Happy 323 Day from JNC

The first Japanese car to win a Group A WRC race wasn’t a Subaru. It wasn’t a Mitsubishi, either, or a Toyota. It was a Mazda. On Valentine’s Day 1987, the humble Mazda 323 4WD (known as the Mazda 323 GTX in the US), won Rally Sweden, ahead of cars like the Lancia Delta HF and Audi Quattro. The winning car was driven by Timo Salonen with Seppo Harjanne navigating, but a second Mazda 323 4WD also finished in fourth place. Just remember that next time you see a small Mazda hatchback.

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MOTORSPORT: 1967 Daihatsu P-5 race car restored

These days Daihatsu is doing brisk business manufacturing an endless variety of kei cars as a Toyota subsidiary. It doesn’t have any presence to speak of in the world of motorsports today, but in the wild west of 1960s Japan, the company built and ran a full-on race car. The 1967 Daihatsu P-5 has been making the rounds at shows like the Tokyo Auto Salon and Osaka Auto Messe, having recently emerged from a restoration that spanned over ten years. Continue reading

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MINICARS: Praise the JNC gods for this Datsun 240Z bath toy

Because my wife is expecting and we will soon have a little car nut of our own, I have recently spent an inordinate amount of time in the baby section of stores, desperate for cool JNC-related stuff. Not surprisingly, it’s proven difficult. Most vehicle-themed baby items are pretty darn lame, if I’m honest. The majority feature not-real cars, and seem to be 90 percent fire truck. I dreaded having to introduce my son to the world of toy cars with goofy cartoon jalopies. As enthusiast parents we should demand better for our kids, and that’s why I was so excited to discover this awesome Datsun 240Z bath toy. Continue reading

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PROFILES: Hiep Dang got these other Nissans instead of an R32

Usually when we dive into the waters of collecting cars, we inherit the gene from a family member or a group of friends, and our interests follow theirs. We usually start off with something simple and move up from there. How often is it that we start our obsession with something completely unheard of and jump right off the deep end? Well there is at least one of collector like this, and his name is Hiep Dang. Continue reading

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MINICARS: Enjoy your music through a Subaru 360

Music is great, but speakers are typically pretty boring. If you’re tired of bathing your eardrums with your favorite bops via a dull old cube or cylinder, perhaps a speaker shaped like a Subaru 360 is more your jam. Continue reading

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NEWS: Nissan exec suggests next Z and GT-R might be electric

With both the Z and GT-R in generations that have lasted a decade or so with no hints about their futures. So, whenever a top Nissan executive whispers a phrase about either model, enthusiasts take notice. The most recent utterance comes from Chief Planning Officer, Philippe Klein, who told Top Gear that the company is pondering the next step for both the Z and GT-R. Continue reading

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QotW: What’s your favorite car from Japan’s tuning era?

If there’s anything we learned from the tragic passing of Junichi Tanaka a week ago, it was that many of you came to the world of Nihon steel after encountering an insane demo or race car from the glory days of Japan’s tuning era. These were days when specialty shops all across Japan were creating supercar-level drag, drift, and time attack cars, from Honda Civics to V12 Supras.

What’s your favorite car from Japan’s tuning era?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “Daily, Garage, Sell — Honda CR-X Si, Honda Civic Si, or Acura Integra GS-R?Continue reading

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Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the Irish-spec Toyota AE86

Ah, St. Patrick’s Day, the most hackneyed of holidays, that magical time of year when Americans tack up caricatures of supposed Irish culture like shamrocks and leprechauns and guzzle offensively named cocktails. Why not switch it up and salute authentically Irish things, like immersion water heaters, rashers bacon, or the Toyota AE86. Continue reading

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NIHON LIFE: Japan raises speed limit to 75 mph

Japan has raised its speed limit to 120 kph (75 mph) on two major expressways, the highest maximum that has ever been allowed in the country. The high-speed zones span a 50-kilometer section of the Shin-Tomei Expressway between in Shizuoka Prefecture and a 27-kilometer section of the Tohoku Expressway in Iwate Prefecture. Continue reading

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MOTORSPORT: Everyone’s swapping 2JZs into the new Supra

A few of Japan’s professional drift teams have already gotten their hands on the new A90 Toyota Supra and are building them for competition in D1GP. In a new Option video, Notable AE86 aficionado and Toyota works driver Akira Iida drifts a brand new 2020 Supra before it is promptly torn down to become the D1 car of Masato Kawabata. What’s the first thing to go in? A 2JZ. Continue reading

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VIDEO: JUN Auto Mechanic’s brain-melting creations

As we mourn the loss of Jun Auto Mechanic founder Junichi Tanaka, let’s take a a look back at some of his incredible creations. These were, for many enthusiasts, the dream cars that hooked them on Japan’s tuning culture. Though decades old now, the passage of time has not made these cars any less impressive. Continue reading

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QotW: Daily, Garage, Sell — 90s Honda Edition

Welcome to another edition of Daily, Garage, Sell, JNC‘s version of Bang, Marry, Kill. Back in the late 80s and early 90s, you any glance at the local bookstore magazine shelf was sure to reveal at least one Honda cover car. Not only were they the choice of tuners, they seemed to take whatever horsepower or weight in bodykit bondo thrown at them. And to the normals, they were reliable transportation as well. Whether driven by the neighborhood little old lady or ripping drags down the street near the industrial park, the iconic nameplate of CRX, Civic, and Integra offered something for everyone. Now you must choose, and for the purposes of this game you can choose your trim level, but they must max out at Si or GS-R (sorry, no SiR Type Rs — that’s for a future round). So without further ado:

Daily, Garage, Sell — Honda CR-X Si, Honda Civic Si, or Acura Integra GS-R?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s JNC life like with a baby?” Continue reading

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MARKETWATCH: 1994 Toyota Supra Turbo sells for $173,000

Told ya so.

For more photos and description of the car, see the auction listing.

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RIP Junichi Tanaka, founder of Jun Auto Mechanic, 1943-2019

One of the powerhouses of Japan’s tuning world has passed. It was announced yesterday that Junichi Tanaka, founder of Jun Auto Mechanic, died the morning of March 5, 2019 due to complications from cancer. He was 76 years old. The firm was one of Japan’s most prolific tuning houses, the proof of which were the numerous world speed records held by the bright yellow cars that emerged from its walls. Continue reading

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MOTORSPORT: Kaori Okamoto — actor, businesswoman, race car driver

To say that Kaori Okamoto was multi-talented would be an understatement. Known today primarily as an actor, Okamoto in her long career has also been an author, entrepreneur, and yes, a race car driver. Okamoto wasn’t just your typical celebrity that took a couple of spins behind the wheel at a charity event. She was a bona-fide driver with a Class A license, and competed in some of the world’s toughest events. Continue reading

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EVENTS: Final New Year Meeting, Part 03 — Swap Meet

With the final New Year Meeting having come and gone, one of the things we’ll miss most is the swap meet that takes place during the show. For many, it was where you could find rare parts, collectible items, or out-of-print literature. Sure, it was hit or miss, with slim pickings some years and great ones the next, and it was stuff you could probably find by scouring specialty shops or auction sites, but on the last weekend in January, it was all in one place, provided you could fit it in your luggage. Continue reading

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Happy TE37 Day from JNC

Since we are mourning the loss of the New Year Meeting this year, here’s a sexy Corolla Coupe from happier days, capping off a long row of TE27s. A standout from its predecessors here in both chassis and color, the TE37 is not quite as beloved but makes a statement in this lineup. Happy TE37 Day from JNC!

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NEWS: Here are all the parts you can get from the Mazda Roadster Restore program

Ever since Mazda announced it would begin making reproduction parts for the first-generation Eunos Roadster, owners, enthusiasts and restorers of the beloved Miata have been excited about the list of parts that they might have access to. Well, Mazda Japan has published a full list of parts available from the program, and it’s pretty impressive. Continue reading

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NEWS: Toyota to revive Supra Turbo A designation, add horsepower?

Toyota will reportedly revive one of its most beloved Supra trims levels, according to Japan’s automotive tabloids. Car Top magazine in its April issue reports that in 2021, fans of the Toyota sports car can expect a higher-output version called the Supra Turbo A. Continue reading

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NEWS: Honda celebrates 50 years of CB750 with tribute bike

In 1969, the Honda CB750 revolutionized the motorcycle game. With an overhead cam, inline-four engine and front disc brake, it offered to the masses what was then only available on specialty racing two-wheelers. It was widely considered the world’s first superbike, and to celebrate that debut, Honda Italy has created a one-off homage to the influential machine. Continue reading

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