VIDEO: Motorcycle-powered hot rod Honda S600

Hot Rod Honda S600

Talk about a dream touge build. Back in 2007, my brother from the same mother Ben and I were freezing our arses off in a drafty Nagasaki apartment dreaming about insane Japanese hot rods that we wanted to build. None was nuttier than a Honda S-chassis with a liter-bike engine. Why? Because at the time decrepit S600 shells were plentiful and worth nothing on eBay, we believed in only same-marque engine swaps, and we wanted above all to keep the spirit of S600 in tact. Of course, the unholy trinity of funds, space and time (or lack thereof) prevented it from happening. Fortunately Matt Brown made no such lame excuses and did this exact thing.  Continue reading

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NEWS: RWD Nissan IDx will not see production, may be AWD

6101_Nissan IDx Freeflow

The news is out: The Nissan IDx is dead. This sad revelation is being reported after The Truth About Cars talked to Pierre Loing, VP of Product Planning at Nissan North America.We at JNC can confirm we’ve been hearing rumors about the IDx being stillborn from Nissan engineers as early as August 2014. TTAC says that the IDx concept’s styling may live on in a small, front-wheel-drive coupe, but we’ve heard that from Nissan that there’s is a chance it will come to market on an AWD platform.  Continue reading

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QotW: What’s your dream touge build?

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Touge. It’s the reason Japanese sport coupes adhere to the doctrine of lightweight, high-revving philosophy. 73 percent of Japan’s landmass is mountainous, and the touge roads are where a uniquely Japanese form of hoonage was born. So, if you live in a country where the best roads snake like ramen noodles over drastic elevation changes, you’re going to want to drive a certain type of car.

What’s your dream touge build?

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 ultimate Toyota-Mazda combo?”  Continue reading

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EVENTS: Showa Car Preservation Meeting

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The Old Car Club of Tokyo recently held it’s 3rd annual Showa no Kurma wo Mamoru Tsudoi or “Preserving cars made in the Showa Era” meeting. This is a gathering for cars made during the Showa Era, which ended in 1989 according to the Japanese calendar and encompassed the Post-War, Golden and most of the Bubble Eras of Nihon automaking. In other words, all the best Japanese nostalgic cars. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Mazda launches “Driving Matters” campaign

Mazda Driving Matters - A Driver's Life

Many automakers claim to sell cars that are fun-to-drive, but is there anyone walks that walk more than Mazda right now? Communicating that message to the unwashed masses, on the other hand, hasn’t always been easy. Thus, the Hiroshima company’s long-standing “Zoom-Zoom” catchphrase — practically nostalgic itself after 15 years in use — will now take a back seat to a new one: Driving Matters. To the enthusiast who is sick of committee-built cars it’s as much a tagline as it is a plea to the broader public. Continue reading

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NIHON LIFE: Commuting above-ground

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Living in Tokyo’s 23-ku has many benefits, and detractions too I suppose. However, one of my great pleasures is the early morning commute across town. Many years ago I decided to ditch the usual meek-gray-mouse-crammed-onto-the-Ginza Line experience for a motorcycle.  Continue reading

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EVENTS: 1st Touge California, 2015

057_Touge California Toyota Celica & Datsun 510

This past Saturday a group of select cars and their drivers gathered in Thousand Oaks, California for the inaugural running of JNC‘s Touge California. Named for the hallowed Japanese roads where racing heroes honed their skills and where drifting was born, the event was a 120-mile touring rally through some of the nation’s most scenic and renowned driving roads, through the Santa Monica mountains and along the Pacific Coast. Continue reading

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QotW: What’s the ultimate Toyota-Mazda combo?

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Last week we learned that Toyota and Mazda have become bedfellows. We don’t yet know what will come of the union, but let’s imagine for a second that anything goes and that a time machine is involved. A V8-powered Luce? A three-rotor 2000GT? An AE86 with a tiny 1.8L V6?

What’s the ultimate Toyota-Mazda combo?

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 your dream Datsun 510 build?”  Continue reading

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TOUGE California

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EVENTS: 2015 All-Toyotafest, Part 03

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In the final installment of our 2015 Toyotafest coverage, we take a look at two types of vehicles Toyota is known for — its compact, rear-wheel-drive sport coupes and its famously indestructible workhorse trucks. The former once dominated the company’s lineup and the latter still lives on, and both are fast becoming classics. 

Continue reading

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NEWS: Toyota and Mazda ink strategic partnership

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Toyota and Mazda have signed a deal to enter a technology-sharing partnership. Besides bringing together two of Japan’s most renowned companies, the agreement also unites the world’s largest automaker with one of the world’s smallest independent automakers. So what does this mean for Toyotaku and Mazdafarians? Continue reading

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REMINDER: NISMO Fiesta coming to Austin, Texas

NISMO Fiesta cruise

If you’re going to be in Austin, Texas next week, don’t miss the NISMO Fiesta, a three-day celebration of all things Nissan. Cars from all over the Lone Star State and beyond will attend, and JNC will be making the trek in a Datsun 620 King Cab. Continue reading

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PRODUCT GUIDE: Complete FRP Datsun 240Z body

So this is rather insane. UK-based FRP Automotive has developed an entire Datsun 240Z body made of, you guessed it, FRP (fiber reinforced polymer). The company offers the entire body, or individual panels including doors, hood, trunk and fenders. Now you can build the Frankenstein hybrid or circuit weapon Z of your choice without dealing with the dreaded iron oxide cancer. Continue reading

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REMINDER: 2015 Nissan Jam registration now open

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The third annual Nissan Jam show is now taking registrations for the upcoming event on Sunday, June 7, 10am-2pm.

Please take note of a couple of new announcements for 2015. First, the show is moving to West Covina Nissan, which has a much bigger space for both show cars and spectators. And this year, Nissan Jam welcomes Infiniti branded cars for the first time!

Registration is about 80 percent full already, so hurry if you want to guarantee a spot for your Nissan, Datsun, or Infiniti. You can sign up here.

JNC will be there with a booth and to cover the event. In case you missed it, here’s coverage from 2014 (Part 01, 0203) and 2013 (Part 01 and 02).

 

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EVENTS: 2015 Mooneyes Street Car Nationals

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Take a dollop American car kulture, filter it through the distance of 5,500 miles and 12 time zones, sprinkle in a dash of home grown Japanese cars, and you get the Mooneyes Street Car Nationals.  Continue reading

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KIDNEY, ANYONE? 1972 Datsun 240Z Pace Car

1972 Datsun 240Z Pace Car 04

For years there have been special edition American pace cars and replicas seen crossing the block at Mecum and other auctions. However, what we have here is not a sales pitch for why you should invest in some frumpy mid 90s Oldsmobile but rather a 1972 Datsun 240Z pace car limited edition promotional model. This car is based off the car that was used at Ontario Motor Speedway in Ontario, California during the opening races at the track in 1972. This is one of the, if not THE first Japanese pace car used at an American race track. There were only 50 of these cars given to local California Datsun dealers for promotional purposes.  Continue reading

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QotW: What’s your dream Datsun 510 build?

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Yesterday was May 10, or as those of us in countries that still use “inches” and “Fahrenheits” to measure things, 510 Day. The Datsun 510 is one of the most iconic Japanese classics, comes in a variety of body styles, and is one of the most easily modifiable platforms around with a host of engine, suspension and styling options. The possibilities are endless.

What’s your dream Datsun 510 build?

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 JNC is so ugly it’s cute?”  Continue reading

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EVENTS: 2015 All-Toyotafest, Part 02

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Registration for over 400 Toyotafest spaces sold out in under 24 hours this year, a new record. Perhaps it was the fact that it was the show’s 20th anniversary, or that in Japan it was already May 3, Akio Toyoda‘s birthday, or maybe there are just a lot of loyal Toyotaku out there, including those of the extended Scion and Lexus families. All we know is that the pent-up demand for incredible Toyotas made for a fantastic show.  Continue reading

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JNC THEATER: See the Paul Newman racing doc Winning in select cities this weekend

Paul Newman Nissan 300ZX

Winning: The Racing life of Paul Newman will be opening in select cities this weekend ahead of its official debut. By now you know the story of the man, the actor, and his prolific racing career, much of it behind the wheel of Nissans and Datsuns. We have seen the documentary and can assure you it’s required viewing for any self-respecting enthusiast. If you don’t want to take our word for it, the car collection of the man who conceived it, Adam Carolla, speaks for itself. Continue reading

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EVENTS: Akio Toyoda shows up at Cars & Coffee Tokyo

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At a recent Cars & Coffee event in Tokyo, the usual proceedings were disrupted when a formation of Lexus supercars arrived on the scene. Emerging from the fleet was the most famous man in Japan’s auto industry: Akio Toyoda, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Corp, followed by the chief designers of the LFA, RC, and RC F sports coupes.  Continue reading

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