QotW: What’s the worst thing about loving JNCs?

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Aside from the occasional hater, most of you are here because you love Japanese nostalgic cars. But as we all know, what you love most can also hurt you the most.

What’s the worst thing about loving JNCs?

Being passionate about cars most people don’t think are classics yet can lead one down strange paths. Some seethe at owners who don’t take good care of their cars while others try to save them all. The Z31 collectors Skorj spotted in Tohoku appears to cover both sides of the coin. Most of us are just constantly patching up mechanisms that were never meant to last 30 years while our garages become piles of spare parts and our children grow up without us.

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 best way to introduce someone to the world of JNCs?” 

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There were many great comments in response to last week’s question, and we came thiiiis close to choosing DerrickS or E-AT_me for simply advocating JNC.comxs10shl was also a strong contender, but we weren’t sure whether it was for QotW or Master of Seduction. In  the end, it was DirtyRice, for his moving journey of discovery.

The answer is history. It’s the story behind these great cars that give them meaning. Knowing the context of the times and discovering how these older models transformed the automotive world, giving us the beloved cars we have today is really amazing if you think about the journey. If enthusiasts of modern cars can make that connection between the old and the new, I think their appreciation of the past will grow.

And all it takes is that one car to create that spark. For me, it was the popular Nissan S30 line. The beautiful body and scooped headlights really resonated with me and I started researching. I read about the differences between the 240Z, 260Z, 280Z, and the Fairlady Z. Then I began reading about the history of the Datsun brand. And all that led me here to the JNC website where I learned about other classic models.

If I were to introduce someone to this JNC world, I would share its rich history, but also look for that sparked interest to ignite their starting point. And hopefully the appreciation for these beautiful cars would grow within them just as it has for me.

Omedetou! Your inspiring comment has earned you a rare Hot Wheels Super Speeders mystery pack Mazda RX-7!

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38 Responses to QotW: What’s the worst thing about loving JNCs?

  1. Matt said:

    For me it’s an easy one, rust. Anything beats hesitating at the sight of cancerous metal when you just want to dive into a project or full on restoration.

  2. James said:

    The worst thing for me is going to wrecking yards for parts. Seeing the cars bent and broken being picked clean. Some are salvagable – but like the crazy cat woman we all have in our suburbs you can’t rescue them all. I have even convinced one or two friends through the years to rescue something I really felt was going to waste.

    In a fast paced world, with more and more rules on what the young can and cannot drive it seems the classic cars, Japanese and otherwise are slowly fading. The young are the future of the Japanese classics. It is what we all lusted after as children of the 70’s and 80’s but government regulations on a cleaner and greener world and a fast paced lifestyle conspire to rob us of these visually stunning and technically impressive machines.

    It’s up to hard core JNC fans to find these cars resting in sheds, tucked under trees and pushed into corners to ensure they are preserved so we can appreceiate them for many years to come.

  3. ErikFM said:

    EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING IS THE WORST PART.

    From waking up in the extremely cold mornings and trying to heat up your car just to START it, running late because you just HAD to leave the car running for 10 minutes to make sure shes all prepped and ready to go. As you start to pull out, you see oil on the concrete where your JNC slumbers, and drop to your knees to find the leak.

    Then, on the way to work, that all too familiar rattle noise starts to get louder and louder, and you pull over to investigate why, but still can’t find a reason. So you spend your day wondering what the hell it was, and if it’s safe to drive home. After a nervous ride home, you spend your free time researching the possible causes, stripping the whole car down for the 3rd time this month not finding anything. The remainder of your free time goes to forums asking questions trying to find a possible answer, and to do more research on them. You then realize it’s past 3am, and you’ve spent the night looking at parts for JNCs you don’t have, at prices you can’t afford. And you STILL haven’t replaced that rusty floorboard that is desperately calling your attention. That asshole on the forum didn’t reply to you if he would sell you that one-of-a-kind-ultra-rare-part yet either.

    After thinking about that paint job you’ll finally get next paycheck, you realize that you have a great date tonight, and girls just LOVE the smell of gasoline and lap belts, not to mention that rattle noise still hasn’t dissapated. You question to yourself if your JNC will even drive successfully for extended amounts of time.

    So you go back to your job, to fund a car that you use to go to work, but constantly breaks down, so your money goes back into fixing it instead of upgrading it. A Catch22 for sure, your finances are stuck in limbo.

    But it’s worth it all to me. There is nothing I love more than waking up every morning, peering outside my windows and seeing a bright yellow ’72 510 sitting comfortably, and knowing that 40 years have passed, and this car, no, HISTORY is still here today.

    (albeit in a frankenstein, parts from other donors kind of way.)

    • Lupus said:

      Honestly, I live in similair manner. Even though my car is only 22 years old it behaves just as Yours. He woves for my attention when i leve Him in the garage for several days. He needs constant attention when i use Him as daily-driver. He’s jealous for women, he dosn’t like to carry them. He dosn’t accept other drivers, mechanics etc. Expept the only women that was truly important to me. She could do with Him everything. Just like with me. He never broke when She was behind the wheel. Shortly after, when i was driving – he did. When She left oil pump started to leak, and 3rd piston cracked. His 2nd engine was down, like a broken heart of mine.
      And that’s probobly the worts thing about old cars. We seem to get connected to them. There is some kind of relationship between man and machine. My soul is linked to His. Because old cars have soul. If they could, they would for sure teel us some fascinating story’s. And i can not imagene myself my life without Him. I can’t even think obut loosing that demonic car. I feel that He drains my from money, energy, health, time. But i still work on Him. For some odd reason i always choose Him over living pepole. And laytly i started to talk with Him…

  4. JackW said:

    I think the worst part is that point you reach where you are installing parts, repairing something, etc and everything’s looking real good, and then, you cannot go any further due to lack of funds. winds taken directly out your sails. Of course im coming from a restoration point of view… as in the car still wont run until you save up that extra cash again.

  5. BenT. said:

    Owning a JNC is like raising a child. When you first get them, they’re pretty much useless. Yes, heartwarming too look at but takes all your time and money, and gives you shit in return. But after countless sacrifices, they will progress. And when the time comes, they will make you proud. Then you sit back in you rocking chair and say “Yep, all worth it.”

  6. Sean said:

    Owning a JNC is like having an ugly girlfriend You put all your time and effort and let’s not forget the money. Into her to make her into what she is today and she gives you a couple of thrill rides just to show you she loves you and cares. But it always ends in heartache broken down on the highway once again then you fall on tough times and have to do the unthinkable and here comes along a man with deeper pockets than you and just like that the two timing hussy becomes that perfect ten you always wanted. And you always catch them around town together having oh so much fun. Just so you can start over again to do what you love in hopes that some day you can be that guy riding around with that perfect 10.

  7. Dimitri said:

    To currently own a S30 (260z) and previously, a Z31, pretty much the worst thing about loving a JNC’s is to actually… love it.

    The incredible engines made for JNC’s are remarkably astonishing from L24 to 3K and choosing carbs from Webers to Mikuni’s certainly made this personal interest into somewhat of a lifestyle. I too was grown into the world just by helping my dad with his Z31 and my uncle’s S130 and soon enough, those rough cold start mornings and constant tuning grabbed my eyes.

    Restoring one obviously proves how much you hate doing it, but thinking of WHY you’re doing it makes it so special because of how you feel about it. Got a rusty floorboard? Your battery mounts all eroded due to the acid? Rust all over the bottom of your fenders? Seats all ripped? Gauges don’t work? Hear that knock on your engine? At first, “God damn it… this is a lot of work” but in the end, if you’re passionate about it, patience and love will get you possibly to the covers of GWorks, or even here, on their site and magazines.

    When I bought my S30 I immediately looked up parts in which hours became minutes to mere seconds that sleep wasn’t even in my dictionary. Loving this goddamn car, owning one of my dream cars, and especially building it in honor of my father that just passed makes me feel proud of owning a JNC

    What hurts me today is that those who own a JNC, trouble their thoughts into making it modernized. We may have seen teens or midlife crisis adults who wave their cash into a crazy ass stereo system, unfitting horrible bodykits and rims, ridiculous spoilers and hoods, non original interior and while some of us think that’s cool in my opinion, that’s what’s hurting this culture.

    Truly in the end, if you TRULY TRULY love JNC’s, then the worst part is to keep loving every part and every mold that a JNC can give. Look, I’m for uniqueness, but don’t take away the title of being a classic enthusiast when you put on 20″ Enkei’s on your RA24.

    **** Loving JNC’s. <3

  8. Bart said:

    For me, it is the constant challenge to find aftermarket support. Finding obsolete parts, or alternatives, and spending soooooo much time and money slaving over something you know in the back of your head is just a big waste of time.

    I told my wife, “why can’t I be like everyone else, and just go buy a new car and be happy with it?”

  9. j3wman said:

    Worst thing about loving JNCs…

    NOTHING is simple. Lowering my AW11 i gotta weld and do all this other crap just for a 2.5″ drop, but im a man and im tackling that shit like a Honey Badger tackles his prey! but i love this stuff once i get the mr2 on its nuts its going to be a lot more rewarding than lowering my EF was.

    runner up is when im at work (autozone) and people come in and say “my car is old its not worth it to put on the nice alternator” then i say “your car is a 98 Civic hatchback, mine is an 85 MR2, please tell me about old. Plus your car is one of the most iconic imports ever, if you think that car isn’t worth it you’re an idiot” i get talked to a lot for saying that to people.

  10. derrick said:

    the worst part for me is having a jnc that was not sold in canada and not popular like a 510 or 240. i have a 69 datsun 1000 i have got most of my parts from austrailia or waiting for me there to ship them over once i have the money.
    it has taken me 3 years to find another for sale and its 1500 kms away and chances are ill fix up both as there just to few to part out in my opinion.
    so over all i think with a uncommon jnc you have to be very lucky and have lots on money.

  11. Arend said:

    worst thing is: I want them all?

    and my girlfriend won’t let me

  12. MOCMAN said:

    Resiliance. That’s what amazes me about the Japanese people and the cars they produce. It was barely even a decade since we (the U.S.) ended the war by dropping the bombs. And Japan in all their pride, thumbed their noses at the world and began exporting cars to the U.S. Then, in an even larger show of strength, surpassed the U.S. in auto production in 1980. Then two years later began manufacturing Japanese cars in the U.S. That just amazes me how when they could have easily just turned in to a defeated country, but they stood tall and took their place in automotive history. Bravo! Japan and your quality cars for the masses. Bravo!

  13. grandtouring said:

    The worse thing about loving JNC’s is its side effect of “while im at it”-itis.

    Doing a brake service? Well while im down here…BAM! Upgraded calipers, stainless steel lines, vented rotors, bigger booster and master cylinder.

    Cleaning up some surface rust? Hmm…Well while im at it… BAM! Now the car has been disassembled, acid bathed, patched up, seam welled, primered and ready for paint.

    Blown shock? Full coilover system.
    SU’s out of sync? Tripple mikuni’s
    Oil change? Race motor… ok that last one may be an exageration.

    The list goes on and on and sometime all we have to show for it is an agitated girlfriend and a lighter wallet.

  14. ewokracing said:

    Firstly, the part where I couldn’t save them all. I’ve seen so many near perfect cars sent to wrecking yards only to be crushed, simply because I couldn’t afford to buy them or house them. Because they were Japanese and not well known outside of enthsuist circles, they didn’t rouse any interest in the car driving public.
    Secondly, the one step forward three steps back pace when restoring a car where you simply can’t open a catalogue and order new tie rod ends or a tailshaft centre bearing. It really gets tedious when you have to continually adapt parts from other cars or have one made to suit.

    I still love chrome bumpered Japanese cars (and bikes!) and I think I’ll always have at least one in my possession.

  15. Expulsion said:

    Living five thousand miles from Japan.

  16. DirtyRice said:

    hooray! i finally won. first time and i’ve been trying for a while now. so happy to have this little toy as my prize. who do i give my address to?

  17. pstar said:

    A lot of these complaints apply to all classics, no matter the place of origin. But what is particular to Japanese in particular, is that for so many models there are so few survivors. With old British cars, you might not see many of them out driving, but there are a lot still around, hiding in garages. Because the people who bought them then, and the people who bought them used, and the people who buy them now are a demographic who wishes to preserve them, by and large. That’s also why its pretty rare to see MGs and Healeys and Triumphs that have the kinds of hideous “modifications” that too many 70s and 80s Japanese cars have been plagued with.

    The number of Japanese classics in original or restored original condition is miniscule. And its because too many of the owners, then and now, didn’t respect what they had. The problem is a really low amount of surviving source material, combined with fanboy bandwagoning ricers who have shed their neons and sentras and now want to find a 510, or 240z, or ae86 to destroy by viley gutting the interior and swapping in an offensively disrespectful engine.

  18. Robert said:

    The worst thing about loving JNC’s is restoring them. More specifically, trying to obtain the weatherstripping. Yeah sure, we could all deal with rust issues, trying to find emblems, or even trying to get that center console. But the worst part of the restoration itself, is trying to get those darn weatherstrippings. OEM or aftermarket weatherstripping, it doesn’t matter, because if you love a certain type of JNC, you want to go all the way to making her look as handsome as you can.

    You search and search for parts high and low, and you think you are nearly there. However, something as “small” as weatherstripping could easily pass your mind if you’re not too careful. Sure you could get the windows, and the doors, and even that hatch and engine bonnet, but without those weatherstrippings, its going nowhere. If you can’t find a manufacturer that can make that weatherstripping for your car, that specific YEAR, its nearly game over, at least until you could drop some nice shiny nickels and dimes or get REALLY lucky with a parts car.

    The worst thing about loving JNC’s? Weatherstripping.

  19. s30zgt said:

    Not being able to read Japanese for those parts you overnighted.

  20. drift said:

    i would say the parts list that is no longer there and then having to fabricat one up. just gotta love looking for a part just find out youll have to end up fabriicating one up just so itll work or bolt on. or maye having to get a part that looks simimlair and make it work lol.

  21. cesariojpn said:

    You’re either the “slow ass idiot” in the right lane being passed by impatient folks who tailgated you for a mile, or your car is mistaken for a “Ricer.”

  22. Antti K said:

    Not living in California, or having to deal with rust in another words.

  23. Shads said:

    Being so Goddam attached to a physical car and car culture that is perpetually further from us every day.

    So much of what I love about these cars like simplicity, size, freedom of design, styling and history are like to never recur in automotive history.

    Knowing every day some car, somewhere, that you would love, is getting crushed.

    But, I guess this is all part of the passion…

  24. Dutch 1960 said:

    Having to pay big bucks and look forever to source parts, the same parts that were underfoot and free for the taking, back in the day. People who want thousands of dollars for rusty, incomplete, and bent cars that used to be almost free, in perfect condition. Finally, the jerks who will steal cars, or rare pieces off of your cars, when your back is turned. You can’t just park your JNC unattended in a parking lot any more.

    All that said, I still like my secret stash of cars and parts. It is a sickness, I tell you!

  25. Brad D. said:

    Worst part….explaining it to people. Average person….”Oh you collect old cars? What do you have, mopars or Fords?” Me all proudly…”No sir, old Japanese cars, mostly Mitsubishi’s” Smart ass average response, “Those are not old cars, those are just crappy throw aways. Why would you be into those?”
    Sorry I don’t fit your mold of an old car owner, I in fact do have a muscle car and I love it, but I happen to also love (possibly more so!) old Japanese cars, they are different then the norm but the are unique and a huge part of automotive history and I just wish that was easier to explain!

  26. Geoff said:

    The worst thing about loving JNC’s:

    I rip my pants while working on the FB – Damnit! those were ‘spensive! Now i have pants with holes :(

    I shatter the MAZDA badge trying to pull it off to resto it – Run inside with a glimmer in my eye and order a new one irregardless of cost.

  27. mikeyee said:

    empty wallet all the time.

    and knowing that i’m slowly killing my corolla’s frame from the ride height i prefer her at. hopefully i get around to getting some low rider shop to fab up some skid plates (or something) on the rails to use as a cushion for the frame rails.

  28. gaijinshogun said:

    I’m tired. It’s 2am. I’m falling asleep on the creeper under the car, no one is worried about where you are, AND there’s no beer.

    At this moment, you finally realize after 30 years that a single lifetime is not enough to manage all the wonderful JNC’s in your garage.

  29. Brian said:

    No one “gets it”

  30. dickie said:

    The worst thing about loving old Japanese cars is the company you tend to keep, especially recently. I’m talking to you bandwagon jumpers and fanboys alike.

    Watching someone buy a classic car, butcher it with their attempt at following a current fad and then turn around and try to sell it at 10x the original price is enough to turn my stomach.

    Here’s a formula for how to ruin any JNC:

    – Slam and done. Everybody likes the aesthetics of a lowered car. Putting the thought and time required into doing it right isn’t foremost on the minds of a bandwagon jumping teenager who somehow saved/borrowed enough money to “invest” in a 25+ year old vehicle that likely needs maintenance. So, it’s cut springs (lol guys how many coils do u think i shud cut?!), stock blown shocks and blocks for these guys. Suspension geometry? Who cares? Rusted out mounting locations and frozen nuts/bolts? only has to last as long as it takes to move on to the next fad.

    – Rota Yayoi reproductions. Not going to talk shit about reproduction wheels, I’d much rather daily drive on a set of $600 knockoffs than risk bending the lip on my authentic and expensive rollers. BUT today’s bandwaggoners are lucky in that they have a relatively large selection of reproductions, even from the legitimate ORIGINAL manufacturers to choose from… so why is this wheel the default for anyone looking to get some blog cred or cash in by flipping their JNC? Why not some Enkei 92s, TE37Vs or their Grid cousins? The Street copy “Shakotan” is a much safer bet at widespread appeal and easier to trick the casual onlooker with. You’re not fooling anyone with your fake sakuras though, bro.

    – Buying on a budget. Whether you’re delivering pizzas (the old guy in my city with the Gold Metallic Corona wagon excluded) or borrowing cash from your parents, you’re not going to realize your dream of accolades and internet fame on a hope and a prayer. If you get lucky, your purchase will only need regular maintenance to be a car and not a driveway placeholder. If you’re looking for a “deal,” prepare to make up that money you saved – and then some – out of pocket right away. No, ditching your smashed bumpers and stickerbombing the rust spots/intentionally rusting the good spots does NOT make you look cool. It makes you look cheap and tasteless. More than likely your car will sit in your driveway/yard/street before you realize you can’t make your money back and sell it for scrap. The forums here PROVE no car is too far gone to bring back to life in the hands of a dedicated owner, but you just sold any chance of that happening up the river the second you “scored” a deal on that MX32 from that little old lady and chucked your flat billed cap in the passenger seat. Nice going.

    – Restomodding. This is incredibly tacky on domestic classics, so moving the Big Dumb Shiny Wheels and trick paintjobs down to their dimensionally smaller Japanese counterparts only serves to make the cars look like a caricature of a caricature. Oh, you swapped to 5-lug and put Z32 brakes on your car? That totally justifies those flush face 18″s and rubber band low profile tires. Paint codes are hard to find. Why not just find some neato metallic or pearl color from a 2012 Hyundai SUV that you like and have that shot on there instead? Nothing wrong with updating the go, that doesn’t necessarily mean the show has to be so godawful.

    So that’s pretty much it. I’d honestly rather see a JNC in totally stock form being driven by a blissfully unaware octogenarian or sitting in the junkyard awaiting its inevitable than in the hands of a tool who can’t/won’t appreciate what they have. It’s the WORST thing about loving JNCs.

  31. ylee said:

    worst thing is rust. and if you’re grabbing up oldskool j-tin and hoping it will turn into a classic collector, then you are owning the cars for the wrong reasons. i’ve had my z for 6 years now. i got it because i really enjoy the car, not because i hope i can make big bucks off of it later. What ever amount of money i put into it…i already know that i wont get it back.

  32. Harrison said:

    Initial D and drifting havedried up the supply of AE86s and 240SXs, caused their prices to rise disproportionately, and, worst of all, have sent many to an early grave.

  33. miatadon said:

    Worst thing is that I don’t get no respect. People generally don’t look twice at my cars.
    That is, however, changing, but slowly. I have had ’60s GM cars and many British sports cars and they all were admired by many folks. The Japanese cars are viewed as throwaway cars. But, more and more, I get guys asking me, “Is that a real GSR?” or “Do you want to sell your Prelude?”

  34. longboy said:

    Resale value lol

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