REMINDER: SevenStock 17 this Saturday

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Just a friendly JNC reminder to attend SevenStock 17 this Saturday, November 22. It’s at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Stop by the JNC booth and say hi.

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NEWS: Mazda knows it’s the lone steward of the rotary engine

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Recently Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai was quoted saying there are no plans for a rotary engined sports car. Fans interpreted that as the rotary was dead as a doornail, picked up their pitchforks and got ready to march on Hiroshima, but if you read the entire the end of the article, then you can see Mazda sees itself as something most automakers do not: a steward. Continue reading

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NEXT VERSION: 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata, now in white

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Though Mazda‘s big reveal at the LA Auto Show was the new CX-3 (and a facelifted Mazda 6 (and a facelifted CX-5)), the car that caught our eyes was hidden in an alcove in the back, a 2016 MX-5 Miata in white, like a proper Japanese car should be. Continue reading

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EVENTS: 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show

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Well miracle on ice! You’ll ever guess which Japanese automaker set up a Heritage Corner at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Watch Motorweek review the AE86, AW11, and S13

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This is the greatest thing ever to hit the internet. MotorWeek, one of the top three automotive TV shows from Owings Mills, Maryland, just put up some “retro reviews.” They review the AE86, S13, and AW11 when new, a good decade before anyone in the US knew the words dorifto or touge, and do so in glorious sexual harassment training seminar format.  Continue reading

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RIP Ken Takakura, 1931-2014

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Ken Takakura, one of Japan’s most famous actors, has passed away at the age of 83. Known as the Japanese Clint Eastwood, he portrayed many tough guy roles, from noble ex-cons to hard boiled detectives to chivalrous gangsters, but you might know him best from his role as Michael Douglas’s reluctant partner in the 1989 film Black Rain. 

He won Best Actor in Japan’s version of the Academy Awards for one of the nations’ most famous films, The Yellow Handkerchief, which happens to be an epic road movie. The story follows Takakura’s character, a man just released from prison after serving a murder sentence. On his way to Hokkaido for an unknown reason, his life intersects with a couple of travelers and a 1977 Mazda Familia. Eventually they learn that he’s going to see his wife, and will find out if he’s welcome home only if she’s hung out a yellow handkerchief for him.  Continue reading

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VIDEO: Toyota Sports 800. Fun!

Toyota Sports 800 by Petrolicious

Our friends at Petrolicious have produced a beautiful film about the Yotahachi, Toyota’s first sports car. Weighing in at only 1,280 pounds thanks to prodigious use of aluminum, it needed only a 45hp two-cylinder boxer to make it a barrel of monkeys. Owner Scott Sylvester talks about what it’s like to own one. Watch the video below. Continue reading

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GALLERIES: The American Honda Collection, Part 01 – Small Beginnings

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Soichiro Honda was born on November 17, 1906 in a small Shizuoka Prefecture village. If you had told his parents, a blacksmith and a weaver, that one day their son would put the family name on a worldwide automotive empire responsible for some of the best sports and racing cars of all time, they would’ve thought you were insane.

But by 1959, thirteen years after Honda opened for business in a 170-square-foot shed, Honda Motor Company was ready to establish a US subsidiary. Today, that subsidiary has sold over 33 million cars in North America, 20 million of which were built here, and has amassed a collection of its best creations in a nondescript private warehouse. Here’s what’s inside.  Continue reading

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QotW: What’s the greatest nostalgic Honda?

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Today is Soichiro Honda’s birthday. Though Honda-san passed away in 1991, many of the last cars he saw go into production are quickly passing the 25-year threshold into classic-dom. We can’t think of a more appropriate time to ask:

What’s the greatest nostalgic Honda?

The easy answer is probably the Honda S800. It was the top-spec version of Old Man Honda’s first born, the S-Series. Sure, the T360 beat it to market, but that was a concession to his business partner Takeo Fujisawa, the more rational of the two. Many of Japan’s great race car drivers got their start on Honda S-cars, and it would serve as the inspiration for one of the greatest sports car in modern times, the S2000.

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 Japanese nostalgic wagon?”  Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: Boso Hanto, Day 01

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To a lot of Tokyoites, Chiba-ken is nothing more than the place go to if you are flying into or out of Narita airport. On the train or bus, you pass unsavory industrial areas, docks, recycle depots, and a few sprawling shopping malls. The northern shores of Tokyo Wan — home of the Wangan Route — house the smelly Nippon Steel works, flammable fuel refineries, gas storage depot, and other unattractive facilities such as Tokyo Disneyland.

The southern two-thirds of Chiba Prefecture, though, are known as the Boso Hanto (Boso Peninsula) and include mountainous areas, castles, rice farming, nihon-shu (sake) breweries, a number of national parks, and a history dating back to the Jomon Period (12,000 BC). The name “Chiba-ken” means literally “Land of a Thousand Leaves”, and the area lives up to its name throughout the year.   Continue reading

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