GALLERIES: Shinjuku Subaru Building closes for good

One of the great things about Tokyo is that just about every Japanese automaker has a large office building there. Such buildings usually have a showroom on the ground floor, and you can spend an entire day gallery-hopping, picking up brochures, collecting whatever swag they have lying around, or dropping some serious yen on minicars, posters, and apparel.

Among the easiest to get to was the Subaru Building in Shinjuku, just across the street from the massive west exit of Shinjuku Station, Tokyo’s largest train depot. Sadly, it closed for good last week.  Continue reading

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QotW: JNC prices are on the rise. Good or bad?

We are headed to the Monterey Historics this week. Among the festivities are the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance in which million-dollar cars you’ve never heard of compete to see who has the bone-stockiest restoration, the Motorsports Reunion in which priceless pieces of racing history are driven around Laguna Seca, and a myriad of auctions among which a Ferrari owned by Steve McQueen is expected to sell for over $60 million.

In the middle of all that madness are several important milestones involving Japanese nostalgic cars, including the auctioning of a pair of Toyota 2000GTs, a Mazda Cosmo Sport, and for the first time ever at Monterey, a genuine S20-powered hakosuka Skyline GT-R. It appears that Japanese cars are finally getting the recognition they deserve, but you know what that means.

JNC prices are on the rise. Good or bad?

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 the last QotW, “What’s the greatest Z-Car?Continue reading

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EVENTS: 2014 SpoCom

Google “SpoCom” and you’ll find more photos of bikinied booth babes than actual cars, but occasionally this “automotive lifestyle” show for the dubstep crowd does turn up some JNC gems. To show you, we dodged legions of rehearsing dance crews, suffered loud electronic distortion masquerading as music, and endured a convention hall packed with candy colored Scions and stanced Audis.  Continue reading

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Happy 8/6 Day from JNC

jp1983Levin_brochure01
It’s that time of year again, August 6 or 8/6, the day on which we celebrate the hachiroku. It’s the drift king, the touge master, the car both Keiichi Tsuchiya and Takumi Fujiwara cut their teeth on, or to paraphrase Mad Max — last of the rear-drive Corollas.

To commemorate this day, take a gander at the original Japanese brochure and its Bubble Era naming excesses. It’s not just a 4A-GE, it’s a Lasre α. And did you know, that as you sling your AE86 around your canyon roads, you’re riding on a Pegasus? No, not the winged horse, Toyota’s Precision Engineered Geometrically Advanced SUSpension!

There’s even a female-oriented SOHC version with floral upholstery called the Corolla Levin Lime. With all the focus on the top-spec twin-cams, are there even any Levin Limes left in the world? Ponder these eternal questions and many more on this day, our day of 86es. Happy 8/6 Day! Continue reading

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KIDNEY, ANYONE? 125-mile 1985 Honda Civic

These may be the worst photos ever taken by someone trying to sell what is claimed to be a historic vehicle. Despite the potato-cam, however, the seller of this 1985 Honda Civic hatchback claims that it was a special car commemorating the 500,000th Civic ever built. As such, it has been driven only 200km (124 miles) in its lifetime. UPDATE below. Continue reading

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QotW: What’s the greatest Z-Car?

Datsun 240Z East African Safari Rally

As we prepare for the 2014 ZCon this week, we can’t help but reflect on how influential the Z-Car has been to the JNC scene. We don’t usually devote a QotW to a single model but the Z has earned it over six generations and 45 years.

What’s the greatest Z-Car?

In 1971 the No.11 Datsun 240Z finished a five-day, 3,977-mile trek across the punishing landscape of East Africa and won the 1971 Safari Rally. That very car is still kept in Nissan’s Zama warehouse, battle scars and all, as a reminder of that fantastic feat. Incidentally, the designers of the 240Z, 300ZX TT and 370Z will all be in San Diego this week. at ZCon.

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 the last QotW, “What’s the coolest JNC stereo deck?”  Continue reading

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ART CORNER: Fujimi’s Touge Series Box Illustrations

Fujimi Touge Toyota Corolla TE27

Long after earning driver’s licenses and pinkslips to our rides, some of us still find ourselves mired in plastic model cars. Perhaps it reflects the constraint suffered by many of us on budget, space, or sanity (of ourselves and/or family members), limiting the number and kind of cars we can own. Or maybe there is something innately attractive about miniature replicas of objects of our interest. Fortunately, there have been no shortage of plastic models of JNCs. One line of particular relevance to JNCers is Fujimi’s Touge series of 1/24 scale model kits. Let’s take a look at them, especially the awesome box arts that graces its packaging.  Continue reading

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NEWS: Mazda gets naming rights to Hakone Turnpike

Mazda Hakone Turnpike

Mazda sure knows how to pick ‘em. In the US, Mazda PR reps never let us forget that the full name for the famous corkscrew-having NorCal circuit is Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. On August 1 in Japan, they’ll be the official sponsors of the Hakone Turnpike, a road leading to one of the birthplaces of drifting.  Continue reading

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VIDEO: A Tale of Two Corollas

For your Hump Day viewing pleasure, we present two videos about 1970s Toyota Corollas. One’s stock, one’s anything but, though both are equally entertaining.  Continue reading

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ART CORNER: Rocket Craft’s stuffed cars are the cutest thing ever

Rocket Craft plush Isuzu Bellett

The problem with cars is that they’re made of metal. That means rust, skinned knuckles, and, most importantly, an inability to be cuddly. A shop called Rocket Craft has solved that last one for us by creating a series of stuffed cars, which are totally adorbs.  Continue reading

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