2016 JNC Touge California 2016: A Call for Entries


Last year, JNC presented the inaugural Touge California, a vintage auto rally exclusively for classic Japanese cars. Touge means “mountain pass” in Japan, where peaks and canyons comprise 70 percent of the nation’s land. The goal of JNC Touge California was provide owners of Japanese classics with the experience of driving, as faithfully as possible in America, the types of roads on which their cars were born and forged.  Continue reading


KIDNEY, ANYONE? 4,000-mile Honda Accord

01_1981 Honda Accord LX

How much is a brand new Honda Accord LX hatchback worth? $21,000 and counting, apparently. Listed for sale in Annville, Pennsylvania, the Hampstead Green 1981 example is quite possibly the lowest mileage first-gen Accord in the country that is not in a museum somewhere. It has just 4,651 miles on the clock.  Continue reading


PRODUCT GUIDE: Koyorad FB Mazda RX-7 radiator

046_Touge California Mazda RX7 FB

It’s somewhat surprising that there hasn’t been a decent aftermarket radiator for the first-gen Mazda RX-7 out there, but if you drive an FB, worry no more. Koyorad has just introduced the latest aluminum radiator in their ever-growing line for Japanese classics, a project that began during last year’s JNC Touge California. Continue reading


PROFILES: Take a ride with the Skylines of the Wild Cards

60-IMG_1983_Wild Cards Nissan Skylines DR30 C10 Hakosuka

Spanning two states and twenty-plus members, the Wild Cards are one of the first Japanese-style zoku rengo, or alliances, in the United States. With inspiration from Nihon customization styles like bosozoku and kaido racers, many of the Wild Cards cars are the dream machines at the forefront of the stateside kyuusha tuning movement. We recently took a ride with the Wild Cards’ Las Vegas contingent and their modified Skylines.  Continue reading


COLLECTIONS: A 1971 Datsun 521 pickup comes home

“Several people have tried to buy it from me,” says Marvin Askew of his 1971 Datsun 1600 pickup, “Especially kids. They want to strip it down and lower it.” But luckily Marvin didn’t sell it to them, because now the truck he cared for for over 40 years fills a gap in the ever-growing Heritage Collection of Nissan Motor Corporation.  Continue reading


MINICARS: The 2016 Hot Wheels Honda Odyssey takes inspiration from an 80s turbo hatch

The norm of our minicars articles is to report breaking news on miniaturized JNCs. Today, however, we’re telling you about a new Hot Wheels, um, minivan. Worry not, it’s a Honda! Not good enough? Read on, you’ll like it.  Continue reading


QotW: How will Scion be remembered in 25 years?

06_Scion FRS 86

The demise of Scion last week caught many, including us, by surprise. Though the Toyota offshoot lasted only 13 years, it left a strong mark on the automotive community. Be clear, we are talking about the automotive community, not necessarily the automotive industry. That’s because Scion was the only Japanese brand that really encouraged us to tune, modify and otherwise personalize our rides. The scene is quite different in Japan, of course, where you can walk into any Toyota dealer and be offered a raft of in-house tuning parts for everything from a Prius to a Hiace. Scion’s departure leaves the question of how it will be remembered when it’s time for them to join the 25 Year Club — An unexpected experiment? Toyota’s goth phase? A Millennial Datsun?

How will Scion be remembered in 25 years?

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “How do you feel about auction prices affecting JNCs?”  Continue reading


Happy year of the Monkey from JNC

0304-BH2733_Honda Z50 Monkey

Welcome to the Year of the Monkey! In mythology, the monkey is cleverest of all the 12 animals, but also active and adventurous. In fact, it’s sort of the perfect description of the Honda Monkey.  Continue reading


ART CORNER: Beautiful dioramas of model cars from Japan

Takupon0816_Nissan Skyline C110 Kenmeri & Toyota Starlet KP61 diorama

Takuji is a Japanese artist who places 1:43 and 1:64 scale minicars into beautifully constructed dioramas. From AE86s on touge roads to Mitsubishis tearing through a rally stage to mechanics tuning Skylines in a garage, each scene is a slice of automotive life, depicted on a desktop.  Continue reading


VIDEO: Hankook Tires shows why FJ40s are awesome

Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 Hankook Tire

With the popularity of the FJ40 at auction, it makes you wonder if people who buy them will actually use them how they were intended. Sometimes it’s not cool when companies try to spice up their brand with an old Land Cruiser. This latest ad, called “Chasing Daylight” by Hankook Tires, is the opposite of that.  Continue reading


VIDEO: Drag racing outside Makuhari Messe circa 1992

Makuhari Messe drag racing 1992

Makuahri Messe is the big convention center in Chiba that hosts events the Tokyo Auto Salon and (before its move to Big Sight) the Tokyo Motor Show. If Tokyo city is at the 11 o’clock position of Tokyo Bay, then Makuhari is at the 1 o’clock position. With such octane-fueled madness going on inside the venue, it was only natural that there’s be octane-fueled madness outside as well. In 1992, Skylines, Supras and Savannas paired off in tests of horsepower. Continue reading


“Iron, Lion, Scion” — Bob Marley


The news that Scion was dead leaked Tuesday night. Few outlets dared report it because it seemed too crazy to be true. At every single auto show last year, representatives continued to reassure the press and public that they were doubling down with new models, new campaigns, new investments. But it was true, and the fate of individual models was unknown.

We at JNC had a good “virtual water cooler” conversation about Scion’s failings over the Slack app that night, flowing into the next morning when the news was confirmed. It turned into a discussion about the tuner era and the missteps of the other Japanese automakers as well. Here it is, printed in its entirety (with minor edits for spelling and grammar), below.  Continue reading


NEWS: Say hello to the Toyota FR-S


After news broke this morning about the death of Scion and that existing models would be transitioned to Toyota, we wondered whether the Scion FR-S would now get a proper name to fall in line with the rest of the world. The answer is no.  Continue reading


NEWS: RIP Scion, 2003-2016


Scion is dead. After 13 years, Toyota announced this morning that the alternative, youth-oriented, no-haggle brand would be killed off and most of its products — some very recently launched — rolled under the Toyota marque.  Continue reading


MARKETWATCH: 2016 Scottsdale auction roundup

1967 Toyota 2000GT 2016 RM Scottsdale 01

If the 2016 Scottsdale collector car auctions are any indication, it may be time to declare that Japanese classic cars have gone fully mainstream. All five of the major Scottsdale auctions (Barrett-Jackson, RM Sotheby’s, Bonhams, Gooding & Co. and Russo & Steele) saw J-tin cross the block at a wide spectrum of price points, but with few exceptions their sales results followed broader market trends that also affected more traditionally coveted cars from Europe and the U.S., indicating that nostalgics have been assimilated at last into the general collector car community.  Continue reading


VIDEO: Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the super-rare 1983 North American FJ40

1983 Toyota Land Cruiser

Jonathan Ward is the head honcho at ICON, a company known for its restomods of classic trucks. Ward started out restoring FJ40s and possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of them. He says the North American market 1983 FJ40 is the best FJ40, of all the FJ40s sold around the world. Specifically, he calls it “the shizzle.” In this video, he goes through all the details and differences that separate it from lesser FJ40s. Only about 350 were made.  Continue reading

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NEWS: Hiroshima high schoolers restore a Mazda Cosmo Sport, Part 02

Mazda Cosmo Sport Hiroshima high school restoration 10

As we reported back in September, last year a group of young Mazda employees and students from the local Hiroshima Technical High School embarked on the restoration of an L10A Cosmo Sports. It was part of an initiative to celebrate Mazda’s heritage as well as its Hiroshima roots, while the high school students got a heck of a summer vacation experience to boot. Here’s an update of the restoration.  Continue reading


KIDNEY, ANYONE? Flawless EA81 Subaru GL Wagon

Front quarter

On eBay this week is probably the most well-preserved EA81 Wagon in existence. This particular 1981 Subaru GL 4WD is 4-speed manual-equipped, carburetor clad, and naturally aspirated. With 102,000 on the odometer the car has seen some use, but it has clearly been very carefully cared for.  Continue reading


QotW: How do you feel about auction prices affecting JNCs?

Nissan Skyline GT-R KPGC110 00127 auction 29

We’ve seen some pretty astronomical prices for J-tin in recent years. We always knew cars like the hakosuka and kenmeri GT-Rs, Toyota 2000GT and Fairlady Z432 were going to be rise in price. Frankly, they were never that cheap to begin with. This week, we saw even new-ish cars (like the R32 GT-R) and unloved stepchildren (like the 280Z 2+2) take a leap in price. Are you laughing all the way to the bank, or desperately trying to build a time machine? We suspect where you fall on will largely depend on whether you already own your dream car or not.

How do you feel about auction prices affecting JNCs?

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s your greatest ‘in the wild’ JNC sighting?”  Continue reading


VIDEO: JNC Project Hakosuka hits the skidpan!


Since 2011 or so, a very nice LSD unit has been sitting under a cloth in the corner of  the JNC Hakosuka garage.  I never finished gathering all the parts I needed to install it until I had some spare time before Christmas, and as luck would have it, the Sydney Datsun Club announced a day of fun at the skidpan for early January. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to test out the newly drift-compatible Hako.  Continue reading