On December 23, Toyota held a farewell ceremony for the beloved Mark II and Mark X sedan. The final example, a white Mark X 250G, rolled off the line at Toyota’s second-oldest plant, the Motomachi factory in Aichi Prefecture, as workers waved goodbye. The car was immediately driven to a small sendoff where it was parked beside a first-generation Corona Mark II, the car that started it all. Continue reading
When Ryan told me to check out Travis Scott’s new album two days after Christmas, I had to google who he was. A rapper, it turns out. I confess I haven’t actually listened to it, but the cover has caught my attention. At least three 1990s icons are gathered, along with some guys wearing neon balacavas. There’s an FD Mazda RX-7, JZA80 Toyota Supra, and lampenbaum-equipped E30 BMW M3 which Scott is auctioning off. The first video had even more. Continue reading
Here’s to another decade, one that saw Japanese cars appreciated by a small cadre of knowledgeable enthusiasts to full-blown mainstream collectibles amid massive changes in the automotive world and corporate changes. To cement their classic status, nearly all the major Japanese carmakers announced heritage programs remaking parts for iconic cars. Thank you for joining us on this journey, now and in the next decade to come. 明けましておめでとうございます!
Regardless of income, gender, creed or species, when asked what the greatest front-wheel-drive car of all time is, the answer is almost unanimously the DC2 Integra, specifically the Type R. However, the Integra story is more than its race-ified trim level. The DC Integra chassis was the culmination of Honda’s collective strength during their greatest era. The mind, heart, and soul of the company came together to create something truly special that transformed the landscape of suburban malls across America and what a hot rod could be. Now, 25 years later, it’s only right that we tip our hats in honor of the latest inductee to the 25 Year Club: The third-generation Integra. Continue reading
On December 30, 2019, Syd Mead passed away at the age of 86. The legendary concept artist almost single-handedly shaped our visions of tomorrow, having designed the futures seen in films such as Blade Runner, Alien, Tron, and the Star Trek movie. However, it was Mead’s illustrations of a bright and optimistic human destiny that excited a generation and became his signature style. He worked with many companies, dreaming up utopian showcases for their products, and it should be no surprise that Japan’s top carmakers were among them. Continue reading
The strange saga of former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn keeps getting weirder. The disgraced executive, accused of misusing Nissan’s funds, has unexpectedly shown up in Lebanon after allegedly skipping bail ahead of his upcoming trial. The image above, of Ghosn driving a 1938 Datsun Type 17 through Nissan’s Zama garage, happened in 2012, but we’re just going to pretend his escape went something like that. Continue reading
The digits we assign to years are, of course, arbitrary, but 2020 still seems like a very futuristic number. When the JNCs we love were still new, 2020 seemed like a distant tomorrow, where we’d travel by tubes or sleek flying cars. Who could’ve guessed that the most cutting-edge forms of transportation would be bulky top-heavy wagons or someone else’s car that you hail with your phone?
What did you think cars would be like in 2020?
The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What are the biggest changes to the Japanese classic scene in the last decade?” Continue reading
These days, three-row CUVs are big, hulking things that blot out the sun when they lumber into your general vicinity. Back in the 80s, however, Mitsubishi built a 7-seater, all-wheel-drive wagon that basically does 90 percent of what a modern Nissan Pathfinder can do. Though it was sold as the Dodge or Plymouth Colt Vista, in Japan it was called something much grander befitting of its all-around versatility: the Mitsubishi Chariot. Continue reading
At Toyota’s recent Gazoo Racing Festival, fans got the rare opportunity to see — and hear — two vastly different top-level prototype race cars roaring side by side. Both the Mazda 787B’s quad-rotor and the Toyota TS010’s 3.5-liter V10 hailed from a similar era, the early 90s. One won the 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, while the other won the Japanese Prototype Sports Car Championship. Each one sounded amazing in its own way. Continue reading
Thanks for joining us on our Japanese car journeys. May your garages be filled with all the JDM and NOS car parts that your hearts desire, and may you share these times and joys with your loved ones. Happy Holidays from the entire team here at JNC!
Honda is celebrating 30 years of manufacturing at its East Liberty, Ohio plant. The company began operations at the factory in 1989, seen here building the EF-generation Honda Civic. Since then, 5.9 million cars have been built there. Continue reading
As we wind down the decade, it’s a good time to reflect on how drastically the Japanese classic scene has changed in the past 10 years. The 2010s saw increased acceptance of Japanese cars as rapidly appreciating collectors’ items, modification trends that lean towards keeping a car more stock or period correct, and a boom in collectors of Japanese classic diecasts. In the world of the carmakers themselves, we saw massive changes in the landscape, with Nissan and Toyota consolidating Japan’s car companies into two huge entities, Nissan’s management completely upended, and Mazda come out of nowhere to take the mantle of the go-to brand for driving enthusiasts. A decade is along period of time to reflect on.
What are the biggest changes to the Japanese classic scene in the last decade?
The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “If you could own a Japanese race car from any era, what would it be?” Continue reading
This year marks the 70 years since Soichiro Honda’s little venture into motorcycle manufacturing. In 1949, the Dream D-Type became Honda’s first real motorcycle; prior models still had the appearance of a bicycle with an auxiliary motor strapped to them. Now, at the end of its 70th anniversary year Honda has announced it has built its 400 millionth motorcycle, cementing its spot as the world’s biggest manufacturer of two-wheelers. Continue reading
Pat Goss, the Bob Ross of car repair, has been a staple of Maryland Public Television forever. Their names even kind of sound the same. In a recent episode, Goss is showing off a new parts cleaner while a Toyota 2000GT is just casually parked in the background. Amusingly, Goss and his guest, a rep from the parts cleaner company, don’t even acknowledge that the million-dollar king daddy of Japanese classics is cold chillin’ behind them. Continue reading
Even without a ton of knowledge about motorcycles, we can probably all agree that the Legend of Classic is a cool event. Held at Japan’s Tsukuba Circuit and Fuji Speedway, the vintage motorcycle racing event’s self-described philosophy is this: “To reproduce the motor sports scene of the Golden Age before 1972.” We just want one with cars, too. Continue reading
If you’re wondering why Japan seems to have an inordinate number of Lotus Europas, the answer can be found in Satoshi Ikezawa’s Circuit Wolf. From January 1975 to June 1979, the wildly popular manga was one of the many car-themed comics that originated in Japan during the Showa Era. As popular as Initial D during its time, it has sold 17 million copies. Recently, a special Circuit Wolf exhibit completed its two-city tour in celebration of the 50th anniversary since Ikezawa was first published. Continue reading
Even Honda yearns for its heyday with a 20th Anniversary S2000 and EK9 Civic for the upcoming Tokyo Auto Salon
It’s hard to believe but the Honda S2000 is 20 years old (For reference, when JNC started the AE86 was 21 years old, and it felt ancient). At the upcoming Tokyo Auto Salon in January, Honda will be revealing a 20th Anniversary Prototype to honor the milestone. The car will come with a newly styled aero kit, suspension, and audio lid. Only one image has been released so far, but it’s a handsome, fresh take that is thankfully subtle enough to complement the S2000’s simple and purposeful design. Beyond the S2000, Honda is also going back to its 90s well with a modified EK9 Civic Type R. Continue reading
Rotaries are returning to Le Mans, at least in the rule books. According to the most recent technical regulations for the Le Mans Hypercar category approved and released by the FIA World Motor Sport Council, rotary engines may power the machines in the new top class of endurance racing for the 2020-21 season. The last time a rotary-powered car raced at 24 Hours of Le Mans was 1991, when the Mazda 787B took overall win. After which rotaries were banned. Now nearly 30 years hence, the thrilling sound of the rotary engine may grace the famed race, as well as the rest of World Endurance Championship, yet again. Continue reading
Race cars. Purposeful, raw, historic. We recently learned that Subaru WRC rally cars were going to be restored for anyone lucky enough to own one. They seem like a thrill to drive. That would be a completely logical pick from the cars that exist. Sadly, many others have been destroyed or lost to history. But let’s say you have a time machine and can go back to pluck any competition machine from Japan’s history and bring it back to your garage.
If you could own a Japanese race car from any era, what would it be?
As car enthusiasts, we are often asked by non-enthusiast friends and relatives what car we would buy. Personally, in the past I often recommended Toyotas or Hondas, but these days the answer is almost always Mazda. It’s not because Mazda routinely tops rankings for safety, reliability, or fuel economy and low emissions, although it does all of those things. It’s not because Mazdas are beautifully designed, even though they are. It all boils down to the one thing that sets Mazdas apart from nearly every other marque right now: the way they drive. Continue reading