Have a happy Thanksgiving, from all of us at JNC. A big domo arigato gozaimasu for reading, weighing in with your comments, and purchasing items from the shop, as well as for being enthusiasts, caretakers, and drivers of the cars we love. We are truly thankful for your patronage. Be safe this holiday.
By now you have seen plenty of car magazine and social media channels declare the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show as being a disappointment. Leading up to the show, there were whispers of some tasty production cars being revealed: a Fairlady Z concept from Nissan, the next-gen Supra and a turbocharged F version of the Lexus LC coupe from Toyota. After a rousing speech from Akio Toyoda the JDM sports car renaissance would burst onto the stage amid cheers, hugs, and confetti.
What actually happened was the opposite of that. Continue reading
The Subaru 360 gets a lot of praise as being the first massively successful car in the Japanese market, as important as the VW Beetle was for Germany and the Model T was for the US. That is great and well deserved recognition, but mention of it being the first high performance Subaru is rare, and I think its high time we shed some light on the Subaru 360 Young SS. Continue reading
The Japan Automotive Hall of Fame has announced their list of inductees into its Historic & Heritage Vehicles class for 2017. The selected automobiles are regarded to have contributed to the development of Japan’s automobile industry and car culture, and are deemed worthy of preservation. There were four inductees this year. Continue reading
Ben just posted about some beautiful Iwate steering wheels found at the Tokyo Motor Show. This got me to think about stock JNC steering wheels and how strange they can be. The bubble era triggered a rush of asymmetrical, neon-future works of art. Some make the car, fitting the era and your hand in a way that needs no aftermarket replacements.
What’s the best stock JNC steering wheel?
We’ve had a lot of bike stories this week, and it could not have been more appropriate. Soichiro Honda would be 111 years old if he were alive today. Though infamously tough as a boss, he left a legacy that persisted long after his passing in 1991 and was, above all else, a man who loved cars, bikes, and racing. Honda didn’t start out making something else first, whether it be planes, looms, or corks. He devoted his life to making engines.
This is a quote often attributed to Soichiro Honda, and it’s apt: “I think best when I have a wrench in my hands.” November 17 should be a national holiday devoted to working on your car or bike, even if it’s not a Honda.
One of the most beautiful things we saw at the Tokyo Motor Show was located at a small, carless booth in a remote corner of the convention center. Japan is of course known for its traditional crafts, many that have been honed for centuries, yet there are few opportunities for those to come to the forefront in a relatively new technology like the automobile. That’s why we fell in love with these Iwate lacquer steering wheels. Continue reading
There’s just one more bike story to cover from our visit to the Tokyo Motor Show, but it’s an important one. The Kawasaki Z900RS is a glorious throwback to the heyday of Japanese motorcycling, going all the way back to 1972 and the debut of the Kawasaki Z1. If the Honda CB750 is the Hakosuka Skyline of Japanese motorcycles, the Z1 is the Kenmeri. Continue reading
The first Radwood took place in June in Brisbane, California. Though we couldn’t attend that one, it was successful enough that the organizers have decided to host a second one, Radwood 2, and this time it will be in Anaheim. All cars built between January 1, 1980 and December 31, 1999 (plus continuation models) are welcome. It’s not limited to Japanese cars, but as JNCers know this era spawned some of the best Nihon steel ever built.
Radwood is more than just a car show. “Period dress is compulsory,” say the organizers, “So get your Michael Jackson jacket, acid wash jeans, BIG DOG t-shirt, mirrored sunglasses, or Hypercolors out of storage.”
The event will take place December 2, 11am to 5pm at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim. Come by the JNC booth and say s’up.
One of the interesting things about the Tokyo Motor Show that you don’t see in other major shows in LA or New York is that many major suppliers have booths too. The Mikuni Corporation is still alive and well, and makes a variety of parts for OEMs, like intake manifolds, variable valve timing systems, and many of the pumps electronic pumps and valves that are found on new cars today. However, the thing at their booth that caught our eye was the L-series setup with a small placard that said “prototype” on it. Continue reading
Some of you wanted more bike stories, so here’s one about the most popular bike in human history. A week before the Tokyo Motor Show the Honda Super Cub surpassed 100 million in sales, stretching its uncatchable lead as the most popular motorized vehicle on the planet, so Honda took the opportunity to celebrate. Continue reading
This video is about a month old, but it’s still worth sharing. Matt Farah’s Smoking Tire channel drives a lot of enthusiast cars, from Mustangs to Porsches, but this Datsun 510 Wagon is our kind of build. It was put together in the owner’s garage, has a Troy Ermish built 2.1-liter stroker, 280ZX 5-speed, Koyorad radiator, a roll cage, a SSR MkIIs, and a heavily modified suspension. Most of all, it looks like loads of fun. Continue reading
As clockwork-reliable as Japanese cars can be, when we’re talking about cars 30, 40 or 50 years old there’s always the chance of something breaking down. Most of us probably keep a few items in our JNCs at all times, whether we’re going out for an afternoon touge run or a days-long road trip, and especially when we travel to some far flung location to bring home a new project.
What tools do you keep in your JNC?
The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “Tell us your most challenging ‘reach.'”
Hey guys, we’ve been totally slacking on a hugely important segment of Japanese Nostalgic Cars because, well, they’re not actually cars. But, even with two fewer wheels, motorcycles and scooters have been an integral part of Japan’s motoring history. Here are some of the examples that graced the Queen Mary lawn at JCCS. Continue reading
To publicize the release of the turbocharged, AWD Celica All-Trac, Toyota and TRD USA built a pace car to lead the Long Beach Grand Prix. With race goodies like a roll cage, fuel cell and adjustable coilovers, was converted to circuit duty back when new. And now, after 30 years, it’s up for sale. Continue reading
After all our bellyaching about how there was no Supra or Fairlady at the Tokyo Motor Show this year as many had expected, it appears that we spoke to soon! Upon examining our TMS materials more carefully, it turns out that Nissan did in fact bring a Fairlady, and we can’t believe no other media outlets have noticed. Continue reading
As Marty McFly said, “All the best stuff is made in Japan.” Cars aside, this also holds true for hobby products. And in the land of remote controlled model cars, one kit persistently remains the best of the best in terms of realism, ingenuity, and sheer awesomeness: Tamiya’s metal ladder frame chassis Toyota pickup truck. As a tribute to its status among otakus, somebody has made a life-size, 1:1 scale version of it. Continue reading
As the largest trade event for custom cars in the US, possibly the world, SEMA can serve as a showcase for innovation and creativity, sometimes giving a spotlight for bloody knuckled backyard builds to shine. The flip side, though, is that SEMA’s high profile pressures talented craftsmen into pouring cash into cars whose sole purpose is to clothesline your eyeballs into submission and collect clicks for some up and coming brand. Is there anything more depressing than a “SEMA build”?
Luckily, most of the JNCs at SEMA were built first, then discovered for display because they represented a passion for the car, not a passion for the show itself. Here are some highlights (and lowlights) of the big shindig in Vegas. Continue reading
As I took respite to pen this letter, I wondered if I would return from war the same man I was when I left home. SEMA is hell, my love. It has been just two days, but it feels like fortnights have passed. A fellow soldier nearly lost his leg from a surprise attack by a cursed foe and his mobility scooter mount. Supplies are scarce and dwindle by the hour, leaving us victim to highway bandits who would dare charge eight Union dollars for a frankfurter.
We have endured wastelands of misshapen composites, towering pickups taller than they are wide, and wheels so grotesquely oversized it’s a wonder the wagons they are affixed to can move at all. I trembled on the brink of abandoning all hope until we saw it, and it bestowed upon us the strength to carry onward: a virgin AW11 MR2. Continue reading