QotW: What makes a good car company heritage collection?

On January 18, 2009 General Motors, auctioned off about 200 cars from its heritage collection, desperate for cash during the throes of the global financial crisis. Many enthusiasts expressed dismay but many of the cars were SEMA builds or movie cars, which didn’t seem to add much to the collection. Others, however, were more valuable, like a 1969 COPO Camaro ZL-1 (a top-spec performance model and one of 69 built). Realistically, it’d be close to impossible for a company to store everything, so what should it keep? One of every model built? Just the important ones? Pivotal concept cars? If you were in charge, how would you call the shots?

What makes a good car company heritage collection?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s the best Japanese car not made in Japan?Continue reading

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TAS2021: Here come Daihatsu’s Tokyo Auto Salon cars

Daihatsu has officially taken the wraps off their 2021 Tokyo Auto Salon builds. We saw mock-ups of them last month, but now videos of the finished cars can be seen in motion, complete with jaunty music. This is probably the most we’ll get to see of them, too, because the Tokyo Auto Salon is canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, everything will be virtual. Continue reading

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The GT-R50 Test Car looks like it came straight out of Star Wars

We will admit that the first thing to catch our eyes in these photos of the GT-R50 Test Car that’s now on display at Nissan’s Ginza showroom is the cases full of scale GT-R models. But, after looking at those our eyes were drawn to the GT-R50’s Empire-chic  black and white paint job. There’s something alluring about the myth of the Test Car. Continue reading

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Production Nissan 400Z discovered in patent filing

Ever since seeing the Nissan Z Proto, we’ve been wondering if the production version will stay true to the concept. Well, that question has been answered because Nissan’s patent filings for the Z35 have just been discovered. And, we are happy to report, it is one of the rare instances where the production version looks very similar to the concept. Continue reading

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KIDNEY, ANYONE? Zexel Group N R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R

The Zexel livery should be a familiar one for any GT-R fan. Whether you saw it race in the 90s or encountered it in Gran Turismo, the cars are part of the BNR32’s racing lore. Now, one of them is for sale for $237,000, shipping from Europe not included. Continue reading

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This tale of Toyota Starlet restoration is just the kind of story we need right now

When he was just eight years old, Josh Brooks’ father told him he’d be driving a Toyota Starlet someday. His family had always owned Toyotas, and Josh’s dad drove an AE86 Corolla and had campaigned Starlets in National Autograss, a form of dirt-track racing in the UK. Though the senior Brooks probably meant for his son to continue that the family tradition, Josh instead ended up finding his own KP62 Starlet in a way every car enthusiast dreams of. Continue reading

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Subaru of America has added a first-gen Legacy Wagon to their collection of classics

Subaru of America has just purchased a 1990 Legacy AWD Wagon to their collection. Judging from its beautiful condition, you would never guess that the car has almost 216,000 miles on the odometer. And, it’s stick! It has a lot going for it but it may not the holy grail of first-gen Legacy Wagons, depending on what you value in a museum piece. Continue reading

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QotW: What’s the best Japanese car not made in Japan?

On this day in 1980, Honda announced it would become the first Japanese automaker to build a factory in the US. In 1982, the first car to emerge from the completed Ohio  plant would be a second-gen Accord sedan, a car that could dodge trade tariffs, shipping costs, and UAW outrage all at the same time. It opened the floodgates for other carmakers, and today we have marques whose lineups barely have any Japan-built cars in them — and thus a wide variety of non-Japanese built Japanese cars to choose from. For the purposes of this question, feel free to answer according to your own country.

What’s the best Japanese car not made in Japan?

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 favorite JNC from 1996? Continue reading

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VIDEO: The Acura Legend was aptly named

You have to admire the cojones on Acura. Legends usually take a while to establish themselves as such,  but they named their debut luxury flagship the Legend from day one. It was a class unto itself upon launch, but by the time the second-generation was due, the Japanese premium sedan segment had serious competition from Lexus and Infiniti. Continue reading

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Mazda’s hotly anticipated FR platform will begin production in 2022

A new report out of Japan sheds some light onto what Mazda’s plans are for its upcoming front-engined, rear-wheel-drive platform. The chassis is eagerly awaited by Mazda’s hard-core fans (us included), as it will also include the long-awaited straight-six engine. It’s a combination that is largely considered to be the ideal format for true driving enthusiasts. Continue reading

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A brief history of JCW, Japan’s first carwash company

We recently came across a news item about a new system in Japan that washes coronavirus off of your clothes and shoes. You walk through a metal frame while nozzles spray chemicals all over you, in droplets too small to feel any wetness, to sterilize. If that sounds like a car wash for humans, it’s because it was developed by the same company that built Japan’s first car wash, and that sent us down a weird rabbit hole. Continue reading

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MINICARS: The Nissan R390 GT1 Road Car joins the 2021 Hot Wheels lineup

The Nissan R390 GT1 Road Car has been a dream machine for so many. Nissan made only one to homologate for Le Mans in 1997, and never put it up for sale. However, come 2021, you can buy it for $1 or so at most big box stores in America. That’s right, the Nissan R390 GT1 Road Car is coming to Hot Wheels. Continue reading

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VIDEO: The Toyota T100 was the right truck for the wrong time

When it was new, the Toyota T100 pickup defied categorization, as Japanese car often do. Upon release, it was derided as being less powerful than the full-size pickups from the Big Three, but too large for the compact pickup class. The fact that it didn’t easily slot into a pre-determined category frazzled the brains of magazines and consumers alike, but looking back on it decades later, it was just about perfect. Continue reading

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QotW: What’s your favorite JNC from 1996?

Welcome, everyone. You’ve made it to 2021! That in itself should be reason enough to celebrate, but the new year also means that a whole slew of cars will pass the 25-year threshold to become official classics. We’re stoked that Daihatsu Midget IIs are finally federally legal for import, but perhaps a JY33 Nissan Leopard or Toyota Mega Cruiser is more your style. Or, pick a USDM car that has finally attained classic status, like the EK Civic or eighth-gen Mitsubishi Galant, for which you can now get classic car insurance and historic plates in most states.

What’s your favorite JNC from 1996?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What are you trying to forget about 2020 or looking forward to in 2021?Continue reading

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Happy New Year from JNC, and our top stories of 2020

It has been a year like no other, but 2020 is finally coming to an end. Hopefully 2021 will bring us more cheer, and allow us to get back together with friends, family, and our car community comrades. Until then, here’s the top JNC stories of the year if you need something to pass the time. Continue reading

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100 YEAR CLUB: Mazda, Part 03

Among automotive journalists, including many of us here at JNC, Mazda has long occupied a special place in our hearts. To this day, their cars just tick for us. Why? As we near the end of the year that marks Mazda’s 100th anniversary, let us embark on the final leg of our journey through the company’s history, in search of what makes this small carmaker from Hiroshima so unique. When we last left off, we had surveyed some iconic sporting rotaries, including the beginnings of Mazda’s Le Mans efforts, as well as the innovative FWD era. We continue with what is one of the greatest product developments in automotive history. Continue reading

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50 YEAR CLUB: The Toyota Celica, a pivotal player in Japan’s car culture

Fifty years ago this month, in December 1970, the first Toyota Celica went on sale in Japan. It proved to be a groundbreaking car, the first of Japan’s production “specialty cars”, fashionable personal coupes based on a sedan chassis. It oozed style, striking the market at just the right moment and immediately became a darling of racers both street and professional. Most importantly, it played a vital role in building the rich automotive lifestyle of Japan. Continue reading

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Daihatsu’s 2021 Tokyo Auto Salon lineup includes 60th anniversary Hijet camper, Copen speedster

The 2021 Tokyo Auto Salon has been canceled due to the recent COVID-19 spike, but carmakers will be showing their builds in an upcoming virtual event. Ahead of that, Daihatsu has revealed its lineup of five kei jidosha, including a wonderful little camper inspired by the second generation Hijet. Continue reading

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QotW: What are you trying to forget about 2020 or looking forward to in 2021?

In Japan, the end of the year brings bounenkai, or get-togethers with friends or colleagues for the purposes of forgetting the past year’s ills. Typically that involves lots of alcohol, but 2020 is the type of the year demands boatloads of it. Even sadder, 2020 is also a year in which many of us can’t get together with our friends at all. However, bounenkai is also an opportunity to look ahead to the coming year with optimism. We’ve all been on a roller coaster journey together this year, with plenty good news countering the avalanche of sad, and we couldn’t have made it with you, the readers that comprise our little corner of the web. So let this QotW be your virtual bounenkai, whether it’s something car-related or not.

What are you trying to forget about 2020 or looking forward to in 2021?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What are you asking Japanese Santa Claus for this year?Continue reading

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Happy Holidays from JNC

The black and white shot of Mr K standing with his personal G-nose 240Z in front of the old Datsun USA headquarters in Gardena, California is one of the most famous pictures of his car. Rarely mentioned, however, is the fact that it’s also a holiday photo, with the company’s giant Christmas tree looming behind the car. We will have more on the car and its post-Mr K owner soon, but for now let this photo be a reminder of what’s really important during the holidays — friends, family, and the great community that cars can build. Happy Holidays from JNC.

 

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