Kyusha Club Meet-Up Attracts Diverse Classics

The Kyusha Club, an Arizona-based car meet geared toward classic Japanese and European vehicles, held its second event of the year in downtown Phoenix on March 30. Organizer Keith Ross and his team of volunteers pulled off another successful program in the historic Roosevelt District, with over 100 cars attending the program between 8:00 and 11:00 a.m. that Saturday morning.

Arizona’s blue skies provided a colorful complement to the variety of colors in the parking lot and on surrounding city streets. Adding to the appeal, Kyusha Club satisfied other senses besides just the visual eye-candy, courtesy of music and food. “Stoop Kid” at the nearby retail complex offered several varieties of tasty breakfast burritos, and the on-site coffee vendors kept everyone hydrated (and energized).

First-Timer with a JDM Entry

One of the first-time attendees to the event was Jhae Pfenning. A long-time enthusiast of Japanese cars (and owner of an Acura NSX), Jhae brought out his latest acquisition, which was a 1998 Honda “Z” UM-4 Turbo from the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM). This Z – not to be confused with Nissan’s version – was sold in Japan as a Kei-class subcompact car between 1998 and 2002. The vehicle is a little hard to classify: It’s part wagon, part hatchback, part sport-utility vehicle – and maybe a combination of all of the above! One thing is for sure: It is unique, and due to Federal limitations governing the “25-year-old” rule, the Z has only recently become legal for registration on U.S. roadways. You won’t see many around!

Power for the Z came from a turbocharged 656cc inline-triple which was shared with the Honda Acty vans and pickups of the same era. The motor is uniquely mounted beneath an access port inside the center of the cabin. A four-speed automatic was the only available transmission, and all-wheel drive was standard equipment. “It’s a whopping 63 horsepower,” Jhae mused. He said the car was a little sketchy at freeway speeds, so he would likely be taking surface streets back home. We are looking forward to seeing the progress with Jhae’s new ride. Cleverly, he put “JHAE Z” on his license plate.

Casual Atmosphere, Cool Cars

Perhaps my favorite aspect of the Kyusha concept is that it is so laid-back in nature. There is no registration process, and no fee for admission (to exhibit or to spectate). Automotive enthusiasts are free to cycle in and out at their leisure. I took the time to admire some of the other rides including a fantastic “Techno Violet” BMW E36 M3 owned by Alex Sterling. The car looked and sounded stunning.

Also in attendance was a rare Toyota Sera. This model was produced from 1990 through 1995 in Japan as a three-door hatchback with unique butterfly-style doors. It used a 1.5-liter inline-four that was shared with the Paseo. It was one of the first cars ever to be equipped with projector headlamps.

As for me, I showcased my Ascot Gray 1986 Acura Legend sedan. This car is a new addition to my growing Honda and Acura collection, and it will undergo restoration for Acura’s upcoming 40th anniversary in 2026. My Legend is a rare sub-100k-mile survivor and has a five-speed manual transmission. It was produced in June 1986, just three months after the Acura brand launched. The Japanese luxury trend soon caught on, as Infiniti and Lexus followed a few years later.

Get Connected

I hope you had as much fun e-attending this event as I did in person. You can stay up to date with future events by following Kyusha Club’s Instagram. And, as always, keep an eye on the ClassicCars.com Journal for your daily dose of coverage from events such as this!