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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KIDNEY, ANYONE? 1976 Honda Civic Lady Coggiola Protoype

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Possibly the rarest Civic we’ve ever seen has turned up for sale in, of all places, the Netherlands AutoTrader website. This was brought to our attention from a post in our own forums by autofocus. Built by Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria Coggiola, the 1976 Honda Civic Lady prototype debuted at the 1976 Geneva Auto Show and was based off of a first generation CVCC Civic. Of the original three hand-built Coggiola cars, this is believed to be the only surviving example. Continue reading

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QotW: What’s your favorite Japanese car culture?

KL1131_ToyotaMarkIIX70-bosozoku

Tomorrow is Culture Day, a national holiday in Japan in which the nation’s ancient traditions are celebrated. Everyone gets the day off of work, presumably to tend to their minka or to practice their kabuki. Of course, Japan is a rich source of car culture, from vanning to VIP, drifting to Wangan hashiriya.

What’s your favorite Japanese car culture?

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 car would you import from Japan?”  Continue reading

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Tokyo Motor Show: The death of the Japanese sports car has been greatly exaggerated

Toyota S-FR 05

Much ink has been spilled writing about the demise of the Japanese auto industry, especially for enthusiasts. Some of it here at JNC. However, if there was one thing to take away from this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, it’s that Japanese automakers are practically undergoing a sports car renaissance.  Continue reading

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Tokyo Motor Show: Yamaha Sports Ride

Yamaha Sports Ride 17

One of the best sports car surprises from this year’s Tokyo Motor Show came not from Mazda, Toyota, or Honda, but Yamaha. The Sports Ride is a car built to drive like a Japanese crotch rocket on four wheels.  Continue reading

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Tokyo Motor Show: Rotary-powered Mazda RX-Vision concept

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Mazda launched the RX-Vision Concept moments ago at the Tokyo Motor Show. Now, we can finally reveal definitively what many of you have been hoping for since we first hinted at a return of the rotary. Continue reading

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NEWS: The Rotary is not Dead

Mazda SkyActiv-R countdown

Watch the live unveiling below. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Jenson Button drives Honda S800 in Johnnie Walker ad

Jenson Button Honda S800 Johnnie Walker 01

Formula One driver Jenson Button stars in a new Johnnie Walker Red Label campaign called “Joy will Take you Further.” Button is a long-time Honda pilot and is currently part of the McLaren-Honda team, so it makes sense that he’s also driving a sexy little Honda S800 in the commercial.  Continue reading

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50 Years Ago: Honda F1 car wins Grand Prix of Mexico

Honda RA272 Mexican Grand Prix finish line

Fifty years ago, on October 24, 1965, the Honda RA272 crossed the finish line at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City to clinch the company’s first Formula One victory. The effort began in May 1962, and it was said that when Soichiro Honda gave the order that the newly formed auto company would compete in F1, his staff turned to each other and asked, “What is F1?” They hadn’t heard of it before, and it would be five months before Honda released its first passenger car. Three years later, they had taken a checkered flag in the world’s most competitive motorsport.

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QotW: What car would you import from Japan?

Usui_Touge49-Toyota_Corolla AE86

For the last QotW, we asked what you’d do if you had a single day in Japan. Not surprisingly, many of you said you’d get a car to drive around in. Well, what if you could then take that car home with you? For the purposes of this exercise, let’s assume the car would be legal to register in your home country (so for Americans, it would have to be 25 years or older).

What car would you import from Japan?

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 would you do with 24 hours in Japan?”  Continue reading

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SAN MAMIYA’S CORNER: My Fairlady Z

San Mamiya Fairlady Z closeup

My Fairlady Z  is the second San Mamiya X JNC illustration, following Fuji Speedway, which was released at JCCS. The latest illustration takes a journey through the history of Japanese tuning via the life of one model that was loved by all, the S30 Z.  Continue reading

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TBT: HKS M300 Toyota Celica XX

1983 HKS M300 A60 Celica XX

In 1983 HKS achieved the long-held dream of building the first car in Japan to surpass the magical 300 kph barrier. The HKS M300 was purpose built for that very task, and the proof is right there in its aspirational name.  Continue reading

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EVENTS: 2015 Japanese Classic Car Show, Part 08 — Editors’ Choice

575-1775_Toyota CelicaA20Liftback

As is tradition, each year we conclude our JCCS coverage with list of our favorites, and each year it gets harder and harder to choose. I asked the JNC staff to each pick the two cars that they liked the most, and provide a short description why. Here’s what we came up with.
Continue reading

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MINICARS: NY, LA and Dallas — Go get your Back to the Future diecast Toyotas now!

Back to the Future Toyota Tacoma LA

For Back to the Future Day, Toyota has set up three pop-ups across the country featuring a Tacoma tribute of Marty’s 1985 Toyota SR5. The cars are displayed in a life-size toy box because, well, Toyota is also quietly giving away diecast cars of the very truck! There was no fanfare or official announcement; the toys just popped up on social media, and they will only be available TODAY. Continue reading

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VIDEO: It’s October 21, 2015, Welcome Back to the Future

BTTF_Toyota_Tacoma_01_3B45BB2CAD023A24F91B24728E558AD92077F118

Put on your self-tying sneakers and get on your hoverboards, because the future is here. Today, October 21, 2015, is the day Marty McFly time traveled to in Back to the Future II, and Toyota is using the opportunity to fully reveal the video they teased last week. Continue reading

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PRODUCT GUIDE: Rocket Bunny Pandem S30 Z kit

Rocket Bunny Pandem S30 Z body kit

Rocket Bunny has released a new kit for the S30 Z. The Pandem kit takes the widebody look that head honcho Kei Miura is known for and applies it to the OG Japanese sports car.  Continue reading

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EVENTS: 2015 Japanese Classic Car Show, Part 07 — Motorcycles

609-JR3881_JCCS KiyosGarage

As we near the end of our JCCS coverage, we arrive at a subject we rarely cover on JNC, but we love two-wheelers just as much as four. In Japan, however, the ratio of motocycles to automobiles is far greater than in the US, and is really a core part of the motoring culture. While we celebrate the cars, we can’t forget about the bikes.  Continue reading

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PRODUCT GUIDE: Tomei Expreme Ti AE86 exhaust

Tomei Toyota AE86 Titanium exhaust 05

It is a rare occasion that a chassis is popular enough to get a newly developed exhaust system nearly 30 years after the car was discontinued. However, due to the overwhelming popularity of the AE86 platform, Tomei has announced the release their newest addition to their Expreme Ti lineup and are currently in pre-order stages until December 10th.  Continue reading

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