New York Times reports on vintage Japanese cars

A few months ago Koji and Terry Yamaguchi of the JCCS, Jun Imai of Mattel and I were interviewed by a reporter from the New York Times about the growing collectibility of vintage Japanese cars.  This is the article. Nothing in it will probably come as news to any regular reader of JNC and a lot of what I said ended up on the cutting room floor, but this story isn’t for the hard-core otaku. I do wish they had more room to get to the essence of what makes these cars cool, but it’s nice to see that it’s not just mainstream collectors, but mainstream media, who are paying attention.

[Image: Axel Koester, New York Times]

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13 Responses to New York Times reports on vintage Japanese cars

  1. Nigel said:

    Good article.
    (Jun we need to see pictures of your pickup).

  2. $EX¥_HAMMER said:

    dont know how i feel about this. i’d like to see some savable projects rescued and resurrected from crusher meat, but i also hate to think of the day there will be no more barn and field finds, all having been snatched up by “collectors” and resto-modded to death, then paraded around the show scene the way so many domestics from the american muscle era are today. packed full of bondo, loads of metal flake in gaudy paint, racing stripes on 17″ AR 5 spokes and pep-boys engine bay bling, maybe one of those creepy pouting dolls standing against the bumper… yuck.

    how about instead we move towards the kind of “collector culture” they have for these in Japan? please? it would be nice to see stacks of slot mags, libres and other american-made wheels next to rare body and trim pieces with decent price tags on them. make the effort to save this stuff from the junkyard before the bandwagoners jump on it. sell to people who will do the right thing with the parts and cars you have.

    • Tyler said:

      The first paragraph sounds like some of the current classic Mazda culture!

      I do agree though, and think it shouldn’t be as much of an issue. Japanese cars do not now and may never appeal to the same market share that buys resto modded muscle cars. I think we do have a different culture, one that values original condition and NOS parts.

      I compare it to the American Euro “scene” (particularly Mk1/Mk2 VW’s) more than the American classics. You see a lot of tasteful OEM+ cars, generally frowning on extreme modifications that “ruin” the car. It’s good to promote keeping the cars original and I think JNC and its users are doing a great job of that.

      • Tyler said:

        *That is, as long as all the JNC’s aren’t drifted into walls, one of my pet peeves. There might not be a lot of S13’s left in 20 years…

        • $EX¥_HAMMER said:

          reason i’d be worried is grumblings about these cars showing up on the radar of the “collectors” that associate with the domestic resto-mod/auction scene. if there’s money to be made, they will follow the trend.

          i really hope that it doesn’t go the way classic veedub scene is either.

          • Tyler said:

            I see. It’s really hard to predict but I don’t see the whole resto-mod thing taking off hard-core. Then again, things like that black Celica liftback in the magazine keep showing up. Who knows?

        • john said:

          Heck, there aren’t many good S13s left NOW… 🙂

  3. dave said:

    in NY Times? that’s awesome! i want a pair of old japanese cars for my family; those celicas look sick! i want a RX-3 wagon + a 2nd-gen Prelude

  4. Victor said:

    Wow I read this article today during lunch in the local paper

  5. kevin truong said:

    Like jason haradon once said in super street magazine, people would soon go back to the simpler things. And people didnt just start doing that now but just a big influx of it. People are more conscious of what they build especially guys that have been modding cars for 15 or more years. Referring to those that are really passionate about cars. And jccs and media coverage of old school japanese machines dont help either lolz. Just more old school craze!

  6. I’m not looking forward to the J-tin price hike this kind of press will eventually bring but I’m glad to see anyway.

  7. Jeff Koch said:

    Unstated, but true, is that Rich Chang is a former editor of Super Street magazine; he ran the show there in the late ’90s/early ’00s, in between Emperor Pearson and John Naderi’s reign. The man’s no dummy, and is at least sympathetic to the cause.

  8. Shane said:

    I myself am a huge fan of old Japanese cars. I have several, and am in love with them. When I bought my wagon, everyone laughed when I got my 510, same thing, my 210 same deal. Americans just have no appreciation.

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