Omedetou, Shinkansen! The bullet train turns 50

Shinkansen 0-series

Don’t worry, you’re at the right place. As JNC fans, sometimes we find ourselves fascinated by various vintage Japanese machines and the Shinkansen, or bullet train, is perhaps the most historically and culturally significant. The image of sleek white arrow piercing the landscape with a snow-capped Mt. Fuji in the background is a veritable Japanese icon, and on this very day 50 years ago — October 1, 1964 — the famous train took its maiden voyage. Today, we take a look at the Shinkansen, especially the original “0 Series” model. It has more than four wheels and doesn’t fit in your garage, but it’s a true Japanese classic.  Continue reading

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Mazda’s founder escaped Hiroshima nuke by a hair

Mazda Museum 02

If it weren’t for the way a split second unfolded on the morning of August 6, 1945, some of the world’s greatest cars, like the Cosmo Sport, RX-7 and Miata, may have never existed. That was the day Mazda Motor Corporation’s founder, Jujiro Matsuda, narrowly escaped being vaporized by an atomic bomb.  Continue reading

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2014 JCCS, a hint of what’s to come

JCCS

It was an astounding show. This shot — taken from the safari rack on the roof of Isuzugeek Bart‘s Trooper, which he drove all the way down from Reno, Nevada — is just a small sampling. We’ll have more this week.

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QotW: Which JNC model name should be revived?

0664_Toyota-Celica--A20

History is littered with legendary nameplates that have ended in the scrapyard. We saw many of them at JCCS this weekend (coverage coming shortly), and it made us nostalgic for times when names like Silvia, Cressida and Prelude still existed.

Which JNC model name should be revived?

US automakers love recycling old names. Sometimes a re-born name is a hit (2008 Dodge Challenger). Sometimes it’s not (1978 Dodge Challenger). Toyota has a habit of using old chassis codes as new model names (FJ Cruiser, 86), Honda waited 30 years to bring back the S-Series, and Nissan revived the entire Datsun brand. However, we think the name Celica is a shoe-in for revival. It sounds good, has substantial recognition amongst the public, and would be perfect for a small, compact coupe.

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 rarest common car? Continue reading

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MINICARS: 2015 Hot Wheels X JNC Datsun 240Z

01_2015 Hot Wheels Datsun 240Z black

For our last JCCS preview before the big show, here’s a new-for-2015 Hot Wheels Datsun 240Z. Once again we are proud to have the JNC inkan featured on the livery, right under the script “Datsun” logo on the fenders.  Continue reading

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REMINDER: 2014 Japanese Classic Car Show

10th JCCS 2014

The 2014 Japanese Classic Car Show is just around the corner. this Saturday, September 27. It will be a very special occasion as the JCCS celebrates its 10th anniversary. As promised, there are some surprises in store, and here are a few.

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EVENTS: Monterey Historics, Part 05 — Sights & Sounds

138_Nissan Skyline C10 hakosuka

The Monterey Historics car week is one of the world’s great automotive events, and 2014 was a milestone year for Japanese classics. After all, seminal Nihon steel made strong showings at auctions, iconic Japanese cars raced at Laguna Seca, and Japanese automakers even held news-making unveilings there. All of that, however was merely a blink-and-you-missed-it blip on the larger radar of the traditional classic world.

Though there’s a lot of non-Japanese content in this article, we think it’s important to show some of our younger readers the larger scope of what goes on at an event like the Monterey Historics and how the J-tin figures into the big picture. Continue reading

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QotW: What’s the rarest common car?

172_ToyotaCoronaT80

There are some JNCs that you just don’t see, and it’s a mystery as to why. We’re not talking about kenmeri GT-Rs or Black Limited AE86s and the like. Those were never produced in large numbers or were special editions to begin with, so it’s no surprise you don’t see them that often. In fact, you’re more likely to see a Toyota 2000GT because it was rare to begin with. Some cars, no one ever thought to preserve.

What’s the rarest common car?

We remember a time when Datsun B210s were everywhere. The alphanumeric jumble of a name is so ingrained in American culture many non-JNCers default to, “Is that a B210?” when they see any Datsun that’s not a 240Z. Trucks, built to be workhorses or tackle harsh terrain, were often used up and discarded when they’d outlived their usefulness. Then there’s cars like Toyota’s post-barikan Corona, which ToMoCo positioned to be the Camry of its day. Now you rarely ever see them, even at shows like Toyotafest or JCCS.

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, “Which JNC commands the most respect?”  Continue reading

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MOTORSPORT: Happy 30th Anniversary, NISMO

1988 Nissan R31 Skyline racing

In September 1984 Nissan Motorsports was established in Omori, Tokyo. It’s been 30 years of top-level racing on an international stage under the NISMO banner and the company is celebrating. Continue reading

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EVENTS: Monterey Historics, Part 04 — Running a Datsun 240Z at the Rolex Motorsports Reunion

07-AG8135_Datsun 240Z IMSA GTU

Today’s guest writer is Alvin Gogineni, a member of the Z Car Garage team that restored and worked as pit crew for Joel Anderson’s No. 49 IMSA Datsun 240Z at the Rolex Motorsports Reunion. —Ben

If it’s the smell of 110 octane, straight-piped exhausts and vintage wheel-to-wheel action you desire than look no further than the Rolex Motorsports Reunion, one of the keystone events of the week-long Monterey Historics. This is what it’s like to bring vintage Datsun 240Z to this the world-renowned event and run it.
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