QotW: What car thing are you most thankful for?


With Thanksgiving nearly upon us, let’s take a pause to acknowledge the automotive things that make life worthwhile. Maybe it’s that perfect Craigslist find that you scored before the wolves got to it, or the friends who lend a bloody knuckled hand in the garage. Perhaps it’s the fact that some of you lucky ones can go out to the driveway and find your dream car looking right back at you.

What car thing are you most thankful for?

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 your best JNC moment of this fall (2016)?” 

316-IMG_8809_Mazda RX4

There were several great tales this week, from Yuri‘s Wangan drive to Byron‘s east coast meet to Gerka‘s reunion with a Celica he thought was totaled. But a 30 hour round trip to pick up one’s dream car tugs at our heartstrings in the best way. Congratulations, Jason!

My moment of the summer is when I finally got my hands on my dream car.

I’ve a thing for Mazda sports cars. My first car was a ’91 Eunos Presso V6, which I still have and is my everyday car. I’ve an ’84 RX-7 and I’ve a ’90 Eunos Cosmo, complete with a 20b and a manual conversion. But I still needed something a bit more retro. I co-run the Japanese Retro & Classic Ireland club, and it seemed a little wrong that I didn’t have something with chrome bumpers in my garage. Preferably a rotary-powered Mazda. At the start of the year, I set the goal of having a Mazda RX-2, RX-3 or RX-4 coupe in my shed, with the RX-4 being the most desirable to me. The RX-4 is my ultimate dream car, “the one”.

In May of this year, a cousin of mine sent me a link to a 1974 RX-4 for sale on carandclassic.co.uk, and it just so happened the owner, Terri, and I had a mutual friend – Brad at Triple B Engineering (who rebuilt my 20b and carried out the manual conversion).

I immediately got in touch with Terri through Brad. Unfortunately Terri had already given her word to another person that she would hold the car for them. I pretty much gave up on my goal at that point, as prices in Oz, NZ and Japan continue to rise.

A few months later, I got a random Facebook message from a guy in Somerset, UK. He said he had heard I was interested in an RX-4, and am I still in the market. The guy turned out to be the person that got to Terri’s RX-4 before me a few months previous, and was looking to move it on. I immediately said yes, and started organising plans to get the money together and collect it.

We left home, in the East of Ireland at 6am one Saturday morning, got the ferry to Fishguard and began the 4 and a half hour drive to find my dream car. We found the location very easily, and set our sights on the tragic but beautiful RX-4, which had just been dumped in field on a farm.

The car was as described and came with a van and car load of spares. We loaded up and began the return leg of our 30 hour round trip. Driving and sailing back to Ireland through the night, we got my new RX-4 home safe and sound.

There’s a few issues with the car – drivetrain and cosmetic body work are the main concerns. But most importantly, the car is complete plus very valuable and rare spares, and is extremely solid. With retro j-tin like this, that’s really 80% of the battle.

I’m aiming to have the RX-4 ready for next summer. Sitting here now, it still feels surreal that I’ve been able to find the car that had felt so unattainable not so long ago. Surreal, and wonderful.

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

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9 Responses to QotW: What car thing are you most thankful for?

  1. Robin said:

    Hi All,

    I am most thankful for the a-pillar window, the little one that came on some Japanese cars. You can rotate this towards your face and feel the cool breeze on a hot summers day, or you can simply rotate it 180 degrees facing the dashboard ,not sure if mine is just broken if so then im grateful for that too, and you feel the cool air on your feet…

    What im most thankful for is the simplicity of either driving or working on an old Japanese vehicle… some car manufacturer uses the slogan pure driving pleasure, i don’t think they have driven an old Japanese car yet.

  2. Dankan said:

    I am most thankful tforthe Toyota Corolla. Yes, it is no longer an object of enthusiasm, but its importance cannot be left unmentioned. For half a century the Corolla has enabled the average person to have access to a reliable, well-built family car which could respond to all their needs. Simply by offering this paragon of white goods motoring tedium, Toyota forced every other manufacturer to stop mucking about and ensure their cars were competent as well. The NSX may have done this for Ferraris, but the Corolla did it for cars that matter and it’s something I think we should all be thankful for.

  3. Iwakuni91 said:

    Forgive me for the long post, but I am most thankful that Mazda has decided to keep the spirit of nostalgic cars alive via the Mazda RX Vision. And that in 2022, as I near retirement, I can buy a used two year old RX at a decent price and pass it on to my son on my death bed in the year 2045 when the RX Vision will be (wait for it)… a Japanese Nostalgic! I am thankful for Japanese engineering that believes that form following function is a beauty in and of itself. I am thankful that even when their dealership network is crappy, there are designers and CEO’s with Vision (pun intended). The below email that came into my inbox has put a smile on my face for many thanksgiving’s to come. Thank you Ikuo Maeda!

    Jim Ellis Mazda Marietta and the entire Mazda family are excited about the upcoming new Mazda RX-9 Sports car. Mazda’s board of directors have approved a production model based on the RX-Vision concept car shown at last year’s Toyota Motor Show (pictured above).

    “For a long time I’ve dreamed of creating a real sports car, a serious car for grown-ups that just epitomizes cool,” said Ikuo Maeda, general manager of Mazda’s design division, at the introduction of the RX-Vision concept last year. “The technology of the rotary engine is something only Mazda can build,” said Maeda-san, whose first car was an RX-7. “If we give up, it’ll disappear.”

    The most impressive thing about the RX-9 is its rotary engine, Mazda’s biggest yet. It’s a 1.6-liter version using two 800 cc rotors. Reports say it will provide around 400 horsepower, which is outstanding considering it will weigh less than 2860 lbs.

    Compared to the poor fuel efficiency and exhaust pollution of reciprocating piston rotary engines, Mazda’s future Wankel engine is said to deliver advantages in simplicity and revolutions per minute. It’s also smaller and designed to run smoother, making it perfect for small sports cars such as the RX-9.

    It’s predicted that Mazda will show the concept version of the RX-9 at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show and begin offering the production version at the 2019 show before the car goes on sale in 2020. It’s a perfect way to celebrate Mazda’s 50th anniversary selling rotary-powered cars in 2017 and the company’s 100th anniversary in 2019.

    Mazda is doing great things and we’re all excited to see how they keep breaking barriers.

    Image Credit: Mazda

  4. Frank said:

    It’s easier than walking.

  5. Scotty G said:

    That’s easy, for seeing a Subaru 360 on the JNC page!
    And, for having an outlet for folks who love nostalgic Japanese vehicles. Not all sites and/or commenters on those sites love them.

  6. goodshow_aa said:

    I am most thankful for my memories. If I just had a car and didn’t do anything with it, it would not have any meaning, but I owe pretty much all the happiness in my life to my pursuit of my dream cars, and drives. My job, my car, my friends, where I live, my girlfriend. All thanks to my passion for cars.

  7. mattwithoutyou said:

    What car thing am I most thankful for? The community.

    Being a “car guy/gal” is more than just a common interest. It’s a sort of brotherhood, an ancient fraternal order of those who believe that some machines have a soul, and we bond our own souls to those machines, making both stronger.

    It’s a dwindling community, endangered by the rise of a generation that is coming to view the car as appliance, an extension of “app culture “. Where thirty years ago a car commercial might show the latest model powersliding through the desert in slow motion, today’s car ad touts internet connectivity, and social media integration. People today want cars that practically, and literally drive themselves.

    But not us. We’ll take the keys, thank you. And while our numbers may wither, our passion is as strong as ever.

    On the weekends we migrate to the garage, at times thrashing on a serious project, at times just tinkering. By application of blood and sweat, we make our cars better, and they heal the internal wounds that the week has wrought, and man and machine emerge into the light healed. Then we take our machines to the car meets, various shows, or organized drives in our area.

    If religion is built on the bonds of fellowship, then Cars and Coffee, the JCCS, the club meet, these are our temples. The general public might see an old Toyota, but the car guy sees a dream realized, long nights and scraped knuckles. And if one of us should need help, the car guy/gal come together in a way that others seldom do. We donate time, money, parts and wisdom freely to each other, and sometimes all of the above, before we even learn our new friend’s full names, (ex:Dave with the Honda 600, or James with that white RX7, you know the guy). I’ve made some of my closest friendships over cars.

    A friend of mine once typed in a car forum that sometimes he wishes he wasn’t a car guy, that if he could just look at any car as transportation, his marriage would be better, and he would have more money. In that way being a car guy/gal is like a disease. And maybe knowing that others suffer the same affliction, that makes our bond fast and strong. We all know the late night Craigslist hunts, we all know the tight lump in the throat, and the way your voice catches when the trailer drives off with your baby loaded on it, and that burning desire to replace it with a new obsession as soon as possible…so you can feel whole again.

    Having a community that understands all that, knowing I’m not alone, well I’m truly thankful for that, and having great forums like this to bring us all together.

  8. Mark Newton-John said:

    I am thankful that my father bought a TE27 Corolla SR-5 in October 1974. He already had a 1970 Corona, and when we went to Frank Toyota in National City, I sat in this cool little turquoise car, marveling at a 5-speed transmission. Didn’t have my drivers license yet, thinking it would be cool to have this car, since my dad would go car shopping, but not buy one.
    So the salesman came up and asked me if I liked it. Turns out my dad bought the car that night.
    Long story short, I still have it, with 314,000 miles, awaiting a restoration.
    So thanks dad, for getting this awesome car.

  9. Tom Westmacott said:

    I’m most thankful for my RX-7 FD3S. I always seems incredible to me that I own a car that is the spiritual heir to the beautiful sports-racers of the late fifties and early sixties, the culmination of a decades-long engineering struggle to make Felix Wankel’s wild dream a practical reality, hailing from the peak era of Japanese performance, when anything was possible.

    The response, the balance, the power and the looks are beyond what I dreamed of as a car-mad little boy, and just driving her always makes me feel better.

    That so much crazy engineering toil, and passion for the joy of driving, was poured into something that I can now afford to own always makes me feel very lucky.

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