Author Archives: Ben Hsu

VIDEO: The ultimate AE86 track battle

In 2005, to commemorate volume number 86, Hot Version invited Japan’s top AE86 to Tsukuba Circuit to lay down some lap times. This era was the peak of innovation for AE86 tuning with the TRD N2 Corolla Levin, driven by Keiichi Tsuchiya, as perhaps … Continue reading

5 Comments

QotW: What’s your JNC New Year resolution?

Shogatsu, or New Year, is the most important holiday of the Japanese calendar, as important as Christmas in the US. It’s a chance to get a fresh new start on life, which perhaps means finally getting around to that project. In which case, we … Continue reading

11 Comments

50 YEAR CLUB: Fuji Speedway

In a year of momentous anniversaries for Japanese automotive institutions, one stands above all others in shaping the cars we love. Fuji Speedway, which opened in 1966 and turned 50 this year, has been the birthplace of countless legends, whether … Continue reading

14 Comments

100 YEAR CLUB: Isuzu Motors

What’s Japan’s oldest automaker? Like most questions, the answer isn’t necessarily a simple one, but there’s one thing that we can guarantee. It’s not Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, or any of the marques you might expect. One candidate, however, is Isuzu, … Continue reading

14 Comments

JNC THEATER: Watch a Nissan Cefiro drift its way through Protector 2

Despite its status as a formidable drift chassis in Japan, the A31 Nissan Cefiro looks to the rest of the world like an average late-80s sedan. That’s exactly what makes it the perfect stunt vehicle for Protector 2, the action-packed martial arts film … Continue reading

2 Comments

TUNE UP: Remember George Michael with this supercharged Subaru kei car ad

The Subaru Rex Combi VX Supercharger was introduced in March 1988, and along with it came a snazzy new ad campaign. The addition of a supercharger to the 550cc kei hatchback boosted output from 36 to 54 horsepower, which doesn’t sound like … Continue reading

6 Comments

QotW: What part of 2016 are you most eager to forget?

December 31 is when the Japanese typically throw a bonenkai, or “year forgetting” party, to drink away memories of a particularly crappy trip around the sun. Maybe your ride suffered a horrible mechanical malady this year, or perhaps a favorite racing idol died, or … Continue reading

9 Comments

Merry Christmas, everyone!

May you enjoy not just your presents, but the box they came in. メリークリスマス from JNC! Image courtesy of Nissan.

5 Comments

VIDEO: Watch Adam Carolla hillclimb Paul Newman’s 300ZX

The Drive just concluded their video series following Adam Carolla’s journey to England as he enters his freshly restored, ex-Paul Newman Nissan 300ZX in the Goodwood Festival of Speed‘s hillclimb. Restored in the UK (a proper British restoration, not one of … Continue reading

3 Comments

VIDEO: A street-legal, AWD, 1100hp Celica

At this point Lexus 1UZ swaps into lightweight classic J-coupes that weigh almost nothing are not a new thing. However, squeezing 1,100 horsepower out of the 4.0-liter V8 twin-turbo turned up to 27 psi necessitated a GT-R’s AWD drivetrain for Jamie … Continue reading

6 Comments

Do you have what it takes to be a Japanese Car Meister?

Two years ago, the a new automotive exam was introduced in Japan and is growing in popularity. Asking 100 multiple choice questions, passing it awards the taker with the coveted Car Meister Certification. You have only one hour to take it, which works … Continue reading

8 Comments

EVENTS: 2016 NISMO Festival at Fuji Speedway

For 20 years, Nissan’s motorsports division has put on an annual gala for followers of its many racing machines and successes. The NISMO Festival is a Burning Man for Nissan nuts, a mecca for fans of Sunny and Skyline alike. Best of all, … Continue reading

7 Comments

NEWS: Mazda revives NA Classic Red, introduces Tokyo Auto Salon lineup

It’s subtle, but if you look carefully the ND in the accompanying photos is missing the metallics, blues and purples in Soul Red, the signature color slathered on all modern Mazdas. No, it’s the appropriately named Classic Red, one of the three original … Continue reading

4 Comments

QotW: What are you asking Japanese Santa Claus for this year?

Pulled on a flying zokusha by eight flying Nara sika deer, Japanese Santa Claus travels the world bringing sweet diecast cars, rare JDM parts and, if you’re really good, possibly entire cars to good little JNC boys and girls everywhere. … Continue reading

18 Comments

BIKES: Honda reveals retro-styled 2017 CB1100 EX

Honda has announced the 2017 CB1100 EX, a motorcycle styled after the renowned 1969 Honda CB750. That model was the world’s first production superbike and transformed the world of motorcycling when it debuted. 

8 Comments

VIDEO: Nissan restores 1987 Paris-Dakar Patrol

In 1987, Nissan won the diesel class of the Paris-Dakar Rally with a turbodiesel Patrol. It was promptly retired and languished in a museum for almost three decades. Then, a group of Nissan engineers saw some photos of it in a … Continue reading

6 Comments

MINICARS: Hot Wheels designer Ryu Asada talks about his cars, career, and his love for Hondas

  “Honda for Life” is the motto of Ryu Asada, star designer at Hot Wheels. Born in Osaka, Japan and a lover of cars since infancy, he’s the man responsible for the Hot Wheels CRX, S2000, EF Civic, 1990 NSX, Integra … Continue reading

13 Comments

TUNE UP: The Weeknd drives an FC3S RX-7

We thought 1980s Toyotas had a lock on the music video game. Apparently not, as alternative R&B singer The Weeknd has posted to his Instagram feed photos of a flared FC3S Mazda RX-7 with “⚡️” (lightning bolt emoji) as the only comment. … Continue reading

Leave a comment

Honda marks 30th anniversary of Canada manufacturing with its own Monopoly game

In 1986, Honda became the first Japanese automaker to build cars in Canada. The Alliston, Ontario plant churned out Accords first, then Civics, and in 1998 a second plant was constructed to make Odysseys and CR-Vs. To mark the 30th anniversary of Honda Manufacturing … Continue reading

6 Comments

TUNE UP: Two sexy classics in Justice’s “Fire” video

French band Justice’s latest video stars a pair of classics that are beautiful and seemingly ageless: an A60 Celica convertible and actor Susan Sarandon, who is according to Wikipedia apparently 70 years old (!). It’s no secret that 80s Toyotas have become … Continue reading

8 Comments