Retrospection 2017 – Year of the (F31) Leopard

Year of the Leopard/F31 milestones

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.

One of the main objectives this year was to reconnect with people.

F31club and Leopard connections

F31club updates:

At the end of 2016, I started to put together F31club. I had it up as a forum only, but then disaster struck as an upgrade to phpbb throw the forums into a wreck…

I then started to play with the idea of making F31club with a different format. A couple semesters prior, I was took WordPress. I then applied it to the domain. It was cool, but I needed something that I could make menus, show pictures and also since it seemed like many people have moved away from forums as a social point, I decided to make everything current with a blog style set up. I did want to showcase cars though.. that visual aspect. That is when I found the slider template.

I then started to get F31club as a website together. I started to build separate pages, the history of F31club, it’s members (as a tribute) and the differences between the F31 chassis.

I also started to track down former owners and cars. It was amazing that I contacted a good 80% of the people I was looking for. It is also noted on the bottom of this post.

I also wanted to have a way to show car events that I attend, so I made an Events page.

*I also want to note, while I do many of the posts, I’ve given access for others to make posts. Since I pay for the website, I’m always trying to make sure I get my money’s worth by using it and hence why I post so much.

JCCS failure:

In 2016, Tanaka-san told me that 2017 was going to be special because it was when the F31 Leopard was released in 1986, making it 31 years. As an F31 enthusiasts, how would I participate? How could I get the M30s to participate? On the M30 FB page, I tried to set up a meeting for JCCS in Southern California (it was set in September or October of 2017). It was all planned and then the major stakeholders in the area said they couldn’t do it.

Again, I realized that the M30 community (mostly newer owners) weren’t into F31 celebration as I was. That was a failure.


Vert ownership failure:

I was half hearted about getting a convertible. I have no space and I was working on my coupe. But I’ve been wanting a vert for awhile. I told myself if the right circumstances happen, I’d get it. Now I had 2 opportunities in 2017.A guy in SoCal blew his engine. He was selling for cheap. But the logistics and timing to get it to a shop and him not scrapping it… communication was also off as he gave me a deadline and then didn’t respond to my text or my cousin’s call to set things up. I was also hoping to get a quote for the wiring to be done if I had swapped in a VG30DE.

 

90% going to get a convertible!

 

The 10% of NOT getting the convertible happened.

 

The 2nd attempt was a local guy that had picked up a vert. He posted the car for sale on craigslist for $1200 (I believe). The car had transmission issues. The vert had additional issues. I was trying to help him with info. I was exploring the idea of getting this car and having it taken to a transmission shop for rebuild. The guy then kept texting me saying he’d trade the car for a Lexus SC or LS. The issue with that is he wanted a running car for a non-running car and that just seemed backwards to me. I’m not gonna buy functional car to trade for one that is not working. He then said $1000 for the car. That changed before my last trip to Japan, he said pick it up today for $200. I obviously didn’t.


Planning for 2017 Japan trip:

I owed Carshop Friend $300 because he sent me the rear valance pieces with my front lip. I was invited to Nostalgic 2 Days car show and I would pay for the items there. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it to the event due to scheduling. Kuze-san did tell me they were also planning a leopard meeting in May 2017. This meeting was hosted by Carshop Friend in Hakone.

Since the 2016 meeting, I had been in contact with a lot of the Leopard and M30 (In Japan) owners. I was learning a lot pertaining to the F31 in general (parts, teams, history, questions..) and also sharing the info I had.

After contacting everyone, I started to map out my locations, accommodations, transportation, historic and religious sites I wanted to visit. Everything was about the F31 and the owners, so it because a “Pilgrimage”. Taguchi-san and Noguchi-san have helped me out so much, that I wanted to visit them. It didn’t matter how far they were, I had to meet with them, even for 5 minutes.

During this trip, I was trying to meet as many F31 owners as possible. I also decided to visit a ton of tuning shops I have always wanted to visit or revisit. It just happened that the culmination would be the Leopard meeting in Hakone.

Setting the trip up like that would mean I would go all over Japan. So I did it that way.

Interestingly, I felt that the stars were aligned again. I had a couple request for specific parts. I did a quick search (this was May 5, 2017). 7 M30s in NorCal junkyards! I got busy on Sundays pulling parts up until I left for Japan.


Rebirth of the Wandering Leopard:

I dubbed it “Wandering Leopard Pilgrimage” because I was trying to relate everything to the F31 Leopard and its owners.

Sunday – Arrival in Japan and to Takamatsu

Monday – Okayama, Hiroshima, Iwakuni, Yamaguchi and back to Hiroshima

Tuesday – Hiroshima, Osaka and Shiga

Wednesday – Gifu, Nagoya and Sendai

Thursday – Sendai

Friday – Tokyo and Saitama

Saturday – Yokohama and Daikoku Futo

Sunday – Hakone to 31st Leopard meeting

Monday morning Japan – Leopard cruise to Mishima Skywalk Bridge


After I got back, I started to process all the information I had, the parts, the conversations, the experience itself.

I also realized that I have to celebrate the Infiniti M30 as well. So I contacted my brothers that were part of F31club’s foundation. I was a *single” guy for a couple weeks.

Since I had free time, I decided to contact guys near me.

I had to meet with Jacy and catch up, so we did that. 

So I contacted Ricky and Gil and hung out. It has been 10 years since we did that prior!

I also had to meet with Mike again. The interesting thing is that I caught up with F31pilot aka Kue. He told me lived in Elk Grove now. I HAD meet with him and we decided to hang at Mike’s place. It was interesting to finally meet him after 12 years!

*My family went to the Philippines for Summer vacation. 

M30 @ Hawaii

I found a page on Minkara with an M30 in Hawaii. I asked Mark about it and he said he didn’t know who it was.

I believe this was in June or July, Satoshi-san revealed himself. He found Mark and spent a few days going to his place. He had an M30 and said Mark must be the one to own it. Satoshi-san was moving back to Japan.

Mark just got a beige M30 and was also rebuilding his blue grey storm. This was a whirlwind, but honestly, it is amazing because it became a great friendship!

So Mark now owns 4 M30s!

Satoshi-san would be a great friend and someone to learn from!


Wandering Leopard and Cub:

 

This was an impromptu trip. My family had been in the Philippines and I arrived a couple weeks later. It was Jacob’s birthday and so I asked him what he wanted to do, he said go to Japan. There was no resistance from me about that. Since I would be with my son, It was going to be interesting how to move around and see things with him. I started to map out what we would be nice to see and of course, intersect with things I had interest in.

  • Saturday- Yokohama – Pokemon Festival, Yokohama mini meet and Iidabashi mini meet. Jacob and I went to Yokohama and met with Satoshi-san. He was in Hawaii and met with Mark. When he moved back to Japan, I told him I wanted to meet with him.
  • After Yokohama, we went back to our place and met with brothers. Kimura-san brought Hyogo (his son) and Jacob played with him. Also Itabashi-san and Ogawara-san came to meet me as well (they had long drives!) Along with Yoko.

I was fortunate to meet a few brothers!


Albert sent me some pictures. Currently at this time, he was the only one I knew of that was drifting. It was an open drift event where it was group and tandem.


I didn’t mention that after the Hakone meeting (hosted by Carshop Friend), the National Leopard Committee was also planning something. Ogawara-san sent me a text saying they are planning something secretly.

This is when the Leopard Committee went Fujinomiya and registered the place for the meeting.


 

3 times in Japan in 1 year. 3:1 symbolism of 31.

When I got the news, it was insane to think about it. I mean, this was unplanned and unexpected. I had a feeling about the meeting (initially there was no plan).

Well, I had to do it. I had to hit Japan for the 3rd time in 2017. There is no way I would want to miss a meeting my friends were making.

Additionally, in 2016 Leopard meeting and the 2017 Carshop Friend hosted meeting, I missed the group photo opportunity. This time I would not. 

Before the meeting, I had time to visit a few friends. I stopped by Saitama again.

I also met with Satoshi-san again and this time we went to Enoshima Island.

met with Original JDM guy in Shinjuku

After that dinner, I ALMOST missed the Sunrise Night train, where Kuze and Kubo-san were waiting for me.


31st All Japan Leopard Festival welcoming party and meeting

I push time limits and logistics when I am in Japan. I’ve made many errors. This time was one of them. Japan trains are punctual and on time… its strict enough that they leave on dot.

My luggage was at the bottom of Tokyo Station and the train was on the platforms. I had no time to get my luggage (heavy) and get to the train. I usually carry essentials in my backpack and that includes some fresh cloths (as I learned from my train mishap in Saitama in May). This did cause a delay in arriving to the welcoming party. I arrived late, but it was cool. It’s fashionably signature.

Next morning, it was time for the event. 31st All Japan Leopard Festival!

It was an amazing event and I was able to meet friends and see new cars!

Group picture

This was the group picture, but this also made a magazine!

 

After this meeting, I headed back to the US.


Since Hawaii in 2016, I’ve been keeping track of every F31 I come across. 

Hawaii and Japan last year = 138 leopards.

Oregon when I bought my car = 1 M30
Met with Jay – 1 coupe
Met with Mike – 1 coupe M30
PnP Sacramento – 1 coupe (Nov 2016)
PnP Rocklin – 1 white vert
PnP Rancho Cordova – 1 coupe (Nov 2016)
PnP Fairfield – 1 vert, 1 coupe (Dec 2016)
Oakland Burgunday vert – 1
Oakland, white vert – 1
PnP Stockton – 1 (Mike’s M30)
PnP Newark – 3 coupes

Japan – May 2017

PnPs – 5 M30s
Takamatsu – 3
Yamaguchi – 1
Gifu (R31house ) – 2
Saitama – 1
Yokohama – 8
Hakone – 38

Moss Landing – 1 black/grey coupe
PnP Moss Landing – 1 black coupe and 1 white vert.

7/9/17 – South san Francisco – 1 black m30 coupe
715/17 – Fremont – Beige M30 coupe
7/22/17 – San Francisco – White M30 – Gil
7/30/17 – JY – 1 vert

Japan – August 2017
Yokohama – 1 zenki
Iidabashi – 2 kouki and 1 zenki

Sept/Oct 2017
Yokohama – 1 zenki
*Leopard meeting in Fujinomiya
-50 leopards/M30s
-20 other participant cars (Leopard or former leopard owners)

Nov to Dec 2017
Walnut Creek – Lady in white vert
Martinez – guy smoking in his Beige m30
Oakland – Lady in a black vert
PnP Oakland – Berry M30 coupe

Additionally, here were the F31 owners I met in person from 2004 to 2017. Most were forum members.

Jcrapps (Jacy)
chrisphilips (Chris)
sexym30 (Brian)
slidewayz (Brandon)
c4nitrousboi (Ricky)
teh luckinator (Lucky)
drewz78T (Drew)
dynastyF31 (Gregg)
angry earl (Earl)
burkechris (Chris)
zed32 (Mark)
glennpdx (Glenn)
muffinman (David)
driftday (Naoki)
1992m30 (Chris)
nightmoves (Edrik)
gilly gil (Gil)
mu911356 (Mako)

2016 to 2017

Slappinm30 (Mike)
F31_Pilot (Kue)
Strikevalk (Mark)
Onevia (Renny)
240sx (Kenny)
Jeff (former owner of Blue/gray M30)
Jay Beckstead (update 11.12.16)

While these are the people I have met in person, I reconnected with many of them on social media. Also many forum members I got in contact with such as Squid636, Drew, Mike (in Norway), Carl (in Australia), Chris (Nyeark), Wuzz up, Zoltecrules, and Naoki (driftday).


For my M30:

I’ve been gather parts and had many things I wanted to do with it. My M30 was running good, but I was getting to that limit of 155,000 miles. I looked over the past maintenance records and noticed the water pump and other components have never been changed. I decided I need to do that. http://www.f31club.com/2017/11/27/head-gasket-done-f31roger/

I had some down time for the F31, so I decided to pay to get the head gasket done with a refreshed head and cooling system/belts change.


2017 was an insane year. I experienced and grew a lot. I got better with logistics and timing in Japan. I learned the transportation systems and visited shops I have always wanted to see.

Most importantly, I built a lot of friendships over the F31. It was great to reconnect with guys I was in contact with in 2004/5 in both Japan and on F31club.

There were so many milestones going on!

*These posts are reflective of my perspective and the people that send me/contribute to F31club. It doesn’t fully reflect others that are out there. If they send me updates and accomplishments, I would post them up.