RIP Yoshikazu Sunako, 1932 — 2020

It was announced yesterday that on January 3, 2020, racing driver Yoshikazu Sunako passed away at the age of 87. The former Prince and Nissan works driver was a pioneer during the nascent years of Japan’s motorsports scene, perhaps most known for helping kick start the legend of the Skyline. Sunako came in second at the 1964 Japan Grand Prix driving his blue No.39 Prince Skyline 2000GT, a family saloon stretched to accommodate the straight-six engine of a Prince Gloria, and sent into battle against a purpose-built Porsche 904 Carrera GTS. Continue reading

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Toyota says the GR Yaris is a Celica GT-Four successor

At the Tokyo Auto Salon, Toyota has debuted a new hot hatch that it says is the spiritual successor to the almighty Celica GT-Four. While that claim does raise an eyebrow, the GR Yaris is a potent machine that could have hailed from the Bubble Era. It’s based off of Toyota’s World Rally Championship entrant like the Celica before it, and has dazzling specs for a compact. Continue reading

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Happy Kenmeri Day from JNC

It’s Kenmeri Day, the holiday where you take a road trip with your significant other to a deserted field and frolic through the grass for no reason. Enjoy!

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Toyota’s Supra Heritage Parts Program will be offered in the US

Last May Toyota became the latest Japanese carmaker to announce a heritage parts program, starting off with items for the Supra. Just hours ago, Toyota announced that not only is the program kicking off this spring, but that it will extend overseas. What’s more, the company has released a list of initial parts that will be offered. Continue reading

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Set an hour aside to watch this truly excellent Mazda Miata documentary

At this point we all know that the Mazda MX-5 Miata is a very special car. Despite four generations and 30 years in the books, it is one of the last enthusiasts’ cars left that remains pure to its original mission — to provide a superbly engaging driving experience that connects you to your car. For its 30th anniversary, our friends at Savage Geese have created a wonderful five-part documentary chronicling the development of this singular machine. If you already love Miatas, you’ll love them even more after watching it; if you don’t, this may just nudge you into the Miata cult. Continue reading

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The Honda Beat Parts program reveals why it’s so hard for carmakers to produce old parts

It’s been a while since we checked in on Honda’s Beat Parts program, which once again produces parts for Honda’s popular mid-engined, kei roadster. Since the program was announced in August 2017, the list of parts available has grown. And, after learning what it took to get them back into production, we can see that it’s a miracle the Beat Parts program happened at all. Continue reading

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Tan Toyota Corona Liftbacks are the car of choice for broke lawyers trying to do the right thing

Recently Patrick sent me a link to the trailer for Dark Waters and wrote, “The magic happens at 0:08.” That magic, it turns out, was Mark Ruffalo’s character driving a tan T130 Toyota Corona Liftback. I didn’t really think anything of it, but then a few weeks later the trailer for Just Mercy drops, and Michael B. Jordan’s lawyer character is driving — you guessed it — a tan T130 Toyota Corona Liftback. Continue reading

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QotW: What’s your JNC New Year’s resolution?

It’s a new year, a new decade. A chance to start off right. Will you finally make progress on that long-awaited project, take that road trip of a lifetime, complete your collection of the JNCs of the Wonder Bread Crazy Cars trading cards line (there are only two), or track down that elusive part even if you have to personally comb through every landfill in Japan?

What’s your JNC New Year’s resolution?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What did you think cars would be like in 2020?Continue reading

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Toyota has ended 51 years of Mark II, Mark X production

On December 23, Toyota held a farewell ceremony for the beloved Mark II and Mark X sedan. The final example, a white Mark X 250G, rolled off the line at Toyota’s second-oldest plant, the Motomachi factory in Aichi Prefecture, as workers waved goodbye. The car was immediately driven to a small sendoff where it was parked beside a first-generation Corona Mark II, the car that started it all. Continue reading

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Travis Scott’s new album and videos feature a plethora of Japanese sports cars

When Ryan told me to check out Travis Scott’s new album two days after Christmas, I had to google who he was. A rapper, it turns out. I confess I haven’t actually listened to it, but the cover has caught my attention. At least three 1990s icons are gathered, along with some guys wearing neon balacavas. There’s an FD Mazda RX-7, JZA80 Toyota Supra, and lampenbaum-equipped E30 BMW M3 which Scott is auctioning off. The first video had even more. Continue reading

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Happy New Year from JNC

Here’s to another decade, one that saw Japanese cars appreciated by a small cadre of knowledgeable enthusiasts to full-blown mainstream collectibles amid massive changes in the automotive world and corporate changes. To cement their classic status, nearly all the major Japanese carmakers announced heritage programs remaking parts for iconic cars. Thank you for joining us on this journey, now and in the next decade to come. 明けましておめでとうございます!

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25 YEAR CLUB: Third-Generation Acura Integra

Regardless of income, gender, creed or species, when asked what the greatest front-wheel-drive car of all time is, the answer is almost unanimously the DC2 Integra, specifically the Type R. However, the Integra story is more than its race-ified trim level. The DC Integra chassis was the culmination of Honda’s collective strength during their greatest era. The mind, heart, and soul of the company came together to create something truly special that transformed the landscape of suburban malls across America and what a hot rod could be. Now, 25 years later, it’s only right that we tip our hats in honor of the latest inductee to the 25 Year Club: The third-generation Integra. Continue reading

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RIP Syd Mead, 1933 — 2019

On December 30, 2019, Syd Mead passed away at the age of 86. The legendary concept artist almost single-handedly shaped our visions of tomorrow, having designed the futures seen in films such as Blade Runner, Alien, Tron, and the Star Trek movie. However, it was Mead’s illustrations of a bright and optimistic human destiny that excited a generation and became his signature style. He worked with many companies, dreaming up utopian showcases for their products, and it should be no surprise that Japan’s top carmakers were among them. Continue reading

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NEWS: Ex-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn flees Japan ahead of trial

The strange saga of former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn keeps getting weirder. The disgraced executive, accused of misusing Nissan’s funds, has unexpectedly shown up in Lebanon after allegedly skipping bail ahead of his upcoming trial. The image above, of Ghosn driving a 1938 Datsun Type 17 through Nissan’s Zama garage, happened in 2012, but we’re just going to pretend his escape went something like that. Continue reading

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QotW: What did you think cars would be like in 2020?

The digits we assign to years are, of course, arbitrary, but 2020 still seems like a very futuristic number. When the JNCs we love were still new, 2020 seemed like a distant tomorrow, where we’d travel by tubes or sleek flying cars. Who could’ve guessed that the most cutting-edge forms of transportation would be bulky top-heavy wagons or someone else’s car that you hail with your phone?

What did you think cars would be like in 2020?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What are the biggest changes to the Japanese classic scene in the last decade?Continue reading

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VIDEO: Why don’t more people appreciate the Dodge Colt Vista?

These days, three-row CUVs are big, hulking things that blot out the sun when they lumber into your general vicinity. Back in the 80s, however, Mitsubishi built a 7-seater, all-wheel-drive wagon that basically does 90 percent of what a modern Nissan Pathfinder can do. Though it was sold as the Dodge or Plymouth Colt Vista, in Japan it was called something much grander befitting of its all-around versatility: the Mitsubishi Chariot. Continue reading

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Mazda 4-rotor vs Toyota V10: Which race car sounds better?

At Toyota’s recent Gazoo Racing Festival, fans got the rare opportunity to see — and hear — two vastly different top-level prototype race cars roaring side by side. Both the Mazda 787B’s quad-rotor and the Toyota TS010’s 3.5-liter V10 hailed from a similar era, the early 90s. One won the 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, while the other won the Japanese Prototype Sports Car Championship. Each one sounded amazing in its own way.  Continue reading

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Happy Holidays from JNC

Thanks for joining us on our Japanese car journeys. May your garages be filled with all the JDM and NOS car parts that your hearts desire, and may you share these times and joys with your loved ones. Happy Holidays from the entire team here at JNC!

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Honda celebrates 30 years of manufacturing in East Liberty, Ohio

Honda is celebrating 30 years of manufacturing at its East Liberty, Ohio plant. The company began operations at the factory in 1989, seen here building the EF-generation Honda Civic. Since then, 5.9 million cars have been built there. Continue reading

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QotW: What are the biggest changes to the Japanese classic scene in the last decade?

As we wind down the decade, it’s a good time to reflect on how drastically the Japanese classic scene has changed in the past 10 years. The 2010s saw increased acceptance of Japanese cars as rapidly appreciating collectors’ items, modification trends that lean towards keeping a car more stock or period correct, and a boom in collectors of Japanese classic diecasts. In the world of the carmakers themselves, we saw massive changes in the landscape, with Nissan and Toyota consolidating Japan’s car companies into two huge entities, Nissan’s management completely upended, and Mazda come out of nowhere to take the mantle of the go-to brand for driving enthusiasts. A decade is along period of time to reflect on.

What are the biggest changes to the Japanese classic scene in the last decade?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “If you could own a Japanese race car from any era, what would it be?Continue reading

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