QotW: What does your dream truck look like?

Today is Ugly Truck Day but, as we all know, that’s kind of a misnomer. Even ugly trucks are actually good-looking trucks, because while dents, scratches, or rust ruin a car, those same imperfections give a truck character. That is, if they are acquired honestly through the course of hard work — hauling, towing, navigating rough terrain. Of course, good-looking trucks are also good-looking trucks, and there’s nothing like a nicely preserved, restored, or resto-modded workhouse (for truly ugly trucks, see the front lawn at SEMA).

I don’t own a pickup, but if I did, it would be part overlander, part tow rig. Essentially, it’d be something I could sleep in as I scour the country for “ran when parked” JNCs. It wouldn’t have to be something ridiculous. A 5,000-pound towing capacity should be enough, so something like a Nissan Frontier with a bed cap and rooftop tent would be plenty.

What does your dream truck look like?

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 $25,000 autocross, road, and rally race garage?Continue reading

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Now that Nissan has a new logo, let’s take a look at a history of Nissan logos

Nissan has a new logo, debuting on the electric Ariya Crossover unveiled in Yokohama this week. Usually we have to be dragged kicking and screaming toward any change like this, but in this case, we have to say, the new logo doesn’t look half bad. It might even be an improvement. Plus, as we are about to show you, there’s been quite a few changes to Nissan’s logo over the company’s 80-plus years in business, so it’s not like the chrome hamburger is a sacred cow. Continue reading

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RIP Yoshihiko Matsuo, Nissan Fairlady Z and Datsun 240Z designer, 1933—2020

Yoshihiko Matsuo, the man who spearheaded the design of one of the most influential sports cars of all time, has died. Matsuo led the Nissan design team that penned the S30 Fairlady Z, known as the Datsun 240Z in the western hemisphere, a car that not only revolutionized the concept of what a sports car could be, but made it accessible to the masses. Matsuo passed away on July 11 and, as is the custom in Japan, the family made public the news a few days later. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Keiichi Tsuchiya drifts a collector’s stock $37,000 AE86

The AE86 is a hot commodity now, with very nice examples selling in the mid-$20,000 range in the US. In Japan, however, cherry low-mileage examples have been commanding top prices for years. In 2017, Hot Version gathered a dream gathering of AE86s for a special episode, including one hard-core collector’s 41,000-mile example that he paid the yen equivalent of $37,000 for. Of course, Drift Kings gonna drift. Continue reading

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World record-holding Honda Civic drag car destroyed in crash

Some sad news in the world of import racing came last Thursday, when it was announced that Speedfactory Racing’s world record-holding EG Civic was destroyed in a crash. What’s even more tragic, it was wrecked in a final world record attempt before they planned to retire the vehicle this year. Fortunately driver James Kempf is alive, though hospitalized, but the car has been completely destroyed. Continue reading

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SHOWA SNAP: Oji San-chome, Kita Ward, Tokyo, 1967

At 10:00 am on April 20, 1967, a procession of Shinto priests followed by a brass band opened a pedestrian footbridge over a five-way intersection in Tokyo. This type of blessing ceremony is typical of grand openings in Japan, even if the thing that’s opening isn’t super grand. What’s notable about this photo is that in a month’s time both the Toyota 2000GT and Mazda Cosmo Sport would debut, but the traffic on the streets below was still largely comprised of commercial or utility vehicles. Continue reading

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QotW: What’s your $25,000 autocross, road, and rally race garage?

You are starting a JNC grassroots motorsports team, and you’re going to compete in three distinct racing types:

  • Autocross: Generally SCCA, but also marque clubs like the Porsche club if you want to. You’ll want a car with quickness and agility.
  • Road racing: This includes NASA and SCCA, or vintage racing like HSR or SVRA if you prefer. Both, if you have the right car. This would mean actual racing and not just track days/HPDEs.) No 24 Hours of Lemons or ChumpCar. You’ll want a well-balanced car, preferably with a fixed roof, that gives you both speed and durability.
  • Rally: We’re talking amateur performance rally — as in “on dirt” and not Time Speed Distance events — as well as rallycross. The temptation is to get something AWD. However, beginners are often advised to start out in an FWD car. Also, it’s pretty much 100 percent certain you’re going to crash at some point.

You’re going to need one dedicated car for each of the three series. You get a $25,000 budget, including any performance-oriented modifications. We’ll say that for the sake of this game you don’t have to budget for things like roll cages or running costs such as fuel, entry fees, or a tow rig; the budget is just for the race cars. The only restriction is that each car has to be a JNC. You can import something from abroad if you wish, and since they’re race cars you don’t have to worry about federalization. However, you will have to factor in shipping costs if you go that route.

What’s your $25,000 autocross, road, and rally race garage?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What are your favorite automotive-themed watches?Continue reading

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VIDEO: What made the 1992 Honda Civic a good car?

History has taught us that the EG Civic was one of the greatest compacts of all time, but how was it reviewed when it was new? Surprisingly, it wasn’t for the things we love about 90s Hondas like responsive engines, race car engineering filtered into a humble compact, and stone cold reliability. Instead, it was a bunch of boring things that, 30 years later, no one cares about. Continue reading

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Happy 710 Day from JNC

Back in post-Oil Crisis 1976, small cars were finally getting some attention as Americans shifted from land yachts to compacts. Datsun positioned the 710 as one that didn’t feel like a penalty box. As touted in this ad, it boasted features like “33 mpg on the highway and 23 in the city,” “wall-t0-wall nylon carpeting,” and Datsun’s 40 years of experience building “today’s size cars.” That’s pretty compelling, and they didn’t even mention the groovy stripes yet. It’s too bad you don’t see many of these anymore. Happy 710 Day from JNC!

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PSA: Replacements for recalled Harbor Freight jack stands now also recalled

A couple of months ago, Harbor Freight Tools recalled a bunch of their jack stands. Those 3-ton and 6-ton units were under risk of collapsing due to a manufacturing defect that could cause the support pawl to become disengaged. 1.7 million sets were recalled, and some of those customers who returned the defective stands were given replacements. Now those replacements have also been recalled. Continue reading

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WRC champion Nicky Grist bought his dream car, an ST185 Celica GT-Four

Nicky Grist has co-driven in over 130 WRC races, won 21 of them, and even racked up a season championship. He’s navigated for legends like Colin McRae, Juha Kankkunen, and Armin Schwarz. He’s shouted instructions for legendary teams like Ford, Toyota, Subaru, and Mitsubishi. However, when it came time to buy his dream car of his own, he chose an ST185 Celica GT-Four. Continue reading

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Here are the official US specs for the Mazda 3 Turbo

It’s official. The Mazda 3 now comes with a turbocharged powertrain. There were rumors about this last month, and if you’ll allow us to toot our horns a bit, we predicted this a year ago, even if we got the name wrong. And this Turbo 3 isn’t just a way to carry on the traditions of, say, the 323 GTX or Mazdaspeed 3. It’s really one of the few new cars today that feel like the wonderful sport compacts Japan gave us in the 80s and 90s. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Why the Acura Integra Type R is worth $60,000

These days, Acura Integra Type R values are higher than those of an Acura NSX. Prices have shot as high as $82,000, with most decent examples in the $60,000 range. On paper, the numbers don’t look that spectacular. Its 1.8-liter inline-four had less than 200 horsepower, 195 to be precise, or just 15 more than the much cheaper GS-R. The torque spread was even less, just 130 lb-ft versus 128. Its 0-60 time was around 6.6 seconds, just 0.4 faster than the GS-R’s. Aside from a larger wing, it looked nearly identical to its lesser siblings as well. But a car isn’t just the sum of its spec sheet. Continue reading

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Happy RX-7 Day from JNC

Today is July 7, or 7/7, or Sevens Day, the day we celebrate the indomitable Mazda RX-7. Since this year marks the 100th Anniversary of Mazda let’s honor the day with the very first RX-7, the 1978 SA22C, in its iconic Mach Green color. As mentioned in the second installment of our Mazda centenary retrospective, This futuristic little sports car came right out of the gates with rotary guns blazing, winning the 24 Hours of Daytona in its inaugural year, then following up with a win at the Spa 24 Hours in 1981. It paved the way for everything from the Le Mans-winning 787B to the legendary FD3S. It’s truly one of the all-time greats. Happy RX-7 Day from JNC!

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Toyota launches Supra reproduction parts program, adds 2000GT, international availability

Toyota has announced that it will start making reproduction parts for the Supra and 2000GT. Even better, it says that the parts will be available both in Japan and “overseas,” which means that they will likely be coming to the US. Back in May 2019, we reported that Toyota announced a GR Heritage Parts Program for the A70 and A80 Supra. Today, Toyota added the 2000GT to the list. Here’s a rundown of what will be available initially. Continue reading

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QotW: What are your favorite automotive-themed watches?

For the most part, we at JNC are not Watch Guys. However, we do recognize that it’s a thing that might tick our boxes, if we weren’t pouring every spare dime into cars, and we know that there is a large overlap between those who like vintage cars and those who like a nice wrist-worn timepiece. But hey, convince us why watches are worth our attention, and maybe recommend some befitting of someone who likes vintage Japanese cars. Just know that we aren’t prepared to spend GT-R money on one.

What are your favorite automotive-themed watches?

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 best JNC photo?Continue reading

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If you need Mazda RX-3 taillights, you’re in luck

For many older Japanese cars, plastic bits are near impossible to find. Or, if you do find them, they cost a fortune. They’re not like muscle cars, where you can open a Year One catalog and basically rebuild a 1969 Camaro from scratch. JNCers have had to rely on the innovation and passion of individual enthusiasts to make up the gap. For example, look at these beautiful Mazda RX-3 taillight lenses made by an owner from Detroit, Michigan. Continue reading

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Can you identify these classic Nissan-shaped senbei crackers?

Say you’re a hard-core Nissan nut, you’re feeling a bit peckish, and a plain old non-Nissan snack simply won’t do. Fortunately for you, Nissan has officially issued a new line of senbei (rice crackers), one of Japan’s most popular munching options, in the shape of classic Nissan cars. Continue reading

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100 YEAR CLUB: Mazda, Part 02

Mazda turned 100 years old earlier this year, and to mark this very special occasion we went in search of what makes this small Hiroshima carmaker so unique. In the previous installment of our retrospective, we examined Mazda’s origin story and early milestones. We arrived at the dawn of the Rotary Era and the development and Cosmo Sport, arguably one of the most futuristic and innovative cars ever created. In Part 02, we pick up where we left off with the Savanna, better known to the rest of the world as the Mazda RX-3. Continue reading

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Honda launches factory restoration program for RC30 motorcycle

On June 30 Honda announced a factory “Refresh Plan” for the 1987-90 VFR750R motorcycle, more commonly known by its model code, the RC30. The bike was an important part of Honda’s motorsports history, a factory homologation special created to win the inaugural World Superbike Championship of 1988. It did that, repeated the feat in 1989, and won a slew of other two-wheeled championships as well. Crammed with loads of race-developed technology, at the time of launch the ¥1.48 million (approx. $15,000 USD) street-legal version was the most expensive motorcycle ever sold in Japan. Continue reading

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