QotW: What do you put up with on your JNC?

Greetings, JNCers. Today marks the first week in Japan that the weather is actually turning for the better. The sakura are in bloom and a gentle breeze beckons us to get on the road for a casual jaunt down the nearest winding road. Back in the states, this would signal the time to take my US/J-spec mishmash zenki AE86 out of the garage. But as many know, owning a JNC is not always as easy as turning the key and driving off. They all have their own quirks and temperaments, some small and some large.

I have a 5AG stroker kit and AE101 ITBs installed. This gives the engine a roaring song at WOT not unlike the trumpets of victory as Perseus returned from defeating the Kraken. The tradeoff was the fuel mileage was awful, just above double digits on nice days. This meant I needed to several trips to the gas station a week and allocate a small fortune for fuel. Oh, but that sound. It was a temptation I could not fight.

This leads us (finally) to the QotW. We want to know about the things you look past when owning a JNC. Parts availability? Bolts not in metric? Tell us:

What do you put up with on your JNC?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “Will the coming influx of JDM imports make US-spec cars less desirable?“.

Despite gloating Canadians and bitter Californians offering their opinions, the winner this week is Jayrdee, who provided a thoughtful analysis with actual numbers.

In my opinion, I honestly don’t think the market will change at all for US-Spec markets. And here is my reasoning, keep in mind the following response is referring to clean, unmolested, non-junky cars:

The influx of JDM vehicles will continue to grow over time since more cars will become legal, but with the amount of people getting into the whole importing business, its just going to saturate the market with RHD cars to the point where they will be just as common as buying a US-spec car. Any car, whether it be RHD or LHD, if its rare and desirable someone will want it. Only difference is later on there will be more options to choose from.

Take the s-chassis market for example. I’m using that market because, talking numbers, they’re definitely on the cheaper side compared to idk, the supra/skyline market so there’s more activity. Finding a clean, rust-free and unmolested 240sx is almost like finding a needle in a haystack. They’re out there, but they aren’t cheap like they used to be. Your average solid 240sx can be found anywhere between 3-7k. You can argue drift-tax all you want, but thats just how things are now. On the flip side, the hype of owning a RHD s13 has died down too so you can easily find a RHD silvia (already imported) for anywhere between 5-8k. The cleaner SR20 Silvia Ks will be the most expensive around the 9-12k range, but then again so will any other clean turbo/motor swapped s-chassis.

Now that the RHD hype has died down with the s13, its just as easy finding a RHD s13 as it is finding a clean US-spec 240sx and they’re all roughly in the same price range.

I think this behavior will be a common occurrence for each market as time passes by. Thinking long-term, after all the famous 90s/early 2000s Japanese sports cars that young dudes like me grew up racing on Gran Turismo are legal, the hype will die down leading to a healthy equilibrium similar to the s-chassis market.

And of course, there’s the wonderful power of the internet and using those Auction websites too. Those are perfect for dudes like me who don’t have all the fancy connections and resources overseas like all the big guys. I’ve imported/sold an S13 Silvia Qs, and an FC RX7 through an auction website. Its a HUGGEEE risk buying an auctioned car sight unseen, but then again the process is very straight forward and do-able if you have the funds. I’m actually about to pick up an AE86 from the port in Baltimore next week! That was purchased from a dealership in Japan though.

A little off-topic, but initially I just wanted to do some hustling in order to be able to afford to import a RHD AE86. Then considered doing the whole importing thing on a more professional level after I found out how straight forward it is, but with me being in school I just don’t have the resources to do so. and with how many people are importing cars now, I feel like bus is already long gone if you want to make any decent profit. I just tell people to wait until the hype dies down. Eventually everything will equal itself out.

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

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17 Responses to QotW: What do you put up with on your JNC?

  1. SHC said:

    I would have to say the thing I accepted was the likelihood of having to search worldwide for parts. When I undertook the restoration of a soon to be 54 year old car I knew I would face obstacles. I have to say the restoration has brought me long lasting friendships worldwide through the searching for parts and these I will value long after the car is finished.

  2. Geoff said:

    I put up with the background noise of all the “enthusiasts” who just don’t get why I put time or effort into a Datsun L motor.

    Whenever I pull it out to go to Cars and Coffee or up to the hill country, there’s always a chorus of:
    “When are you going to LS swap it?”

    “You know, back in the ’70s there was a whole industry around putting small blocks in Datsuns”

    “That thing would be sweet if you dropped an LS1 in it!”

    So yeah. I don’t really let that stuff bother me (I’m never going to LS swap my 240Z), but those people are what I put up with, when I drive my Z around.

    • Randy said:

      Crap – old enough to remember that…

      I can NOT imagine a sports car handling well with that big of an engine in it… Becomes more of a drag machine, IF you can get traction, because, of course, if you don’t put at least 600hp in there, you and your car are worthless…

      Though, if you WERE to drop a V-8 in there, wouldn’t you stick with a Nissan product engine? Pfffft – some people…

      • Tom Westmacott said:

        Nissan apparently built a prototype with the Y40 V8 from the President; it was super-fast, but didn’t handle well, so they didn’t pursue the idea. (from the Brian Long book).

        What’s tricky is that those people aren’t _wrong_, in as far as a V8 Z is a cool thing. But so is one with an original L-gata. Or an RB. Or a JZ, or an SR, or…
        .. because what it comes down to is, the S30 is just a great car per se, and so it can play different roles with different engines, equally successfully.

    • M1abrams said:

      There are plenty of JNCs that were/are seriously underpowered in stock form but the Z cars, with their torquey L24s, are plenty entertaining. Theres a simple joy in just letting those cars rev and going through the gears.

    • Tim said:

      I feel your pain. I loved the L28 I had in my 240Z. Heck, I loved it enough that I was trying to find a way to swap one into a 240sx a couple years later. The mechanical simplicity and aesthetic/aural appeal of the engine with the triple side-drafts was a far greater thrill to me than the raw tire shredding power I could have gotten from a different motor.

      • Geoff said:

        Yeah Tim, it kills me that even with the high compression L28 and triple webers, people still look at it like it’s some kind of turd in the engine bay.

  3. Tim said:

    What do I put up with in my JNC?

    Nothing. If an electronic circuitboard is bad, it can be repaired because it’s pre-SMD. If a part fails, used replacements are plentiful. Rust-free chassis are commonplace and cheap. There are shops nationwide that specialize in my drivetrain. I don’t have to deal with excessive road noise, a lack of power, or being associated with the flat-bill douchebro enthusiasts that espouse my previous car’s culture. I’ve got low-end torque. I’ve got boost. I’ve got looks and gadgets and comfort and everything I could ever want in a car. Really, the only thing I can complain about right now is how dirty all the parts are. 26+ years of grime in a crowded engine bay will do that.

    I suppose it’s not all roses, if I’m being honest. My platform has a reputation for being unreliable (because owners don’t know how to jack up their cars and ruin the engine). It has a reputation for being complex to work on. (What’s a few extra steps when it’s your hobby anyway?) They’re known for being heavy cars despite weighing less than your average Mustang. Due to the low cost of entry, the kinds of people who buy these cars typically don’t treat them well, so finding a clean example is pretty rare. And all the cool little gadgets are over 25 years old, so some maintenance on them is generally past due.

    What do I drive? The best kept secret of the 90s sport coupe world. The car John Hennessey cut his teeth on (before ripping off his customers). A 3000GT VR4. It can be anything. Want a 1000HP, 2800lbs drag car? It’s been done without an engine swap. Super comfortable low-riding street car? So common it’s boring. Autocross? Absolutely. Rallycross? Hill climb? Time attack? Yup, yup, and yup. Heck, with the right mods, it can even be a gas sipper… Although I can’t say I know anyone who’s ever done that with one.

  4. Keith Measures said:

    I put up with the fact that my takeyari pipes dont fit in most undergrounds. The same undergounds have speed bumps that I probably cant go over. My fuzzy dice block my passenger fender mirror. Its louder than necessary. Its headlights suck. Its a truck motor that blows oil like crazy. Its many rust issues in the rear quarters. Its not always the easiest to find parts for. The doors are covered in bad bondo. Its been resprayed several times. I get overtaked by everyone…

    Ya alright so all of those are definitely things that i have to put up with… but I think the one that sticks out the most is the constant discovery of past handywork done by previous owners, mechanics, and bodymen… just some of the worst work ever. Once found a key wrapped with tape connected to two wires in place of a fusible link. Or how they used wood screws and sheet metal to cover a rust hole, then slathered bondo over top. The “rebuilt carb” that came with it. Ugh the list goes on and on.

    Still, love it to bits

  5. Fifty5engineering said:

    What do I put up with my future JNC?

    I put up with seats made for a Japanese teenager, not my beer drinking ‘murican “physique”.

  6. Kiran said:

    I deal with people thinking my car is a ae86 24/7 and for each and every time I say “no it’s a cordia”.this is quite annoying after 11 years and people always try to race me whenever I’m on the highway and I usually decline but on rare occasions I accept sometimes winning sometimes losing.
    i rarely have problems with my Cordia but I hate and like that it’s ultra rare(6213 ever made) pros is that I feel kinda special as nearly nobody has one
    cons is that parts are rarer than hens teeth.
    Driving it is also like its trying to kill you whenever you push her to her limits and if you mess up in the slightest you will probably die simple but that makes pushing her to her limits much more fun(for me).steering is very responsive but heavy at low speeds as there is no power steering and it has a very stiff ride(killer in bumpy roads). Generally the cordia feels raw as you have no drivers assist at all,she is willing to do as you like and is an absolute blast to drive on twisty roads.

  7. Ant said:

    I own a Eunos Roadster. What do I put up with?

    – People saying it’s slow. (It is, but when people on the internet say “slow”, they’re really implying “not fun”, which of course is hokum)
    – People who say it’s perfect. (Much as I like these cars, they really aren’t the “answer to everything”)
    – People who tailgate it because it’s small. (Weirdly, whenever a few corners are involved, they’re nowhere to be seen)
    – People in other MX-5s who don’t give you a wave. (C’mon guys, I thought this was a community?)

    So in other words, I have to put up with other people. The car itself? No complaints…

  8. jivecom said:

    Mostly for me it’s endless derision about it, because it’s not nice looking. Outwardly it’s a beater, slowly replacing panels as they rust out, so the colours don’t match. As it’s an off-road truck (84 Hilux 4×4) used to its full potential, I don’t really want to waste money on paint I’m only going to ruin anyway, so I put my cash into mechanical upgrades instead. As a popular film character once said, “She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts, kid”.

    Also put up with the domestic boys who maintain I should have bought whatever their truck is, but that’s no worry. Seems like all 3 domestic truck makers have loads of jokes about how the other two are crap, and they’re all right. On the other hand, the worst thing they can say about mine is that it’s not a Ford/Chevy/Ram… I think I’ll go ahead and take that “insult” on the chin.

    As far as things my truck does, uh… having a 6th gear wouldn’t hurt…

  9. banpei said:

    What do you put up with on my JNC?
    The price of owning my JNC… The prices have risen so much in the past years that it cost me an arm and a leg for my latest acquisition. Good AE86s have are now solid in the realms of five digits. 🙁

  10. Tom Westmacott said:

    What I put up with on my RX-7 isn’t directly related to the car itself, rather it’s the 50 mile drive to the garage. Out of London on the M23, then off onto the A27 westbound along the coast to Worthing.

    Find the garage tucked away behind a Citroen dealer. Leave the car, then walk to the station to catch a train, over an hour back home with the world’s least dependable train company, Southern Railways.

    Then do it all again in reverse to pick the car up. The frequency of visits, often 4-5 times a year to fix sequential turbos, aircon, etc, as well as routine bi-annual servicing, means that this is easily my car’s most-traveled route, which seems ridiculous!

    It’s hard to explain to other people who take their car for an annual MoT/service just down the road, but there just aren’t many places that can service turbo rotaries and get all the parts.

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