NIHON LIFE: Summer Evening on the Wangan

GR1-863s_Honda NSX & S800

The O-Bon is an annual festival that honors the souls of one’s ancestors. Many Tokyoites head to their hometowns to visit the graves of their forebearers, leaving the city strangely free of its dreaded logjam traffic. In other words, it’s the perfect time to go for a drive. With the start of O-bon, I took a recent Thursday off with the intention of squeezing in a few errands and a little bit of kyuusha time.  Continue reading


MINICARS: Scale-Master’s “Zero Celica” Hot Wheels custom

Zero Celica Hot Wheels custom by Scale-Master 02

One of the great things about customizing Hot Wheels or building model kits is that you are free to create cars that you can’t build in real life. In the modern automotive universe, drifting is probably as close to the epic World War II dogfights that took place in the skies. That why I wanted to imagine a Zero Celica drift car.   Continue reading


Driving Monterey in a couple of old Datsuns

Nissan Heritage Collection Datsun 510 06

You might have heard that Monterey Historic Car Week is great, and it’s true. You can’t swing a monocle without hitting a million-dollar supercar or legendary racer. Then there was us, tooling around behind the wheel of a Datsun that cost less than $2,000 when new. Continue reading


A Brief History of the Toyota AE86 Corolla

In the second of a series, JNC is teaming up with our friends at Petrolicious to launch simultaneously a video and an article about historically significant Japanese cars. Be sure to check out the excellent Petrolicious and their beautiful short films about vintage cars.

For the uninitiated it’s a “just a Corolla,” but the AE86 goes by many names. Anime star. O.G. drifter. Hachiroku. Overhyped. AE86 itself is perhaps the nerdiest of them all, named after Toyota’s internal chassis code for the model. Even as recently as a couple of tears ago, one could still make the claim that the 1985-97 Toyota Corolla GT-S was unappreciated or underground for most of its life. Now, as it turns 30 years old, that’s no longer true. As if you needed another reminder that you’re getting old, the AE86 has spent more than half its existence hoarded, hooned and fanboy’ed as one of the most important cars Toyota’s ever built. Continue reading


VIDEO: Jay Leno goes bananas for a Savanna


Jay Leno was is probably the most famous Mazda Cosmo Sport owner out there, but that doesn’t mean he can’t still get his socks knocked off by a bridgeported 13B turbo RX-3. In the latest Jay Leno’s Garage video, the host meets Savant Young and his LA street racer-style restomod. Watch the video below. Continue reading


QotW: What car of the Nineties will be the next sought-after classic?

11_Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4 Spyder

With cars like the R32 Skyline GT-R increasing in price, other Bubble Era sleds are sure to follow suit. Though the Nineties are not quite nostalgic, we can already predict what might be the next sought-after rarities (a 320hp, AWD, 6-speed folding hardtop convertible that cost $65,000 in 1995, perhaps?). There’s even an upcoming show specializing in such machines,

What car of the Nineties will be the next sought-after classic?

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 JNC design has aged better with time?”  Continue reading



JNC Hot Wheels by San Mamiya

We are proud to welcome Japan-based artist San Mamiya as a regular contributor to JNC. After we featured his brilliant artwork in March, some of the JNC staff commissioned him to draw their own cars. That project snowballed into a deeper collaboration, and we hope readers will enjoy the first San Mamiya X JNC illustrations.  Continue reading


VIDEO: Oka no Blume Meeting 2015

Blume Hill Meeting 2015

Watch as the purveyors of Japanese shakotan style head to a meet in Shiga Prefecture. Words cannot do these cars justice so you’ll just have to watch the video itself.  Continue reading


VIDEO: Watch a Kenmeri Nissan Skyline GT-R sell for $176,000

Nissan Skyline GT-R KPGC110 00127 auction 29

A 1973 Nissan Skyline GT-R sold for $176,000 at auction at the recent Monterey Historic Car Week. As the first Kenmeri GT-R sold at auction in the US, it’s a significant milestone. We were fortunate enough to be able to witness the historic moment first hand. Here’s what it’s like to sit in on a high end auction at one of the world’s most expensive automotive events.  Continue reading


Why the R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R has “doubled” in price

8419_Nissan Skyline R32 GTR

According to several Japanese car importing businesses, prices of the R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R have doubled in Japan. This is not surprising, as the R32 is one of the most sought-after cars from the tuner era and it is now federally legal to import to the US, after officially turning 25 last year. It’s also because Japan’s stocks are pretty well depleted at this point. Continue reading


QotW: What JNC design has aged better with time?


Like many JNCs, when it debuted the X70 Cressida was an utterly nondescript family hauler. The ur-Avalon’s boxy lines were dismissed as typical Toyota conservative styling and it sat completely unrecognized for decades. Now we’re in a Cressida renaissance, and it’s the darling of tuners, VIPers and drifters alike. Somehow, its shape even seems to have aged better than that of its contemporaries, such as the Audi 5000, Volvo 760 and E28 BMW.

What JNC design has aged better with time?

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 JNC race replica would you buy?” Continue reading


GRAND TOURING: Lake Okutama Getaway


In the far western outskirts of Tokyo, Okutama-ko (Lake Okutama) has been a popular weekend destination for many years.  The scenic touge on the north and south sides of the lake provide a popular destination for weekend motorcyclists and kyuusha drivers accordingly. With weekend work reforming our minka, we decided instead to grab an old camera and use some long-expired film on the cars at Okutama-ko. Continue reading


SHOP LIFE: The return of Racing Mate

Racing Mate, the Japanese motorsport accessories company, founded in the 1960s by race car drivers Soukichi Shikiba and Tokudaiji Aritsune, is back. While the relaunch has been planned as early as 2013, they have just recently released the first complete kit, and it’s for the retro-styled Honda N-OneContinue reading


TUNE UP: Kujira Crowns in K-pop video

Toyota Crown wagon - Big Bang Sober video 01

A couple of Kujira Crowns, both in wagon and sedan form, have popped up in the most unlikely of places — in a K-pop video. At first glance this may seem unusual because, according to the Toyota South Korea website, the company didn’t even officially have a presence in the country until 2009. However, if this video of the song “Sober” by the band Big Bang was really filmed in South Korea, it is likely these were Shinjin New Crowns, knockdown kits of the S60 Toyota Crown built under license.  Continue reading


KIDNEY, ANYONE? 1989 Mitsubishi Delica Star Wagon Turbo-D Chamonix


Hey ladies, do any of you want a ride in my diesel Mitsubishi van? That might not sound like the best pick up line ever used, but once you see today’s Kidney Car, you might change your mind. Browsing through my Facebook wall of endless “my Honda got stolen” and “look at this pho I’m eating” posts when a link to this 1989 Mitsubishi Delica Star Wagon Turbo-D Chamonix hit me in the face.  Continue reading


EVENTS: Old School Love, New School Flavor, Part 03: Mazda, Honda and Mitsubishi

Mazda RX3 Roll in  Team_Nostalgic Chicago

In the Part 01 and Part 02 of the coverage from Team_Nostalgic’s Old School Love, New School Flavor show, we featured exclusively the cars of Toyota and Datsun, respectively. In our final upload we arrive at Mazda and include two less well-represented marques but ones that are no less important. Until then, lets bask in the glory of these angry triangles.  Continue reading


KIDNEY, ANYONE? 1989 Isuzu Bighorn Irmscher R

Isuzu Bighorn Irmscher R 001

Are grown men allowed to cry about cars? It was a normal Thursday evening just like any other. I sat down at my PC after work to check a couple of eBay auctions, and something caught my eye on eBay’s tailored (to me) homepage feed. What I saw was probably just a stock photo, I thought. But after a click, my palms started to sweat. How is this possible? Is it a scam?  Continue reading


QotW: What JNC race replica would you buy?


Last week Ricky wrote about a British builder’s 1968 Honda RA302 replica. That gave us fever dreams of apexing an old JNC racer full tilt through a chicane, preservation of history be damned. Oh, how we wish we could buy a vintage body-in-white to pound on harder than Justin Bieber’s face.

What JNC race replica would you buy?

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, “Which JNC had the coolest taillights?”  Continue reading


MINICARS: 2015 Japanese Model Kit Roundup

Tamiya Honda City Turbo model kit

It’s summertime, time to go outside and play! Or, whip out those Tamiya paint cans and spray the plastic bodies of your favorite JNC model kits. Do it outside when it’s sunny and dry to avoid accidentally painting your furniture or carpet or, you know, getting poisoned by the fumes. Here’s a sampling of recent and upcoming plastic model kits that may be of interest to you.  Continue reading


How the Mazda RX-3 and RX-7 came to be called “Savanna”

Mazda Savanna RX-7 Turbo

Fuji, 1971. The mighty Hakosuka was slated to reach its record 50th win in Japanese touring car racing, only to have that taken away by a plucky upstart from Hiroshima known as the Mazda Savanna (aka. RX-3). Years later, its spirit would be succeeded by the sleek RX-7, the first two generations of which also bore the Savanna name in Japan. Why did Mazda choose that name for such iconic cars?  Continue reading