VIDEO: 40th Anniversary of TRD

TRD Toyota AE86 Sprinter Trueno KP61 Starlet

Founded in 1976, Toyota Racing Development is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. At the Tokyo Auto Salon a video played on loop, showing highlights of the last four decades. From Starlets to AE86s to Celicas to Supras, this is straight up Toyotaku porn. There are shots of long-gone TRD accessories and body kits, a magnificent shop Toyota Van painted in team colors, and even a very young Mike Kojima (of MotoIQ fame) seen working at his desk. Rally cars, open wheel racers, street tuning kits, this video has it all, spanning TRD’s activities across the globe. It’s well worth watching if you have any interest in Toyotas or Japanese motorsport history. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Rocky Auto’s 2JZ-powered Toyota 2000GT

077KY0755_Toyota2000GT-RockyAuto

One of the most talked about cars from the Tokyo Auto Salon was the Rocky 3000GT, a scratch-built replica of the iconic Toyota 2000GT, but powered by a 3.0-liter 2JZ inline-six. It was the creation of Okazaki-based tuner Rocky Auto, whose mad builds have included a Lexus V8-powered Hakosuka and a different scratch-built 2000GT with a Prius hybrid drivetrain. Here’s a feature documentary on the Rocky 3000GT by a Japanese news station that gives a bit of a peek at how his amazing project was executed.  Continue reading

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EVENTS: 2016 Tokyo Auto Salon, Part 04 – JNC Staff Picks

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For our final installment of our 2016 Tokyo Auto Salon coverage, we asked some of our JNC team Tokyo staff to identify the coolest whips they encountered at the annual mega-fest of Japanese automotive excess. Here’s what they came up with. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Jay Leno drives a Hakotora

Jay Leno's Garage Nissan Sunny Truck Hakotora

When the Japanese builders at 09 Racing debuted their Hakotora at the 2013 Tokyo Auto Salon, it was easily one of the most talked-about cars at the show. The name comes from the blending of hakosuka and sanitora, the Japanese nicknames for the C10-generation Skyline and the B120 Sunny Truck, respectively. Who would’ve thought that one day, there’d be one driving around in Burbank with an SR20DET under the hood and Jay Leno behind the wheel? Continue reading

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QotW: What’s your greatest “in the wild” JNC sighting?

Toyota 2000GT in San Luis Obispo

Incredibly, that Friday flatbed find wasn’t even our first our 2000GT sighting. A few years ago our intrepid Touge California rallymaster Patrick, who eagle-eyed the flatbed one, saw another one in the wild, this time in Solar Red and moving gloriously under its own power. He shall henceforth be known as The 2000GT Hunter.

What’s your greatest “in the wild” JNC sighting?

For our purposes, “in the wild” means on the street, parked somewhere other than a place specifically designed to display cars (ie, a car show, showroom, race track, you get the idea). Remember, pics or it didn’t happen. But if you don’t have them, you better make sure your story is pretty darn convincing.

What say you, dear reader? As always, 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 forced-induction JNC?”  Continue reading

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EVENTS: 2016 Tokyo Auto Salon Spotlight – RE Amemiya’s Inspired 7 and Super Chantez, a return to legendary tuner roots

020KY0732_MazdaChantez-REAmemiya

There are few rotary tuners more prolific than RE Amemiya. Founder Isami Amemiya has been at it since 1974, building all manner of bonkers pistonless demons. Typically, his Auto Salon booth is lined with a column of powerful FD3S RX-7s, poised like they’re ready to attack a small country. This year, in addition to a neon yellow FD, Ama-san brought out a first-gen 7 and what promises to be one of the fastest kei cars of all time.  Continue reading

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WILDLIFE: Toyota 2000GT on a flatbed

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So this happened on the 405 this morning.  Continue reading

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EVENTS: 2016 Tokyo Auto Salon, Part 03 – Tunertopia

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When it comes right down to it, the Auto salon is all about tuning. Sometimes, that can be downright cringeworthy when it comes to the classics we know and love. Other times, the result is inspired. And sometimes it’s just about getting a hunk of metal to go as fast as humanly possible. While not all of the cars in this installment fit the JNC style, they were at the Auto Salon, and so we’re reporting on them.  Continue reading

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EVENTS: 2016 Tokyo Auto Salon, Part 02 – Callbacks

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One of our favorite types of customization is when a new car references something old, whether its Japanese motorsports history, an ancestor in its lineage, or just a general obsession with nostalgia. Here’s all the cars that are rolling inside jokes to those who know their Nihon car history. Continue reading

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EVENTS: Tokyo Auto Salon, Part 01 — Old School Cool

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As one of the most important auto shows on the Japanese calendar, the Tokyo Auto Salon is a showcase of Japan’s latest and greatest tuning trends. With every customization style imaginable on display, however, old school cool is not always easy to find. But even as you journey across the seas of carbon fiber and bling, you just might stumble upon, hidden in plain sight, the most badass nostalgic sleds imaginable. Continue reading

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EVENTS: 2016 Tokyo Auto Salon Spotlight – Liberty Walk S30 Z

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It’s understandable that most non-JNCers would recognize Liberty Walk as the purveyor of trendy widebody kits for Ferraris, GT-Rs and other assorted supercars. In his heart of hearts, though, founder Wataru Kato is an old school bosozoku. Continue reading

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QotW: What’s the greatest forced-induction JNC?

Aoshima Nissan Skyline C210 Seibu Keisatsu Machine RS2 model kit

The Skyline Japan GT-EX kicked off the Age of the Turbo when it debuted in April 1980. Not only was it the first Japanese car to rock a snail, it was deemed so important by Nissan that it was positioned successor to the mighty GT-R and became star of its own 80s cop show. From there, Japanese automakers embarked on a turbo- and super-charging arms race.

What was the greatest forced-induction JNC?

What say you, dear reader? As always, 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 most anticipated 25 Year Club addition?”  Continue reading

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EVENTS: 2016 Tokyo Auto Salon, Part 01 — A Preview

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The Tokyo Auto Salon kicks off this weekend, and that means it’s time for the craziest builds the Japanese aftermarket has to offer. While gold-plated GT-Rs and VIP vans are still very much a part of it, looking past the glitz this year has revealed a slight shift towards the old school styles of Japan. But first, a preview. Continue reading

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MINICARS: Mazda ND Miata coming to Mattel

Matchbox Mazda ND MX5 Miata

The official Matchbox Instagram account has revealed that the ND Miata is coming to its lineup in 2016. Continue reading

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DETROIT: Aisin’s 1961 2-speed Toyoglide

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This crusty old transmission seems like it should be sitting in the back of an old Japanese garage in some rural prefecture but it was displayed proudly, behind glass, at the Aisin booth at the Detroit Auto Show.  Continue reading

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DETROIT: Soul Red is the new white

AcuraPrecisionConcept 12

Despite our decree that white was the best color for Japanese cars, Nihon automakers are still continuing to make cars in other colors. One hue that seems to be surpassing the traditional white is Soul Red.  Continue reading

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DETROIT: White is the best color for Japanese cars

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The NSX proves that the best color for Japanese cars, especially Honda sportscars, is white.  Continue reading

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DETROIT: Akio Toyoda’s rousing speech about Toyota’s future

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Lexus has unveiled its new halo sports coupe, the LC 500, at the Detroit Auto Show. If you’re thinking you’ve seen it before, that’s probably because it looks identical to the LF-LC concept that spawned it. This is, amazingly, an actual production car with 5 liters, 8 cylinders and 467 horses behind its toothy maw and will hit dealerships looking exactly like it does here sometime in 2017.

The LC 500, however, wasn’t even the most exciting thing on the Lexus stage at the Detroit Auto Show. That honor goes to a 59-year-old bespectacled Japanese man named Akio Toyoda and his rousing speech about the future of his company. Continue reading

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VIDEO: A giant-killing Mazda RX-2 that stays humble

Petrolicious Mazda RX2 Jason Humble

It’s hard to find the balance between power and purity when restoring a classic. We all love to go fast, and the light weight of old school J-tin is a great starting point for the vintage racer of your dreams. On the other hand, as owners of now-rare cars we feel a responsibility to preserve these rolling history lessons for posterity. What to do? Jason Humble seems to have found the answer with his Mazda RX-2. Continue reading

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DETROIT: Toyota Kikai gets an American makeover

ToyotaKikai 01

One of the funkiest concepts to come from the Tokyo Motor Show last year was the Toyota Kikai, a steampunkish, Miyazakian retro hot rod. It’s a re-imagining of the automobile for a world where mechanical objects are things of beauty to be shown, not hidden. Toyota shipped the Kikai halfway around the world for the Detroit Auto Show this week, and updated it for an American audience along the way. Can you spot the differences? Continue reading

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