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

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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

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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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MINICARS: Kusaka Engineering’s super-detailed scale Skyline GT-R motors

3462 NISMOFestival2015 Nissan Skyline S20 Kusaka Engineering scale model

Nissan’s legendary S20 engine costs $50,000 or more, but here’s one you can get for just a fraction of that price. Not only that, but you can get all the renowned Skyline powerplants — as long as you don’t mind having them at a fraction of the size.  Continue reading

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Divers explore the “Toyota Wreck” off the coast of Sudan

Blue Belt Toyota Wreck

In 1977 the Blue Belt collided with Sha’ab Suedi Reef in the Red Sea and sank off the coast of northern Sudan. It took its cargo of cars and trucks to the bottom, where it is today known as the Toyota Wreck.  Continue reading

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QotW: What’s your most anticipated 25 Year Club addition?

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Each year on the calendar brings us another round of cars that turn 25. Why is this significant? In short, 25 is the age at which most governments will grant a car historic status, which makes them eligible for things like collector car license plates and classic car insurance. Being 25 years of age also makes a car legal to import, according to the US federal government (though whether that imported car can be driven on the street is a state-by-state issue so your mileage may vary).

As we round the corner to 2016, a slew of Japan-tastic machines have now reached this threshold proving that 1991 will be another seminal year for the 25 Year Club. There’s the stunning Lexus SC/Toyota Soarer, the pocket supercar SW20 Toyota MR2, and 510-channeling Nissan Sentra SE-R. If you like very small sports cars, there was the Mazda MX-3 and Nissan NX. If you want to go by JDM model years there’s the breathtaking Mazda FD RX-7, which won’t be a classic in the US until 2018, and home-grown candidates like the Honda Beat, Suzuki Cappuccino, Nissan Figaro and many more.

What’s your most anticipated 25 Year Club addition?

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 New Year’s resolution?”  Continue reading

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MOTORSPORT: The Super Silhouette Nissans that inspired a generation of bosozoku

3410 NISMOFestival2015 Nissan Skyline DR30 Super Silhouette

One of the biggest treats from the NISMO Festival at Fuji Speedway the display of Nissan’s Super Silhouette racers from the late 1970s and early 1980s. Developed for Group 5 specifications, their extreme aero styling inspired a generation of bosozoku and kaido racers.  Continue reading

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VIDEO: The dying tradition of bosozoku

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“The view was breathtaking, especially at night. The lights would just go on forever,” recalls Kazuhiro Hazuki, the 21st leader of Specter, one of Japan’s most famous bosozoku gangs. In its prime, the Chiba Soumei Rengo (alliance), of which Specter was a part, stretched between eastern Tokyo and western Chiba and could bring out 2,000 bikes riding in formation in a single night. Sadly, those days are gone.  Continue reading

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MOTORSPORT: How Nissan thwarted the Toyota in the golden age of the Japan Grand Prix

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By 1968 Toyota had had enough of losing their home country’s biggest race — the annual Japan Grand Prix — to Nissan. They had just debuted the nation’s flagship sports car in the 2000GT, but it was getting trounced by the Prince/Nissan R380, a purpose-built race car that had no street-legal counterpart.  Continue reading

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EVENTS: Walking the paddocks at the 2015 NISMO Festival

3366 NISMOFestival2015 Nissan Skyline R31 Reebok

A celebration of all things Nissan and racing, the annual NISMO Festival held by the Nissan mothership in Japan. For one late November day, legendary racing machines are dusted off and emerge from their Zama hibernation to roar across the hallowed tarmac of Fuji Speedway.  Continue reading

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2015: The JNC Year in Review

JNC 2015

With 2015 in the books, we thought it might be a chance to look at the highlights from the world of JNCContinue reading

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

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Happy Year of the Monkey! We’re like 80 percent sure that Han Dynasty astrologists weren’t talking about Honda’s 50cc mini-bike, but perhaps this will be an auspicious year for you, JNC-wise, anyway. Will you finally pull the trigger on that old “Datsun or something” your UPS guy told you about? Patch up that bit of bubbling paint that’s been slowly growing over time? Or, first things first, move to a place with a garage?

What’s your JNC New Year’s resolution?

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 automotive woes are you most eager to forget?”  Continue reading

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25 YEAR CLUB: Acura NSX

1993 Acura NSX - Grand Prix White 14

We end 2015 by welcoming another inductee into the 25 Year Club. Yes, it’s a car, it’s Japanese, and it’s beloved. But we’re going to go one step further and call it the Best Car Ever Made. Consider this proof: The 1990s produced the best cars of any decade in automotive history and the Honda NSX was the best car of the 90s. Ergo, the NSX was the Best Car Ever Made, QED.

Someday, centuries from now, when humanity has either destroyed itself, achieved the singularity or abandoned our home for the stars, archaeologists from a new species will emerge to examine all that we have achieved. The Pyramids. Culture. Democracy. The art of moving ourselves across land at great speed.  Continue reading

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25 YEAR CLUB: Z32 Nissan 300ZX

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As we hurtle towards our own bonenkai, let us commemorate some of the landmark cars that joined the 25 Year Club in 2015. 1990 was the first model year for Nissan’s watershed fourth-generation Z-Car. Now, 25 years later, the Z32 300ZX is officially a Japanese nostalgic car. Twin turbos, dual intercoolers, 300 horsepower and starship-worthy sheetmetal made a very strong impression on your young editor-in-chief, so much so that you could say that without the Turbo Z, there’d be no JNCContinue reading

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25 YEAR CLUB: Mitsubishi Eclipse

1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX

As we close out 2015, let us take one last look at some cars that joined the 25 Year Club this year. First up, the Mitsubishi Eclipse. Known as the DSM cars by enthusiasts, the Plymouth Laser, the Eagle Talon, and the Mitsubishi Eclipse were a combined project between Chrysler and Mitsubishi built under the program name of Diamond Star Motors (DSM). These were sports cars designed for the American market, with two of the affiliated manufacturers being American marques but using the assembly line techniques of Mitsubishi in a joint-venture plant. To fully understand the DSM, a quick history lesson is in order.  Continue reading

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