“These small sports wagons were popular with growing families who needed more room but didn’t want to give up their sports car lifestyle,” says Motorweek host John H. Davis of 1960s cars like the MG B GT and Volvo P1800. Ah, it was simpler times back then, in 1991, just prior to the SUV boom. He says the Isuzu-built Geo Storm Wagonback builds on that heritage, is of the same ilk, and the review comes out generally favorable. But man, what could have been. Continue reading
The conventional wisdom says that the best Japanese cars were reserved for the home market, but that’s not always true. We may not have gotten the Skyline GT-Rs and triple-rotor Cosmos, but there were cases where we Yanks got more unique or better versions. From Honda N600s to VG30-powered S12s to 2.8-liter Cressidas, there were plenty of cars a Japanese otaku would want to repatriate. And that’s not to mention the US-built cars that were either imported back to Japan to be sold, or never offered there, like Honda Coupes and Camry wagons. In honor of the 4th of July this week, we ask:
What’s the best US-built or US-market JNC?
Speaking of Honda racing bikes, a custom 1973 CB750 might just be the coolest Japanese vehicle Jay Leno has ever hosted on his YouTube channel — an iconic Honda superbike built to channel Old Man Soichiro’s renowned early RC race bikes of the 1960s. The former talk show host and prolific car and motorcycle collector went to a British bike show, and in a sea of BSAs, Triumphs, and Royal Enfields, picked Vincent Scarelli’s custom “CR750” to invite onto his show. Continue reading
Honda is one of the few carmakers that’s been racing almost as long as it’s been a company. Its first foray into motorsports was a dive into the deep end, challenging the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, widely considered one of the world’s most demanding motorcycle races. It’s been 60 years since that 1959 contest, and Honda is planning a slew of events to mark the occasion. Continue reading
Hot Wheels designer and Osaka native Ryu Asada is beloved around the world for infusing the popular toy car line with brilliant Honda castings. With his catch phrase “Honda for life!” Ryu has not only been responsible for the majority of the Hondas that Hot Wheels collectors clamor for, but has a long family history of Honda ownership in real life, too. It may surprise many, then, that the first car he bought as a young automotive design student was a Subaru SVX. Continue reading
Sonoma Raceway, or more widely known as Sears Point Raceway and Infineon Raceway, is one of Northern California’s “old-time” tracks with rich racing history that stretches back to 1968. Often overshadowed by Laguna Seca Raceway, it has long been the home of SCCA racing, NASCAR, the Indy series, and at one point, Bob Bondurant’s Racing School. The racing circuit is one of my personal favorites with its challenging tight corners, nervous sweepers, and straights that make up a highly technical road racing course. It’s the ideal course for the country’s most iconic period-prepped cars. Continue reading
Mitsubishi Motors is relocating their North American headquarters to Franklin, Tennessee. The move was announced by Tennessee governor Bill Lee today. The change of address is expected to strengthen Mitsubishi’s tie-up with Nissan, which moved to Franklin in 2006. Continue reading
Mitsubishi didn’t have the budget to launch an entire upscale brand like Lexus or Infiniti. But, it had the know-how to build cars that were competitive in that class save for the badge. The Mitsubishi Diamante is largely forgotten now, but back in its glory days it was reviewed favorably against luxury juggernauts such as Mercedes. It was all due to a combination of luxurious design and high-tech engineering Continue reading
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, a unicorn appears out of nowhere. It has always been a rare sight, even at Toyotafest and JCCS, to find any A10 Toyota Carina. To observe one as clean as Nestor Rabanal’s? It’s like seeing Sasquatch riding Halley’s Comet. Continue reading
As JNCers we often pride ourselves on needing the absolute minimum in order to enjoy our cars. No touchscreens, power seats, or cupholders required. However, once in a while there comes an item it’s hard to live without, such as a Bluetooth FM transmitter and phone charger. It allows you to play media from your phone to the car, all without installing a too-colorful head unit or carrying around a box of 8-tracks. But your essential thing doesn’t even have to be this fancy. We’re just looking for the item that you always bring when driving your JNC. It could be a pair of sunglasses, a trusted tool, or a quart of 10W-40.
What non-car item is essential for your JNC life?
Many long-time Toyota enthusiasts may feel that the company has squandered their loyalty by farming out their sports car icon (no matter what the reasons) or dissolving important parts of the Toyota USA Museum. However, there is one thing Toyota will always be known for, and that is indestructible trucks. Continue reading
We’ve already covered the Starlets from this year’s Toyotafest, but there was one particular example we had to point out. It’s not that it was bone stock, or flawless, or a rare 3C5 Coral Metallic color, though it was all those things. It’s that this car was once part of the Toyota USA Museum — emphasis on was. Continue reading
It’s time to celebrate the little pickup that was fit for a King. Or a King Cab, at least. Happy 620 Day from JNC!
It is an extremely rare event for us at JNC to feature a non-Japanese car. Even more rare is when an automaker spends its hard-earned money to restore a car made by one of its competitors. But that’s exactly what Honda has done with this 1961 Chevy Apache pickup to celebrate its 60th anniversary. Continue reading
The discovery and restoration of the first Honda car ever built for the US market is like an Indiana Jones story for car nuts. Not only did the car find its way to the right owner, Honda N600 and Z600 restorer Tim Mings, but it sat in his treasure trove of Honda artifacts for 10 years before he even realized what it was. Also, Mings actually says the words, “It belongs in a museum.” Continue reading
As of yesterday, Toyota became the only Japanese carmaker to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice, but when it came time to escort the colossal trophy around Circuit de la Sarthe, they had to go with a 1987 Toyota Celica. Now the T160 Celica is a fine car, but it highlights the rarity of the open-top cruiser among JNCs. A Miata or S2000 is a different animal, built for canyon carving rather than relaxed wafting on a cool summer night. Compared to Detroit, they are so uncommon that we’ll have to include roadsters, targas, and T-tops just to get a diversity of answers.
What’s the best JNC for open-top cruising?
As is tradition before each year’s running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the previous year’s champion gets to do a little parade lap showing off the towering trophy they have. The prize then gets delivered to FIA officials so it can be passed on to the next winner. Of course, one must find the appropriate chariot for the presentation, and in Toyota’s case it was a 1987 Celica Cabrio. Continue reading
Every once in a while you run into a car that simply drops your jaw. At this year’s Toyotafest, one of those cars was Gary Toomer’s 1984 Toyota Celica Supra. It looked as it it had rolled straight out of the showroom 35 years ago, and time-warped itself to Long Beach. Continue reading
There’s nothing like a big Toyota sedan, and Toyotafest was full of ’em. Whether you’re talking about the brilliant luxury of a Lexus LS or the deadbolt reliability of a Camry, each one had its fans and fastidious owners. With sedans going the way of the dodo thanks to the crossover takeover, let’s take a look at this class where Toyota has excelled. Continue reading
Kawasaki has re-released the W800, a vertical-twin motorcycle inspired by the original Kawasaki W-series built from 1965 to 1974. The W800 is said to not only take its layout and look from its predecessors, but its riding feel and sound as well. However, like many nostalgic vehicles, a huge part of the Kawasaki’s fame comes from an memorable appearance in pop culture. Continue reading