EVENTS: 2015 Mooneyes Street Car Nationals

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Take a dollop American car kulture, filter it through the distance of 5,500 miles and 12 time zones, sprinkle in a dash of home grown Japanese cars, and you get the Mooneyes Street Car Nationals.  Continue reading

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KIDNEY, ANYONE? 1972 Datsun 240Z Pace Car

1972 Datsun 240Z Pace Car 04

For years there have been special edition American pace cars and replicas seen crossing the block at Mecum and other auctions. However, what we have here is not a sales pitch for why you should invest in some frumpy mid 90s Oldsmobile but rather a 1972 Datsun 240Z pace car limited edition promotional model. This car is based off the car that was used at Ontario Motor Speedway in Ontario, California during the opening races at the track in 1972. This is one of the, if not THE first Japanese pace car used at an American race track. There were only 50 of these cars given to local California Datsun dealers for promotional purposes.  Continue reading

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QotW: What’s your dream Datsun 510 build?

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Yesterday was May 10, or as those of us in countries that still use “inches” and “Fahrenheits” to measure things, 510 Day. The Datsun 510 is one of the most iconic Japanese classics, comes in a variety of body styles, and is one of the most easily modifiable platforms around with a host of engine, suspension and styling options. The possibilities are endless.

What’s your dream Datsun 510 build?

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 is so ugly it’s cute?”  Continue reading

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EVENTS: 2015 All-Toyotafest, Part 02

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Registration for over 400 Toyotafest spaces sold out in under 24 hours this year, a new record. Perhaps it was the fact that it was the show’s 20th anniversary, or that in Japan it was already May 3, Akio Toyoda‘s birthday, or maybe there are just a lot of loyal Toyotaku out there, including those of the extended Scion and Lexus families. All we know is that the pent-up demand for incredible Toyotas made for a fantastic show.  Continue reading

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JNC THEATER: See the Paul Newman racing doc Winning in select cities this weekend

Paul Newman Nissan 300ZX

Winning: The Racing life of Paul Newman will be opening in select cities this weekend ahead of its official debut. By now you know the story of the man, the actor, and his prolific racing career, much of it behind the wheel of Nissans and Datsuns. We have seen the documentary and can assure you it’s required viewing for any self-respecting enthusiast. If you don’t want to take our word for it, the car collection of the man who conceived it, Adam Carolla, speaks for itself. Continue reading

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EVENTS: Akio Toyoda shows up at Cars & Coffee Tokyo

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At a recent Cars & Coffee event in Tokyo, the usual proceedings were disrupted when a formation of Lexus supercars arrived on the scene. Emerging from the fleet was the most famous man in Japan’s auto industry: Akio Toyoda, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Corp, followed by the chief designers of the LFA, RC, and RC F sports coupes.  Continue reading

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EVENTS: 20th All-Toyotafest, Part 01

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Twenty years. That’s how long the annual Toyotafest has been taking place, making it one of the longest running import-only car shows in SoCal. It’s easy to see why. Toyota is the world’s largest automaker and has accrued many loyal fans along the way in its 57 years in America.  Continue reading

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TUNE UP: 1985 Nissan Maxima rap

1985 Nissan Maxima Rap

We’ve heard songs about JNCs, or music videos starring JNCs, but here’s the first ever track by a JNC. Behold this humdinger with lyrics courtesy of the voice box of a 1985 Nissan Maxima. Turn down for what! Continue reading

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QotW: What JNC is so ugly it’s cute?

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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

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NEWS: Petition to keep Toyota USA Museum in California

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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.

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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

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REMINDER: 2015 All-Toyotafest, May 2, 2015

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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

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

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“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

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EVENTS: Motorsport Auto’s Z-Car Bash

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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

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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

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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

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

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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

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NEXT VERSION: 2015 Honda S660 review

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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

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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

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