QotW: What JNC is so ugly it’s cute?

026-DL994_Nissan Cherry X1R

This question came up because of an encounter with a Nissan Juke. Sure, it might have the kind of face only a blind mother could love but Nissan still has no problems moving a couple thousand a month. That’s better than the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S combined. Japan has a history of building quirky — some would say ugly — cars, like the Datsun Cherry that writer Mickey Kaus once accused of hailing from the “atomic cockroach school of design.” But like the freckled girl you sat next to in science class, over time their quirks become endearing, because at least it stands out from the bars of soap that line suburban cul-de-sacs.

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 stat would surprise non-JNC people?”  Continue reading


NEWS: Petition to keep Toyota USA Museum in California


Toyota USA is moving to Plano, Texas. The museum is likely going along with it. The Toyota Owners and Restorers Club, or TORC (the same guys that put on Toyotafest), have started a petition to keep the 150-car collection of classic, modern and race cars within the state of California. If you are interested in keeping this vital part of California’s car culture alive, please click here to sign.


VIDEO: Honda “I Like Sports” commercial

Honda S660 CM

With the return of the S-Series in the S660, a reborn NSX launching later this year, and new one-make race series based on the funky retro N-One, Honda is looking once again like a automaker with some soul. Their latest Japanese ad campaign, called “I Like Sports,” is the best since “The Impossible Dream.” Watch it below. Continue reading


REMINDER: 2015 All-Toyotafest, May 2, 2015

Toyotafest is less than 48 hours away. This year, the show will be celebrating its 20th anniversary. All Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles, old and new, will be welcome.

The show begins 9:00am on Saturday, May 2, 2015, at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. See you there!

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ART CORNER: Lego Toyota Land Cruiser and Hilux

Lego Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 01

Sorry to disappoint right off the bat, but this is not an official Lego set. It’s the creation of Russian brick enthusiast who goes by RM8, but it’s something Lego should seriously consider offering. In addition to realistic proportions, the Lego Cruiser features doors that lock and open, a hinged hood, and and opening “ambulance” style rear doors. The suspension articulates, the wheels steer and there’s even space to install a radio control motor for self-propulsion.  Continue reading


25 YEAR CLUB: The Mazda Eunos Cosmo is officially a Japanese Nostalgic Car


“Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us,” Carl Sagan once said. If there ever was a car as awe-inspiring as the stars, it is the Eunos Cosmo. A forbidden fruit of formidable engineering to those outside of Japan, it’s now closer within reach as the ultimate Mazda grand tourer officially crosses the 25-year milestone into the realm of bona fide nostalgics this year.  Continue reading


EVENTS: Motorsport Auto’s Z-Car Bash

008_Datsun 240Z

The annual gathering of the Zs at Motorsport Auto took place over the weekend. Despite some unpleasantness early on with traffic cops ticketing every Z in sight and then a rare SoCal drizzle in the afternoon, the show settled into a generally upbeat atmosphere around Z-Cars new and old. Continue reading


VIDEO: Datsun 240Z Buyer’s Guide

Hagerty Datsun 240Z

With growing interest of classic Japanese cars in the collector auction market and the rising value of the S30 chassis, Hagerty Insurance has released the newest entry to their series of buyer’s guides for for classic cars. Past videos in the series have featured the Austin Healey 3000, Porsche 356 and Ferrari 308 GTS, and the newest addition is the up-and-coming Japanese blue chip.  Continue reading


QotW: What JNC stat would surprise non-JNC people?

Toyota AE86 Enzo Ferrari

A few weeks ago on After/DRIVE, I blurted out a statistic about how there are fewer stock AE86s left than Ferrari Enzos. No, I haven’t counted them all, but I can count on my own two hands how many I’ve seen at shows, in forums, and on internet classifieds.

JNC stat would surprise non-JNC people?

Maranello produced 400 of what was then the marque’s ultimate exotic (incidentally, designed by Ken Okuyama who is Japanese and was the first non-Italian head of legendary studio Pininfarina). Wait, how are there more of these million-dollar supercars than a Toyota Corolla? Well, despite Eddie Griffin’s best efforts, most Enzos have lived coddled lives in the hands of uber-wealthy collectors. AE86s, on the other hand, are drifted, modified and generally hooned into oblivion.

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 greatest ‘green’ JNC?”  Continue reading


EVENTS: Behind the scenes at the Paul Newman doc Winning premiere

Nissan 300ZX Paul Newman setup12

Last week was the premiere of Adam Carolla’s Paul Newman racing documentary in Hollywood. The movie was stellar, a must see for any Nissan/Datsun fan, and Carolla even brought several ex-Newman cars from his impressive fleet to mingle at the pre- and after-parties at the historic Hotel Roosevelt on Hollywood Boulevard. Here’s a peek behind the scenes at how the cars met the stars. Continue reading


NEXT VERSION: 2015 Honda S660 review

002-Sk553s_Honda S660

At the time Soichiro Honda made the decision to jump head first into automaking, the Japanese government was deep into kei jidosha, pressuring car manufacturers to create cheap, utilitarian microcars that would mobilize its citizenry. Honda-san had no interest in that, opting instead to develop a droptop sports car that hewed to his firm’s motorcycle racing traditions.

What emerged was the original S500/S600/S800, collectively known as the S-Series, engineering marvels with 10,000 rpm redlines and chain-driven rear wheels. Now, after a 6-year hiatus since the demise of the S2000, itself a comeback after a 29-year hiatus of the original trio, the S-Series is back with the all-new Honda S660.  Continue reading


VIDEO: Drifting through the snow in a 200-horse open Cressida

Fredrik Sorlie Cressida drift

And now for your viewing pleasure, Fredrik Sørlie’s 2JZ-powered X30 Cressida drifting through the snows of Norway. The title of the film is Scandinavian Flickfest, which sounds dirtier than it is. But watch it anyway. You know you want to. Continue reading


CLASSIC CM: Celebrate Earth Day with Ansel Adams and Datsun

Ansel Adams Datsun 510 Wagon

Nissan is currently enjoying bragging rights as the biggest seller of electric vehicles in history, but the automaker’s environmental bona fides didn’t begin with the Leaf. Back in 1972 Datsun USA launched what would be, at the time, its widest reaching advertising campaign since the company set up shop here. The spokesman for the campaign was one of the biggest coups in advertising history, the incorruptible Ansel Adams, world-famous photographer and conservationist.  Continue reading


EVENTS: AE86 Nights 8th Anniversary

25_Toyota Corolla AE86 hatch

What started as an small gathering of Corolla drivers in a SoCal Kohl’s parking lot has grown into an annual event attracting hundreds of 86ers. AE86 Nights marked its 8th anniversary over the weekend, and suddenly a car that is almost extinct in the wild appeared by the lot-full in honor of the world’s most famous tofu delivery vehicle. Continue reading


QotW: What’s the greatest “green” JNC?


We’ve asked what the greatest shade of JNC green is, but not what the greatest “green” JNC is. Turbo straight sixes and V8s are sexy, but Earth Day is coming up this week so let’s limit this discussion cars with naturally aspirated engines of four-cylinder or less.

What’s the greatest “green” 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, “What’s the greatest nostalgic Mitsubishi?”  Continue reading


JNC THEATER: Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman

1977 Datsun 200SX Paul Newman B Sedan 11

There was a 1977 Datsun 200SX race car parked on Hollywood Boulevard last night. Sitting in front of the landmark El Capitan Theater, it looked like either the setup for history’s most epic hooning video or a scene out of Boogie Nights. Actually, it was the premiere of a far better movie, Winning: The Racing Life of Paul NewmanContinue reading


NEWS: CA bill to allow fee payment instead of smog test introduced


Currently, California law states that your car must pass a smog test to be street legal if it is 1976 or newer. Unfortunately, that leaves a lot of classics un-registerable or sold for scrap during the Cash for Clunkers program. A new bill, AB-550, seeks to give these cars a second chance.  Continue reading


NIHON LIFE: A kei car Sunday


For a number of years we’ve passed a lone Subaru 360 perched atop a rack built from scaffold over a similar-age Sambar truck. I kept thinking, “I must stop and photograph it before it disappears.” Like a Honda S500 no longer to be found in a similar garage a bit further up the Boso coast, it wasn’t going to stay there forever.  Continue reading


VIDEO: My Classic Car visits Amaro Family Toyota Collection

My Classic Car Amaro Family

The Amaro Family of Puerto Rico has one of the finest collections of privately-owned classic Toyotas in the world. In the latest episode of My Classic Car, mustachioed host Dennis Gage takes a break from tailfins and flatheads to take a look at some J-tin.  Continue reading


QotW: What’s the greatest nostalgic Mitsubishi?


Mitsubishi has begun taking orders for the Lancer Evolution Final Edition. When these last 1,000 Evo X models roll off the assembly line, the last bastion of Mitsubishi’s once proud performance lineup will be gone.

What’s the greatest nostalgic Mitsubishi?

Sure, there’s still the aging fourth-gen Pajero or the Delica D:5 one-box van, neither of which are sold in the US and which offer a different kind of off-road performance, but Mitsubishi cars — with their unusually large four-cylinders, willingness to turbocharge anything, and dirt-chucking prowess — are gone.

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 sportiest Japanese nostalgic sedan?“?  Continue reading