Chicago Auto Show: 1967 Toyota 2000GT

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For those of you in the midwest dying to see an honest-to-god 1967 Toyota 2000GT in real life, get thee down to the Chicago Auto Show, going on until February 22. Toyota is taking three of its classics on tour, displaying its supercar alongside a 1961 FJ25 Land Cruiser and an IMSA GTP racer. These are the same cars we covered at the Los Angeles Auto Show so there’s no need to go into detail again, but it’s a rare opportunity to see a rare JNC if you’re in the midwest. And, with a value north of $1 million, it’s one of the most expensive cars in the entire show too.

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QotW: What’s the one modern feature you wish JNCs had?

Lexus LX bluetooth

As pilots of decades-old Japanese warhorses, we all pride ourselves on driving the simplest, everything-you-need-nothing-you-don’t motoring experiences. Blind spot monitors? Ha! Backup cameras? Ha! Airbags? Double ha! We are hard core. Sometimes though, as hard as it is to admit, isn’t just the sliiiightest bit difficult to go from a modern car to your old school steed?

What’s the one modern feature you wish JNCs had?

I once thought it was fine with a tape adapter. Take a couple seconds to plug my phone into the $10 accessory and suddenly I have all the music, podcasts, and streaming audio in the world playing through a 30-year-old piece of technology. But then I step into a new car equipped with the Tooth of Blue and all of that seems hopelessly clunky — the cables, the two-second plug-in time, the instant start/stop, and the lack of ability to take phone calls. It’s almost enough to make me consider buying a car built in the last decade and a half, as even the cheapest of cheapo subcompacts now come with Bluetooth. Or I could just get another adapter, I guess.

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 Japanese automaker has stayed truest to its roots?Continue reading

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KIDNEY, ANYONE? 53k-mile 1981 Toyota Starlet

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Often clad in faded paint, plenty of rust, and maybe an oil-caked zombie of an engine, those KP61 Toyota Starlets which that aren’t being abused by a teenager with dreams of being Daigo Saito are usually on Craigslist halfway through a restomod. However, this car has never been restored and has few enough miles to be within the requirements of Toyota’s warranty policy if it wasn’t 34 years old.  Continue reading

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MINICARS: Happy Valentine’s Day from JNC

Tomica Valentine's Day
It’s become a tradition for Tomica to release a series of chocolate cars every year, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

In years past we’ve seen chocolate classics like the Toyota 2000GT, S30 Nissan Fairlady Z, hakosuka GT-R, TE72 Corolla Levin, and Honda S800. Last year they added a Subaru 360.

For 2015 they’re going with modern cars, including the N360-inspired Honda N-One, Subaru WRX STI, Z34 Nissan Fairlady Z, and Toyota Prius. For Bus maniacs there’s a London double-decker and a Mitsubishi Fuso Hybrid. Continue reading

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EVENTS: 2015 New Year Meeting, Part 04 — Shakotan Sleds

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The previous installment of our New Year Meeting coverage focused on originality. In Part 04, we travel to the opposite end of the spectrum. But among all of Japan’s customization styles, shakotan is perhaps the most appealing to JNCers. Translated as simply “low,” shakotan cars are indeed slammed, but it’s also a catch-all term that implies an aggressive stance, a vague racing-inspired look, and a disregard for societal norms. Above all, however, a shakotan sled should exude menacing cool. Continue reading

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JNC THEATER: NHK to air three-part Mazda Documentary

Mazda 47 Rotary Ronin Samurai

This August will mark the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. To keep alive memories and legacies of the survivors, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) will broadcast a series of television specials. Three shows are of particular interest to JNCers, especially Mazdafarians.  Continue reading

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VIDEO: A look back at the Chicago Auto Show

1986 Chicago Auto Show Nissan

The Chicago Auto Show kicks off today. The nation’s oldest car show, it has faded from prominence in recent years, but here’s a look back at what Japan was up to during its 80s heyday. Helpfully, the Chicago Auto Show has uploaded a bunch of old footage onto its Youtube channel. Here are the highlights below. Continue reading

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KIDNEY, ANYONE? Nissan Fairlady Z432 up for auction

1970 Nissan Fairlady Z432 RM 01

A 1970 Nissan Fairlady Z432 is going up for bidding at the RM Amelia Island auctions next month. JNCers know the drill: its namesake 4 valves per cylinder, 3 carbs, and 2 cams stems from the S20 straight six sourced from the Skyline GT-R of the same era. It cost double the amount of a standard Fairlady Z when new, is exceedingly rare, and was never exported for sale.  Continue reading

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EVENTS: 2015 New Year Meeting, Part 03 — Bone Stock Beauties

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Japan has been the source of some truly extreme car cultures. Sadly, a “custom car” was the type of vehicle deemed most unseemly by Japanese women in a recent survey. No matter. Despite a western eye that cherry picks the only the most severe modification trends, many Japanese owners do in fact choose to keep their cars stock.  Continue reading

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EVENTS: 2015 New Year Meeting, Part 02: Sports Coupes and Sports Sedans

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In Part 01 of our New Year Meeting coverage, we looked at the early days of Japan’s infatuation with sizzling Sixties sports cars. In Part 02, we look at the Disco Decade’s explosion of new sports coupes and sports sedans.  Continue reading

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QotW: Which Japanese automaker has stayed truest to its roots?

ND 2016 Mazda MX5 Miata white 02

Holy crap, the curmudgeons really came out in last week’s QotW responses. Well, we asked for it. This week, however, we’ll take a more positive spin.

Which Japanese automaker has stayed truest to its roots?

We’re going to risk the wrath of thousands of Mazdafarians breaking down our doors with sharpened eccentric shafts by saying that it’s the little automaker that could from Hiroshima. Sure, the magnificent 7 is no longer in production, nor is its revolutionary centerpiece engine, but everything we know about the new MX-5 says that it’s so pure, so true to the original without being a thoughtlessly bloated counterfeit that it gives us hope for the automotive industry as a whole. If it’s a hairdresser’s car, then call us Zohan.

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 Japanese automaker is furthest from its roots?”  Continue reading

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EVENTS: 2015 New Year Meeting, Part 01 – Sixties Sports

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The Japanese Classic Car Association is one of the nation’s largest organizations for old car enthusiasts. Each year, the New Year Meeting show draws thousands. This year’s event took place on Sunday, January 26 from 9-4 in the Aomi Parking Area in Odaiba, Tokyo. In Part 01, we’ll look at the Sixties Sports that kickstarted Japan’s fascination for enthusiast automobiles. Continue reading

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You can now ride a Toyota 2000GT train in Japan

Toyota 2000GT Train

How awesome is this? A Toyota 2000GT wrapped on the side of a train. Of course, it is in Japan and the train is the Linimo, a mag-lev train in Aichi Prefecture. Japanese rail companies often create limited-time decorations for their trains, but this is perhaps the coolest one yet. Here’s more than you ever wanted to know about it. Continue reading

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EVENTS: Mitsubishi Netherlands’ 40th Anniversary Classic Car Tour

Mitsubishi Netherlands Classic Car Tour 01

Today we are sharing an amazing story from Dutch forum member Marv666, who owns a 1983 Mitsubishi Galant GLX. Because of its condition, Marv666 was asked to participate in this event celebrating 40 years of Mitsubishi Netherlands, a older official presence history than the company has in the US. We’ll let him take it from here. 

I got the question to show some pictures of the Mitsubishi Classic Cars Tour that is currently happening in the Netherlands. This Classic Cars Tour is a celebration of 40 years of Mitsubishi in the Netherlands. With this tour, a number of classic Mitsubishis is shown at a number of different dealership showrooms across the Netherlands. Continue reading

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VIDEO: World’s coolest cop meets Mazda RX-3

Aussie cop Mazda RX-3 pull over

Speeding tickets. It’s like a tax on driving. You never know when you’ll be plucked by laser for the Shirley Jackson lottery. Once in a blue moon, however, you completely luck the eff out and get pulled over by the coolest traffic cop in the world. This is exactly what happened to a young Mazdafarian riding dirty in a heavily modified RX-3 in New Zealand. Watch the unbelievable video below. Continue reading

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QotW: Which Japanese automaker is furthest from its roots?

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Sometimes you have a great history and come to the table with some big wins already under your belt. Then you make a bad decision, miss the goal by one yard, and ruin everything you’ve worked for, leaving legions of hopeful fans bitterly disappointed.

Which Japanese automaker is furthest from its roots?

Subaru achieved record sales this year, but some argue that their *cough* legacy models have become too mainstream. Honda is still going strong, but their lineup lacks the sharp driving dynamics and intuitive designs. Isuzu was the first to offer a factory-souped street racer, but now all they make are heavy duty trucks.

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 strangest JNC sighting you’ve encountered?”  Continue reading

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MINICARS: 2015 Hot Wheels X JNC Datsun 510 Wagon

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We can probably all agree that there’s nothing cooler than an old Japanese wagon. With that in mind, we’re proud to announce the next Hot Wheels car to bear the JNC inkan is, once again, the 1:64 scale representation of designer Jun Imai’s Datsun 510 Wagon. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Motorweek reviews the Toyota Cressida

Motorweek 1985 Toyota Cressida MX73

The Motorweek archives continues to entertain with another star of the 1980s, the Toyota Cressida. Before it was rediscovered in recent years by those with drift sedan or zokusha aspirations, the X70 Cressy was nearly entirely forgotten by much of the automotive world. It’s hard to picture what the reaction to the car was in context of its era, but luckily the remarkably tepid PBS car show has the 80s everyman take ready to go. Continue reading

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JNC RADIO: Sing along to the The Auto Show Song

Auto Show Song Akira Kobayashi

Originally released in 1964, “The Auto Show Song” was composed by famed Japanese songwriter Tetsuro Hoshino and performed by action movie star/singer Akira Kobayashi (there are a lot of crossover entertainers in Japan). It was an old standard of the Showa Era, and sounded off popular cars of the era.  Continue reading

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KIDNEY, ANYONE? 1987 Isuzu Impulse RS Turbo

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Today’s Kidney Car is a sad one, because it belongs to our dear friend Bart Wilkus, JNC contributor and master of all things Isuzu.

How does one even begin to write a “Kidney, Anyone?” for their own car? I guess I’ll start by stating the honest truth: I don’t want to sell my Impulse. I don’t even need to sell my Impulse. But time is short, money is hard earned, and space is at a premium. Such is life I guess, and we all have to make sacrifices from time to time. So here it is Continue reading

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