanted to meet with me. His friend Ishii-san also said the same.

I also met with Leopard owner’s that were not at the October 2016 meeting.

Wandering Leopard Pilgrimage


Wandering Leopard and cub

This happened out of nowhere. It was just an idea, but became a reality really quick. My son Jacob was celebrating his birthday in the Philippines. My family (wife and kids) would be there almost a month before I would go there for 2 weeks. I asked my son what he wanted to do for his birthday, he said he wanted to go to Japan. My wife didn’t take it serious, but honestly, I kept pushing for it.

I’ll take any excuse to visit Japan really, but I had to divide time to see the typical family/tourist attractions, see some history (I love Japanese history) and of course meeting with anyone that was able. This time I would stay around Tokyo and show my son around. I would mainly focus on using Tokyo Metro and Toei subway systems as much as possible, but JR lines happened. We would look at toys and manga and while I did plan to check out car shops, that part never materialized. I started mapping out what I wanted to see and what Jacob wanted to see. The Pikachu, Pokemon and Shinkansen Festivals were impromptu in my schedule, but worth checking out.

I had Dinner with Kuze-san and his daughter Kyoko. Next day I had lunch with Ogawara, Itabashi, Kimura-san. Kimura-san brought Hyogo too (in May I met them). What was cool was that even with language barrier, Kyoko and Hyogo were able to play and goof around with Jacob. I also had to meet Satoshi-san who was in Hawaii for the last 3 years working. I had gotten in contact with him through Mark.

Wandering Leopard and Cub




Wandering Leopard Saga continues


This next picture was a joke, but I showed it to Satoshi-san and he said, “On the loose” which would have sounded better in retrospect.


It was good to see Ogawara-san again in August. He came out both times to meet me. Then he sent me a message after I arrived back in the states. Something I had a gut feeling, but wasn’t sure.

Since I knew this year was the “31st year of the Leopard”, I asked in May if they were planning another Nationwide Leopard meeting. A couple guys said “no” because the previous year (2016) they had a big event (the first meeting I went to). Then Ogawara-san gave me a hint saying there is a secret going on and it was special. Right then and there, I knew a meeting was gonna happen. I mentioned it to my wife, jokingly, and it was jokingly received. Then Ogawara-san posted this:

I knew I had to go. There was also a few important favors that I needed to keep. Again I started planning and I wanted to experience as much as possible this time. Some of the goals I set the previous trips didn’t work out, such as visiting a few shops, was a must this time.

So I started planning.

This was going it be unique as one of the nights, I would take Japan’s last night train, Sunrise Seto/Izumo from Tokyo to Okayama. This let me cover ground to Okayama while I slept. I would then make my way to Shizuoka for the welcoming party.

I tried to set some milestones that were Leopard related:

  • See the Zenki convertible
  • See Umezawa-san’s M30 convertible
  • See the R31 wagon with the Zenki front (didn’t happen)
  • See a Red Zenki Leopard (rare color) (didn’t happen)
  • See Sugiyama-san’s Nismo Leopard wing (rare part)

It was ambitious, but I was able to see 3/5 of the those mentioned. I wanted to do this to say I saw this things as a leopard enthusiast and for F31club milestones.

Thursday – Matchless Crowd Racing, Tec Arts, and Saitama meeting.

Friday – Mizuno Works, Art Planning Youma, Refresh 60, Enoshima Island meet, Original JDM guy Meet, Sunrise Express meet and train.

Saturday – Okayama, Gigantor/Tetsujin 28 statue, Fushimi Inari Shrine (Kyoto), Fujinomiya hotel

Sunday – All Japan 31st Leopard Festival – October 1, 2017


Group picture




This does conclude my 3 trips to Japan for 2017. My goal was to meet fellow Leopard owners and our relationships have changed dynamically as I’ve met many people a few times. Their perspective of ownership of an F31, their pride into this specific car… made me realize that the few of us (Mark, Renny and myself) fell in love with the right car 12+ years ago.

Now planning for next year!



July 2017 – Mini meets

Between the series of travels to Japan, I did meet up with other M30 owners. Jacy (JCrapps), whom I’ve always liked rolling with. Ricky(C4nitriousboi) and Gill(GillyGil), we actually hung 10 years ago and Mike(SlappinM30) and Kue (F31pilot)… which was cool because I finally met Kue.

Ricky and Gil


Jacy and Me


Kue, me and Mike



October 2017 Hawaii online meeting

Mark and Renny decided to get some dinner and they hit me up. I decided to try and chime in with the video!



October 2017 – As of this writing, I’ve contacted many of the brothers to say whats up and also reconnected with Oceania and European owners.

While I was trying to reach Southern California to finalize this year, but I just couldn’t find the extra time. Since it is a goal, I will eventually go and meet fellow owners.

To end the year, one of the Japanese car magazines, featured the meeting in October (80s Hero covered May’s meeting). I wanted to put this here because I was part of the group photo.

 I’m holding the M30 bag on the top left below the person in red.

Difference in 1990 side mirror vs. 91 & 92

While I was taking apart a blue gray storm driver side door mirror, I did notice something. I’m fortunate to have M30s of 1990, 91, and 92 sitting at my house. The blue gray storm was from a 1990 model, the spare I had was from a 92 I believe. I noticed the bottom mount bracket had only 2 holes, whereas the bracket from the 92 had 3. I checked the 1991 model, and it had 3 as well. I wonder why the first gen (1990) M30 didn’t utilize the middle hole? It certainly looks like it helps with reinforcing the structure… it’s probably why it broke in the first place!



the orange is from a 92, the blue is from 1990. early models werent as rigid, only 2 bolt holes.

It looks like the guts are the same, but for 1990… the middle screw isn’t used.

Shukai, Japantown San Jose – October 2017

Shukai is a free “car show” event held in Japantown, San Jose. This was the 5th year it has been held. Japantown would close down a few blocks and people who participated in showing their cars would be parked here.

The even is held to help raise awareness of Japantowns across America. The importance of local and small business is highlighted.

This was my first time going to Shukai and I was excited to see what people were up to. Typically it is about 4 hours, 1 to 5 pm.

Since it was a free event, tons of people I knew on facebook said they were prepping their cars, so I had to make it down there to take pictures!!!


I definitely enjoyed seeing my friends, VK, tons of the old skool import builds, and the good environment.


Great show and I hope next year to participate.



31st All Japan Leopard Festival – October 2017

After I got back from Japan towards the end of May, Ogawara-san said there was a secret going on. I had a feeling it was going to be a meeting. In 2016, they had a really big meeting and in May, there was Carshop Friend’s meeting.

私が日本から5月末に帰った後、小川さんは秘密があると言いました。私はそれが会議になると感じていた。 2016年には本当に大きな会議があり、5月にはCarshop Friendの会議がありました。

But this was the 31st year of the F31, so there was significance to this year. Once Ogawara-san said there was meeting, I knew I had to go.

Once I got everything confirmed, I let them know.

Months before leaving Japan (for this 3rd time) I was promoting it, asking people who were going, and asking what gifts people wanted.

しかし、これはF31の31年目なので、今年は意義がありました。小原さんが会ったと言えば、私は行かなければならないことを知っていました。 一度私はすべてを確認した、私は彼らに知らせる。 日本を離れる前の月(この3回目)私はそれを促進し、行く人に尋ね、人々が望んでいた贈り物を尋ねました。

Here are pictures of when the Leopard Committee set up at Hanano Yu Hotel (traditional Japanese hotel).

花王湯のホテル(伝統的な日本のホテル)に開設されたLeopard Committeeの写真です。



I arrived late after they had eaten. I made an error the night before which lead me to go back to Tokyo from Okayama. When I arrived, I paid my 11,000 yen and was given a key to my room. I got dressed in the traditional clothing and went to get some food. I met with all of them and we talked and I even went to the Lavendar room and watch them do some karaoke. Then I called it a night.





I work up about 530 and had breakfast. I sat there with everyone and they said by 700 to check out and 730 we will leave the hotel.



Then we headed to the spot. It was about 20 minutes away. The location was 朝霧高原もちや.



The people started to roll in and set up:



San Ichi club also participated with Qaz:

San IchiクラブもQazに参加しました:


San Ichi club’s Toyota friends show up:

San Ichiクラブのトヨタの友達が現れる:

Random cars throughout the outside parking lot:



Other cars were meeting up here to cruise (including motorcyclists):




Soon, more people started to show up. I started to go around and take pictures. I talked many people and bought stuff too.



Very cool event with my brothers! Thank you National Leopard Committee for putting on good event.

私の兄弟たちとの非常にクールなイベント!良いイベントを開催してくれたNational Leopard Committeeに感謝します。





Nismo F31 Leopard spoiler!!!!

A few months back, Sugiyama-san posted an old picture of his F31 Leopard with the spoiler on. Upon looking at it, I realized it had the long LED piece!

So when Sugiyama confirmed it with me that it was a Nismo Leopard Spoiler, he said he would show it to me.

It became a goal to see this spoiler!

Sugiyama-san took off the spoiler and showed it to me. He also hooked it up for me to see how it lights up!



Parts – Nissan Leopard and Infiniti M30 convertible spoiler

When C4nitriousboi (Ricky) put the convertible Spoiler on his M30 coupe, it looked really nice and at home.

I always wondered if there were a difference and when I examined pictures, they looked pretty much the same. I also believe someone else mentioned it too.

Now I have definitive proof that they are pretty much similar except the for the 3rd Brake light in the convertible’s version.

October 2017 meeting, Umezawa’s Convertible M30 was next to a Leopard with the spoiler. I took pix and the proof is in the pudding.




As you can see the side by side comparison, they are 99% identical sans the 3rd brake light in the middle!!!