NEWS: Honda to release retro Neo Classic kit for S660

We first saw the Honda S660 Neo Classic Kit at the 2016 Tokyo Auto Salon, but it quickly got lost in the heaps of automotive absurdity the show is known for. Unlike most of the concoctions there, however, Honda will soon begin making this kit and actually selling it at dealerships in Japan.  Continue reading


QotW: What part did you install that is completely unnecessary?

Sometimes, we just want to make our cars a bit more unique, a little touch that says this JNC is mine. Those touches can be everything from a sticker to some vintage barrels that haven’t been curbed so many times it resembles sandpaper. Back when I found my first JNC, I installed a Momo steering wheel with a TRD horn button, but I also felt the need to add a carbon fiber horn button surround ring. It looked nice and tied the interior together but I also had to avoid it for fear of scratching it while I battled the weekly traffic on the 5. Ultimately, I sold it and reduced my blood pressure by a few points.

What part did you install that is completely unnecessary?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What JNC fun facts do you know?Continue reading


VIDEO: Mazda classics prep for a 5,000-km rally across Europe

Mazda Germany is back with the second season of its “Mazda Garage” YouTube series. Last year, the first season followed the restoration of a Mazda Cosmo Sport, which then went on to participate in the Hamburg-Berlin Klassik Rallye. This season the driving becomes even more ambitious, with three classic Mazdas going on the 5,000km (3,100 mile) European Challenge from Munich to Amsterdam by way of Spain.  Continue reading

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MINICARS: Japan Post honors Mazda RX-7 with commemorative stamp set

Japan Post has issued another commemorative postage stamp set, this time honoring the first-generation Mazda RX-7. The set consists of 10 standard ¥62 stamps, each with an image depicting the SA22 Savanna RX-7. Notably, the set includes a shot of the Turbo 12A rotary engine, which was a Japan-spec model never offered for sale in the US.  Continue reading

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SHOWA SNAP: A daruma Celica under Mt Fuji

So far Showa Snaps have only taken a look at cityscapes. Today’s ventures far out into the stretches between Japan’s major metropolitan areas. This stretch of pristine expressway is most likely between Tokyo and Nagoya, which passes beneath the shadow a snow-capped of Mt Fuji.

As luck would have it, a lone driver in a Toyota Celica passed by just as the photo was snapped, preserving the coupe’s newness for all of eternity.

Who knows where the car may be now. Preserved by its original owner, purchased by another and modified into a street machine, or dissolved into red dust that floated away on a breeze molecule by molecule? Perhaps there is a little bit of that Celica in all of us.

Image: eBay.


VIDEO: How Toyota revolutionized mass production

Toyota is not only one of the most respected and efficient carmakers in the world, but one of the most respected and efficient manufacturers of anything, period. Companies from Boeing to Intel have adopted Toyota’s Just In Time manufacturing technique, which allowed it to become the first carmaker on the planet to produce more than 10 million vehicles annually.  Continue reading


NEWS: Mazda was likely testing a rotary sports car as recently as eight months ago

Somehow this slipped past our radar, but it seems that Mazda was testing what is likely a rotary powered sports car as recently as December 2017. Spy photos captured a prototype based on a Mazda RX-8, a car that has been out of production since 2012, making it quite curious why it would be testing about eight months ago. Only a few US media outlets seem to have caught onto it, and it really should have created more fanfare than it did. Here’s why. Continue reading


QotW: What JNC fun facts do you know?

Part of the fun in owning a JNC is researching it, how it came to be, some of its quirks, and so on. As a new series, we’d like to ask about some fun facts you’ve discovered. They could be on a JNC you own; or even just a fact about a JNC you thought was pretty neat.

For example, most people know that the Trueno and Levin names mean thunder and Lightning, but did you know that the J-spec Levin digital gauge cluster that was only available in Japan in kph has a hidden mph display that was never factory activated? So tell us:

What JNC fun facts do you know?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s in your JNC glove box right now?Continue reading


MOTORSPORT: The best display of Nissan race cars ever assembled in North America

Never before has a Japanese carmaker been the featured marque at the Monterey Historics. That is, until this year, when Nissan received the honor. As a result, collectors, racers, and Nissan themselves have brought together a truly epic assembly of historically significant race cars, perhaps the best ever gathered in North America.  Continue reading


Consider the Following: Infiniti J30

The Infiniti J30 came out of nowhere in the US, but in Japan it was the successor to the second-generation F31 Leopard, sold as the Infiniti M30 in the US. The angular Leopard, available only in coupe form, was quite popular in Japan, despite moderate sales stateside. It would seem odd, then, that the follow-up would be a confusing change of direction into a four-door sedan with one of the most rounded shapes of its era. It perhaps even unintentionally pioneered the body style of the currently very en vogue “four-door coupe”, the most aggravating term in the automotive lexicon second only to “auto-shift manual.”

To fully understand why, we have to look at its home market, where Nissan had just been put on the defensive, and where a dizzying array of Bubble Era dealership chains. owned by the same manufacturer. Toyota had just come out with the Giugiaro-designed Toyota Aristo, and to compete, Nissan wanted to turn the Leopard into a sporty luxury mid-size sedan.  Continue reading


MOTORSPORT: Mazda bringing quartet of four-rotor racers to Monterey

At the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion this week, Mazda will enter four quad-rotor cars into the vintage races. Perhaps the most notable one, however, is the 1991 FC3S RX-7 IMSA GTO, which returns to its ArtNature livery, the colors the car wore when it competed in Le Mans in 1994.  Continue reading


The one-of-one Nissan R390 GT1 Road Car makes landfall on US soil

Among the holy grails of Japanese cars from the 90s, the Nissan R390 GT1 Road Car stands heads and shoulders above all. The stuff of Gran Turismo dreams, it was a race car for the road. Nissan made only one, never sold it, and tucked it away in its Zama warehouse when it was still new. Now, it has touched down on US soil for the first time and JNC was there to capture the moment.  Continue reading


JNC LIBRARY: Sam Mitani’s The Prototype is a thriller with Japanese cars at its center

In the world of spy thrillers, full of CIA agents, gunfights, and global power balance-changing secrets that cannot fall into the wrong hands, there typically aren’t a lot of Japanese cars mentioned. However, when the author is former International Editor of Road & Track Sam Mitani, the focus shifts from Aston Martins and BMWs to Lexuses and Nissans. In his debut novel, The Prototype, Mitani draws on his 22 years of experience at one of America’s top auto magazines to weave an action-packed tale in which the worlds of automotive journalism, government agents, and the Japanese auto industry collide like cars in a chase sequence. Continue reading


VIDEO: How Toyota USA went from selling a single Land Cruiser in 1957 to making 25 million cars

Toyota USA opened its doors on October 31, 1957. In its first full year of sales, the division sold 288 vehicles total: 287 Toyopet Crowns, and one Land Cruiser. The company almost gave up the US market, but persevered. Today, it’s built 25 million cars in the US.  Continue reading


EVENTS: Nisei Week Car Show, 2018

The annual Nisei Festival in the Little Tokyo district of Los Angeles is a celebration of Japanese American culture. Nisei means “second generation” in Japanese, but with its 84 years since the inaugural festival, the event has already been passed down to the third, fourth, and fifth generation and beyond. Aside from the time during World War II when Americans of Japanese descent were placed in internment camps, it has taken place every year, and the Nisei Week car show has become an integral part of the week-long festivities.  Continue reading


MOTORSPORT: The Mazda Cosmo Sport and the most grueling race of all time


This article was originally published May 31, 2016. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Marathon de la Route today, we are re-publishing this story.

The Mazda Cosmo Sport. This space age sports car from the spunky little company in Hiroshima is now a bona fide blue chip classic, a poster child of vintage Nihon sought after by collectors and auction addicts. It is an exquisite car. Its design was delightfully out of this world, as was its revolutionary engine. It even has racing pedigree: a short but important stint at Marathon de la Route. This race is often mentioned in the same breath as the Cosmo’s history, one of the most epic rallies in motorsport history. It’s a mad mad mad mad race. Continue reading


QotW: What’s in your JNC glove box right now?

Ah, the glove box. Gone are the days when driving gloves were a thing, and so few actually store gloves in there now. Now, the little compartment on the dash is more likely to contain an owner’s manual, maybe a writing instrument of some sort. We suppose the days of paper maps are gone, but what else is this compartment good for?

What’s in your JNC glove box right now?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What car would Japanese Knight Rider drive?Continue reading


NEWS: A Nissan Fairlady Z goes up in flames in Japan

Last week a Nissan Fairlady Z caught fire near Lake Yamanaka in Japan. The area, located by Mt Fuji, is known for its outdoor sports, scenery, and driving roads, and it’s a frequent hot spot for Miatas, Toyota 86es, and the like. Sadly, after this recent incident, it’s home to one less Z.  Continue reading


KIDNEY, ANYONE? Nissan Fairlady 240Z-G

Monterey Car Week takes place next week, and we’re seeing more Japan-market classics trickling their way over to US shores. Perhaps the most desirable among this year’s crop is a genuine 1972 Nissan Fairlady 240ZG, a homologation special with factory G-nose.  Continue reading


Yurt it up with a Datsun 620 King Cab camper

We just learned about a new Japanese magazine that we are now obsessed with. Outdoor Aso-Kuru, which roughly translates to “vehicles for playing outdoors” is all about cars and trucks that have been modified for camping, and the photo that brought us to it was this Datsun 620 with a custom wooden home on the back.  Continue reading