DESIGN: An interview with Nissan designer Ken Lee

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It’s not often that you find yourself hurtling down narrow two-lane roads with the guy that designed the very car you’re sitting in. We recently had the rare opportunity to take a ride with Ken Lee, a senior creative manager at Nissan Design America. The car of choice was the 2015 Nissan Murano, a project he birthed, from idea to 2D drawing, clay to sheetmetal, at the company’s La Jolla, California studio. The futuristic-looking crossover is a far cry from 25-year-and-older J-tin, but during our chat Lee revealed a surprise: he grew up with and loves Japanese nostalgic cars. Continue reading

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KIDNEY, ANYONE? 59k-mile Subaru Loyale Wagon

1994 Subaru Loyale 01

The EA82 Loyale was Fuji Heavy Industries’ flagship model until it was dethroned by the Subaru Legacy. The particular example offered for sale in Cadillac, Michigan is without a doubt the best example of an EA82 we’ve seen stateside, and it isn’t just a base model DL either. With only 59,000 miles on the clock, it would take copious amounts of trail hooning to arrive at the condition most EA82s are found in, but who could do that with such a pristine example of the biggest unsung hero of the Pleiades badge? Continue reading

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KIDNEY, ANYONE? Hot Wheels Datsun Z prototype for $4,295

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This is could be the earliest Hot Wheels Japanese car ever made. The Hot Wheels Datsun “Z-Whiz” 240Z of 1977 is certainly the first Japanese casting, but this is a pre-production prototype of that casting, making it one of the earliest Z-Whizes known to exist, and it’s currently on eBay with a BuyItNow price of $4,295. Yes, that is a dollar figure that is utterly ridiculous and exceeds some actual Zs, but there is probably some crazy collector out there that will shell out for it because it is an extremely rare piece.  Continue reading

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EVENTS: SevenStock 17 Spotlight — Cherry Capellas

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As the name implies, SevenStock is heavy on the Sevens. At SevenStock 17, however, Mazda RX-2s made a tremendous showing. We presented some of them already, along with R100s, RX-3s, REPUs and, yes, RX-7s galore. But there were three examples of what would be called Capellas if they were in Japan, that deserved to stand out, and here they are.  Continue reading

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QotW: Which JNC should be a Transformer and what should its name be?

Transformers Masterpiece Bluestreak Datsun 280ZX 01

Happy 2015! We asked for a Question of the Week in last Monday’s Question of the Week, and you delivered. So to kick off a new year of QotWs, here’s (one of) the winning questions.

Which JNC should be a Transformer and what should its name be?

Well, let’s imagine we are talking about pre-Michael Bay Transformers, which was a cartoon, a toy line, and not shitty. It also debuted squarely in the mid-1980s. That makes many of the original characters JNCs. We have robots that disguise themselves as Datsun 280ZXes, Honda Citys, Toyota Hiluxes and Nissan Vanettes, so let’s just eliminate all of the existing ones from the running and come up with completely new characters. What will be their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, and favorite quotes?

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 question should we ask next year?”  Continue reading

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EVENTS: 2014 Meiji Jingu Classic Car Festival, Part 02

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The annual Meiji Jingu Classic Car Festival offers something few other shows can claim: the chance to see its cars driving through public streets. It’s not simply witnessing them in motion, though It’s the fact that those public streets are in Tokyo, in some of the capital city’s most famous historic districts, many of which look largely unchanged since these cars were new.  Continue reading

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The Subaru Legacy is officially a Japanese nostalgic car, Part 02

Subaru Legacy RS Type RA 02

Let’s get right back into the groove this new year by continuing the induction of the original Subaru Legacy into the 25 Year Club. In Part 01, we studied its origins, but despite its humble family sedan appearance, Fuji Heavy Industries intended for the Legacy to go racing right from inception. This is a fitting place to discuss the origins of Subaru Technica International (STi) and how it relates to the Legacy.  Continue reading

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JNC‘s top stories of 2014

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As we mentioned, 2014 was the Year of the JNC. As it draws to a close, let’s look back at the things that most interested JNCers over the last 365 days. Continue reading

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The Subaru Legacy is officially a Japanese nostalgic car, Part 01

Subaru Legacy Wagon jump

As mentioned, the great machines that debuted a quarter century ago have made 2014 the year of the JNC. As it draws to a close, let’s sneak in another a member of the “Class of 1989.” This late entry competed against ubiquitous mid-size sedans, a class often marked by mundaneness in purpose and form. Nevertheless, Japanese carmakers occasionally injected into these cars doses of performance and techno-gadgetry. Examples include the Mitsubishi Galant VR-4, Mazda 626 GT, Nissan Bluebird SSS-R, and Honda Accord SiR.

However, such variants tended to be sporadic fits of passion, homologation specials, or technological showcases. By contrast, the subject of this article was plunged into a serious racing campaign at birth, got worked over by one of the most revered factory racing development organizations, and saw continuous high-performance development throughout its lifespan rarely enjoyed by its competitors. That car is the original Subaru LegacyContinue reading

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QotW: What question should we ask next year?

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We’ve asked you for many answers, but we’ve yet to ask you for a question. As the year draws to a close, what would you like to know from your fellow JNCers?

What question should we ask next?

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 JNC getting for the holidays?Continue reading

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