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Touge 80s rally seeks Japanese cars from the New Wave era

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1987 Honda CRX Si. Photo by Jeff Koch.

Do you own a restored or preserved Japanese car from the decade that saw the launch of MTV and the gradual rusting of the Iron Curtain? Can you still squeeze into your vintage pastel T-shirt, button-fly jeans and Members Only jacket? Any chance you can grow a Flock-of-Seagulls hairdo before October 22? If you answered “yes” to all of the above questions, then the latest event from our friends at Japanese Nostalgic Car, Touge 80s, may be just what you’ve been waiting for.

Like JCC’s established Touge California, open only to pre-1980 Japanese cars, the new event is a road rally that blends entertaining roads (“touge” roughly translates as “mountain pass” in English), with themed stops along the way. As the name implies, Touge 80s will be open to “exceptional” Japanese cars built during the 1980s, though consideration will be given to continuation models like the Toyota Supra and Mazda Miata, which remained virtually unchanged into the 1990s. Japanese cars built prior to the 1980s also qualify for admission, depending upon condition.

1987 Toyota MR2

1987 Toyota MR2. Photo courtesy Toyota USA.

What does rally master Patrick Strong mean by “exceptional” cars? In a nutshell, those that have been restored to in-period condition or those that have been preserved by owners. Both stock and modified cars are welcome, but project cars, those with rusted or dented panels, and those with mismatched paint are not eligible to participate.

Touge 80s promises to deliver everything from canyon roads to seacoast highways to urban traffic, and the event is neither a race nor a time-speed-distance rally. Teams must include a driver and navigator, as the exact route won’t be revealed until the morning of the event. Touge 80s also includes a photo contest element, requiring the navigator to snap and upload images to Instagram along the route. A smartphone or tablet is a required component, as Strong advises that some Internet research will be necessary during the rally.

Entrants are encouraged to dress in period-correct attire as well, all part of the event’s let’s-not-take-ourselves-too-seriously vibe. Teams that successfully complete the route will be treated to dinner and a post-rally soiree courtesy of event sponsor Toyota, who will also be on hand to promote the 50th anniversary of the Toyota Corolla.

Touge 80s entries must be submitted by Friday, October 7, and those selected for participation in the October 22 event will be charged an entry fee of $80, which includes a gift bag plus dinner for driver and navigator. If you own a suitable car, wardrobe and cassette tape collection, visit for complete details.