QotW: What’s your JNC New Year resolution?

Shogatsu, or New Year, is the most important holiday of the Japanese calendar, as important as Christmas in the US. It’s a chance to get a fresh new start on life, which perhaps means finally getting around to that project. In which case, we wish you an auspicious 2017!

What’s your JNC New Year resolution?

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 part of 2016 are you most eager to forget?”  Continue reading


50 YEAR CLUB: Fuji Speedway

In a year of momentous anniversaries for Japanese automotive institutions, one stands above all others in shaping the cars we love. Fuji Speedway, which opened in 1966 and turned 50 this year, has been the birthplace of countless legends, whether made of steel or of flesh.  Continue reading


Sayonara, 2016. Happy New Year from JNC



25 YEAR CLUB: Subaru SVX

“We made the SVX from our hearts,” said Nobumasa Saeki, general manager of Subaru’s engineering division 25 years ago, in a booklet published at the model’s release. “It is the kind of car that we wanted to drive. It was the kind of car we wanted. It was what we wanted a car to be. As engineers, as drivers, we built this car based on our own true feelings.”  Continue reading


100 YEAR CLUB: Isuzu Motors

What’s Japan’s oldest automaker? Like most questions, the answer isn’t necessarily a simple one, but there’s one thing that we can guarantee. It’s not Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, or any of the marques you might expect. One candidate, however, is Isuzu, founded in 1916, making it 100 years old this year.  Continue reading


MINICARS: All the Japanese cars in the 2017 Hot Wheels mainline

Mattel has released the complete 2017 Hot Wheels mainline list, and it includes plenty of things for collectors of Japanese cars to get excited about. Old castings make a return, while new ones continue the trend. Here’s a complete rundown on what J-tin aficionados should look out for. Continue reading


25 YEAR CLUB: FD3S Mazda RX-7

Here we are at the end of 2016, twenty-five years since 1991. Think back, what do you remember of MCMXCI? The Gulf War? The end of the Bubble Era? Many of us remember the year quite fondly because it represented a kind of Cambrian explosion of JNCs. A vast array of automotive marvels replete with technological wonders and stunning designs emerged from Japan during that time. Among these was one car that many quipped to be destined for classic status from the beginning: the third-generation Mazda RX-7. This is how that car came to be.  Continue reading


JNC THEATER: Watch a Nissan Cefiro drift its way through Protector 2

Despite its status as a formidable drift chassis in Japan, the A31 Nissan Cefiro looks to the rest of the world like an average late-80s sedan. That’s exactly what makes it the perfect stunt vehicle for Protector 2, the action-packed martial arts film in which a Cefiro engages in a car chase with, of all things, a B13 Sentra.  Continue reading


BOXING DAY: 50 Years of the Subaru Boxer Engine

Lead vehicle designer Shinroku Momose “was not fussy about the engine,” recalls Motomitsu Honda, who worked in Subaru engine department in 1966. Momose merely “presented the required dimensions and performance and said that any type of engine would suffice providing [it] met those conditions.” And so, 50 years ago, the Subaru boxer engine was born.  Continue reading


TUNE UP: Remember George Michael with this supercharged Subaru kei car ad

The Subaru Rex Combi VX Supercharger was introduced in March 1988, and along with it came a snazzy new ad campaign. The addition of a supercharger to the 550cc kei hatchback boosted output from 36 to 54 horsepower, which doesn’t sound like much but was a 50 percent increase in a car weighing 590kg (1300 pounds). It also had a fairly advanced (for its time) electronic fuel injection system, three valves per cylinder and a CVT automatic decades before they body snatched Nissan’s entire lineup.  Continue reading


QotW: What part of 2016 are you most eager to forget?

December 31 is when the Japanese typically throw a bonenkai, or “year forgetting” party, to drink away memories of a particularly crappy trip around the sun. Maybe your ride suffered a horrible mechanical malady this year, or perhaps a favorite racing idol died, or could it be that you sold a rare part you should’ve kept?

What part of 2016 are you most eager to forget?

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 are you asking Japanese Santa Claus for this year?”  Continue reading


TUNE UP: RIP George Michael, who gave us the leggiest legs ever to emerge from an FB Mazda RX-7

We at JNC are saddened to learn of singer George Michael’s passing. So we celebrate his life featuring the three milliseconds of FB RX-7 glory from his “Careless Whisper” music video. They could’ve used any car for this shot, especially the C4 Corvette showing up immediately after it, but they didn’t. So next time you see an FB, think of this song.  Continue reading


Merry Christmas, everyone!

May you enjoy not just your presents, but the box they came in. メリークリスマス from JNC!

Image courtesy of Nissan.


VIDEO: Watch Adam Carolla hillclimb Paul Newman’s 300ZX

The Drive just concluded their video series following Adam Carolla’s journey to England as he enters his freshly restored, ex-Paul Newman Nissan 300ZX in the Goodwood Festival of Speed‘s hillclimb. Restored in the UK (a proper British restoration, not one of those Yank jobs, as Carolla is repeatedly reminded), Adam sees it for the first time right before he has to blast its 600-horse tube-frame up Goodwood’s 1.16-mile course. Though he owns its sister car already, this is the one Paul Newman actually owned, so it might be worth quite a bit more, depending on who’s asking. And it’s a lot harder than it looks from the spectators’ stands, especially when it starts raining. Continue reading


VIDEO: A street-legal, AWD, 1100hp Celica

At this point Lexus 1UZ swaps into lightweight classic J-coupes that weigh almost nothing are not a new thing. However, squeezing 1,100 horsepower out of the 4.0-liter V8 twin-turbo turned up to 27 psi necessitated a GT-R’s AWD drivetrain for Jamie Heritage’s Celica — er, Ce-LEE-ka, rather, because Australia. With a gear set borrowed from an R34 GT-R and diffs pilfered from an R33, it was the only way get its prodigious power to the ground.  Continue reading


Do you have what it takes to be a Japanese Car Meister?

Two years ago, the a new automotive exam was introduced in Japan and is growing in popularity. Asking 100 multiple choice questions, passing it awards the taker with the coveted Car Meister Certification. You have only one hour to take it, which works out 36 seconds per question. The exam is offered in Japanese only, unfortunately, but journalist Peter Lyon has translated 15 of the questions from Level 3 (the easiest one). According to Lyon, 5,800 people have taken the test but only 14 have passed Level 1.  Continue reading


EVENTS: 2016 NISMO Festival at Fuji Speedway

For 20 years, Nissan’s motorsports division has put on an annual gala for followers of its many racing machines and successes. The NISMO Festival is a Burning Man for Nissan nuts, a mecca for fans of Sunny and Skyline alike. Best of all, Nissan wakes its legends from their slumber at the Zama warehouse and runs them on the track. Continue reading


NEWS: Mazda revives NA Classic Red, introduces Tokyo Auto Salon lineup


It’s subtle, but if you look carefully the ND in the accompanying photos is missing the metallics, blues and purples in Soul Red, the signature color slathered on all modern Mazdas. No, it’s the appropriately named Classic Red, one of the three original colors available on the NA Miata at launch. Mazda is bringing it, along with some other sharp-looking cars, to the Tokyo Auto Salon.  Continue reading


QotW: What are you asking Japanese Santa Claus for this year?


Pulled on a flying zokusha by eight flying Nara sika deer, Japanese Santa Claus travels the world bringing sweet diecast cars, rare JDM parts and, if you’re really good, possibly entire cars to good little JNC boys and girls everywhere.

What are you asking Japanese Santa Claus for this year?

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 your most eventful winter holiday trip?” Continue reading


EVENTS: Kiryu Classic Car Festival, Part 02 — The Parade


By any standard the Kiryu Classic Car Festival is a memorable and diverse gathering of kyusha with no shortage of charm. Even better, however, is that after the car show part of the event concluded, the cars go for a parade through the streets of the quaint town of Kiryu, Gunma Prefecture that gives the event its namesake. Suddenly, the car show becomes a moving tapestry of automotive history.  Continue reading