QotW: Which JNC should be revived for modern times?

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The revival of the Datsun brand didn’t go in the direction many Bluebird and Sunny enthusiasts wanted. We know an exact nuts-and-bolts resurrection of a 510 or B110 would not be practical, but cars with the spirit of those JNCs certainly could.

Which JNC should be revived for modern times?

How ’bout a modern day Mark II to battle Audi? A reborn Celica would, ironically, compete with the downsized, world market-friendly 2014 Mustang. Sure there are the obvious cars — RX-7, Silvia, etc. — but imagine a revived TC Cup consisting of lightweight, RWD equivalents of a revived Sunny, Savanna RX-3, and the Toyota GT86.

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a toy. Click through to see the winner of the last QotW, “What’s the greatest open top JNC?

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We received a lot of compelling comments for the Mazda MX-5, but that’s just one year too new to qualify for JNC’s 25 years or older rule. Instead, the winner this week was Tizer with an unexpected choice in the Honda City Convertible.

O how can I possibly answer this question.. There are so many awesome convertible JNC’s. There are offcourse the obvious answers, the Honda S’ and the Fairlady Roadster.

I have always liked the oddball cars, ones that almost nobody over here has ever heard off. The Celica Sunchaser is a good example of that and its one that I really want to own someday.

But the best one of them all has to be the Honda City convertible! Its so strange that its cool. It looks like a Turbo II, but its not. It was designed by Pininfarina, but nobody would guess that. It was also the first car of its kind. It inspired a lot of other small convertibles I’m sure, like the March ‘vert, Suzuki Swift ‘vert and all the other compact ‘verts. Its hard to explain why, but I just love it!

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

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31 Responses to QotW: Which JNC should be revived for modern times?

  1. Putting aside an overwhelming passion to build an LFA to replicate the BRE 2000GT’s… my favoured JNC revival would simply be to build a complete modern replica of the 2000GT!!!

    Just imagine a real contender for Ford’s GT(40) for title of the most faithful revival.

    With modern construction techniques the car could be “improved” but retain those beautiful lines……………….

  2. Andrew said:

    I think i am going to have to choose the SA22/FB Mazda RX-7. Mazda could use with a new sporty, rotary engined 2 seater to compete with the GT86 and such.

    The shape of the SA22 would also suit today’s market, with a nice clean, aerodynamic shape, and the now mandatory plastic moulded in bumpers would suit it nicely.

    Secondly, it would be an excuse for Mazda to reintroduce the rotary engine. While the 13B Renesis in the RX-8 was a brilliant engine, the RX-8′s high kerb weight let it down, however I believe an SA22 sized car of about 1000kg mated to a 13B Renesis would be a truily biblical peformer, I mean, who doesn’t like 9000RPM?(apart from old people, and the police ^_^)

    So in conclusion, i believe that a slightly modernised SA22 RX-7 with a 13b Renesis would be the best revival of a JNC.

  3. Kane said:

    The Mitsubishi Starion. Mitsu used to build world class technologically advanced cars. Then they started buying into the American market and it’s trend towards boring cars for lazy people that simply use their car to mindlessly get from point a to point b all the while sitting in traffic and hating life.

    • Bobby C said:

      As the owner of two Chrysler Conquests, I agree. However, you could sorta make the argument that the Starquest has already been remade. If you consider that the Starquest was in part a Japanese pony car*, then the modern Asian pony car competitor is the Hyundai Genesis coupe. It even has the 4B11T, which is the next generation of the 4G63T, which is what the Starions had in Japan in the first generations. A few years back, Hyundai had one of the car magazines run several tests against a Mustang to promote the Genesis coupe.

      * – In my opinion, the body lines and overall size of the Starion is more comparable to an 80s Mustang than it is to an 80s RX-7 or 300ZX. Although rear seat room is tight, it is possible to sit back there. Also, the G54Bt is a very torquey motor, which is more the American preference in “sporty” cars.

  4. Tyler said:

    I think Honda needs to bring us an S1000- a kei-sized roadster with a 120hp, 1L inline four (660cc, 70hp I3 in Japan), 1700lb curb weight, rear wheel drive and the timeless good looks of previous S-cars wrapped into an affordable (sub-$18K), tiny, and most of all FUN sports car. Keep costs and/or down with a 5-speed manual transmission, manual windows, manual top, etc. For extra brand character, it could even bring in design cues from the Beat, which isn’t quite JNC material yet.

    You know, the new 86 is great and all, but it’s expensive for what you get. We need an “entry-level” pocket rocket ripe for modding and racing. A car that’s not “retro” or “cute”, but is just simply a downsized sporting automobile. Honda needs a revival of its roots. I need a good replacement for my EG! Time to break out the pen and paper for this one. ;)

    (PS- Honda, I’ll take the performance package, and omit the nav screen)

  5. acbpanda said:

    To be honest, having the Civic Hatchbacks back would be nice, we haven’t seen one since 2004, and the new 2007 and 2010 ones don’t look too much like the hatchbacks we remember, i’d suggest bring back the older Civic Hatches.

    First of all the Civic Hatchbacks were outrageously popular, very popular in the 90s, but screw the 90s, the 70s Civics had the most Hatchback like feeling, kinda zippy, small, and had room in the back for your daily groceries, to revive that would be nice, having it back could make a lot of people happy, and today’s kids would get to ride in Civic Hatches.

    Second, the Civic was very safe for a hatchback, well from what i’ve heard, as well as the fact that you could take it out and have a little fun at night, it also looked not to shabby for an economy Hatchback, it also was pretty easy to install aftermarket parts, for those of us who were interested in that in the 1970s, and it was a car that came in so much variety, as well as color variety, you’d almost never get bored, so i nominate the civic hatchback as a Revival car.

    • pstar said:

      The late 2000s Civics look awesome. But North America didn’t even get them, and also they didn’t have the famous Honda double-wishbones everybody loves about the 90s ones. The Civic hatchback is one car thats always gotten better looking, with the debatable exception of the EP. Honda, sell to North America an FN2 Civic with an EK style suspension. Make it $2000 less than an FR-S and watch Civics hatches once again fill the roads of the west coast and Hawaii.

      • pstar said:

        *late 2000s Civics HATCHBACKS

        • acbpanda said:

          We need to get a PROPER Civic Hatchback back, not the goofy spoiler or anything. Just a clean and simple civic Hatchback.

          • j3wman said:

            They still make the classic civic. its called a Fit, drive a 95 EG Si hatch then drive a Fit, its the same car +2 doors. Wagons are better anyway.

  6. Dave said:

    My gosh there’s so much to fantasize about here… My first reaction is to say Savanna/RX-3, but Mazda already sort of did that with the RX-8. And Toyota already has a neo-hachiroku as well as a retro FJ, both of which deliver the goods. The Z-car is still around and not that dissimilar in concept to the original. 510? I just don’t see Nissan pulling that off. Integra? With Honda doing AWAY with the VTEC in the next Euro Civic Type R, I’d rather Integra not be messed with. Alcyone? Nobody would care. I guess I don’t mind seeing Mazda Cosmo coming back. I don’t mean the original Cosmo Sport, but the later, bigger luxury GT. The ’80s HB Cosmo with the turbo rotary was the fastest production car in Japan in its time, and the last Cosmo, which can be had with the sequential twin turbo 3-rotor engine, was a tour de force. Sales might be a problem, but a luxurious, fast, and high-tech 2-door Japanese GT is pretty appealing (think the original Lexus SC). If overcoming the emissions and fuel economy issue of the rotary is a problem, they can just make it a hybrid. I’ve always thought a sports-tuned hybrid is perfect for the rotary, solving all three of its weaknesses: fuel economy, emissions, and low torque. And Mazda certainly would know how to make it beautiful, not to mention handle and ride well.

  7. Gene said:

    Being a Toyota guy, I agree with bringing the Celica back or the Toyota S800 (or at least the Datsun 510 since I always wanted one). And as Tyler said it should be as light and cheap as possible, 5 speed manual, manual windows, no sound deadening, ETC.

  8. Sporty RWD Toyota Starlet with 1.6L 1ZR-FAE. Entry-level pocket rocket.

    Isuzu Bellett GT-R or 117 Coupe, those were fine cars. But this one is more “what I wish to be revived” than “what should be revived”.

  9. invinciblejets said:

    A rwd celica sounds good……

    Also an mr2 would be amazing

  10. Bart said:

    Of course I am biased towards my obsession with obscurity and rarity, so I will go ahead and say the Isuzu Piazza/Impulse. I often sit around wondering what a 2013 Impulse would even look like. If I had to guess, it would probably look like an Isuzu version of the Suburu WRX hatchback, but with sleepy eyes that flip up after sunset, a slightly lower stance, and a 2dr body. Oh to dream…

  11. Greylopht said:

    Ooooo that is such a tough choice. But to go back to roots, in the old school way. Inexpensive, economical, revolutionary and reliable. First generation Subaru Leone. Sure they were slow, but great fuel mileage along with mountain goat abilities made them indispensable in some areas of the world, especially in the colder more coastal areas on north CA.

    I could go on about some of the worst ones that were used as crummies or the places a small EA63 powered wagon can go. And how even with a oil light on for years at anything below 1500 RPM’s they will so go up and down the side of a mountain daily.

    But that would be it for me, buy one in a heart beat. (I would prefer to have low range like a second or third gen.. but with a six speed with a creeper gear would do) I also love the funky styling of the early early cars, 75 and 76 to be exact.

  12. pstar said:

    That hideous abomination GM is promoting that looks like a 2-door Dodge Neon (130R) is as close as you are going to get for a “modern 510″. Eww.

    Toyota should have called the FR-S a Toyota Celica. Scion is a stupid brand, and the FR-S is more Celica-like than it is Corolla or Sprinter-ish. And it should have shipped with a proper Toyota derived engine.

    Now…we come to the real meat of the matter. I see two, maybe 3 contenders:

    1. Supra. There’s rumors about collaboration with BMW to make it. Let’s hope not. And no more than $40,000. And the mk4′s body. Styling has only gotten worse in the last 20 years.

    2. RX7. Enough said. Make it small, make it light, make it $35k.

    3. Sportsy Corolla. Hopefully Toyota is working on an all-new Corolla chassis. Hopefully it has real performance potential. That can be tweaked to make a 2-3door lightweight car with sharp handling and good economy. Toyota just completely gave up on the entire market for this car, letting Civic hatchbacks roam around uncontested. Sack the Scion gayness, dump the stupid looking and 4-doors and the bloated TC, and build something in the vein of a FX16, AE92/101/111 or those European hatchback rallycar ones from the 90s.

  13. pstar said:

    Or, now that I thought about it, maybe this question could also be interpreted to mean which car should literally be revived as in new bodyshells reproduced and all components as well. Something along the lines of how there is newly made Dynacorp shells for vintage Mustang models (and of course Mustang guys have more aftermarket and reproduction parts than they could ever know what to do with as well). Or something along the lines of a Superperformance Cobra replica.

    I wouldn’t want to see the 2000gt bodies manufactured, because people buying those shells and then putting Chevy v8s in them would piss me off. And thats what would happen.

    Such a vehicle would be about $15000 for the shell alone, complete figure 30-40k. Zs and Hachis arent rare or expensive enough (yet) for anybody to bother. Although AE86 are in desperate need of repro parts, the way Zs have new dashes, interior pieces, seals, body panels, bumpers, etc etc.

    The c10 Skyline is the obvious choice. Lots of people want one, very few of them can get one, and if they do, chances are theyll f it up to make a gtr replica. What a waste. Perfect candidate for remanufacturing. The original Cosmo is another solid candidate.

    • Tyler said:

      X2 on everyone ruining hako’s with GT-R flares. Sell the repro shells with surf lines and let people cut their own damn flares.

  14. Nakazoto said:

    When I read the question this week, all I could think of was how much I wished JNC’s April Fool’s joke was true.

    http://japanesenostalgiccar.com/2013/04/01/hondaacura-to-completely-revert-to-1991-lineup/

  15. dankan said:

    What I would like is not a specific car, as there are many, many models which exemplified this, but a compact, lightweight 4 door family car (possibly a hatch/wagon, but sedan’s are great too) with delightful, light handling, rock solid reliablility, great fuel economy and simple, elegant styling.

    Nothing offers all of the above. I can get nice handling, and even good fuel economy, but not with reliability or good styling. I can get reliability, but not with great looks, nor with great handling. I would love for all four at once. Those were the Japanese cars which took over the world, and I can’t get them anymore. I can get some of those attributes, but not all of them in the same car. Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Nissan are you listening? Please, hear my wailing to the car gods!

  16. SurvivorDude said:

    Toyota is reportedly working on a back-to-basics hot hatch using the Toyota Rush/Daihatsu Terios-platform doing a snip-snip on the front-drive components yielding a highly cost-effective rear-drive platform. The car will have around 150 hp and be very affordable fun. Now,how about a KP60-series Starlet-inspired design that would give Toyota a chance to fight for a piece of the retro-action with the VW Beetle and Fiat 500?

  17. j3wman said:

    Nissan should make any sports car thats not a Z34. Like a modern 200SX or 240SX, Give it the Nissan Juke engine or something and rear wheel drive only. Offer some cool shit like a Digital Dash, some really rad Turbo decals, Flip Up headlights, and make some special editions that will make us actually want to collect it in 25 years. Make something like the Shiro Special Z31, Black Edition AE86 or the F1 Edition CRX, Where they have options that are only available on that model.

    And dont give it some gawdy over the top flashy body, i want basic flat lines and i want it wide and with a low hoodline to justify Flip Up headlights. I know they can do that, they made the Sentra like that.

  18. justin said:

    There are so many good choices but I will have to go with a new mr2. The first Gen. Was an awesome car, it came with the legendary 4age and 4agze, lightweight, great handling and wasn’t hard on the eyes.

    The second gen. Was even better with smoother lines and the 3sgte engine that rivaled the sr20det in power.

    Making a fourth generation would be a great idea and a good chance to redeem the logo from the third generation. The mr-s was a great idea but wasn’t executed very well as far as power goes.

    A small midship turbo sports car that’s lightweight, no fancy do dads, just a pure driving experience would be an awesome car that I would definatly buy.

  19. Taylor said:

    I thought about this for a while, and came up with a lot of different ideas.

    The small mid engined MR2 crossed my mind, as well as a mid sized wagon like a Corona MK 2 to compete with the euros. But then it hit me, the obvious answer to me is a small pickup, something along the lines of a Datsun 620.

    Currently, there is no really small truck on the market. The smallest I can think of at the moment is a 2wd Tacoma with the 2.7l 2tr motor. And that is still a mid-size truck.

    The new rendition of the 620 would be simple, have the options for 5 Speed manual trans, manual windows, locks, old style key without the 60$ antitheft chip, make it super reliable with something like a 2.4l, and get at least 30mpgs unloaded.

    Make it regular and extended cab only, trucks have gotten way bigger with the access cabs and crew cabs.

    Keep it 2wd to simplify things and keep it light/cheap, 4wd systems aren’t needed on most work trucks.

    I believe that it would meet a niche that still exists in the market today, and those who would normally buy a small 80s/90s pickup would have an option besides used.

  20. DesignerD said:

    It has to be the 510. Nothing is more iconic than that… awesome performance, simple body and pure drivability. Sure you could argue for Z cars or 200GTs or even a Sports 800, but doing a coupe is all too easy and might get lost in the retro world as you’d try to replicate the detailing. I just want something cool and iconic and modern!

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