QotW: If you could have one JNC as your only car, what would it be?

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We know most of you have multiple cars. Your JNC, your kiddie haulers, your daily drivers, and so on. But let’s say you could only choose one vehicle to suit all your needs, and it had to be 25 years or older.

If you could only have one JNC as your car, what would it be?

And no, you can’t sell it. You’re stuck with it forever. There aren’t enough Toyota 2000GTs in the world to go around anyway. We think that a nice 510 wagon could serve most purposes and be just fun enough to keep life interesting.

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining or inspiring comment by next Monday will receive a toy. Click through to see the winner from last week’s question, “What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to get the JNC (or part) of your dreams?” 

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The winner this week is the humble Loquendo, who had this harrowing tale of JNC ownership to tell:

This isn’t a super crazy story but I bought an AE72 without knowing how to drive stick and drove from one side of Chicago to the other. It typically takes 40 minutes and it took me two hours. My fiance and I were pulled over twice because there were no plates, and slept overnight in a parking garage (steep hills) so no one would tow it. Each cop threatened to impound the vehicle. The next morning we drove it to get registered. That’s my story. Because of that car, I now know how to drive stick. The AE72 doesn’t have a tach, btw.

Omedetou! Your tale of woe has earned you a Hot Wheels Super Speeders mystery pack Mazda RX-7!

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41 Responses to QotW: If you could have one JNC as your only car, what would it be?

  1. ae86andkp61 said:

    I have already answered the question, even though a currently have two JNC’s, they are both of the same year and model, 1985 Toyota Corolla GT-S, the venerable AE86! I have one coupe and one hatchback, but the hatchback wins hands down. I have used mine for road trips, autocross, dates, track days, moving furniture, rallycross, parking downtown, TSD rally, exploring backroads (paved and unpaved), commuting, and yes, even some hard parking!

    Can’t beat that for versatility, and it is just new enough to have some of the benefits of modern cars (starts-every-time EFI, five-speed, reliable-stopping disc brakes, great seats with good adjustability, acceptable defroster, and intermittent wipers) with much of the vintage charm we all love (light weight, RWD, requires a driver with a clue to operate it, slightly funky styling, and occasional quirks while driving.)

    I have owned other JNC’s in the past, but the two Corollas have stood the test of time and I haven’t sold either. Since the introduction of the FR-S, I have contemplated selling the GT-S coupe to help buy a new Scion, but you will have to pry the hatchback from my cold, dead fingers once I am gone because I am keeping it for the rest of my life!

  2. Jordan said:

    Its hard to beat a clean old wagon, but If any vehicle could do it I believe its the Toyota Chinook [lowered on black Wats]. You get all the sex appeal of a late 70s Toyota, the ability to make comfortable cross-country pilgrimages to meets and events, and best of all you can live in it year round. Never again would you have to choose between paying rent, and buying classic wheels!

  3. Sprinter 1969 said:

    Well for me it would just have to be 1969 KE17 Sprinter SL!!!

    But I guess you’d all expect me to say that…

  4. Adam said:

    I could never part with my RA23 Celica… it won’t be practical in sooo many circumstances… but I love it… so it stays. Forever.

  5. jivecom said:

    1985 Toyota 4Runner. It looks pleasant, it’s capable and dependable, it has room for anything, and, unlike the pickup, you can actually put a seat in the back and cover it if you want to really scare your friends.
    “Are you sure this seat belt works man?”

  6. Trevor said:

    If I had to pick one JNC to live with for the rest of my life….hands down a KPGC10 Skyline GTR Hako.

  7. Danny said:

    If I had to live with just one JNC, I’d move somewhere that doesn’t use salt on the roads and continue to drive my fb RX-7.. The omp works sporadically at best so that I have to run premix, the header-back exhaust is noticeably loud with that unmistakable chainsaw 12a wail, and the Mikuni sidedraft (soon to be Weber IDA) is notoriously cold-blooded, but practicality is for suckers! For every camcord/kia sorento/(insert uninspiring commuter here) there is me, holding a heat gun to my intake runners while cursing the weather, and ripping through second gear as the neighborhood receives an audio-assault of Hiroshima Screamer soundtrack.. As JNCers we provide a public service, an audio-visual reminder to other drivers that they don’t have to shuffled around in high belt-line electrical nanny sitting rooms on wheels. So next time you’re frustrated that this is the 3rd time this year you’ve had to synchronize the carburetors on your triple Mikuni setup, just smile, because your neighbor drives a Ford Fusion, and we should all be so lucky as you..

  8. dankan said:

    Living in the frigid hell-hole that is Ottawa, I need something winter friendly. Being married with a little girl means I need something practical as well. But since I also want something fun, I’m having a hard time seeing past a Mazda 323 GT-X since an RS GTS-4 isn’t nostalgic yet.

    • yoda said:

      They made the 323GTX, they made a 323 wagon, but they never made a 323GTX wagon.
      THAT would be the perfect only-car-ever car!

      • Bob said:

        A friend of mine is currently living that life- he sold a haggard E30 and purchased a 323 GTX from a friend of a friend who hoarded the cars, this apparently being his nicest GTX. Gas mileage isn’t great, parts are impossible to find, and he had the joy of the transfer case exploding while driving along the freeway two months ago, and taking out the trans with itself. Super fun. He got lucky as the previous owner sold him a rebuilt trans and transfer case for $500, and he paid a tech at the dealer he works at to help him with the swap… but still, the car is a nifty toy, and the impression I get is that overall, he’d rather have another E30 in the end.

        • yoda said:

          Off Japanese marques for a bit, but IMO it counts as a real blown opportunity on Ford’s part that they didn’t put that AWD system in the CT20 Escort/Tracer wagon.

          Granted, it would’ve strangled the Explorer in its’ cradle, but then they wouldn’t have had to fork back over every dime of the firstgen’s profits in lawsuit payouts because the only way to make a chassis built to be a Hilux-beater ride like a car was to recommend dangerously low TP.

  9. Mike said:

    Now THAT is a trick question if I’ve ever heard one. Most of us would never apply the potential abuse and general risk to our old classics on a daily level. Having more than one car allows us the option to at least distribute some of the greater abuse/abuse to vehicles with tougher skins and interior materials.But of all the vehicles that COULD handle the abuse/risk, I’d say the Toyota Cressida wagon.

    Few options have the interior room, tough(er) materials, reliable fuel injected power, and overall daily capability/reliability. The ’85-’88 (U.S./Canada) have the bumpers to absorb a low-speed impact and leave the bodywork unscathed. Plus the optional Limited Slip Diff for slippery weather. Add some undercoating, rustproofing and winter/ice tires and you can drive the snow belt no problem.

    • Paul Rain said:

      Heck yeah, the Cressida’s are the only (readily available) Jap vehicle which a taller person can start to relax in. And very practical in every other way.

      Of course.. if you’re willing to relax those constraints, there’s always the Century. Have only driven one once, but it is the step above the Cressida that the Cressida is above all other Jappas.

  10. pete240z said:

    240Z – there are a ton of people selling and making new parts. I cannot say that about a 510 or Datsun 1600/2000.

  11. Reece said:

    Something like the Sparkle Garage MX32 Cressida. Or maybe a First Gen Celica XX.

  12. Nigel said:

    1) R30 Skyline four door, or wagon.
    2) If I can’t get the R30 then next choice is a Nissan 620 or 720 pickup.
    And get the government to ban road salt.

  13. socarboy99 said:

    That’s easy for me to answer, a late 70′s-early 80s Toyota Corolla wagon. Small Japanese wagons from that era were some of the most versitile vehicles ever made. The Scion xB and Nissan Cube are a modern day interpretation of this theme. I have a friend that used a hideously abused 77 Corolla wagon as a work car. It had a jillion miles, savaged interior and a paint job that featured surface rust, so much so he called the car “Scab”. He tried to eventually kill it but it refused to die. He now wishes he had a vehicle so faithful!

  14. MR2_D2 said:

    I’d have to say that my ’86 MR2 that I rescued and swapped a 20v into would be the JNC I would want as my daily. Mainly because I put so much time and hard work into it and it’s the funnest car I’ve ever owned and I have fun driving every time I get into it. It may only be a 2 seater but that’s ok, I’m single (probably because I spend more time with it than I do trying to get a date.) and I don’t have children and I never really have to haul anything around. Plus it’s small, small cars are the best. Cars today are getting too big. My MR2 would be the perfect daily for me because it has everything I need and nothing I don’t.

  15. bert said:

    If it were at all possible, I would track down THE black 1986 Toyota MR2 that I owned ten years ago. Sure I could find A black 86 MR2, but it wouldn’t be THE MR2 that I took my wife to our first date in. The one I stuffed baby toys in both trunks, every crevice, behind the seats, and kicked my best friend out of the car, so I could bring them to her for her baby, and show off my halo. The same car that I would open the door for her, help her in, tuck her skirt, then push down the street as fast as I could, jump in, pop the clutch, cause the starter went out. The 86 MR2 that I beat that Camaro with on three cylinders at 105mph. The one that happily skipped across the lake that was I5 in that slight drizzle us Pacific Northwesterners call spring. So many good times with THAT 86 MR2! If I could find it again, I would run to it (in slow motion with Journey playing in the background) and hug it and squeeze it and call it George! I would apologize for trading it in for that loathsome 03 Honda Shadow 1100, and leaving it in the dust to suffer who knows what sad fate it has endured these last long, miserable ten years! I would wash it, and feed it, and care for it, and hold onto it for all eternity, as long as it takes for my sweet 86 MR2 to forgive me!!!!!!!!(sniff) :(

    That’s what I would pick.

    That’s what I would

  16. Spudenater said:

    I think a late 70′s Subaru BRAT would make a nice daily. Cool old Leone styling, fuel efficient, AWD for when you need it, and a truck bed (if you can call it that) for moving things around. You could even put some friends in those jump seats if they’re feeling adventurous..

  17. datto410 said:

    Hakosuka… need i say more?

  18. Tofuik said:

    Eagle Mask gx61. Its got oldschool appeal with a slightly modern looking twist. It’s got a fantastic sounding engine plus a handful of engines you can swap in if you feel the need (and depending on how you like your j-tin served resto or extra mod-o). Its a luxury car with plenty of newer innovations as well as a comfortable interior. Plus cold ass toyota a/c and toyota reliability. I guess in the end I’m not hard core enough to live life with out many of the things that made modern driving comfortable for a daily, but I always appreciate a beautify body when I see one no matter the age.

  19. miatadon said:

    I have several Japanese cars: a 2001 Miata SE, a ’92 Integra GS-R, a ’91 Mazda B2600 pickup, and a ’91 Civic Si. I love old MGs, but I must say Japanese cars are much better made, and demand a lot less repair than British cars.

    Of the cars I own, I think the most versatile and user-friendly is the Civic Si. I wanted to find a ’87 Civic Si, but this ’91 came my way, and I bought it. It is comfortable, usable, quiet, fun to drive, and it gets 40 mpg. People even ask me if I want to sell it, but I tell them no.

    http://www.mgexp.com/registry/CIVICSI

  20. Kev said:

    I’d say…an FC3S RX-7. Fast enough to feel modern, and loaded with enough convenience features (a/c, power steer, etc) to not-be a pain in the ass in traffic. And not so old that you’d wince and have mental images of rusting metal everytime it rains :)

  21. Geoff said:

    Well I’m quite happy with my FB series 3, however for a life-long rig I dont know it would work. I end up hauling a lot of stuff somewhat regularly, so wagon’s are def my bag. That said:

    RX-3 wagon

    http://memimage.cardomain.com/ride_images/1/2848/2021/7118510001_large.jpg

  22. Matt said:

    Probably a Datsun pl510. A four door so storage is easier when the small truck has filled up, or if the dog (or in the future, the baby) has to be taken to the park or the beach. Dual side draft intakes to raise smiles and thumbs up when the urge to put a foot down takes over the mind. Sitting low with some Watanabes or Panasports would give the wanted look, plus it would be somewhat of a period correct, John Norton BRE style that hopefully would not anger too many purists! Original paint, patina’d over time would add loads of character to a honest car that doesn’t try to be something it’s not.

  23. Dimas said:

    A midnight blue s30 fairlady z just like the devil z of wangan midnight is the top of the list kyusha i want and dreamt of. It’s the one thing that introduce me to the world of Japanese classic’s.

  24. Dimitri said:

    Datsun 610. Seeing those rare coupés here in California makes me proud that I own a S30. I mean look, an RX-3 would do too, but seeing those mini Kenmarys glorify japan and any car enthusiast if done and treated right.

    The cosmo (RX-5) or the original Silvia (CSP311) would raise brows as well, but those you would want to drive during the weekends, events, or meets. The Datsun 610 would win it for me; Daily Driver, Weekend Driver, Showcar, ANY event, ANYwhere, this badass would do wonders for me.

  25. Steven said:

    Luckily my dream JNC is just barely old enough to qualify, the Nissan Cedric Cima. Infinite class and style, no B-pillar, straight six/rear wheel drive, and it’s just the right size for day-to-day driving (big enough to be comfortable, but small enough to park and get decent gas mileage. I’d have mine in dark red, dark green, or light blue, with light tan wool seats. I would have to get used to sitting on the wrong side of the car, which means never being able to use a parking garage, drive-through, mail box, or ATM again without someone in the passenger seat, but I think that’s worth it…

    From a cruising standpoint I should probably pick the Mazda Persona (much better visibility and style, thanks to slender roof pillars, larger glass area, windows that roll down further and don’t look broken, and seat belts that aren’t mounted to the ceiling), but if I’m stuck with one car forever I’d want all the additional luxury features of the Cima, like touchscreen computer interface, air suspension, softer seats, and all the unique little touches like side mirror wipers and rear passenger foot pass-through in the back of the front seat.

    Luckily both these cars are just now becoming eligible for import to the US (the first year models of both are now 25, and by 2018 the full run of both models will be fair game), so I plan to try to track one down as soon as I can afford it.

  26. Tyler said:

    I’ve settled on a Honda S800 coupe with a trailer hitch. My EG is too big and not RWD enough…

  27. james said:

    i’ll take a 4wd subaru alcyone/xt

  28. limesub said:

    Well I have owed it for 17 years so I will have to say my 1978 Subaru 4WD Wagon. Quirky like only the Japanese can do!

  29. Jesse Risk said:

    Im the kind of guy that would gladly lay my money into something both practical and nostalgic- and with a little one on the way, i cant see a better car for me than a 1977 Cedric Brouham. I want my daughter to grow up living in the back seat of a sizeable and character-filled nostalgic that nobody elses dad owned. wood-grain steering-wheel, medium sliver paint and a hearty, cabin-warming L-series engine. Thats what childhood memories are made of.
    And that’s what a nostalgic daily driver is for most of us, i think- something we can own that our daughters cherish for its personality and our sons want to showoff with its pillar-less midsection and gleaming bodylines. For me, its the understated menace of that 4-part grille and oddball-badging.
    I’m currently trying to find one myself, hopefully for when my daughter is born, under the mighty Datsun 260C moniker. Wish me luck!

  30. ylee said:

    everyone must be crazy! why no one want 2000gt?

  31. Anthony Bermudez said:

    Well it would be my 74 Te27! back then nobody knew what car I have and having a mild built 2TG in it also made it even more rare. I still drive it once in awhile & still have the same reaction from people. giving me a thumbs up & one time these fellow actually followed me home just to see and see what I have! I almost sold her off one time, but my daughter told me she wanted it. She is here to stay!!

  32. JAY48 said:

    I only own one JNC and that’s my ’86 JDM KE72V. It’s basically a stripped down Corolla wagon with a facelift front for commercial duties. I don’t drive it much (bus more convenient!) but it’s hard to imagine driving anything else. I have wild dreams where I roll up a mattress, throw some food in there and just go for a looong drive and camp out at night! Plus the driver’s and passenger seats can be raked far back to be level with the rear seat after the headrests have been removed so it becomes an instant bed! It’s truly a go-anywhere car and it’s pretty reliable. Unfortunately, rust is a problem and I’m battling it every single day! Not bad for a 27 year old car!
    Jay.

  33. tim said:

    hino contessa or ff1 and definatly cosmo r100 rx2 & 3.
    yeap thats me.

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