QotW: How do you prepare your JNC for winter?

Subaru 360 in snow

As temps drop, weather gets precipitous and the dreaded salt spreaders come out, our driving patterns change. In LA the only difference is that we might have to actually check the weather report for the chance of rain. The rest of the world, however, may need to cope.

How do you prepare your JNC for winter?

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, “How do you park your JNC?”  Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: A Miura Hanto Sunday Drive

02_Honda S800 & Toyota Sports 800

For most, the term “Sunday drive” means a leisurely excursion, to no place in particular, just a way to exercise the family car. In Japan, it can include a number of things — blissfully empty touge, kohi (coffee) and kuruma (car) at one of the many PA (parking areas), exercises in regional eating (this is Japan after all), straight line expressway blasts, and scenic seaside roads. For one Sunday drive, we decided to combine a few of these Japanese pursuits, including — I was promised — the best fresh fish breakfast in all of Kanto.  Continue reading

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EVENTS: SevenStock 2015

099 Mazda RX7 SA22

Mazdafarians far and wide came to the recent SevenStock 18, the premiere showcase of rotary-powered Hiroshima heroes. Held at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, the all-day festival mixed a car show, track day, and basically anything that was Mazda rotary-themed. Continue reading

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QotW: How do you park your JNC?

Parking in Japan 01 Coin Lot - Toyota Origin

Given that we’ve just finished a three-part series on the art of parking, we’d like to hear how you park your JNC. Do you seek out the least ding-prone spot in the lot, or is it a garage-only, “point A-back-to-point A” scenario, or do you hard park it like a yak? Do you always back in, Japanese style, or do you pull in, nose first like some kind of barbarian? We want to know.

How do you park your JNC?

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 concept from the Tokyo Motor Show should be built?Continue reading

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NIHON LIFE: How to park your car in Japan, Part 03

Parking in Japan 05 Private Lot - Datsun 240Z

Welcome to the final installment in our multi-part treatise on short-term automobile storage in Japanese society. In Part 01 of the investigation we studied what was within and without the bounds of the law, as well as the ubiquitous steel-bar-rising-up-out-of-the-ground parking lots. In Part 02 of the dissertation we considered the boom-gate lot and the car elevator building. Here are the final three practices by which you can leave your vehicle unattended.  Continue reading

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MINICARS: AUTOart 1:18 Hakosuka Nissan Skyline GT-R

Autoart Nissan Skyline GT-R Hakosuka KPGC10 - black 01

As the broader collector car world has finally recognized the worthiness of Japanese classics, model car companies have followed suit. We’re seeing a steady increase in the number of nostalgics available in the more popular premium diecast scales (1:18 and 1:43), which is an exciting but not unexpected development — a model car collector can only acquire so many Ferraris and Porsches before they start to get a little stale.  Continue reading

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Tokyo Motor Show: So what’s up with the easter egg pigs on the Toyota Kikai? [UPDATE]

Toyota Kikai 04

We’ve waited to talk about the Toyota Kikai because we were hoping to get an answer from Toyota about one of the most bizarre easter eggs we’ve ever seen on a concept car. We still don’t have it, but hopefully by raising the question we can find someone who has the answer. [UPDATE: Actually, we may have found it. Scroll to the bottom.] Continue reading

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NIHON LIFE: How to park your car in Japan, Part 02

filler Toyota Corolla Levin AE86

Sure, owning your own kyuusha in Japan sounds like a lot of fun, but where do you put it? In Part 01 of our damning exposé on the topic of parking an automobile in Japan, we illustrated what was legal and illegal, and did a deep dive into the most popular type of parking in Tokyo, the coin park. Today, we continue our series with two more… Continue reading

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QotW: Which concept from the Tokyo Motor Show should be built?

Daihatsu Noriori 12

The Tokyo Motor Show may be over, but the concepts have a chance to live on. This year saw a return to the far-out concepts that you don’t see at any other auto show. From oddball Suzukis to a mid-engined Yamaha, bonkers Daihatsus to the stunning RX-Vision, as well as just about every type of sports car under the sun, Tokyo had it all. The only thing that’s missing is production.

Which concept from the Tokyo Motor Show should be built?

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, “If you could witness one automotive moment, what would it be?”  Continue reading

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NIHON LIFE: How to park your car in Japan, Part 01

Parking in Japan 01 Coin Lot - Nissan Skyline KGC10 Hakosuka

Finding public or street parking in Japan’s major cities is sometimes chotto muzukashii — a Japanese saying for “a little difficult,” said through clenched teeth with a trailing “iiiii…” it essentially means, with typical Japanese subtlety, impossible. So there is naturally a range of inventive, complicated, and sometimes expensive options to parking your car in public.  Continue reading

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VIDEO: Club-level race at Nakayama circuit in 1985

Nakayama Circuit 1985 Club Level race

This video of a club-level race at Nakayama Circuit in 1985 has got everything: AW11, Gemini, Bluebird, R30, SA22, multiple generations of Truenos and Levins, and the smooth jazz of a Gran Turismo menu screen. Watch the video below. Continue reading

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Tokyo Motor Show: The wild and wonderful Big Sights

Honda Racing Bikes 03

Though the exciting debuts of the Tokyo Motor Show have been covered, you didn’t think we’d go all the way to Tokyo and and not show you around, did you? Here’s what it’s like to attend the press days of the maddest Motor Show on Earth.  Continue reading

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VIDEO: Toyota at the Tokyo Motor Show, 1954-2013

Toyota Tokyo Motor Show 1970

In honor of the recent Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota has released a video showing a year-by-year review of every display it’s had since the show’s inception. Travel through time to see Crowns, Coronas, 2000GTs, Corollas, Celicas, and even more Crowns! Watch the video after the jump. Continue reading

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Tokyo Motor Show: Suzuki’s kei throwbacks

Suzuki Mighty Deck 03

The Tokyo Motor Show ended last night, and we have one thing to say: Oh Suzuki, how we’ve missed you. Not only do we not see your funky little cars on US roads any more, but then you show up to the big show with a bunch of throwback concepts.  Continue reading

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Get your free customized Toyota badge

Toyota Badge copy

Toyota is offering a pretty nifty promotion in which you can get a free badge in Toyota font spelling out the name of your car. Just upload a photo of yourself with your car and tell them your name at this website, and that’s it! Funnily enough, their example is a new Camry named Trueno.

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QotW: If you could witness one automotive moment, what would it be?

MazdaRX3_NissanSkylineVictory50

We recently asked about what car you’d preserve if you had a time machine, but what about a memory? Kenichi Yamamoto having his eureka moment about the rotary engine? Tetsu Ikuzawa passing the Porsche 904 at the 2nd Japan Grand Prix? Keiichi Tsuchiya initiating his first drift?

If you could witness one automotive moment, what would it be?

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 favorite Japanese car culture?”  Continue reading

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MINICARS: Remember to get your Hot Wheels x JNC Datsun 510 Wagon tomorrow

2015 Hot Wheels Datsun 510 Wagon - black Kmart 01

Just a quick reminder: These exclusive black Datsun 510 Wagons with the JNC inkan will go on sale tomorrow at 9:00 am local time at participating Kmart stores. This is a KDay event, and in case you need a refresher on what that means, check out this post about a past KDay car, the Datsun 620. An exclusive yellow Subaru BRAT will be also be available at the same time.  Continue reading

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SEMA 2015, Day 02: Old School Japan wins Best of Show

Nissan Datsun Fairlady Roadster 2000 02

In Day 01 of our 2015 SEMA coverage, we noticed a marked increase in JNCs on the show floor. Unlike past years, these weren’t just museum cars trotted out by the automakers but builds that prove our little niche is moving into the mainstream.  Continue reading

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SEMA 2015, Day 01: The emergence of old school Japan

Nissan Datsun 240Z OS Giken S30 02

SEMA is for cars what Paris fashion week is for clothes. Top companies strut out their latest wares, often outlandishly decked out on stunning models. Most of the time it’s stuff you never see in the real world, but these shows act as barometers for the hottest trends. And if this year’s SEMA is any indication, Japanese nostalgic cars are generating some major heat.  Continue reading

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PROFILES: Sung Kang’s “Fugu Z”

Sung Kang GReddy Fugz Z Datsun 240Z 01

It was right there, lurking ominously beneath a dark gray cover in the middle of the GReddy Racing parking lot. We all knew what it was, and we had a pretty darned good idea of what it was going to look like, what with three behind-the-scenes videos splashed across the internet and enough social media heat to make a Kardashian proud. Beyond that, there was the thing itself, keeping scant few secrets under its tarp: anyone could see that it was bespoilered, widely flared, and packing a pair of JDM fender mirrors. And yet, despite being the worst-kept secret in the tuner car world, none of us knew exactly what to expect when the wrapper was removed from the Fugu Z, actor Sung Kang’s restomodded 240Z named for a potentially lethal cut of sushi.  Continue reading

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