Happy 521 Day from JNC

Today is the day that we celebrate reasonably sized pickups. Yes, we know there’s a 520 but they are extremely hard to come by and thus difficult to take a photo of. So let’s just say May 21 is also 520 Day Observed. Whatever you call it, hope it’s a good one for ya!

 

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PSA: Stop using these Harbor Freight jack stands immediately

Ah, Harbor Freight. It’s like the McDonald’s of tool stores. You know it’s probably not good for you, but when you’re working hard and need a quick fix so you can get on with your project, their easy access and dirt cheap prices are there to lure us in. Sometimes that lack of planning comes back to bite us in the ass, like when one of the most important tools in your arsenal — jack stands — become the subject of an NHTSA safety recall. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Mazda racing liveries, animated

Mazda UK has released a new video called “Our Greatest Motorsport Liveries” to honor its 100th Anniversary.  The short animated movie goes through several of the company’s famous racing colorways, varying from the Group B RX-7 to the renowned (ha!) Le Mans-winning 787B. Continue reading

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DESIGN: A modern Honda roadster inspired by the Beat and RA272

Honda has come out with a new electric vehicle, a small, rear-wheel-drive electric hatchback called simply the Honda e. We have to admit the production version, while a good car, was a bit of a visual letdown after the fabulously retro concept. However, automotive designer David Beasley, friend of JNC and the man who penned the beloved Nissan IDx concepts, recently sent us an incredible vision of how Honda could utilize the e’s platform for something that embraces its heritage and offers enthusiasts an exciting driving machine. Continue reading

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SHOWA SNAP: Kawaramachi-Sanjo, Kyoto, 1972

Kawaramachi-Sanjo, a shopping and nightlife district just northeast of the historic Gion section of Kyoto, was a lively spot after the sun went down. Sharp cars would cruise down Kawaramachi street, past a Fujiya Grill. On this particular 1972 evening, a Datsun Sunny Coupé, Isuzu Bellett, and Toyota Corona Coupé await fare alighting from a Nissan taxi. The same street looked a lot more sober in the harsh light of morning, though. Continue reading

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QotW: What’s your favorite automotive museum experience?

Today is International Museum Day, and even though must museums are still temporarily closed due to the coronavirus, they are destinations of wonder, learning, and preservation. Needless to say, we are particularly fond of car museums, whether they are official showcases of the automakers themselves, private collections, general interest institutions, simply a place for an automaker to store their treasures, or a car show at a museum. There are countless memories and experiences that you simply can’t get anywhere else.

What’s your favorite automotive museum experience?

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 favorite tire?Continue reading

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Behold, Japan’s suddenly famous Drift Dog

Earlier this month, a video of a Japanese dog went viral when the owner filmed it running down the side of an irrigation canal. Its cuteness, plus the fact that it had kind of an angled gait, quickly garnered it a crap-ton of views. Of course, it wasn’t long before the Initial D comparisons emerged. Continue reading

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VIDEO: The Infiniti G20 was trapped by its luxury badge

Long before there were bros revving their G37s, there was the Infiniti G20, the first of Nissan’s entry-level cars for their luxury marque. Though it was largely forgotten as a rebadged P10 Nissan Primera, mostly because of its un-luxury-like front-wheel-drive layout, this was no Lexus ES. This was an actual performance car with advanced technology under the skin. Continue reading

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ART CORNER: Yamaha is here to help you crochet a bike out of actual yarn

Of all the coronavirus activities that companies have encouraged us to partake in over the last few months, Yamaha’s might just be the most bizarre. The motorcycle maker has an entire series of downloadable templates that allow you to crochet their vehicles. Yes, crochet, as in with actual yarn. Or, if you prefer, you can make them by needle felting, an art form I did not know existed until now. Continue reading

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NEWS: Nissan will axe the Datsun brand… again

Reports are circulating that Nissan will soon undergo a massive restructuring plan and on the chopping block is the Datsun, revived in 2013 as a low-cost brand in developing countries. It was one of former CEO Carlos Ghosn’s crowning achievements during his tenure at Nissan, but it hasn’t panned out exactly as he had hoped. Continue reading

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ART CORNER: Learn how to color like concept car artists, courtesy of Nissan

Have you ever wanted to draw cars like professional designers? Specifically, using color to light the car so it jumps off two-dimensional paper like a proper three-dimensional object? To help kids (and adults) deal with more coronavirus quarantine time, Nissan has released a series of coloring tutorials to help you achieve that pro look in your automotive illustrations. Continue reading

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Check out how a 1978 Subaru wagon stacks up to a new Outback off road

Subaru is synonymous with all-wheel-drive nowadays, but that wasn’t always the case. The first-generation Leone, as it was called in Japan established a Legacy (ha!) when it was offered straight from the factory with four-wheel-drive as a production model. In the US, it was simply called the DL/GL depending on equipment, and holds a special place in history as the first station wagon equipped with 4WD. For decades, Subaru has capitalized on this basic format. But how does a modern Outback wagon compare to a Leone off-road? Continue reading

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The iconic Mitsubishi Fuso K201 fire engine is all but extinct

I have recently become obsessed with an iconic Japanese fire engine that is seemingly all but extinct. The Mitsubishi Fuso K201 was one of those big, ridiculous looking machines that makes kids go wide-eyed. It looked at once futuristic and prehistoric, like an otherworldly proportioned craft from Tatooine, or something the Terminator would use in a chase. Sadly, it’s almost impossible to find any information on them nowadays. Continue reading

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SHOWA SNAP: Peko-chan looms large over Ginza, circa 1964

Four hundred years ago, Sukiyabashi was a bridge crossing the outermost moat of Edo Castle, which separating nobles and samurai from ordinary townsfolk. Post-war, it became one of the two main intersections in Tokyo’s ritzy Ginza shopping district. In 1964, it was a dazzling hub of neon lights and advertising. On the left, Pekochan, the mascot of the Fujiya confectionery and restaurant chain appears imposingly over Harumi Street as a Nissan Cedric taxi await to cross. Wait, but what’s that over Pekochan’s right shoulder? Continue reading

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QotW: What’s your favorite tire?

On May 11, 1947, the patent for the tubeless tire was issued to BF Goodrich, ushering in a new age of wheeling. Nowadays, it can be hard finding the right sized rubber doughnut for many classics here in the US. Japan fares a bit better. We’ve seen a number of throwback tires enter the Japanese market in recent years, which is great for the classic car enthusiast. And, of course, if you look hard enough there are always actual vintage tires that you can buy (though we don’t recommend running your car on them). No matter what you shod your wheels with, it’s one of the most important components on your car. Therefore, on this historic day, we ask:

What’s your favorite tire?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s the best way to make progress on your project car?Continue reading

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Happy 510 Day and Mother’s Day from JNC

It’s not often that two special holidays fall on the same day. Today, May 10, is both Mother’s Day and 510 Day! And just because moms need to haul the whole brood around doesn’t mean she has to be saddled with a numbing crossover. As this circa 1971 Datsun 1400 brochure from the UK shows, she can drive dad plus three kids around in a practical, economical, yet sporty 510. Hey, I think we can all agree that moms deserve the best. Happy Mother’s Day and 510 Day from JNC.

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VIDEO: An all-rotary episode of Option Video

The Japanese tuning series Option Video has just posted an all-rotary episode. In it, host Daijiro Inada assembles a group of cars that showcase the progression of rotary engine-equipped Mazdas, starting with a Cosmo Sport. Accompanying him in what seems like an extremely fun day of driving other people’s cars is Isami Amemiya, founder of the famed RE-Amemiya tuning house. Continue reading

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Mazda extends car care program for health care workers, whether they own Mazdas or not

In April, Mazda announced a generous program to help health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. They offered to change the oil and clean the cars of these essential workers free of charge, and it was open to all models, even non-Mazdas. The program was set to expire May 4, but Mazda has decided to extend it until June 1. Continue reading

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The Lexus GS could have been so much more, but it was the right car for the time

Now that we know the Lexus GS is not long for this world, it’s time to reflect on what it meant. In the US it was seen mostly as a middle-tier luxury sedan, a competent but unassuming rebadged Japanese Toyota that returned in reliability what it gave up in performance compared to its German rivals. In reality, it was much, much more, and we are sad to see it go. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Travel through time with these defining moments in Mazda’s 100-year history

As you may have heard, Mazda is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2020, and they have created a little video showcasing the company’s “defining moments”. It’s short, but cleverly blends archival footage with modern, to give the impression that you are traveling through time to witness the events. Continue reading

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