NEWS: Infiniti Prototype 9 envisions a retro racer from the 1940s

Infiniti has revealed the Prototype 9, a true dream car project. Built from authentic old school construction methods and designed with parameters limited only by human imagination, it fantasizes a “what if” scenario that saw Infiniti competing in the so-called Golden Age of Grand Prix racing.  Continue reading

21 Comments

NEWS: Honda announces reproduction parts for the Beat

Twenty-six years after the car’s debut, Honda has announced that it will begin making reproduction parts for its Beat sports car. The mid-engined kei roadster, introduced in May 1991, is a beloved enthusiast’s car in Japan, the only market in which it was ever sold. With the new catalog of select parts, Honda hopes the remaining Beats will stay on the road longer. Continue reading

10 Comments

The Toyota USA Museum is auctioning off a bunch of stuff before it moves to Texas

Like the rest of the company, the Toyota USA Museum is moving from Torrance, California to Texas. And as with any move it is getting rid of a bunch of stuff before it’s forced to cart it halfway across the country. The museum has put 276 items up for auction, and now is your chance to own a part of the collection.  Continue reading

8 Comments

RIP Glen Campbell, singer, songwriter, Datsun man

Legendary singer-songwriter Glen Campbell passed away on Tuesday, August 8 at the age of 81. A prolific musician, Campbell played guitar on some of the most famous American songs of the modern age, including  “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys, “Viva Las Vegas” by Elvis Presley, “Mr. Tambourine Man” by the Byrds, and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” by the Righteous Brothers, as well as many works of his own such as “Wichita Lineman” and “Rhinestone Cowboy.” Campbell was a well-known Chevy spokesman, but perhaps lesser known was that he occasionally got behind the wheel of a Datsun too.  Continue reading

7 Comments

KIDNEY, ANYONE? SCCA AE86, a Corolla with racing pedigree

By now, JNC readers are probably pretty familiar with the AE86’s roots as the weapon of choice during the underground touge battles of the 1980s. It’s no surprise, however, that the Hachiroku was also a formidable machine on the track. While the famed BTCC Corolla GT’s trail “runs cold” after its in the UK victories (last we heard, it ended up in Hong Kong), here is another AE86 with racing pedigree that you can buy, in the US, and at a bargain price.  Continue reading

12 Comments

MINICARS: Wow, Hot Wheels made a Hakosuka Wagon

If you had told us, say, 10 years ago that one day there would be a Hot Wheels Hakosuka wagon, we would’ve never believed you. Nevertheless, here is a prototype of the Nissan Skyline Wagon prototype in all its diecast glory.  Continue reading

7 Comments

VIDEO: The latest Hot Version pits the Nissan GT-R against the Mazda Rotary

Speaking of rivalries, the Nissan GT-R and Mazda rotary have one that stretches back some 45 years. It was Hiroshima’s pistonless wonder that kept the Hakosuka GT-R from capturing its much sought-after 50th touring car win. While Nissan did eventually get that 50th win, Mazda’s block still left a bitter taste in proto-Godzilla’s mouth. The latest Hot Version video — yes, they are making new episodes! — reignites that struggle with a GT-R versus rotary redux in their latest trailer. Continue reading

5 Comments

QotW: Who will win Japan’s automaker Game of Thrones, Toyota-Subaru-Mazda or Nissan-Mitsubishi?

With the news on Friday that Toyota had taken a 5 percent stake in Mazda, it was clear that Japan’s great automotive houses were gearing up for a battle of epic proportions. In one corner, we have Nissan-Mitsubishi, a federation backed by powers from a distant land (Renault). In the other corner, we have a native giant that in recent years has been accumulating allies like a forming Voltron, Toyota-Subaru-Mazda (Actually, it’s Toyota-Subaru-Mazda-Suzuki-Isuzu-Hino-Daihatsu if you want to get specific about it).

There are many ways to measure victory. With shared platforms, there is the game of sales. With combined technologies, there is game of building the most beloved enthusiasts’ car. With united motorsports prowess, there is the game of winning actual races.

Who will win Japan’s automaker Game of Thrones, Toyota-Subaru-Mazda or Nissan-Mitsubishi?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What JNC do you need to buy now before prices get ridic?”  Continue reading

11 Comments

Happy 8/6 Day from JNC

Happy 8/6 Day from JNC! Where will your touge battles take you today?

1 Comment

NEWS: Toyota and Mazda deepen partnership with stock stakes, US factory

Toyota and Mazda announced late Friday in Japan that they would strengthen their partnership with a formal capital alliance. In 2015, the industrial giant from Aichi and the small carmaker from Hiroshima agreed to work together, but it was little more than a handshake. What was called “an engagement” then by Toyota’s CEO Akio Toyoda has now become a marriage, consummated with an actual exchange of stock shares.  Continue reading

31 Comments

NEWS: Mazda launches Roadster restoration program

In another nod to the classic status of Mazda’s NA Roadster, the Hiroshima carmaker is launching an official restoration and parts support program for the world’s most popular droptop. Starting next year, owners in Japan will be able to have their Eunos Roadsters brought back to the original state by the factory, a “classic center” type service enjoyed by many other vintage automobiles. Some hard-to-find genuine parts will also be made available. Continue reading

34 Comments

VIDEO: This bosozoku biker chase deserves some Benny Hill music

It’s tough being a city cop in Japan. First, you have to drive a kei car. Then, at night, gangs of bosozoku bikers close off intersections and basically lead you on a circular chase while other ne’er-do-wells launch fireworks and generally get in your way. Also, this is why the average Japanese citizen does not think the bosozoku are cool rebels, but disruptive nuisances. It’s still kind of funny, though. Continue reading

4 Comments

VIDEO: You could tune pretty much anything in Japan

In the 90s, Japan was so high on octane that you could find aftermarket parts for just about any car imaginable. In this Best Motoring video, the hosts step out of NSXes and GT-Rs for a second and test drive tuned regular cars that are accessible to a teenager making minimum yen at the local Lawson. Whether its a 4WD Mazda hatchback, a late-model front-drive Corolla family sedan, or an ancient A60 Carina (the four-door Celica, if you will), all are flogged at the track.  Continue reading

6 Comments

VIDEO: For the record, we’re going to be That Guy about the Nissan Skyline

A couple of weeks ago Donut Media published their first “Up To Speed” video, a primer of sorts, and the subject was none other than the Nissan Skyline. If you haven’t heard of Donut Media, they make entertaining automotive videos and push them out across various social media outlets. Their target demographic is definitely the millennial import crowd, since most of their videos include Japanese and drift cars. It’s great to see an outlet with some strong outreach dropping knowledge on one of the most iconic nameplates of all time and the video has a lot of great information, but there are a handful of inaccuracies in their Skyline history. Continue reading

6 Comments

BACKROADS: 1988 was Mazda’s Year of the Turbo

It’s an old trope among JNC enthusiasts in North America: we never get the good stuff like they do in Japan. From the obvious to the obscure — the Skylines, the City Turbo, the AZ-1 — the list never ends. But for those with a bit of a long memory, bright spots did exist, and not just inside your Playstation or local Tamiya-dealing hobby store. If you’re a Mazda fan, such a spot occurred in 1988.  Continue reading

14 Comments

MINICARS: Matchbox Nissan Junior first look

Last week the annual Matchbox Collectors Gathering took place, and the upcoming 1962 Nissan Junior pickup was shown in production guise. As these photos from the event’s Facebook page show, it’s a perfect fit with the classic Matchbox “workhorse” look and feel.  Continue reading

5 Comments

QotW: What JNC do you need to buy now before prices get ridic?

Last week’s post about the FJ Company’s Land Cruiser restomods turned into heated discussion about skyrocketing prices of JNCs. We’ve seen some shocking prices for well-restored FJ40s, and while there are still examples within reach of most buyers, it may not be that way for long. We think FJ60s will follow soon, and when we talked to FJ Company last fall they said that the time to buy one was, “yesterday.” Even if you’re not looking for an apocalypse-ready rig the prices of most Japanese classics are rising, with the rate of increase depending on the model.

What JNC do you need to buy now before prices get ridic?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What JNC nameplate needs a decor set?”  Continue reading

25 Comments

VIDEO: Celebrating 30 years since the AE86 conquered British Touring Car Championships

For cars that are immensely fun to flog in the twisties, there are few better than the Toyota AE86. Less discussed, however, is its racing provenance. We’re not talking about its touge battles on Mt Akina, here. Or even talking about Japan. We’re taking about the UK, where during the car’s heyday in 1986-87 it twice won the British Touring Car Championships. Continue reading

2 Comments

VIDEO: Classic looks and modern power converge in these Land Cruiser restomods

We met the owners of the FJ Company at SEMA last year and were astounded by the level of craftsmanship in their builds. These guys and gals take classic Toyota Land Cruisers and thoroughly modernize the drivetrains so they can be driven in current-day traffic with confidence. Continue reading

16 Comments

EVENTS: Mitsubishi Owners Day 2017

In past years, we haven’t found a lot of JNC-worthy material at Mitsubishi Owners Day. Ninety-nine percent of the cars there were white Evos, parked in formation like some kind of Galactic Empire land fleet. This year, however, there were all sorts of interesting offerings from the triple diamond clan.  Continue reading

39 Comments