BIKES: Kawasaki revives the Meguro marque with K3 vertical twin

Kawasaki has just revealed one of the coolest bikes we’ve ever seen. Japan has seen no shortage of retro styled motorcycles in recent years, but none have been more of a throwback than this, the Meguro K3. Not only does it hearken back to an old model line, but it revives an entire long-dead brand. Continue reading

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VIDEO: The Isuzu Rodeo was cheap but cool

If you were a teenager in the late 80s or early 90s, wanting an Isuzu more than anything in the world was not an odd thing. Dealerships were lined with sleek Impulses and colorful Amigos. The coolest kid in my high school got several notches cooler when he showed up one day in a brand new red Rodeo. I was shocked that a Mustang or Z wasn’t the car of choice. It was at that time I should’ve seen the SUV-pocalypse coming. Continue reading

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QotW: What JNC things are you thankful for this year?

It’s almost Thanksgiving in a crazy, tumultuous, and strange year. But if there’s one thing that can keep us sane, it’s our JNCs. Cars have no idea what ails the world. The friends we make, the experiences we have, and the places we go thanks to them can be a soothing salve when everything else in life is not so good. We continue to the thankful to you, our readers, for making the JNC life fun, for keeping the spirit of old Japanese cars alive, and for the friendships forged around the world, all resulting from an irrational love for hunks of old Japanese steel.

What JNC things are you thankful for this year?

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 fast food story?Continue reading

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The Mazda 3 Turbo, a true sport compact for those who love driving

Cars, as we know them, are dying. Even if the switch to autonomous driving doesn’t kill them, the buying public’s insatiable appetite for crossovers will. In the waning days of the automobile, though, there is one company that still gets it. One that still understands why we fell in love with cars in the first place. When they say a car is fun to drive, it’s not just some empty marketing tagline. They mean it, they can prove it, and you can feel it. That company is Mazda, and the evidence is the Mazda 3 Turbo. Continue reading

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Toyota will drown 65 years of history and tradition in a shallow bathtub by discontinuing the Crown sedan

It’s been a hard year and we’re so close to the finish line. Before it leaves us, though, 2020 is going to deliver one last sucker punch to the gut. The Chunichi Shimbun newspaper reports that Toyota will kill off the Crown sedan. This, my friends, is an outrage. Continue reading

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This is the second-generation Subaru BRZ

The first Subaru BRZ was a lightweight, compact, rear-wheel-drive sports coupe in an age that saw consumers abandon, in droves, fun-to-drive cars for enormous crossovers. In other words, it was practically destined to be a single-generation flash of automotive history. Eight years in the market was a long time, but the good news was that Subaru has been working on a successor. The even better news is, it seems to largely carry on the spirit of the first. Continue reading

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The Toyota Automobile Museum has opened a “Motorsport Biography” exhibit

“A harsh environment of competition toughens our people and cars,” said Toyota Motor founder Kiichiro Toyoda once said. It’s a quote framing the Toyota Automobile Museum in Aichi, Japan’s newly opened an exhibit highlighting some of the company’s historic race cars. Titled “Toyota Motorsport Biography: Everlasting Challenge Spirit”, the six-month rotation spans fifty years of the company’s competition machines. Continue reading

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MINICARS: The classic Tomica Building playset updated and re-released for 50th anniversary

Originally released in 1971, the Tomica Building was one of the most popular and iconic playsets from the diecast company’s early years. The palm-sized diecast cars that had debuted in 1970 had turned out to be a big success, so it was only natural to accompany them with a large playset where kids could roll them down ramps. Now, for the 50th anniversary of the Tomica brand, they’ve re-released an updated version. Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Soichiro Honda

Today is the birthday of Soichiro Honda, found of Honda Motor and known badass. A picture is worth a thousand words, and this photo says so much about who he was —  a man who was adamant that his nascent company’s first car be a sports car, the S-chassis roadster seen in the background. But, he was also a CEO who was willing to get down on the shop floor to sketch out his next mad idea in chalk. There aren’t many like him today in the automotive world anymore. He would have been 114 if he were alive today. Happy birthday, Honda-san.

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NEWS: Nissan may sell its stake in Mitsubishi Motors

It seemed like just yesterday that Nissan took a controlling stake in Mitsubishi Motors. Now, some insiders are saying that it’s looking to abandon the project like a crank-walked Eclipse. It’s no secret that Nissan is hemorrhaging cash, a one-two punch due to the weakening of the industry altogether and the compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. But, Mitsubishi is worth less than half of what Nissan paid in 2016 and wouldn’t do that much to wipe out Nissan’s debt anyway. Continue reading

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QotW: What’s your favorite JNC fast food story?

Today, November 16, is National Fast Food Day. While I generally try to avoid the stuff for health reasons, there’s one situation where I give myself á la carte blanche: road trips. Whether it’s picking up a Craigslist score, cannonballing across state lines to fetch a heavy part, or heading to a distant show, road trips not only necessitate fast food, but demands it by tradition. Plus, those processed calories taste oh so good.

What’s your favorite JNC fast food story?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What JNC van should star in a Japanese A-Team reboot?Continue reading

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Mazda shows its new straight-six, a beacon of light in an otherwise dismal earnings report

Mazda has just released its second-quarter earnings reports, and it’s not pretty. The company posted an operating loss of $502 million and sales, impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, were down 21 percent to just 578,000 units worldwide. Deep inside the report, though, was a glimmer of something we’ve been eagerly waiting for as enthusiasts — a first glimpse of the straight-six engine powering its upcoming RWD sports sedan. Continue reading

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Acura revives Long Beach Blue heritage color on the new NSX

Acura is continuing to bring back what it calls heritage colors on the new NSX for 2021. Long Beach Blue Pearl is one of the rarest paint colors offered on the first-generation NSX. Though it was offered for four years, from 2002-05, according to Acura only 88 cars wearing this color were sold in the US. Continue reading

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Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia is restoring a ruined 2000GT

Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia recently announced they are undertaking a tremendous project: restoring what might be the country’s only 2000GT. The car was stuffed in a garage for 40 years, surrounded by junk, but it had been ruined long before that. Though car looks complete at a glance, under the sheetmetal it had been heavily modified, and the amount of work to bring it back to its original glory isn’t for the faint of heart. Continue reading

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Chief engineers of Mazda Miata, R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R inducted into Japan Automotive Hall of Fame

In addition to cars, the Japan Automotive Hall of Fame also honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the country’s motoring culture. For 2020 three people were inducted: Toshihiko Hirai, chief engineer of the original NA Mazda Roadster; Naganori Ito, the chief engineer of the R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R; and Namiki Oka, a journalist and city planner. Here’s a little more about each of these significant figures. Continue reading

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Japan’s Automotive Hall of Fame inductees for 2020 include the Suzuki Jimny, Honda RA272

Each year the Japan Automotive Hall of Fame choose three classic automobiles of historic significance to honor, and they’ve announced their inductees for 2020. More so than in past years, the trio covers extreme opposite ends of the vehicular spectrum. Two rugged trucks sit at one end, and a fine-tuned racing machine at the other. The honorees are the Toyopet SKB, first-generation Suzuki Jimny, and Honda RA272. Continue reading

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NEWS: The next Subaru BRZ isn’t coming to Europe

If a new report out of Europe is correct, Subaru won’t be bringing the second-gen BRZ to that market. That would make the 100-run Final Edition launched in Germany earlier this year truly final. Furthermore, according to Autocar, the BRZ is going to be a US-only model. The article doesn’t say why, but we think the Supra may offer a hint. Continue reading

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QotW: What JNC van should star in a Japanese A-Team reboot?

In 1972 a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a court even Nissan’s CEO didn’t want to face for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Tokyo underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the J-team. Cue the music!

To be clear, there isn’t a Japanese A-Team reboot coming. I know, it’s tragic. But if there was, what kind of van would house four ex-military fugitives, be able to evade the law, and haul around their vast arsenal of weapons, surveillance equipment, and disguises?

What JNC van should star in a Japanese A-Team reboot?

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 radio controlled JNC?Continue reading

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EF Honda Civic-driving idiot tries to run from police

One of my guilty pleasures is watching dashcam and police chase videos. It’s rare though that the subject of the pursuit is one of our own. And by one of our own I mean the enthusiast of an old Japanese car, not someone dumb enough to run from the police. Sadly, the driver of this Civic makes what seems to be a series of poor life decisions, starting with leading police on a long chase that, predictably, ends with the unfortunate Civic damaged and in a ditch. Continue reading

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Subaru teases new BRZ with closeup images and touge roads

There isn’t a whole lot of information about the second-gen BRZ on Subaru’s website, updated yesterday, but we do get a couple of glimpses of the car in a photo and video. The first is an up-close, head-on view of the headlight and hood, and from what we can see, it looks pretty good. The headlight is shorter, and the hood lines appear clean and purposeful. It seems a bit more mature than its predecessor. Continue reading

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