Toyotafest Spotlight: JZ-powered Celica drag racers

Two of the biggest head turners at this year’s Toyotafest were a pair of seriously mean drag racers built on a daruma Celica chassis. Both were caged, tubbed, and running mills from the legendary Toyota JZ family.  Continue reading

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EVENTS: All-Toyotafest 2017, Part 03 — Fun to Drive

Fun to Drive” was the tagline of Toyota Japan for much of the 1980s, and it was absolutely true. Toyota once had a whole portfolio of stylish, slingable cars that were also — and this is a key component of fun — affordable. Thanks to the new venue for Toyotafest this year, there was even more space to welcome greater numbers of these delightful machines.  Continue reading

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Toyotafest Spotlight: Richard Pope’s 1977 Celica Liftback

After a decade of attending Toyotafests, the thing we look forward to most are the surprise builds that come out of nowhere. This year, one of the cars that really caught our eyes was Richard Pope’s 1977 Celica Liftback.  Continue reading

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Happy 510 Day from JNC

Nissan introduced the Bluebird 510 in 1967. Here’s to killing giants for half a century. Happy 510 Day from JNC!

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EVENTS: All-Toyotafest 2017, Part 02 — Celebrating the all-conquering Land Cruiser

Toyotafest this year took the opportunity to honor what could be Toyota’s most legendary model. Sure, a neck-snapping Supra, drifting-birthing AE86, or luxe Lexus may be the dream cars of the first world, but for the rest of the globe the Land Cruiser is the ultimate aspirational machine.  Continue reading

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EVENTS: 2017 All-Toyotafest 2017, Part 01 — New Digs

Like RAV4 sales numbers, the number of cars at Toyotafest is ever-expanding. Now in its 22nd year, the country’s most comprehensive Toyota, Lexus and Scion car show has outgrown its home at the Queen Mary. This year, organizers from the Toyota Owners and Restorers Club moved to a new venue, giving the event the space to truly show off all the branches of the Toyota family tree.  Continue reading

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QotW: What’s your best “3-digit purchase price” car story?

If you’ve been around J-tin long enough, you’ve purchased a 3-digit car. That’s when the transaction price is less than $1,000, and we’re not talking about the so-called “value” you declared to the DMV. We mean money that actually exchanged hands, from buyer to seller. Sometimes it’s a decrepit heap in someone’s backyard that you have to yank out of its car-shaped hole. Other times it’s a rusty parts car that you limp back to your garage. Or, if you’re really lucky, an actual, running machine that you white-knuckle home over a number of miles exceeding the number of dollars paid.

What’s your best “3-digit purchase price” car story?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “Which car should automakers make reproduction parts for next?”  Continue reading

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MOTORSPORT: Honda Civic Racing History

The Honda Civic was a giant slayer if there ever was one. Rarely in history has one model done so many things so well. One of those things was racing, a facet of the Civic rarely covered in Western media. Earlier this year in the lobby of its Tokyo headquarters building, Honda held a special exhibit on the motorsports genealogy of the Civic, spanning several generations and decades. Time for a history lesson.  Continue reading

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May the 4th Be With You

Since today is the unofficial holiday for Star Wars fans around the world, we felt compelled to post the 1977 Star Wars promo Toyota Celica Liftback. The car was given away in a contest at the launch of the original movie that started it all, but has disappeared from the public eye over the years. It seems that any record of the winner was later destroyed and they lost track of the car. We are currently looking into the status of the search for the car and will update you with details as soon as they are available.

“There is no emotion, there is peace. There is no ignorance, there is knowledge. There is no passion, there is serenity. There is no chaos, there is harmony. There is no death, there is the Force.” – Jedi Code as recited by Obi-Wan Kenobi

May the 4th be with you.

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KIDNEY, ANYONE? This 1980 Honda Prelude is gold, Jerry!

For five generations and 22 years the Prelude was sports coupe of the Honda lineup. Later iterations were some of the best handling front-drivers ever built, darlings of the Tuner Era, but the SN-chassis is where it all began. And when you’re talking first-gen Preludes, an example like this one offered for sale in Kingman, Arizona, is as close to the holy grail as you can get.  Continue reading

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BACK ROADS: The HD Mazda 929

Mazda is on a roll these days, their current products heralded as best-in-segment in every class they compete in. Their designs have been stunning, especially in contrast to the current trend of excessively decorative styling, and their driving dynamics are top shelf. As a marque, the Hiroshima company is climbing the premium ladder, says the conventional wisdom. Yet, premium cars have been in Mazda’s portfolio from the beginning, typified by none better than the Luce. In this installment of Back Roads, we look at the long lineage of posh Mazda sedans, and specifically one of its ultimate descendants, the HD 929.  Continue reading

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REMINDER: 2017 Toyotafest is this Saturday


Just a friendly reminder: The 22nd Annual Toyotafest takes place this Saturday, May 6, at its new location. It’s still in Long Beach by the Queen Mary, but it will now be held at Marina Green Park. Instructions can be found on the Toyotafest website.

The new venue should help with some of the parking shortages from past shows. Doors open a 9am and the show will run until 3pm for spectators and will include Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles. Admission is free.

See you there!

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MINICARS: Hot Wheels previews C130 Nissan Laurel

We are stoked to show you the latest Hot Wheels prototype, the C130 Nissan Laurel. Revealed by the design team in its metal and plastic form, it is a perfectly proportioned Butaketsu in true shakotan style.  Continue reading

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QotW: Which car should automakers make reproduction parts for next?

We learned last week that NISMO is going to start making brand new parts for the R32 Skyline GT-R again. This is great news for enthusiasts, who will be able to restore and drive their cars, and also great for the automaker, who can feel good about supporting enthusiasts while keeping examples of their best creations on the road. Perhaps other Japanese car companies will take a page from Nissan’s book and do the same.

Which car should automakers make reproduction parts for next?

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 greatest Skyline?Continue reading

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NEWS: NISMO announces Heritage Parts restoration program for R32 Skyline GT-R

This is huge. NISMO announced this week that its is launching a program to recreate discontinued parts for certain Nissan cars. Called the Heritage Parts program, its purpose is to “provide support for Nissan performance models.” First up is the R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R, which achieved classic status three years ago.  Continue reading

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Radwood is Goodwood for cars of the 80s and 90s


A new car show in northern California just might have the best name ever in the history of car shows. Described as Goodwood for 80s and 90s cars, Radwood will be held on June 3 in San Francisco, California.

Basically, 80s and 90s costumes are mandatory, and any cars of any country of origin are eligible, as long as it was built between January 1, 1980 and December 31, 1999. This is a concept we can definitely get behind.

Modifications are allowed, but they must be of the era. “This is not about stance, because that’s not period correct,” co-founder Art Cervantes explained. In addition, there will be a special section for “Radwood Royalty,” which Art described to us as “cars that capture the essence of the era, like a white on white Testarossa or a black Back to the Future Toyota pickup.”

If you would like to participate, you can register here. The show will open from 8am to 2pm. Admission is free.

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25 YEAR CLUB: 5th-Generation “EG” Honda Civic

As Honda gets ready to unleash a new generation of high-performance Civics — including the long-awaited Type R — upon us, it is only appropriate that the car that propelled the 90s tuner movement into mainstream America finally join the 25 Year Club. That’s right, the fifth-generation Honda Civic, the entry-level economy car that would come to redefine the term “hot rod” and change the face of every Friday night suburban mall meet in the US of A is officially a Japanese nostalgic car.  Continue reading

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Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Mainetenance, 1928 — 2017

American author Robert M. Pirsig died on Monday at his home in South Berwick, Maine. His passing was made known by his publisher, William Morrow, who said that the writer’s health had been failing. Pirsig is most known for his classic 1974 novel, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintentance: An Inquiry into Values. Though the author never mentions the bike’s model in the book — on some editions there’s an illustration of an Indian motorcycle on the cover — in real life it was a Honda CB77 Super Hawk.  Continue reading

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TUNE UP: Happy birthday to Show Ayanocozey, lead singer of bosozoku boy band Kishidan


Today is the birthday of Show Ayanocozey, the gloriously pompadoured lead singer of one of JNC‘s favorite bands, Kishidan. Though the concept of a bosozoku boy band likely began (like many Japanese bands) as a gimmick, and everything they do is with tongue held firmly in cheek, the group has actually produced really good music.

Plus, you can’t not like a band that uses Rat Fink-style cover art featuring a Hakosuka Skyline with takeyari pipes.

Here’s a video to their 2002 song “Wangan Nocturne ~ Lucifer’s Hammer,” which mimics the style and production value of a Bubble Era gang movie. Otanjoubi omedetou, Show-san! Continue reading

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Shanghai Motor Show: China’s long history with Toyota

China is not a place you would immediately think of when Japanese nostalgic cars are mentioned. The country was largely closed off from imports until the 1980s, and wounds both psychological and physical, caused by Japanese actions during World War II, were not easily forgotten. This week, however, our readers in the Middle Kingdom have a very rare opportunity to see a wonderful, if somewhat unexpected, display of classic Toyotas at the Shanghai Motor Show.  Continue reading

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