Author Archives: Ben Hsu

VIDEO: A bunch of kaido racers accidentally caught on video circa 1987

The Tomei Expressway stretches from Nagoya to Tokyo, and recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. It’s a beautiful stretch of road, and when heading east you can see the flat outskirts give way to the tall buildings of the capital city. … Continue reading

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TUNE UP: J Cole’s “Fire Squad” video features the sweet sound of AE86s revving and drifting

Rapper J Cole’s triple-platinum album 2014 Forest Hills Drive came out six years ago, but a previously unseen music video for the track “Fire Squad” was just released. It prominently features a pair of drifting Toyota AE86 coupes sending up … Continue reading

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The legendary Toyota plant that built the AE86, Mark II, and Century is now closed

On December 7 Toyota held a closing ceremony for its Higashi Fuji plant. Today, all production lines will be shut down and the factory closed for good. The 53-year-old facility has produced some of Toyota’s most iconic models, including the … Continue reading

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The Nissan Skyline wins Japan Naming Award despite controversy about name origins

Naming a car can be difficult. Just ask the folks who came up with the Mitsubishi Pajero or the Buick Lacrosse (both of which turned out to mean wanker in other languages). There are also the unintentionally funny ones given … Continue reading

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VIDEO: Was the Camry really that boring?

The Toyota Camry often gets a bad rap for being boring, but it’s really not a bad car. That is especially true when talking about the XV10 chassis, sold in the US from 1991-96, and we’re not even talking about … Continue reading

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NISMO launches bare-metal, balanced-chassis, nut-and-bolt restoration program for Nissan Skyline GT-R

NISMO has announced an unprecedented restoration program for the renowned Nissan Skyline GT-R. It will soon be possible to take a car down to bare metal, balance the chassis, and rebuild its mechanical and electrical components and come back with … Continue reading

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VIDEO: Fun facts about classic Mazdas, depending on your definition of fun

Mazda UK has released a series of videos issuing “fun facts” about classic Mazdas. To be honest, it’s a bit of a stretch to call these facts “fun” unless you find scintillating tidbits such as “Mazda first used the 929 … Continue reading

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VIDEO: The hand-built 117 Coupé was easier for the Isuzu Museum to restore than a lowly pickup

The most heralded passenger car from Isuzu’s portfolio of classics is the 117 Coupé.Marketed as a flagship luxury GT, it was very much an image car intended to put Isuzu on the map against the Toyotas and Princes of 1960s … Continue reading

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MOTORSPORT: The Raybrig livery finished its final race before retirement in a jaw-dropping blaze of glory

For nearly 25 years, the Raybrig NSX has been a fixture in the Japan Grand Touring Championships. In the JGTC heyday, the striking blue racing machine was one of the most recognizable on the track. Over the weekend, however, the … Continue reading

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MINICARS: How to turn a Hot Wheels Nissan Skyline into a kaido racer

There’s a whole subculture of customized Hot Wheels and, as it happens, an ever-growing list of Japanese castings. That gives ample opportunity to create something cool from Japan’s rich car culture, like this Kenmeri Skyline kaido racer. It’s hard to … Continue reading

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VIDEO: Nissan Z Proto designers talk about what inspired them

The Nissan Z Proto’s design leads, Executive Design Director Satoru Tai and Senior VP of Global Design Alfonso Albaisa, both have a strong love for Z-cars and worked on past Z generations. Tai said he in fact wanted to be … Continue reading

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VIDEO: The Isuzu Rodeo was cheap but cool

If you were a teenager in the late 80s or early 90s, wanting an Isuzu more than anything in the world was not an odd thing. Dealerships were lined with sleek Impulses and colorful Amigos. The coolest kid in my high … Continue reading

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QotW: What JNC things are you thankful for this year?

It’s almost Thanksgiving in a crazy, tumultuous, and strange year. But if there’s one thing that can keep us sane, it’s our JNCs. Cars have no idea what ails the world. The friends we make, the experiences we have, and … Continue reading

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The Mazda 3 Turbo, a true sport compact for those who love driving

Cars, as we know them, are dying. Even if the switch to autonomous driving doesn’t kill them, the buying public’s insatiable appetite for crossovers will. In the waning days of the automobile, though, there is one company that still gets … Continue reading

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Toyota will drown 65 years of history and tradition in a shallow bathtub by discontinuing the Crown sedan

It’s been a hard year and we’re so close to the finish line. Before it leaves us, though, 2020 is going to deliver one last sucker punch to the gut. The Chunichi Shimbun newspaper reports that Toyota will kill off … Continue reading

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This is the second-generation Subaru BRZ

The first Subaru BRZ was a lightweight, compact, rear-wheel-drive sports coupe in an age that saw consumers abandon, in droves, fun-to-drive cars for enormous crossovers. In other words, it was practically destined to be a single-generation flash of automotive history. … Continue reading

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The Toyota Automobile Museum has opened a “Motorsport Biography” exhibit

“A harsh environment of competition toughens our people and cars,” said Toyota Motor founder Kiichiro Toyoda once said. It’s a quote framing the Toyota Automobile Museum in Aichi, Japan’s newly opened an exhibit highlighting some of the company’s historic race … Continue reading

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MINICARS: The classic Tomica Building playset updated and re-released for 50th anniversary

Originally released in 1971, the Tomica Building was one of the most popular and iconic playsets from the diecast company’s early years. The palm-sized diecast cars that had debuted in 1970 had turned out to be a big success, so … Continue reading

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NEWS: Nissan may sell its stake in Mitsubishi Motors

It seemed like just yesterday that Nissan took a controlling stake in Mitsubishi Motors. Now, some insiders are saying that it’s looking to abandon the project like a crank-walked Eclipse. It’s no secret that Nissan is hemorrhaging cash, a one-two … Continue reading

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QotW: What’s your favorite JNC fast food story?

Today, November 16, is National Fast Food Day. While I generally try to avoid the stuff for health reasons, there’s one situation where I give myself á la carte blanche: road trips. Whether it’s picking up a Craigslist score, cannonballing … Continue reading

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