QotW: JNC prices are on the rise. Good or bad?

We are headed to the Monterey Historics this week. Among the festivities are the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance in which million-dollar cars you’ve never heard of compete to see who has the bone-stockiest restoration, the Motorsports Reunion in which priceless pieces of racing history are driven around Laguna Seca, and a myriad of auctions among which a Ferrari owned by Steve McQueen is expected to sell for over $60 million.

In the middle of all that madness are several important milestones involving Japanese nostalgic cars, including the auctioning of a pair of Toyota 2000GTs, a Mazda Cosmo Sport, and for the first time ever at Monterey, a genuine S20-powered hakosuka Skyline GT-R. It appears that Japanese cars are finally getting the recognition they deserve, but you know what that means.

JNC prices are on the rise. Good or bad?

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of the last QotW, “What’s the greatest Z-Car?

We had a number of great entries this week, from Dave Jarvas‘ egalitarian view to Ryan‘s nomination of the Z432R to Ken S‘s nod to the Z32 twin turbo. However, the most entertaining answer came from max, who had this to say:

My #1 spot goes to the S30 but I give an honorable mention to the Autobots 280ZX trio who have protected us from the Decepticons back in the 80′s. Transformers were awesome, and Prowl was one of my favorite. When i was a kid i never such a cool police, and it could transform into a kick ass giant robot! need more? there’s also Smokescreen who had nice race car livery.to make it look like the Electramotive Datsun 280ZX Turbo, the nuber 38 is also a nice tribute.And there’s also Bluestreak also known as Silverstreak or Jaseur in french(Québec), he’s a talker.Will talk without end for forever about nothing at all.
I know the 280zx isn’t everyone’s favorite Z but that autobot trio make me want to own one so bad! TRANSFRORMERS were so cool!

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

JNC Decal smash

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32 Responses to QotW: JNC prices are on the rise. Good or bad?

  1. boyee said:

    I think that it is a good thing that prices are on the rise because this shows that Japanese manufactures are getting recognition for their classic, iconic flagship model sports cars e.g. Skyline, Fairlady, Cosmo, S600. Eventually, more JNCs will become notably special and collectible, thus increasing their value as well.

  2. Alan T said:

    Steve McQueen never owned a Ferrari 250 GTO. The McQueen-connected car being auctioned by RM Auctions is a 275 GTB/4.
    The ex-Fabrizio Violati Ferrari 250 GTO – chassis no.3851 GT – is being auctioned by Bonhams.
    Slightly crossed wires?

  3. Alan T said:

    On the ‘JNC’ price rise thing: To a large extent this is a phenomenon that’s being described from an ex-Japan viewpoint. That is to say that such cars have always changed hands for higher values in Japan than they have elsewhere (in the case of S20-powered Nissans that was because they were only ever sold in Japan) and all we are seeing now is some new interest in them from outside Japan. It’s a kind of normalisation of the market.

    But it’s a double or triple-edged sword. Owners and enthusiasts of the more accessible models – which have always changed hands for relatively low sums – will lament that their cars are being dragged up the price scale, and that rare spares are costing them more. Enthusiasts of the less accessible models will lament that their targets are being dragged up in value and further away in affordability too. At the already priciest end of the scale the rarest models start to come to the attention of otherwise-clueless ‘investors’ that until last week didn’t even know they existed, and that genuine 432-R that I’ve dreamed about owning for many years just seems further away than ever…

    If more of these cars had been cherished in the past, and if owners had been prepared to spend money on them rather than just make-do-and-mend, then we might have seen a better aftermarket for original and repro parts to support them. Chicken and egg? In some cases it would appear that it’s too late now anyway, as there are not enough cars left to support anything but the most basic and simple repro parts.

    For the people who already own one of the cars that’s in the blue chip end of the scale, the only way to benefit from any rise in value is to cash in your chips and look for another as-yet unappreciated marque and model, or just get another hobby altogether. Macrame, perhaps?

    • mister k said:

      coincidentally(?) there are another two 432′s en route to usa buyers as we speak

    • Michael McDonald said:

      There is also an incipient Japan home land interest in export versions of their domestic vehicles. The “exotic” feature of the left hand drive appears to be a draw. My 1967 RL411 Super Sport Sean drew an insane firm cash bid at the 2013 JCCS show from a Japanese after market manufacturer just because a 411 sedan was the first car he had bought in Japan after getting his driver’s license [BTW getting a driver;s license in Japan is a gut wrencher!] and the appeal of a left hand wheel version gave him an adrenaline rush. The only JDM left hand versions of “normal” homeland vehicles were produced for sale in Okinawa while it was under USA post war juristiction, so they are quite rare in “mainland” to misuse the term Japam and have normally been reduced to rust in the Okinawa climate [or exported to the USA as part of the returning US Military baggage].

  4. Bill said:

    Is the rise on JNC prices good or bad? Yes.
    The rising prices means that I may have to wait for my kids to move out and become fiscally responsible before I could own the Japanese Classic of my dreams. That is bad. On the other hand it means that when I can afford to purchase one for myself there will be some well taken care of examples from which to choose.
    Keeping these beauties out of the hands of hack-happy teensters who’d rather slide them through guardrails is best done by keeping them out of the reach of their duct-tape wallets sticking out of their skinny-jeans’ pockets.
    The rise sadly keeps some of the key models out of my reach, but maybe there will be some around long enough for my kids to fall in love with them like I have.

  5. JimmieB said:

    Bad…for me, anyway. I’ve been priced-out of all my old car interests for many
    years now. Street rods…I can’t afford a Deuce coupe. Street machines…no
    Tri-Five Chevy in my future. Musclecars…a GTO or Boss Mustang, forget
    about it! Now, just when I thought I could replicate my high school sled from
    30+ years ago (a Datsun 620 PU), looks like that’s yet another pipe dream.
    Thank you Monterey Historics. Thank you Barrett-Jackson. Thank you indeed.

  6. Toyotageek said:

    Simple answer… Good if you’re selling, bad if you’re buying.

  7. juppe said:

    Good, as rising prices will create an interesting market for manufactures of replacement parts, e.g. like the Futofab 510 sheet metal. I wish there was replacement sheet metal available for a TA22.
    Also, as JNC’s are getting more expensive it will become (even more) worthwhile to do proper restorations, so more j-tin will have the chance to survive.

  8. dickie said:

    Bad.

    If you’re a current JNC owner, you probably bought your car because you:
    - wanted a project that you could build to drive, not to hoard and later sell for profit.
    - appreciated the under-appreciated, valued doing something different.
    - had a nostalgic connection to a car instead of an image on a poster or a magazine cover.
    - needed a blank canvas that fit the direction of your creative expression.
    - wanted something replaceable, or wanted to build a succession of cars instead of leveraging your savings to complete a single project.
    - (most importantly) wanted to get into a budding community that hadn’t already been completely overrun with closed-minded cookie-cutter methodology when it came to building it.

    if you are a prospective JNC owner, you’re now facing:
    - insane markups on “nostalgic” models simply because of their perceived value.
    - lack of availability due to hoarding/bandwagonning and abandonment to crushers.
    - unwanted competition when buying cars and parts by the types exemplified above.
    - unwanted attention from vandals/thieves.

    you could argue that a wider fanbase attracts aftermarket parts manufacturers, but really how many ways can you make drop blocks and u-bolts? how many reproductions of classic JDM wheel designs do you really need? the attraction, especially with oddball cars, is that you have to think outside the box and do some custom fabrication to make things work. and it brings you much closer to your car than buying some off-the-shelf parts and bolting them on.

    the sad fact is most of what we would consider JNC was produced in smaller numbers than our domestics, and what survived the past 25+ years was mistreated and thrown away more often than not. we already started at a disadvantage. there’s just not enough room in this niche to support the type of person who can drop a mortgage on a basket case, pump it full of bondo, chrome colored plastic and candy paint and sell it for a 6-figure sum. what’s worse is that there are those of us out there who have been admiring Japanese classics for a while who are actually propagating the shift in culture because it benefits them financially, or because they are shortsighted and see it as a quick benefit to increase the turnout at their meets and shows.

    • juppe said:

      “pump it full of bondo, chrome colored plastic and candy paint”
      Isn’t that exactly what’s been done to under-appreciated cars? E.g. JNC’s some years ago and maybe still? I haven’t seen classic Alfa’s ruined by candy paint.
      I think rising prices are a good thing against flashy paint schemes.

      • dickie said:

        I think there’s a big misunderstanding going on here, starting with the part of my quote taken out of context and ending with the fact that the following statement doesn’t make sense:

        “I think rising prices are a good thing against flashy paint schemes.”

        • juppe said:

          Yes, I did take it out of context as I didn’t understood the context. “pumping it full of bondo, chrome colored plastic and candy paint” to me sounds like something you do to a car without value.
          A car with value tends to get a decent restoration when needed (instead of lots of bondo), gets the original or a tasteful color (instead of candy paint) and gets a nice new chrome layer on the stock bumpers (instead of plastic all round).

          I agree with the quick benefit searching types, but the common JNC’s are still far from Ferrari prices.

  9. pstar said:

    Bad. Because its a symptom. A symptom of something bad (but inevitable). Ultimately it all boils down to declining numbers. I’m (very) into ae86 Corollas. There was a time, more than a decade ago, when ae86s were common, largely unloved (except by their zealous owners), and cheap. It was a golden era, any ae86 guy can tell you. Now, many of those ae86s have been wrecked, driving the price of the remainders, which in turn led many ae86 owners getting non-ae86 “daily drivers”, and causing them to squirrel their cars away in the garage, safe and secret. That’s what happens when cars get more valuable, they disappear from the roads. Club4ag is a sad remnant of what it used to be, because so many guys have quit living the 86 life on a day-to-day basis. We all still love our Corollas with a passion, but the days where you could scoop one up from an old neighbor for $1500 bucks, when you could go grab ample spares from the junkyard, and buy almost all the oem parts you could need from the Toyota dealer… those days are long gone.

    As an aside, I’ve seen a lot of people make the argument (not talking about this Qotw) that rising Japanese classic car prices is a good thing, because it means the “cars are finally getting the appreciation they deserve.” Maybe I’m a hipster, but they couldn’t be more wrong. It’s not appreciation, its trendwhores and speculators realizing that enough of us (real enthusiasts) think our cars are really cool, and are willing to pay good money as a result. Its much better to have your hobbies fly below the radar than become “the next big thing”. Unless you are terminally rich, anyway.

    • juppe said:

      “Now, many of those ae86s have been wrecked”
      Probably because they were cheap, so nobody cared.

      • pstar said:

        If they had costed 10x as much it would’ve been the same. Just look at how many VR4s or RX7s are still out there: not many. And S2000s are being totalled at a rapid pace right now.

        Have you never noticed how RARE cars more than 20 years old are in traffic? Try it out sometime, and just count passenger cars, not old work trucks and vans. If the car is notably better than average (like ae86s are), the reduced number of them in the wild will result in a price rise. Its simple, but its still bad/sad. And like I said, inevitable.

  10. Tom Westmacott said:

    I think the higher the values, the better the cars will be maintained and restored, so fewer will be scrapped and more cars will be around in good condition. So overall I’d suggest it is a good thing for the CARS themselves, not necessarily the enthusiasts.

  11. xs10shl said:

    I definitely seen and lived both sides of the price equation. I cut my teeth on old Italian cars. Years ago they were still pricey, but not to the point where they were totally out of reach. Now, those prices are in the stratosphere, and going up, up, up to the point where they are totally unattainable by anyone who does not have mega-millions of discretionary income.

    Most of the buyers of these Italian cars skew reasonably old, and they are apparently getting older. An auctioneer at one of the major auction houses told me the average age of their bidder pool went up an average of one year, every year for the past 10 years. If this trend were to continue, it follows that in 30 years time, the current buyer pool for these old cars would all be too old to drive them, or dead. Without fresh young bidders to replace them, the interest in these expensive cars would die out. This would not be good for their business.

    However, a most unexpected (to me, anyways) sea change is occurring in the marketplace- youthful individuals are connecting more with j-tin than with the older, more “traditionally valuable” cars. Case in point – the typical traditional auction car in RM’s online catalog got between 20 and 50 “likes”. The Hako got more than 1100. That’s a 20-fold increase of internet-savvy people who identified with the Skyline. Although there are likely many factors which contributed to the totals, such as press, it’s still a remarkable result.

    What’s it all mean? Well, I don’t think we will see million-dollar Hakos anytime soon, but it’s clear that enthusiasm for select classic Japanese cars is growing. And with that enthusiasm comes an inevitable increase in selling prices.

    So what would we prefer? Less enthusiasm? I don’t think that would be a good thing, long term. Enthusiasm helps build the culture, and keeps the cars and the parts supply running. And that keeps the cars on the road, which I think benefits us all.

    I’ll add this tale of two meetings I had today. The first was with a group of 50-something’s fresh off the plane from England. They came to the shop, and didn’t even see the Hako we were prepping for Monterey. Instead, they went right to the old Italian cars to examine them.
    Right afterwards them came a pair of 20-something-year-old car brokers from the East Coast. They went right for the Hako, and didn’t even see the other stuff. This happens – All. The. Time. In fact, it happens almost every time. Over 50? Italian cars. Under 30? Hako. Weirdness, but that’s how the marketplace is currently shaping up.

    • pstar said:

      Yeah that’s my experience too. The Italian thing goes for Brit cars as well. Maybe while all these ex-Fnf, ex-hellflush, speedhunter trendwhores are hyperinflating the price of old Datsuns and Celicas to “stance” them or whatever is the next big hype in coming years, I can snap up Healey 3000s and Alfa GTVs for a couple grand.

  12. gypsy said:

    The cars that people couldn’t afford ten years , people here still can’t afford today. What’s the the difference between 200k, 500k or 1m seriously ? They were expensive then and still expensive now.

    The majority of jncs are still reasonably priced. There are guys wrecking ultra cheap lhd rotarys in the USA to service rhd places like NZ and Australia. If they were so unaffordable people wouldn’t be wrecking them…… But yeah prices have risen because there are less of them, accidents, rust and the crusher has taken care of most of them.

    I couldn’t afford a 2000GT or genuine 60s GTR 10 or 15 years ago so makes no difference to me. They can rise another ten fold really couldn’t care less !

  13. Dave said:

    OMG I totally had that Transformer! I LOVED it, as I loved the 280ZX as a kid. I also had the Hilux pickup, the Toyota Van, and, my favorite, the Honda City (which came w/ a Motocompo). Wish I still have those.

  14. Kane said:

    Its realy a good and bad thing honestly, bu5 for me the good out weighs the bad. Its bad becouse its gonna make it alot harder to find and afford a good quallity old school japanese car…… but the good part is that it shows that there finally getting recongnised for the true peices of automotive art that they are. Also it makes it heaps harder for some young kid, trying to be trendy on a budget hacking, grinding and attempting to work on a car. Dont get me wrong I love car modification… but it needs to be tastefuly and properily done. Becouse there starting to cost more there obvoisly going to be valued much higher (duh) so a large majority of them should fall into the right hands and get treated with respect, modified nicely or just restored profeshonialy.

    So yeah, I do think its a good thing the prices for a JNC are on the rise…. but the accountant in me thinks otherwise… might have to break the bank in the future.

    • Kane said:

      But——
      Not Bu5 …

    • j_tso said:

      ” Also it makes it heaps harder for some young kid, trying to be trendy on a budget hacking, grinding and attempting to work on a car. ”

      In addition to collectible, unfortunately JNCs are becoming trendy. There are slammed and chopped ones are showing up in Super Street.

      • Kane said:

        Thought I forgot a thing or 2, they are diffinitly becoming collectable too. I do find it a dam shame that they can fall into the wrong hands, makes me sad…… and frustrsted.

  15. voytko240 said:

    Good. Yes, in the respect that it will draw more interest into these great cars and therefore produce a more robust aftermarket. Heck, maybe even new bodies for something like the 510 ala 69 mustang, 69 camaro, or tri five chevys.
    Bad. Because my broke self will no longer be able to afford one.

  16. Gary said:

    It probably depends on whether you already own a JNC or not…

    That aside; I believe that this is kudos long over due. Japanese cars were very much ‘dismissed’ by 1960′s and 1970′s western economies as being ‘jap-crap’ – but now some 4o years later the finesse and engineering that has underpinned their survival is not only significant but also unique. These two virtues alone make JNC heritage marques worth every penny that somebody if willing to pay!

  17. ACSK said:

    I think it’s a bad thing, but partially for selfish reasons. A long time ago, I had the option to buy a genuine KPGC10 GT-R for a hair under $30K. I don’t regret not buying it, because I spent my money on things that really changed my life in ways physical possessions can’t. However, I am poor and it’s sad to think I will probably never be able to afford my dream car.

  18. Moominsean said:

    I’m not really sure prices are going up. We keep looking at gt-rs and honda 2000s, etc and they go for a million or whatever and we think, well shit prices are going up! These cars were already expensive…maybe not that expensive, but still at the high end of japanese car collecting. You still see plenty of Hako GTs in Japan in the $18-$24k price range. A lot of smaller cars like honda life or the like, or subarus, can be had for $4k-$6k. And those are jdm cars… Get yourself a honda civic, subaru 360 or toyota corona here for next to nothing. So some cars, yeah, are becoming more and more collectible, but there are tons of JNC cars that are very affordable if you are looking and have a few bucks to spend. I know i didn’t buy my skyline because i thought it would be worth more money someday, because i plan on never selling the thing. Collecting classic cars is different than owning classic cars, and there are plenty out there to own and use.

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