NEWS: Nissan to take control of Mitsubishi Motors

Mitsubishi Motors Tokyo HQ

Breaking news from Japan tonight: Nissan has agreed to take a 34 percent controlling stake in Mitsubishi Motors in a deal worth $2.2 billion, according to Bloomberg. It is now the single largest shareholder in the beleaguered automaker, even larger than than parent company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which owns 20 percent. Continue reading


MINICARS: Matchbox Hakosuka Nissan Skyline

Matchbox Nissan Skyline C10 Hakosuka

Matchbox has just teased a new casting for 2016, and it’s none other than the hakosuka Nissan Skyline. Technically, it’s a 1971 Skyline 2000GT-X, complete with the surf line over the rear wheels and it’s still in prototype form (that’s what those numbers on the hood mean). Like the Hot Wheels Hakosuka, it’s a groundbreaking model for the line, which may open the doors for a new wave of collectors to discover Matchbox.  Continue reading


VIDEO: Battle of the 80s track weapons

Nissan 300ZX Z31 Laguna Seca pace car 1984

Long before it was Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the circuit was sponsored by Nissan and had the 200-horsepower 1984 300ZX Turbo as its official pace car. In a video from the period, the most 80s vehicular battle you can imagine pits it (0-60 in 7 seconds!) against a Honda VF700S Sabre and famed rider “Fast Freddie” Spencer’s Honda 500GP race bike. To even the odds, the Z and the Sabre are given a head start and take off before Spencer even puts on his helmet. The result is, well, close. See the video below. Continue reading


EVENTS: 2016 All-Toyotafest, Part 01 — A preview of what’s to come

YI9764a_Toyota MR2 SW20

Now in its 21st year, the All-Toyotafest has become quite possibly the most popular Japanese car show in southern California. How popular? Online registration for the 2016 gathering — all 450 spots — sold out just eight hours after going live. The result was a diverse landscape of Toyota, Lexus and Scion enthusiasts that’s growing fast, with something for everyone and every taste. Most won’t be JNCers cup of tea, but the range that Toyota has as well as a whole event dedicated to them is extremely impressive.  Continue reading


Happy 5/10 Day from JNC


2016 marks JNC‘s 10th anniversary. The 510 has been an important car for us over the years, including serving as the subject of our very first feature story. As such, we’ve decided to celebrate 5/10 Day by taking a look at the most memorable 510s we’ve featured over the years.  Continue reading


VIDEO: A 240Z built for a 10,000-mile off-road race

Peking to Paris Datsun 240Z

You thought Touge California was tough? It was only eight hours, 200 miles, and took place on pavement. This Datsun 240Z was built to tackle a rally that starts in Beijing, China, goes 10,000 miles through the Gobi Desert, Mongolia, Russia and most of Europe to finish in Paris, France.

Its standard L24 was bored out to 2.7 liters and runs lower compression to compensate for the lower-quality fuel that father and son team Chris and Tjerk Bury might encounter in some of the remotest areas on Earth. Other life-saving measures include skid plates, a roll cage, 26-gallon fuel cell. If that seems like Mad Max-style insanity to you, remember that the 240Z did win the Safari Rally. The car’s currently on a boat to China but you can still watch the The Smoking Tire‘s video below. Continue reading


QotW: What JNC should’ve had a shooting brake variant?

Subaru XY6 Alcyone shooting brake

With news of the new Toyota 86 Shooting Brake prototype, we at JNC have been ruminating on the idea of the shooting brake. It’s a a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of cars. “You got wagon in my sports car!” “You got sports car in my wagon!” Together they taste great.

What JNC should have had a shooting brake variant?

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 should Ryan buy for $8,000?”  Continue reading


Happy Mother’s Day from JNC!

Mazda Carol Mother's Day

Show how much you love your mom by singing her a Carol today. Happy Mother’s Day from JNC!

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NEWS: Toyota builds an 86 shooting brake

The shooting brake has long been the holy grail of a certain type of car guy. Half sports car, half station wagon, it’s a body style long extinct from the automotive kingdom but not from the hearts of enthusiasts. Google “shooting brake” and see any number of photoshopped renders of modern GTs with extended roofs. Then there’s Toyota, who went and actually built one.  Continue reading


EVENTS: Nostalgic2Days 2016, Part 01

Nos2Days-Sk32_Toyota 2000GT

At this year’s Nostalgic 2 Days show, we were on assignment to meet a very specific person, a towering figure from the golden age of Japan’s automotive history. Before our appointment — which will be covered in the next installment — however, we treated ourselves to a convention hall packed with kyuusha. We had made our way to Pacifico Yokohama early to assist some friends with their load-in, and took advantage of the early morning displays, pre-crowd. Continue reading


An interview with NeoClassic Japan’s editor-in-chief

Kousoku Yuen Neoclassic Magazine P1780884

Japan’s Kousoku Yuen magazine recently celebrated their 50th volume. Written for fans of all the lesser loved, non-Skyline, non-2000GT specimens of the Japanese automotive kingdom, it is perhaps the most otaku title of the JDM magazine world. To mark this momentous occasion, as well as 10 years in publication, we interviewed Kousoku Yuen‘s intrepid editor-in-chief, Satoshi Furuuchi, a guy who can tell you from memory almost any obscure detail about any Japanese car ever made.   Continue reading


RIP Peter Williamson, Aussie Toyota racing legend, 1938-2016

Peter Williamson Toyota Celica A20 TA23

Australia, Toyota, and the world of motorsport has collectively lost a great ambassador with the passing of Peter “Willo” Williamson. For those of us who grew up in southwestern Sydney in the 1970s and 1980s, Willo was a legend and a hero. Peter did not drive the big capacity V8s of the day and choose technology ahead of brute force.  Continue reading


THE SPOT: Acura 30 Years Strong

Acura NSX 30 Years Young

Thirty years ago, Atari was a relevant name in video games. No one had yet heard the beauty that is the song “Another Day In Paradise” by Phil Collins. And Acura was just bringing their first cars to America. Honda’s luxury marque is celebrating their 30th Anniversary this year, and have created a new commercial entitled “30 Years Strong.”  Continue reading


NEWS: Mazda’s new Australian HQ proudly displays Heritage Collection


Mazda Australia recently celebrated the opening of its new headquarters in Mulgrave, a suburb of Melbourne. While this type of news usually excites business journals more than enthusiasts, the new state-of-the-art building does have something that catches our attention: a prominent collection of classic Mazdas. Continue reading


60 YEAR CLUB: Happy birthday to Akio Toyoda

Akio Toyoda E30 Toyota Corolla

Today is the 60th birthday of Toyota Motor Corp’s head honcho Akio Toyoda. Even at six decades old, the great-grandson of Toyota founder Sakichi Toyoda shows no signs of slowing down. Over the weekend, he was seen donning a racing suit and getting behind the wheel of a Toyota 86 rally car in Kyoto. Yesterday, he was in Kumamoto Prefecture visiting Toyota offices affected by the recent earthquake.  Continue reading


REMINDER: Toyotafest 2016 is this Saturday

Just a friendly reminder. The 21st annual Toyotafest is this Saturday, May 7.

The celebration of Toyota, Lexus and Scion cars returns to the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. Gates open at 9 am and close at 3 pm, and admission is free!

Registration sold out in 24 hours this year, so it should be an exciting event. It will also be the last time Scion is officially a sponsor, as the brand comes to a close.

JNC will be there, so be sure to stop by the booth!

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NEWS: Warehouse fire at importer destroys dozens of cars

International Vehicle Importers fire

Yesterday evening a fire destroyed one of the warehouses of International Vehicle Importers. The Ontario, California-based company was well known in southern California and beyond for importing unique cars from Europe and Japan, with a specialty in Skyline GT-Rs, mostly R32s. Fortunately, no one was hurt, although manager Sean Morris posted the above image to Facebook with the accompanying message: “2 dogs missing. Max and Gigi. Lost 24 cars, 3 motorbikes, about 5 motorcycles. Lots of personal items.” [UPDATE BELOW] Continue reading


QotW: What JNC should Ryan buy for $8,000?

Honda CRX DX Side Team_Nostalgic Chicago

This week’s QotW is a bit of a personal one, but I, the Midwest Correspondent for JNC, really do need the collective advice of the readership on what I should buy as my next car. With the pending sale of my 300,000-mile CRX Si summer driver, I have a budget of $8,000 with which to buy a vehicle that is Japanese, was launched at least 25 years ago, and that will be a fairly good investment (or at a minimum not depreciate like a haunted murder house).

Naturally, my Synthwave-addled brain has target-locked onto a zenki Z31 300ZX Turbo or a MA61 Celica Supra. My recent obsession with the Coalition of OG Minitruckin’ group on Facebook has me wondering if a Mazda B2200 or Chevy LUV could end up being an oddball collector car, or at least one that can take me to purify myself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka. The question has me performing countless thought experiments, but I just can’t decide.

What JNC should Ryan buy for $8,000?

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 rarest JNC?”  Continue reading


GRAND TOURING: Driving across Japan in a JNC, Day 10

05 Isuzu 117 Coupe

On the final day of our cross-Japan trip, we woke up in Okayama with a decision to make. If we stuck to the back roads, we’d end up having to travel straight through the heart of Kobe and Osaka. On any normal day that would’ve been insane enough on its own, but today was a national holiday so things would be exponentially worse. We were already exhausted after nine days on the road, and so after over 2,000 kilometers of surface roads, we hit the highway for the last part of our journey.  Continue reading


VIDEO: 2016 Cannonball Festival

Cannonball Festival Mazda RX3

Though billed as a music festival for greasers and rockabilly types, the Cannonball Festival includes an impressive car and motorcycle show as well. The show is held on opposite ends of the country, Hiroshima and Chiba, and draws a wide array of bosozoku bikes and sleds — including one of our favorites the “Charlie Brown” Mazdas inspired by the touring Savanna RX-3s of Yoshimi KatayamaContinue reading