EVENTS: Japanese Automotive Invitational 2019

Now in its second year, the Japanese Automotive Invitational seeks to introduce the idea of collectible Nihon steel to a crowd that considers a 1954 Ferrari 375 MM not classic enough. Located at the Infiniti booth that sits just outside the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance, it’s a primer for those who arrive at the prestigious golf course to gawk at Voisins and Delahayes. In other words, if you’re wondering what kind of Japanese car a super-rich old guy might be into, here’s a peek. Continue reading

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NEWS: Toyota may kill off the Land Cruiser in the US market

We desperately hope this is wrong, but rumor has it that Toyota plans to kill off the Land Cruiser in the US market. If true that would mean the longest running model in the company’s history, offered continuously since day one of Toyota USA’s establishment in October of 1957, will no longer be their flagship vehicle here after the 2022 model year. Needless to say, we think that would be a terrible mistake. Continue reading

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MOTORSPORT: Restored Gatorade RX-3 and other classic Mazda racers at Laguna Seca

Monterey Car Week’s centerpiece racing event, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, concluded this weekend. While there was a noticeable lack of Japanese representation at Laguna Seca as compared to last year (despite the fact that the theme was the 50th anniversary of IMSA), Mazda did bring out some seriously cool machinery that from the early days of their US racing efforts. Continue reading

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MINICARS: The Datsun 240Z introduces a new Chameleon paint for Hot Wheels cars

Hot Wheels is about to introduce a new type of paint. Chameleon, which transitions from purple to green depending on the angle of light shined onto it, has been around in the full-size car scene for a while now, but this Custom 1972 Datsun 240Z will mark its first use on a Hot Wheels car. Continue reading

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QotW: What rite of passage every JNC owner must endure?

Complete this sentence. You’re not a JNC owner unless you… Prefer driving a slow car fast? Live in deathly fear of salt? Have overpaid for parts from Japan? Have abused your AAA towing privileges to move a parts car? With every subculture there are certain joys hardships and that its members can jointly celebrate or commiserate in.

What rite of passage every JNC owner must endure?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “Where do you like to drive your JNC?Continue reading

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NEWS: Lexus’ Nori Green Pearl is the new best color

Normally we don’t really report on a new car unless there’s some link to a past model, like a revived beloved nameplate, or some throwback design touches. There’s not much that’s retro about the new Lexus LC 500 Inspiration Series, but its limited color, Nori Green Pearl, is absolutely stunning and quite nostalgic. Continue reading

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EVENTS: Radwood NorCal 2019

Just a week after my colleagues were at SpoCom in SoCal, Radwood returned to its ancestral home in NorCal. The traveling show of 80s and 90s nostalgia started in the Bay Area in 2017, and has been expanding rapidly. There is always a good selection of Japanese steel present, so we headed down to take a look. Continue reading

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EVENTS: Some galleries from SpoCom SoCal 2019

If you want to see what thee latest trends in modified cars are, the SpoCom show is a pretty good place to start. The annual, multi-city show is where the cool kids vie for giant trophies for their whips. Subtlety is not the key here. After all, it’s show cars we’re talking about, and the bass-and-butts atmosphere makes the underground car meet scenes from early Fast and Furious movies look tame. Continue reading

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NEWS: Honda releases retro StepVan-inspired N-WGN

At a glance the all-new Honda N-WGN might look like any number of kei vans zipping along the streets of Japan, but the design is actually much more clever. It’s never explicitly mentioned in Honda’s 1800-word press release, but Hondaheads will instantly recognize the shape as a throwback to the 1972 StepVan. Continue reading

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VIDEO: That time Gucci used a dekotora to sell overpriced clothes

We somehow missed this, but in 2016 fashion brand Gucci used a dekotora to hawk its ridiculously priced clothing. In a video for their fall/winter line that year some Ziggy Stardust-looking “Gucci kids” (yes, that is a term the company actually uses) climb into a dekotora and hit the streets of Shinjuku. However, the truck isn’t simply any dekotora, it belongs to Kazuya Sekino, the same owner who used his truck to run supplies to the Tohoku region devastated by the 2011 tsunami. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Every generation of Toyota Mark II gathered for the final Mark X send-off

After 11 generations and 51 model years, the Toyota Mark II/MarkX line is coming to an end. Toyota announced the cancellation of the decidedly old school, Camry-sized rear-wheel-drive sedan back in April. Now, with the Final Edition coming to showrooms in Japan, Tohoku Toyopet dealers have issued a video commemorating the once evergreen part of Toyota’s lineup. Continue reading

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QotW: Where do you like to drive your JNC?

Today is day on which the national holiday Mountain Day in observed in Japan. Technically the holiday falls on August 11 because the kanji for “8” (八) resembles a mountain, and “11” resembles two trees, but everyone gets the day off on Monday the 12th. There is no agreed upon way to celebrate Mountain Day, but with 73 percent of Japan’s land being mountainous, we can probably all agree that taking your JNC to a touge road is a fine a way as any.

Where do you like to drive your JNC?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s your dealbreaker when buying a used JNC?Continue reading

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EVENT: Mazda celebrates Roadster’s 30th anniversary in Turin

People around the world continue to celebrate the 30th birthday of the Mazda Roadster, this time at the home of the Italian automotive industry. In June, over 300 MX-5s gathered in Turin, Italy’s Detroit, for “MX-5 Icon’s Day,” a celebration that included the official Italian debut of the 30th Anniversary Edition MX-5. Continue reading

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NEWS: Acura brings back yellow “heritage color” to the NSX

Acura is bringing back one of the most memorable colors for the NSX: yellow. According to Honda, Spa Yellow, named after the official racing color of Belgium and Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, was the fifth-most popular color for the first-generation NSX. Now it’s back, and will appear on the 2020 NSX. Continue reading

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VIDEO: These dekotora drivers use their modded trucks for acts of charity

The image of a dekotora driver in Japan typically isn’t a wholly positive one. Much like hard core truckers in the US, they are seen as rough around the edges, people you wouldn’t want to confront alone at a remote highway rest stop. However, at least one dekotora owner wanted to change that image, and has enlisted his fellow drivers into using their trucks to do good. Continue reading

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MINICARS: Tomica is coming to Walmart

There’s some great news for fans of Japanese diecast. Tomica cars will soon be available in the United States, at Walmart stores. “Having sold more than a half a billion units around the world, Tomica is known for luxury premium design, stylized details and more moveable parts than other diecast collectibles,” Tomy International’s PR team’s Scott Goldberg said in an email. It’s true Tomicas often have opening doors and great detail, but the for the current generation of collectors, unlike in the 80s, the real draw is the subject matter — Japanese cars. Continue reading

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MINICARS: The Hot Wheels Street Tuners set is absolutely stunning

The latest batch of cars from the Hot Wheels’ premium Car Culture pays homage to the paradigm-shifting Gran Turismo generation. It’s almost amazing that it took this long to get a collectors’ series dedicated to icons of the Japanese tuner scene, but it was worth the wait, and here’s why. Continue reading

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Happy 86 Day from JNC

As far as we know, 86 Day was the first of the chassis code-based holidays in the JNC community. Toyota even started an official 86 Festival in Japan at Fuji Speedway on August 6. Can you think of any earlier ones? All hail the Hachiroku on this sacred day, the day of 86es.

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QotW: What’s your dealbreaker when buying a used JNC?

Buying the JNC of your dreams can be a harrowing task. We all know the heart flutter we get when the proper model, trim level, condition, color, and optional equipment shows up in an ad. We also know the gut-wrenching disappointment that can ensue when the we discover that the car has been repainted, had a “little fender bender,” or a cascade of rust under the wheel well. No matter how great a car is, there are some things that make you walk away.

What’s your dealbreaker when buying a used JNC?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s was the moment you fell in love with JNCs?Continue reading

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VIDEO: The Geo Tracker should be your next overlanding rig

When you think Geo Tracker, your brain typically conjures the image of a convertible top, two-door, cute-ute, maybe in some jaunty color, maybe hanging out at the beach. But the Tracker, and the Suzuki Sidekick it was based on, had actual off-roading chops that should have made it a real competitor in the SUV wars of the mid-90s. With Land Cruiser prices skyrocketing, there’s no reason why the Tracker can’t be your off-grid apocalypse survival machine. Continue reading

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