SHOWA SNAP: Akita Prefecture, circa 1965

Akita Prefecture, where Japan’s bear-hunting dogs get their namesake, once boasted the northernmost tram on Honshu, Japan’s main island. In this cool shot, all the greats of the early Sixties are seen. A Toyopet Crown waits for pedestrians in the foreground, a 410 Bluebird taxi headed in the opposite direction makes a right. The Esso station in the background hosts an Isuzu Bellett 1500, 210-series Datsun, and even a couple of Mitsubishi 500s, while the shop truck appears to be a Mazda B360. Finally, there’s the little Subaru 360 scooting behind the tram, just as happy as can be. These days, there aren’t many streetcars left in Japan; the Akita Tramway ceased operations on December 31, 1965.

Image: jyutakujiban

4 Comments

QotW: Share with us your JNC selling stories

Sometimes you just have to part with your beloved automobile. Whether it’s financial hardships, a life change, the fact that you’ve simply done all you can do, or a simple loss of interest, it’s time to pass it on to the next owner. Or, there are those of us who will never let their cars go. We want to hear your best JNC selling stories, whether they be joyous or painful or another emotion. Or, tell us why we should never, ever sell.

Share with us your JNC selling stories.

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 use of a JNC in cinema?Continue reading

12 Comments

MINICARS: Hot Wheels Mazda FC3S RX-7 prototype

Hot Wheels is on an absolute roll these days, and here’s the latest proof of that. They have shared with us an exclusive sneak peek of an upcoming casting that’s sure to excite Mazdafarians, fans of 80s sporting machines, and Japanese car enthusiasts — the second-generation Mazda RX-7. Continue reading

9 Comments

Here’s how Nissan can make reproduction body panels for the Skyline GT-R

When Nissan became the first Japanese automaker to announce it would start making parts for the restoration of classics — the R32, R33, and R34 Skyline GT-R, specifically — we were pretty impressed. When it said that the program had been expanded to include body panels, we were even more stunned. After all, those can be the costliest parts to manufacture, and we didn’t really believe Nissan had kept the dies for those pieces lying around for 30 years. Turns out, they are created with new technology that doesn’t require a die at all. Continue reading

12 Comments

Watching Subaru EJ20 motors being built is supremely satisfying

After three decades of production, the Subaru EJ20 engine is coming to an end. To mark the occasion, Subaru has released a video of how they assemble the boxer four that has powered everything from speed record Legacys to S-series WRX STIs. With white-gloved technicians at every step, it’s a process that is both mesmerizing and very satisfying to watch. Continue reading

5 Comments

Japan’s postal service celebrates 50 years of the Z with stamps, postcards

The Nissan Fairlady Z celebrated their 50th anniversary earlier this month, and the country’s official postal service is honoring the milestone. Japan Post has issued a stamp and postcard set commemorating half a century of Nissan’s revolutionary sports car. Continue reading

3 Comments

NEWS: Mazda’s official Miata restoration parts now available in the US

If you’re an NA MX-5 Miata owner in the US in search of hard-to-find factory parts to restore your beloved roadster, search no more. Mazda USA just released a full list of restoration parts available through your dealer, including reproduction parts from the fantastic Roadster Restore program in Japan. Continue reading

6 Comments

MOTORSPORT: RealTime Racing Integra Type R restored (and raced)

“Between 1997 and 2002 the Acura Integra Type R dominated the Speed Touring Car Championship,” says Peter Cunningham. The founder of RealTime Racing and prolific Honda/Acura racer and collector would know.  “RealTime won five of the six championships, and no touring car before or since has been as successful.” The ITRs were retired at the end of the 2002 season. Now, after 17 years, one of them has received a bare-metal restoration. Continue reading

2 Comments

QotW: What’s the best use of a JNC in cinema?

Recently around the ol’ JNC water cooler, we had a discussion about movies that contained excellent scenes of Japanese cars. We’re not talking random fillers but, cars that served to enhance the character’s persona. We asked a similar question in May 2012, and an office favorite was The Wolf’s NSX in Pulp Fiction, where the producers could have made a more cliché, on-the-nose pick (like a Jag or something) but went Japanese instead.

But that was over seven years ago and there’s been a lot more movies (and cars that have fallen into the 25-year threshold of classic-dom) since. In September of that year, for example, Looper was released, in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s hit-man from a dystopian future kept an NA Mazda Miata as a collector’s car.

What’s the best use of a JNC in cinema?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “Will the sport compact style make a nostalgic comeback?” Continue reading

14 Comments

Tokyo Motor Show: Could this be the return of the Honda Hunter Cub?

At the Tokyo Motor Show, Honda quietly rolled out a bike concept that hearkens back to the original CT110, aka the Trail Cub or the Hunter Cub. Though not for production, Honda says it was there simply to gauge customer reaction. If it’s positive Honda might actually build it, which wlt be pretty exciting for its fans from around the globe. Continue reading

2 Comments

Tokyo Motor Show: A history of Honda in rap

For the Tokyo Motor Show, Honda released a rap video titled “The Power of Dreams.” We don’t know why, except that it was a collab between Honda and the Japanese rap group Scha Dara Parr, in which they shout out significant products throughout the company’s history. Continue reading

7 Comments

Tokyo Motor Show: The Subaru WRX STI EJ20 Final Edition will have a balanced boxer under the hood

We mentioned last week that Subaru would release an EJ20 Final Edition of its WRX STI sports sedan in order to properly send off its venerable engine. The 2.0-liter boxer motor has served the company for 30 years, helped it achieve motorsports notoriety, and transformed Subaru into a true performance brand. Now, details of the WRX STI EJ20 Final Edition have been revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show. Continue reading

5 Comments

Tokyo Motor Show: Mazda MX-30 subtly references history, may signal return of rotary engine

Mazda just unveiled the MX-30 at the 46th Tokyo Motor Show. A battery electric cross over coupe, the newest member of the MX family will be Mazda’s first production electric car. It also comes with a surprise call-out to the Hiroshima company’s heritage, and may be the car that brings back the rotary engine. Continue reading

7 Comments

Goodbye JNC Project Hakosuka: How the scene has changed over 12 years

I can actually pinpoint the time when it all started: it was Saturday, July 16th 2007, at 10.30 in the morning when I saw my first Hakosuka in the metal, in the Shirakawa district of eastern Tokyo, just around the corner from the Edo Tokyo Museum. A scant 12 years of hooning around in my own Hakosuka have followed, and now that I’m selling it, it really does feel like the car is leaving me to rejoin a world that’s changed a lot. Everything is different, not just in the Hakosuka world, but also within the greater nostalgic car scene in Japan. Continue reading

8 Comments

50 YEAR CLUB: Nissan Fairlady Z / Datsun 240Z

Fifty years ago today at The Pierre hotel in New York City, the automotive world was forever changed when Nissan unveiled the Datsun 240Z. The occasion was the car’s international press launch, where Western journalists got to see the game-changing sports car up close for the first time. A similar event for Japanese press had taken place for the Fairlady Z four days prior in Tokyo, but the October 22, 1969 date is a significant one, as the story of the Z and America are inexorably entwined. Continue reading

17 Comments

QotW: Will the sport compact style make a nostalgic comeback?

Ah, the late-90s. You know the style: retina searing paint, aftermarket roll call down the door, a wing that could double as a dining surface, unpainted carbon fiber proudly on display, Kanji that looked like the default font from a Chinese diner’s takeout box, and Hyper Combat body kit with enough cavities to trigger trypophobia. It was a massive cultural swell that spawned a million cold air intakes, angerd old hot rodders to no end, and launched a pretty mediocre movie franchise.

Recently, our Senior Midwest Editor Ryan Senensky and I were debating whether this style would even come back into fashion. I, who was well past drinking age during the “Rice Rocket” era, believe that while people might have nostalgia for the cars, the cars, the Wings West body kits would remain firmly in the past. Ryan, who was in his formative car discovery years when all this was taking place, said it would “absolutely, one hundred percent comeback.” We need you to settle the debate:

Will the sport compact style make a nostalgic comeback?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What car must be saved before they’re all gone?Continue reading

25 Comments

2019 Japanese Classic Car Show, Part 07 — Kaido Racers

The classic Japanese street racer look has really taken off in recent years. It’s gotten to the point where even non-Japanese cars are adopting the look of deep-barreled small-diameter wheels, over-fenders with flush fitment, and a tough shakotan stance. It’s a distinctive style, and here are the cars of JCCS that exemplified it best. Continue reading

3 Comments

The new Lupin III trailer has Bluebird-Cedric police cars

There’s a new Lupin III movie coming out, and the latest trailer shows a car chase with some classic Japanese police cars. At first glance they appear to be 510 Bluebird Coupes, but of course, it would be kind of difficult to shove perps into the back seat if you only have two doors. These are clearly four-door vehicles, which would most likely make them C30 Nissan Cedrics. In any case, they are unmistakably late-60s Nissans. Oh yeah, and the animation looks pretty cool too. Continue reading

1 Comment

2019 Japanese Classic Car Show, Part 06 — Awesome 80s

The 80s were a pivotal time in Japan’s automotive history, and the JCCS did not disappoint with a of turbocharged, retractable-headlight, angular-bodied machines. Continue reading

5 Comments

After 30 years, Subaru bids farewell to the EJ20 engine

Since the dawn of the modern Subaru era, the venerable EJ20 engine has been a hallmark of the marque. In its various guises the boxer four has powered everything from rally machines to family station wagons. Now, after 30 years on the market — a tremendous lifespan for any motor — the EJ20 is ending production. Continue reading

6 Comments