QotW: What will you ask Japanese Santa Claus for this year?

Toyota Automobile Museum Christmas

Little known fact: Japanese Santa Claus lives in Hokkaido and has a team of magical Sanrio animals that can make any car part your little heart desires. If you’re a good boy or girl, he can deliver them via a flying Hino flatbed pulled by eight Sika deer and one extremely loyal Akita with a red floppy ear.

What will you ask Japanese Santa Claus for this year?

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 was the greatest single year for Japanese cars?”  Continue reading

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EVENTS: 2015 Mooneyes All Odds Nationals

0492_MooneyesStreetCarNationals2015

If you’re looking for high-powered GT-Rs and the like, Mooneyes shows are probably not for you. The cars you find at a typical Mooneyes event celebrate the art of customization, whether it’s on kei cars or commercial trucks. The vehicles here less about racing than about cruising, but they are all in some way interestingContinue reading

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MINICARS: There’s a Minnesota Viking with a JNC inkan in his collection

Minnesota Vikings Hot Wheels Datsun 240Z

Minnesota Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn likes Datsun 240Zs and is now the proud owner of a Hot Wheels version with the JNC inkan. Apparently, Vikings coach Jerry Gray has been hand-picking the diecast cars and giving them out as rewards to his football players after particularly impressive feats on the field.  Continue reading

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VIDEO: The Starion, a Mitsubishi that didn’t just race on dirt

Mitsubishi Starion Australian racing

While most Japanese automakers battled it out on Suzuka and Fuji, Mitsubishi took a different tack. From 1970s Lancers on the Safari Rally to the WRC Evos of the 90s to the Pajeros reigning supreme over Dakar, Mitsubishi has always loved to get dirty in the dirt. For a brief moment in the 80s, though, they could be found swarming the tarmac thanks to the wedge-tastic Starion. Australia is where they flourished, and so once again we turn to the excellent video series by Shannons Insurance to explain why you should seriously be looking to add a Starion to your garage.  Continue reading

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EVENTS: Finnish Japanese Auto Extravaganza

FinnJAE Toyota Carina A10 row 01

Today’s guest writer is my friend Mika Latvala from Finland, who sent an event report from the Finnish Japanese Auto Extravaganza. Enjoy! —Ben

The Finnish Japanese Auto Extravaganza, or FinnJAE, is for all Japanese car enthusiasts in the country. All cars are welcome, no matter if they are original, tuned or even close to destruction. The event is held all over the country, depending on the area with the most active members. There were four clubs in the beginning arranging the event — The Toyota Club of Finland, Nissan Club, Mazdago and Honda Club) — and actually 2 of these clubs were even founded during FinnJAE!  Continue reading

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VIDEO: 157 of Japan’s best Touge roads, brought to you by the Toyota 86

Toyota 86 Touge

Going strictly by land mass, Japan is about 10 percent smaller than California, and a full 70 percent of its terrain is mountains. That’s why the twisting passes that cut through the ridges known as touge provide Japan’s preferred method of hooning. When the Toyota 86 came out in 2012, the company produced a 157-episode series called, simply, Touge to highlight each of Japan’s best driving roads.  Continue reading

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QotW: What was the greatest single year for Japanese cars?

Toyota Tokyo Motor Show 1970

We’ve discussed which automaker had the best year, but which year had the best autos? Prior to 1970, Japanese cars were either grossly overpriced or built for a populace just graduating from a moped. By the turn of the decade, the automakers were filling that middle ground with actual cars we’d be familiar with today, and the earning power of the average Jun had reached a point where they could afford them. Suddenly cool cars were everywhere. Nissan had the Z, Toyota had the Celica, Mazda had the Capella RX-2, Mitsubishi had the Galant GTO, and Honda had the 1300 Coupe 9. Innovation, optimism, and kick-ass designs came to the forefront. It was the best of times.

What was the greatest single year for Japanese cars?

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 Japanese automaker had the best single-year lineup?”  Continue reading

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MINICARS: Sung Kang’s Fugu Z coming to Hot Wheels

Hot Wheels Nissan Datsun Fugu Z sketch

As if you needed any more evidence that the Datsun 240Z is the “it car” of the moment. Hot wheels is likely going to drop yet another S30 casting soon, this time based on Sung Kang’s Fugu ZContinue reading

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VIDEO: Best Motoring now has its own YouTube channel

Best Motoring R32 GT-R

If you’re an enthusiast of a certain age, there is a very good chance you got your first taste of JDM cars from a pirated copy of a Best Motoring VHS tape. It would be inaccurate to call it a show since it was never broadcast over the airwaves, but the monthly videos — released first on tape when they debuted in 1987, then DVD — were hugely popular in Japan. Eventually, they even crossed the Pacific divide before the days of internet. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Why the first-gen Honda Civic makes a great race car

Honda CIvic Bathurst

One of our favorite series on the internet right now is by Shannons Insurance of Australia. In the latest episode, they explain why you should go out and buy a first-gen Civic immediately.  Continue reading

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NEWS: ND Mazda Miata is Japan Car of the Year

ND 2016 Mazda MX5 Miata white 02

As if the ND Miata needed any more accolades, it has just won Japan Car of the Year. Praised for its purity and sporting driving experience, it earned 442 points, beating out the second-place Honda S660, which garnered 401. The BMW 2-Series came in third with 177. Continue reading

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MUSEUMS: LA’s shrine to the automobile reopens with (slightly) more Japanese representation

Los Angeles has three major institutions on what the tour guides call Museum Row: one for art, one for natural history, and one entirely devoted to cars. The Petersen Automotive Museum is the Temple of the Car in what is considered the car culture capital of the US, possibly even the world. It reopened last week after a $125 million remodel, but for JNCers the news is that there’s a new push to have (slightly) more Nihon steel represented.  Continue reading

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QotW: Which Japanese automaker had the best single-year lineup?

Toyota 1985 brochure cover

Models come and go, and some generations are better than others. However, once in a lifetime, maybe twice, cosmic forces just align and an automaker knocks it out of the park like the 1996 Chicago Bulls. Wrong metaphor? I don’t know sports. Anyway, take Toyota in 1985, for instance. They had everything from a mid-engined sports car to a go-anywhere SUV, each and every one a winner. You could cold walk into a showroom and have your pick of the A-dub MR2, AE86, X70 Cressida, A60 Celica or Supra, solid axle Hilux, detachable top 4Runner, or FJ60 Land Cruiser. Thirty years later, all are highly sought after. But, like Levar Burton says, you don’t have to take our word for it.

Which Japanese automaker had the best single-year lineup?

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, “How do you prepare your JNC for winter?”  Continue reading

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MOTORSPORT: 25 Hours of Thunderhill Miatas in retro livery

Mazda MX5 Miata ND 25 Hours of Thunderhill 01

If you’re watching the 25 Hours of Thunderhill this weekend you might see a very familiar livery blasting around the northern California circuit. Mazda has sent a quartet of ND Miatas into the longest enduro in America and, fittingly, they’re wearing the battle paint of the first Mazda endurance racer in North America, the 1979 RX-7. Continue reading

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NEWS: The Toyota S-FR is now a race car

Toyota SFR Racing Concept 01

Remember Toyota’s close-to-production sports car concept from the Tokyo Motor Show? Now it’s a close-to-production race car concept. Either they modified the show car real quick, or there are multiple examples of these buggers floating around the studios.  Continue reading

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MINICARS: 2016 Hot Wheels X JNC Japan Historics line

A couple months ago we showed you the first three cars in the 2016 Hot Wheels Japan Historics line. These premium models will feature the JNC inkan in classic red, along with features such as metal chassis, highly detailed paint, and rubber tires. Today we are proud to announce that the remaining two cars that will round out this 5-car series. Continue reading

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JNC THEATER: Time Taxi takes you back in a Toyota Crown

Time Taxi MS65 Toyota Crown

Forget Deloreans, what would a time traveling car in Japan look like? A kujira Crown, apparently. In the drama Time Taxi an MS65 cab takes people back to rectify their mistakes — as long as they have the dough.  Continue reading

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Tokyo Motor Show: What the RX-Vision means for Mazda

Mazda RX-Vision Sk50029

Now that the dust from the 44th Tokyo Motor Show has settled and we’ve had a chance to contemplate the implications of the unveilings, there has emerged one clear winner: Mazda. For years, enthusiasts fantasized and clamored for Mazda to bring back the bad-ass rotary sports car. Pessimists insisted that it couldn’t be done, analysts mused that there was no bean-counting sense for it. Mazda itself played along, coyly denying plans for a future rotary sports car — until they dropped this striptease for the RX-Vision.  Continue reading

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VIDEO: Shakotan car show rollout

Yamguchi Old School Car Show rollout

And now for your viewing pleasure, a metric buttload of kyuusha leaving a car show in Japan. Every single one is a proper, old school Japanese sled. Also note the immaculate smoothness of Japan’s roads, which makes these shakotan rides possible. Watch the video below. Continue reading

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QotW: How do you prepare your JNC for winter?

Subaru 360 in snow

As temps drop, weather gets precipitous and the dreaded salt spreaders come out, our driving patterns change. In LA the only difference is that we might have to actually check the weather report for the chance of rain. The rest of the world, however, may need to cope.

How do you prepare your JNC for winter?

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, “How do you park your JNC?”  Continue reading

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