QotW: What’s the greatest Japanese nostalgic wagon?

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The Venn diagram of JNC readers and wagon lovers has a pretty big overlap, and it’s easy to see why. Both types of cars are practical, a lost art among automakers today, and Japan is one of the few places on Earth you can routinely see wagons as something other than family haulers. That is way we can scarcely believe we’ve never asked this before:

What’s the greatest Japanese nostalgic wagon?

I’m biased towards Cressidas because I own one but many may not know the reason why. In about 2005 I was walking along Route 246 through Tokyo’s upscale Aoyama Itchome district (The street was made famous in Gran Turismo as the long straightaway passing Honda headquarters in the R246 circuit). It was late and there wasn’t much traffic. That is, until a raucous straight-six roar blasted through, echoing off the skyscrapers. I turned, expecting to see a Supra or Skyline but was instead treated to the vision of a dark blue Toyota Crown wagon much like the one above, dropped millimeters above the pavement, scream through the high-rise canyon. I came back to the US and bought the closest thing I could find, an MX72.

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 tuning trend needs to stop now?Continue reading

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RIP Aritsune Tokudaiji, 1939-2014

Tokudaiji Aritsune
Noted Japanese automotive journalist Aritsune Tokudaiji has passed away a week shy of his 75th birthday.

In the early days of Japanese motorsports, the Tokyo native drove for the Toyota factory team. Upon retiring in 1969, he went on to co-found the racing accessories company Racing Mate with fellow driver Soukichi Shikiba.

After the company folded, he became an automotive journalist but found that his harsh reviews offended advertisers. So in 1977 he published his own series of books called『間違いだらけのクルマ選び』roughly translated as  Choosing a Mistake-Ridden Car. The books became best-sellers for their critiques of the auto industry, in which Tokudaiji bemoaned the constant addition of features at the cost of performance.  Continue reading

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EVENTS: 2014 SEMA, Part 02 — Bosozoku style comes to America

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If there was one thing we learned from SEMA this year, it is that you must widebody all the things. From Beetles to Benzes, everything is being massively flared, often with bolt-on over-fenders, ducktail spoilers and turaichi shakotan stances. Bosozoku style has finally come to America.  Continue reading

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EVENTS: 2014 SEMA Show, Part 01

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Toyota’s SEMA presence this year was all about the Baja 1000. Ivan “Ironman” Stewart and his perfect hair were hanging around at the booth along with a ground pounding Toyota truck in the old tricolor racing livery.  Continue reading

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NEWS: The first ND Mazda MX-5 race car is here

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Mazda relentlessly brags about how it’s the most raced marque in America. Now it’s apparently gunning for the world. Today at SEMA, alongside the world’s first Miata race car — built from one of the Chicago Auto Show display models — Mazda revealed the first ND race car. Continue reading

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VIDEO: “The Streets of Japan in 4K”

Speaking of tuning trends, the neon Lamborghinis are back, along with biker chicks, RWB Porsches, and a brief glimpse of bosozoku sleds. It’s the current state of Japanese car culture, as viewed through the lens of the mainstream west. Love or hate the content, you can’t argue that the production, shot entirely on GoPros, isn’t pretty impressive.

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ART CORNER: Papercraft nostalgics by Metmania Fan

Nissan Fairlady 240ZG S30 papercraft

Got some time to kill? Perhaps the art of papercraft as applied to some JNCs will do the trick. These are the creation of a Japanese artist who goes by the name Metmania Fan, and cover a whole range of makes and models, from the popular (hakosuka Skyline, S30 Fairlady Zs, AE86s) to the obscure (Subaru 1000, A40 Toyota Celica).  Simply download the templates from this website, print, and fold to your heart’s content. Here are some examples of the finished product. Continue reading

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QotW: What JNC tuning trend needs to stop now?

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We’re headed to the SEMA show this week, and you know what that means. Insane amounts of customized cars, the latest auto fashions, and thousands of people shaking their heads muttering “money does not equal taste.”

What JNC tuning trend needs to stop now?

Oh, the sins committed to classic cars are legion. SBC swaps, too-large wheels, fender-bashing stance, overly sparkled paint, engines with more than three different colors of anodized accessories, the list goes on and on. We actually don’t hate the USDM Jam 510 pictured above, but only because there’s actually a pretty clean classic underneath its mostly reversible transgressions.

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 non-sports, non-luxe JNC is destined to be a classic?”  Continue reading

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25 YEARS of LEXUS, Part 01: The Lexus LS 400 is officially a Japanese nostalgic car

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In honor of yet another landmark vehicle turning 25, let’s all raise a champagne glass to Lexus, Japan’s most luxurious marque. Now, set that glass down atop a pyramid of other glasses stacked on the hood of a dyno-strapped LS 400 and gas it up to 145.

This was the way Lexus introduced itself to the world — with a tower of stemware balanced above its 250hp V8 humming at full tilt, serenely unperturbed as the sedan reached Autobahn speeds. Toyota USA was established on October 31, 1957. Thirty-two years later, in October of 1989, it would change the face of the automotive world once again. The Lexus LS 400 is officially a Japanese nostalgic car.  Continue reading

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KIDNEY, ANYONE? Mint 30k-mile Mitsubishi Cordia Turbo

1984 Mitsubishi Cordia Turbo 01

The last Kidney Car we posted was a rare, 1980s turbocharged Mitsubishi. Here’s another one, the Starion’s less well-known sibling. This 1985 Mitsubishi Cordia Turbo is currently offered for sale in Raleigh, North Carolina and with just 30,328 miles on the clock, it’s surely among the finest examples left in the country.  Continue reading

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