What in the World is a Touge? Ask Mazda

Click Here to Begin Slideshow The word touge (toe-geh) literally means “mountain pass” in Japanese. Historically, a touge is a road where the original Japanese racers used to take their cars to test the envelope and hone their skills. Later, the touge is where drifting was born. Today, The Touge is a touring, a 120-mile jaunt through the Santa Monica Mountains and along the Pacific Coast of Southern California for Japanese cars and their owners.

What in the World is A Touge? Ask Mazda

Click Here to Begin Slideshow

The word touge (toe-geh) literally means “mountain pass” in Japanese. Historically, a touge is a road where the original Japanese racers used to take their cars to test the envelope and hone their skills. Later, the touge is where drifting was born. Today, The Touge is a touring, a 120-mile jaunt through the Santa Monica Mountains and along the Pacific Coast of Southern California for Japanese cars and their owners.

Touge is Now an Annual Event Organized by Japanese Nostalgic Car

This Toyota Century was one of the few participants in 2015 that wasn’t originally sold in the US.
Image credit Ben Hsu japanesenostalgiccar.com

Ben Hsu from Japanese Nostalgic Car had the idea to have a get-together for all the classic Japanese car owners who could make it to Santa Monica back in 2015. This first event, held on May 16, 2015 was so successful that Hsu and his partners decided to make it an annual event.

Touge Starts at the Museum

These two RHD TE27 Sprinter Truenos were show favorites.
Image credit Ben Hsu japanesenostalgiccar.com

The Malamut Automotive Museum of Thousand Oaks was the starting point for the rally. Michael Malamut is a very eclectic automobile collector. You’ll find his two favorites, a 1967 Mazda Cosmo Sport and a 1967 Toyota 200GT, sitting next to a gullwing Mercedes 300SL. It was a great place to start the rally. After lunch, attendees were given a map book, a magnetic decal identifying them as event attendees and a sealed envelope, only to be opened if their car couldn’t handle the course provided, which covered 120 miles and went through 3,800 feet of elevation change.

Plenty of Variety

While the rally was supposed to commemorate Japanese cars sold in the US, Julius Metoyer did bring his imported Hakosuka Skyline and Kirk Hubbard had his Yakuza-style Toyota Century with factory air suspension and 5-lug SSR Reverse Mesh. The Mikes, Mike Malnick and Mike Foertsch, showed up in matching burnt orange Celicas. Two other favorites during the rally were the RHD TE27 Sprinter Truenos of Francis Jones and Victor Ansari. The rally ended at Dockweiler State Beach, which was followed by a short jaunt down the 405 to the Toyota USA Museum.

Application and Selection Process to Enter

One of the 2017 participants.
Image credit Ben Hsu japanesenostalgiccar.com

Surprisingly, hundreds of people want to enter their cars in this event every year. However, due to a number of factors, event organizers had to limit this year’s participant list to 25 cars. Selection factors included whether or not they’d already won, condition, age and how stock the car is.

Mazda North American Operations Is Title Sponsor for 2017 Touge California

Participants take a break from the drive to chat and admire the other cars.
Image courtesy roadstermike

The 2017 JNC Touge California was held on July 15, 2017. It started in San Diego County and ended up in Irvine, where participants got a tour of the MAZDA Heritage Collection. This year’s event celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Cosmo Sport 110S, which was powered by a Wankel rotary engine and was Mazda’s first sports car. Participants brought their cars from all over the US this year to compete. Mazda even included some of the cars in their Heritage Collection.

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About Mike Aguilar 196 Articles
Mike's love of cars began in the early 1970's when his father started taking him to his Chevron service station. He's done pretty much everything in the automotive aftermarket from gas station island attendant, parts counter, mechanic, and new and used sales. Mike also has experience in the amateur ranks of many of racing's sanctioning bodies.
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