KIDNEY, ANYONE? 1979 Isuzu 117 XG

1979 Isuzu 117 XG 01

Giorgetto Giugiaro penned many stunning cars — the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint, Ferrari 250 GT, Iso Grifo — but here’s one that’ll throw the old guard at Concorso Italiano into conniptions: the lovely Isuzu 117 Coupe. It almost feels strange to be mentioning an Isuzu — perhaps best known in the US for making the ubiquitous GM box van — for sale in Detroit, but here it is nonetheless. Continue reading

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QotW: What once-common car has suddenly disappeared?

119-3801_HondaPrelude4g

It’s weird. One minute they’re everywhere, so common that you almost sick of seeing them. Seemed like every cool kid in town had one. Then one day you see one and you think to yourself, “Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen one of those!” and you realize this once popular enthusiast’s car is suddenly nowhere to be found.

What once-common car has suddenly disappeared?

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 vintage barrel is the definitive “universal” JNC wheel?”  Continue reading

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Register for the 2016 Touge California

Touge California Logo

The deadline for entries for Touge California 2016 is fast approaching. We’re seeking 25 pre-1980 Japanese cars to accept the challenge of a 200-mile tour of some of southern California’s most scenic and challenging driver’s roads on April 2nd. We’ve had a tremendous response from owners of classic J-Tin from around the country, but we’re hungry for more.  Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: Driving across Japan in a JNC, Day 01

1844_Isuzu 117 Lake Biwa

In 2015 we took a once-in-a-lifetime road trip across Japan behind the wheel of a proper Showa Era icon. The chariot of choice was an Isuzu 117 Coupé, and it would serve as our trusty steed for 10 days and over 2,400 kilometers before the trip was done. This is the story of an epic journey covering the entire southern half of Japan by JNC.  Continue reading

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EVENTS: Old Car Heaven, Part 02

077-R3a-823a_Nissan Caravan E20

While Part 01 of our Old Car Heaven coverage concluded with a mob of rare Mitsubishis, we begin this installment along the perimeter of the show and a bevy of box vans. The Nissan Caravans were part of the Nissan Commercial Car Club, as the event celebrated not just vintage cars, but trucks, buses, and 3-wheelers as well.  Continue reading

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NEWS: Honda CEO wants engineers back in the driver’s seat

Takahiro Hachigo

In what sounds like a cruel April Fool’s joke, Honda announced Wednesday that it is basically undoing its entire product development strategy of the last seven years. Takahiro Hachigo, the new CEO who is barely a year into his tenure, announced Wednesday in Tokyo that Honda is shifting the development process of new platforms away from its sales and marketing departments and back to engineering, the way founder Soichiro Honda intended. Continue reading

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SHOP LIFE: The Barrel Bros’ super wheel restorations

The Barrel Bros team (from left to right): Elliot, Mark and John.

One of the most important (and expensive!) purchases you’ll make for your ride, are a nice set of wheels. J-nostalgics just don’t look right without the right vintage wheels, and so you’re probably already a veteran of cruising Yahoo Auctions Japan, looking for that ideal set of Watanabes, in the correct size and offset to get that perfect fender-scraping fitment.

Recently, we were invited to spend a day at Barrel Bros in Sydney, Australia to check out their work in restoring and modifying vintage JDM wheels. If you want something like a custom set of 15-inch wide 80s era RAYS, then this place is your new church. Continue reading

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EVENTS: Old Car Heaven, Part 01

032-R3a-809a_Nissan Cherry E10

Recently I was invited to accompany the Prince Driver’s Club to Kyuusha Tengoku, or Old Car Heaven, on the outskirts of downtown Tokyo. With many cars expected, we were asked to assemble on site at 06:00 in the morning. The early departure on a cold Tokyo day was made tolerable though as it provided us — and one snarling Skyline GT-B — with an unobstructed high-speed run out the Shuto-ko and over the Rainbow Bridge to Daiba.  Continue reading

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NEWS: Japan notes increase in Skyline, NSX prices due to overseas interest

JDM price increase chart

The above chart was one of the most circulated automotive news items in Japan over the weekend. It depcits how the nation’s wheeled icons have skyrocketed in price since just four months, with a certain model jumping nearly 1 million yen. The cause? Cars joining the 25 Year Club, making them eligible for import in places like the US.  Continue reading

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QotW: Which vintage barrel is the definitive “universal” JNC wheel?

newYearMeeting2010-036-612_nissanSunnyB110_datsun1200

There are some wheels, either stock or aftermarket, that just look good. They can be fitted to a good number of JNCs and universally improve the look, like the classic gunmetal or black Wat. You can slap those on anything and they’re guaranteed to make a difference.

Which vintage barrel is the definitive “universal” JNC wheel?

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 VIP sedan?”  Continue reading

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PROFILES: The ultimate BRE 510 tribute

08-RS5836_Datsun 510 BRE tribute

There are occasions, as any enthusiast will tell you, when whatever you are doing, no matter how important, must be immediately and emphatically dropped in order to turn around and look at a car. That’s the situation our fearless leader Ben and I found ourselves in one afternoon during Monterey Historic Car Week. We were on our way to something — neither of us can honestly remember what — when we passed Robert Johnson’s BRE tribute 510 just cold parallel parked on the street like it was your aunt’s Altima. We looked at each other, scarcely believing what we’d seen, and knew what we must do — flip a U and go back to gawk. Continue reading

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2016 Hot Wheels X JNC Datsun 620 for the Car Culture line

Hot-Wheels-JNC-Datsun-620-Car-Culture

Here’s a sneak peek at the latest Hot Wheels model to wear the JNC inkan, a Datsun 620 pickup. This one, however, will be unlike previous Datsun 620s in that it will feature in the 2016 Car Culture premium lineup, which means it will have a new metal base casting and retro slot wheels.  Continue reading

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KIDNEY, ANYONE? 1988 Subaru XT6 for $3,500

Rear Full Car EA82 XT6

So far 2016 seems to be the year that great nostalgic Subarus are showing up everywhere. If the optimism of 80s Synthwave music were to ever appear in a physical form, this 1988 Subaru XT6 would be it. For $3,500 it may not require an entire kidney, but you might have to punch someone in the kidneys to grab it. Continue reading

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ART CORNER: Reality-bending JNCs for your viewing pleasure

Chris Labrooy Tokyo

Chris Labrooy is a British artist who creates brightly colored 3D models that look so real you can almost touch them — except that they exist only in pixels. One of his favorite subjects is cars, but stretched out into bizarre, logic-defying shapes. His earlier work consisted of strange, interlocking American land yachts and pickups. Now he’s turning his attention to Japanese classics.  Continue reading

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Toyota Cressida Facebook page moderator experiences righteous meltdown

Cressida FB rant before

As many readers may know, I daily drive a Cressida wagon. That means I am part of the Toyota Cressida! Facebook group and occasionally get its posts in my feed when Zuckerburg feels like it. Recently, one of its moderators had a pretty hilarious meltdown that quickly grew into one of the most commented and liked posts in the group’s history.  Continue reading

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ART CORNER: The superdeformed model kits of Ryu Asada

08_Gunze Nissan Skyline C10 Hakosuka Patrol Car kit by Ryu Asada

Most of you know the name Ryu Asada from his work at Mattel designing hit diecast cars. The talented and creative veteran of both the Matchbox and Hot Wheels brands as penned some truly memorable castings, including JNC favorites like the Honda CRX, EF Civic, ’90 Acura NSX, and ’72 Chevy LUV, as well as popular non-Japanese models like the Porsche 934 Turbo, ’67 Chevy C-10 pickup, and Tesla Model S. However, in his spare time, he is also a prolific builder of incredible classic Japanese “superdeformed” model kits.  Continue reading

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QotW: What’s the greatest VIP sedan?

Parking in Japan 05 Private Lot - Nissan President

Happy President’s Day from JNC! Now, which classic sedan would you most want to be seen emerging from as you conduct your official government business/captaining of industry/illicit yak duties? In other words:

What’s the greatest VIP sedan?

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 will Scion be remembered in 25 years?Continue reading

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JNC Touge California 2016: A Call for Entries

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Last year, JNC presented the inaugural Touge California, a vintage auto rally exclusively for classic Japanese cars. Touge means “mountain pass” in Japan, where peaks and canyons comprise 70 percent of the nation’s land. The goal of JNC Touge California was provide owners of Japanese classics with the experience of driving, as faithfully as possible in America, the types of roads on which their cars were born and forged.  Continue reading

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KIDNEY, ANYONE? 4,000-mile Honda Accord

01_1981 Honda Accord LX

How much is a brand new Honda Accord LX hatchback worth? $21,000 and counting, apparently. Listed for sale in Annville, Pennsylvania, the Hampstead Green 1981 example is quite possibly the lowest mileage first-gen Accord in the country that is not in a museum somewhere. It has just 4,651 miles on the clock.  Continue reading

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PRODUCT GUIDE: Koyorad FB Mazda RX-7 radiator

046_Touge California Mazda RX7 FB

It’s somewhat surprising that there hasn’t been a decent aftermarket radiator for the first-gen Mazda RX-7 out there, but if you drive an FB, worry no more. Koyorad has just introduced the latest aluminum radiator in their ever-growing line for Japanese classics, a project that began during last year’s JNC Touge California. Continue reading

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