For many older Japanese cars, plastic bits are near impossible to find. Or, if you do find them, they cost a fortune. They’re not like muscle cars, where you can open a Year One catalog and basically rebuild a 1969 Camaro from scratch. JNCers have had to rely on the innovation and passion of individual enthusiasts to make up the gap. For example, look at these beautiful Mazda RX-3 taillight lenses made by an owner from Detroit, Michigan. Continue reading
Say you’re a hard-core Nissan nut, you’re feeling a bit peckish, and a plain old non-Nissan snack simply won’t do. Fortunately for you, Nissan has officially issued a new line of senbei (rice crackers), one of Japan’s most popular munching options, in the shape of classic Nissan cars. Continue reading
Mazda turned 100 years old earlier this year, and to mark this very special occasion we went in search of what makes this small Hiroshima carmaker so unique. In the previous installment of our retrospective, we examined Mazda’s origin story and early milestones. We arrived at the dawn of the Rotary Era and the development and Cosmo Sport, arguably one of the most futuristic and innovative cars ever created. In Part 02, we pick up where we left off with the Savanna, better known to the rest of the world as the Mazda RX-3. Continue reading
On June 30 Honda announced a factory “Refresh Plan” for the 1987-90 VFR750R motorcycle, more commonly known by its model code, the RC30. The bike was an important part of Honda’s motorsports history, a factory homologation special created to win the inaugural World Superbike Championship of 1988. It did that, repeated the feat in 1989, and won a slew of other two-wheeled championships as well. Crammed with loads of race-developed technology, at the time of launch the ¥1.48 million (approx. $15,000 USD) street-legal version was the most expensive motorcycle ever sold in Japan. Continue reading
Back in April, Mazda announced a slew of 100th Anniversary Edition models to commemorate a century of doing business. Now, Mazda North America has announced that at least one of those models — the most important one, arguably — is coming to the US (Mazda Canada has announced more 100th AE models, including the 3, CX-5, CX-9). Here’s your chance to get a white Miata with a classy wine red top and interior. Continue reading
It’s National Camera Day, so instead of a written answer this week we are seeking photos of JNCs. They don’t have to be of your car, taken today, or even good. As with the usual Answers of the Week, we will pick a winner based on entertainment value, whether it’s humorous, inspirational, or something that tugs at our heartstrings. It would be ideal if the photo told a story. If there’s a story behind the picture words are okay too, but remember, a picture is worth a thousand of them (side note: our website, which is so old it’s practically nostalgic itself, isn’t great for embedding photos, so feel free to copy/paste a URL link in the comments).
What’s your best JNC photo?
The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What did your dad teach you about cars?” Continue reading
The Mazda 626 was known as the Capella in Japan, and though it had some really trick technology on it, it was mostly remembered as a fairly middle-of-the-road compact in the US. However, if you were in Japan, you could get the Capella Canvas Top. It was basically a regular Capella except with an old-timey rollback canvas roof, but instead of cruising by the Riviera in the 1960s you were gliding through Bubble Era Japan. Happy 626 Day from JNC!
The 80-series Land Cruiser brought Toyota’s venerable off-roader into the modern age. The 70-series was never sold in the US, and as capable the 60-series was, by 1990 it was getting pretty ancient. The 80-series balanced perfectly the off-road capability of the older Land Cruisers while not delving into full-blown luxury mode that following generations did. Though the Supra existed, the 80-series became something of an unofficial flagship for Toyota, with a price to match. The updated 1993 model was reviewed favorably when new, but in hindsight it was drastically underrated. Continue reading
Anyone who is into Japanese cars needs no introduction to BRIDE. The racing seat company has produced all manner of butt-holders for the aftermarket and racing community. However, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the company says it will use its racing seat knowledge to create branded face masks as well. Continue reading
Recently the internet helped get the restoration of a rare left-hand-drive 1960 Prince Skyline underway. As fate would have it, another chance to help resurrect a glorious piece of Japan’s automotive history has presented itself. And the car in question could not be more different — a Supra race car from the height of the Tuner Era, one of the Toyota Team Castrol TOM’s Supras that raced in JGTC. Continue reading
Just a quick update about the rare 1960 LHD Prince Skyline that was found in an Idaho junkyard. In an Facebook update yesterday by Alexis Campos, who discovered the car originally. It reads “I have received numerous amount of messages, phone calls, emails about the Prince! Didn’t think this would blow up like it did. Today, the Prince is officially sold! It will be on its way to Japan 👍.” [UPDATE: According to the yard, the car has been paid for and they are looking for wheels to slap on so it can be shipped to Japan immediately.] To everyone who helped get the word out about this rare car, great work helping saving this car. Hopefully we’ll see it at a car show in Japan in a few years!
Are you having trouble figuring out what to do with all your used Amazon boxes? Perhaps these incredible cardboard cars can spark an idea or two. YouTuber Papa Ken has several videos showing off his amazing skills in building corrugated kyusha. Not only do they have accurate exteriors, but Papa Ken has, impressively, crafted detailed engine bays and interiors that you can once you open the hinged hood and doors. Continue reading
The Shibuya Crossing, also known as the Shibuya Scramble, is the busiest pedestrian intersection in the world. It’s the intersection Sean’s Evo, Han’s Veilside RX-7, and the Drift King’s Z (digitally) slid through in Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, and by some estimates at peak times 2,500 people can cross the 5-way intersection in a single light cycle. A quarter million people can stroll through it in one day, but in 1974 it was a bit less hectic.
A Prince Gloria sedan heads west down Dogenzaka Street to the left, while a Kujira Crown taxi, Skyline Van, and TE27 Corolla wait to come eastward. On the right, what appears to be a Toyota Corona Mark II drives towards the camera Bunkamura Street. The cute little Mitsu Maru shop at the corner was replaced just a few years later by the Shibuya 109 mega-mall in April 1979. Here’s what this Shibuya Crossing looks like today.
We hope you had a good Father’s Day yesterday. The JNC family welcomed three babies over the last year or so, my son included. Personally speaking, I can’t wait until he is old enough to hang with me in the garage, and it has made me think a lot about what I will share with him when he’s ready (We don’t want to exclude anyone whose mothers were the wrenchers in the family, so feel free to respond with mom lessons too).
What did your dad teach you about cars?
Being a dad is a thankless but ultimately rewarding job. Now, there’s the 1980 Honda Ballade — it even rhymes with “dad”! — in 1300 and 1500 cc engine sizes. The katakana even offers a cheers “To the nicest family.” the one that you made! Happy Father’s Day from JNC!
Speaking of how some owners go through incredible effort and expense and just for a small, barely noticeable change? Hayato Muramatsu did that with his 1979 Datsun 620 by shaving the bed and combining it with the cab. The resulting “ute” is simply stunning. Happy 620 Day from JNC!
“How would a 1990s Formula 1 car stack up against a contemporary sports coupe of the era?” is something you were surely pondering over your Corn Flakes this morning. Luckily, a pair of Hondas answered this exact question back in 1992 at Suzuka Circuit. A then-new fourth-gen Prelude, used as a pace car at the Honda-owned track, was pitted against a Tyrrell 020 powered by a RA101E Honda V10, and that was just one of the reasons it was an unfair fight. Continue reading
Drifting went pro in 2000 when the D1 Grand Prix series was founded. But long before D1GP, there was the Ikasu Hashiriya Team Tengoku (roughly translated to Ikasu Racer Team Heaven), an amateur drift series that bridged the era between completely illegal night-time touge drifting of the 1980s and the professionally sanctioned D1GP of the early 2000s. Continue reading
The level of detail on the best Japanese customs can be mind-blowing. Take Kenichi Iizuka’s Mugen CR-X Pro, for instance. The aero kit from the Honda specialists at Mugen is already a Bubble Era aftermarket classic, but it was much more than simple ground effects. Continue reading
In our dimension, the once mighty Mitsubishi Motors has been relegated to just a few unremarkable models for penny pinchers. In an alternate dimension, a futuristic sports car, a true successor to the flagship 3000GT VR-4 of the 1990s, exists. This is one designer’s vision of what could have been. Continue reading