QotW: What’s the most under-appreciated JNC?

1984 Toyota Camry

One could argue that all JNCs are under-appreciated, but even among the outcasts there’s a hierarchy. Not all of us can drive 2000GTs and Hakosukas, or even 510s.

What’s the most under-appreciated JNC?

Allow us to proffer the 1984 Toyota Camry. Sure, it was the bland brown box that launched an army of spaced out drivers that would rather be doing anything else, including performing a self root canal. It was the patient zero that spawned generations of mindless zombies shuffling from A-to-B. It was Beige Genesis.

But it was also the first car for a nation of pre-Facebook teens hopped up on hormones. It provided countless souls with depressingly thin wallets their first taste of worry-free mobility and freedom. And it was indestructable, an amazing feat of engineering durability that forced everyone else to stop foisting shitboxes on an unsuspecting populace. Not to mention it filled ToMoCo’s coffers with the money to spend on Lexuses, Supras and MR2s.

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 biggest JNC regret?”  Continue reading


EVENTS: 2015 Nostalgic2Days, Part 01

13-999_Toyota Crown S40 Mooneyes

Nostalgic 2 Days, the annual two-day event held by Nostalgic Hero, is as much a car show as it is a trade show. It’s as if the magazine springs to life, particularly the pages in which Japan’s classic car businesses — shops, dealers and restorers — advertise their services. Because many of these outfits’ livelihoods depend on attracting as much business in an already niche market, there’s sometimes the need to outdo one another with the most extreme resto-mods or the finest restorations.  Continue reading


PROJECT B: Owning a classic car in Japan, Part 02 — The Shaken

Prince Skyline GT-B - Shaken

In Part 01 of this series, I went through the process of searching for the appropriate classic car. Even though I live in Tokyo, it turns out the best way to get the car I wanted, a Prince Skyline GT-B, was to buy an export model from Australia. In this installment, I document what you need to get it past Japan’s dreaded Shaken roadworthiness inspection.  Continue reading


EVENTS: 2015 New Year Meeting, Part 08 — Parking Area Finds


Closing out our coverage of the 2015 New Year Meeting, we make a quick run through the show’s parking area. Thanks to the Japanese protocol of backing into their parking spaces, we were able to get full views of spectators’ rides to the show unobstructed by vans and kei cars. As is typical of Japan, even many areas of the parking lot were beautifully paved with a concrete lattice over manicured grass.

Early comers were able to secure adjacent spaces for similar rides, as was the case for these Fairladies. Here, twin G-noses were joined by what appears to be a fuel-injected 1975 example equipped with an SCCN air dam. Continue reading


NEWS: Can you spot all the nostalgic styling cues of the Suzuki iM-4 Concept?

Suzuki iM4 Geneva Motor Show 07

Suzuki may be gone from the US market, but it’s alive and well in the rest of the world. The 85th Geneva Motor Show is going on right now, and its automotive branch unveiled this morning the Suzuki iM-4 Concept, a compact 4WD laden with styling cues from Suzuki’s past models. Can you spot them all?  Continue reading


EVENTS: Sunday morning at Daikoku Futo

355s_Honda S800 & Toyota Sports 800

Located right off the famed Wangan Bayshore Route in Yokohama, Daikoku Futo PA is a congress for car fiends. As die-hard fans of JDM-land know, representatives of any and every type of Japanese tuning subculture come together to appreciate the many facets of  the customized automobile. It’s like Cars & Coffee without the coffee, unless you toss a few yen into the ubiquitous vending machines. On a recent Sunday morning, the lot was full by 9:00 am. Continue reading


QotW: What’s your biggest JNC regret?


You hear these stories all the time: “I should’ve never sold that car.” “One day it was gone and the owner said he sold it for scrap.” “I bought a Chrysler Sebring.” Life is full of regrets, and cars are a major source for them.

What’s your biggest JNC regret?

In 1999 I was working my first real job, and by real job I mean one with a desk where I could secretly browse eBay. One day, I came across a Belatrix Yellow Toyota 2000GT. Back then, it was pretty rare to see one for sale at all, so I contacted the seller to ask what reserve was. To my surprise, he actually took the time to write back, even though both he knew and I knew that I could never afford it. “It’s kind of expensive,” he said, “$150,000.” If you factored in the cost of commuting, I was almost making negative wages, but I’m still kicking myself for not taking out a massive loan and living in it. I would’ve been a millionaire today.

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 best Mr K story?Continue reading


KIDNEY, ANYONE? Another KPGC10 Hakosuka GT-R up for US auction

1971 Nissan Skyline GT-R 02

Located in Fletcher, North Carolina, this Hakosuka is the third C10 Nissan Skyline GT-R to be offered at auction in seven months. Rare in its absence of what has become known as the “hako wing,” it has been offered, notably, on eBay and in online classified ads rather than high-end auction house, by the very same seller who set a record in Monterey last year with the $242,000 Hako.  Continue reading


PROJECT B: Owning a classic car in Japan, Part 01 — The Search

Prince Skyline GT-B in Tokyo - GR21-870

Welcome to a new multi-part series on JNC, in which we document what it’s like to buy, register, and own a classic car in Japan. The car in question is a Prince Skyline GT-B, the car that started the Skyline Legend, owned by our friend Ken Lee, but not that Ken Lee, who lives in Tokyo. — Ben

My interest for classic cars began while hanging out with some friends and going out together on haikyo excursions across Japan. During these trips, I noticed that one particular friend, in addition to taking photographs of haikyo, had a thing for shooting the many old cars – noticeably classic cars of style — that we often came across. On our drives he would give me the lowdown on these cars and my interest was piqued.  Continue reading


EVENTS: 2015 New Year Meeting Part 07 — Compact Flash


Today (no pun intended!) we take a look at the classic city cars that showed up at the New Year Meeting. Some, like this happy red Honda Today, are kei cars, but not all. As you might remember, the Today was the star car in You’re Under Arrest!, the surprisingly vehicle-accurate manga and anime series, but it was also notable enough to be featured in Gran Turismo 4. Like many 80s Hondas, it had such stupendous packaging that it looks proportionally larger than a kei car and has excellent (we’ve heard) handling as well.   Continue reading