QotW: What modern day feature does your JNC need?

Last weekend I found myself behind the wheel of a Mitsubishi Pajero Mini Turbo. It was fun to toss the plucky 4WD on stock 5.5-inch wide tires around corners like it was ice skating, but the thinness of the doors and lack of sound deadening made conversations hard to have over road noise and turbo howls. What would the Pajero Mini needed for it to be a perfect little 4-wheeler — a body with higher torsional rigidity, or high-tech terrain system with crawl control, or would updated safety systems in case of a T-bone collision.

What modern day feature does your JNC need?

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 best stock JNC steering wheel?

Last week, we asked for the best stock JNC steering wheel, and the comment from Banpei listed a series of facts that cannot be ignored. I’ll add one more that really encapsulates the QotW: People are still buying and installing the stock steering wheel on their AE86/Sprinter/Levin/Corolla GT/etc.

…I’m going to nominate the Japanese/European AE86 steering wheel. This steering wheel may look like an simple three spoke steering wheel, but it was much more than that.

First of all it offered a steering wheel big enough for cars that came without power steering from the factory. It was big enough to turn the 185/60 R14 tires while standing still, yet not too big for cars that actually came with power steering. But I must admit it is a bit bigger than today’s standards.

Second of all it featured a dished steering wheel. Not only does this look great on your car, it also has a function. It means the steering wheel is closer to you and you have that extra leverage on the wheel and a little bit of extra kneeroom if you are over 6 foot tall.

Third of all it came painted in gunmetal grey and a big triangular horn button in the middle. This horn button read Toyota in white on the regular AE86 and Twin Cam 16 in orange on the Black Limited AE86.

And last but not least: the standard steering wheel featured a grippy and durable rubber/plastic rim, but it also came in an optionally wrapped leather rim (standard on the GT Apex) which made it even better!

Also this steering wheel wasn’t just limited to the AE86: in Japan (and some other countries) it also came with the first generation AW11, Corolla FX AE82 and the Starlet Turbo EP71 (reading TURBO instead of Twin Cam 16). If you look on Ebay or Yahoo Auctions for these steering wheels, expect to pay a hefty price for them: the standard wheel sell for around 150 to 200 dollars and the leather wrapped ones fetch up to 350…

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14 Responses to QotW: What modern day feature does your JNC need?

  1. J.A.C.K said:

    blue-tooth. sure, it’s relatively easy to remedy with aftermarket options but that wasn’t the question. i drive an AE86 and both my hands are busy either shifting gears and/or steering vigorously so i don’t have time for dealing with my phone while in the car. yah, i get it, i should be focused on driving blah blah…but i have a family that might need my attention while i’m out goofing off and blue-tooth hands free would make life easier for me. also, streaming music and navi directions routed through the car’s speakers are a plus (my exhaust is sans silencers so YOU HAVE TO CRANK UP THE VOLUME TO 11).

  2. Bryan Kitsune said:

    While it’s not what many would think of as a “modern day” feature, a collapsible steering column would be welcome in my ’67 Datsun Sports 1600 Roadster. It’s not overwhelmingly confidence inspiring to sit behind something referred to as a “death spear” with a steering wheel attached to it. Also, my particular JNC is in need of some hipster contraptions referred to as “seat belts” installed (in its defense, it did come from the factory with belts, just not from the previous owner).

  3. Ant said:

    Can I claim a fixed roof as a modern day feature? Because I’d quite like my Eunos Roadster to look like the coupe prototype in Hiroshima, and it’d fix the chassis rigidity issues too.

    Failing that, headlights as good as a modern equivalent would be most welcome.

  4. Jeremy A. said:

    A high-center third brake light. I can’t count the number of times I’ve gotten antsy because the driver of a big, modern SUV behind me can’t see the low-slung taillights of my ’83 280ZX and comes right up on me before they realize they need to stop.

    • Taylor said:

      I have a high center brake light on my 87 300ZX and I still installed a $5 brake light strobe to help draw attention to the fact I’m stopping. I’ve totally noticed a difference!

  5. Steve said:

    When I bought my 1979 Celica, back in 1979, I thought, “REAL drivers only need a M/T and none of that frou frou stuff.” In 1988, when I bought my Toyota pickup, I thought, “REAL drivers only need M/T and A/C and none of that frou frou stuff.” In 1999, when I bought my NB Miata, I thought, “REAL drivers only need M/T, A/C, and cruise control.” That held true until 2016 when I bought an FRS. I grudgingly bought a 2016 with its back up camera. But now, I wish my 1979 Celica also had A/C, cruise control, and a backup camera…

  6. Geoff said:

    Now that I have a small person to look after, A/C that actually works on a typical 45 degree Aussie summer day and cruise control. Having large feet and cramped footwells on older cars, combined with Nazi state style speed cameras everywhere is not fun.

  7. Mark Newton-John said:

    A modern engine. Imagine putting the 305 hp, 350 lb/ft 2.3 turbo Ford Mustang crate engine in my TE27 SR5. Even with Webers, my little 2T-C is still probably around the original 88 hp.
    Or at least upgraded instrument lighting…

  8. Randy said:

    Looking at the replies, anybody got the coin/space/time to do a “restomod” with the “updates?”

    A salvage yard [XXX] (basically a shell), and the modern pieces could be a great little ride… Plug-ins, for the most part, except that driveline stuff. Find one that’s driveline-free, interior long gone to someone else’s project, etc., so there’s no regrets about it being not actually restored.

  9. j_tso said:

    Fuel injection

    Now and again I think about switching over for the better power, fuel economy, and cold starts. The sidedraft Weber on my RX-7 is great for the track and open road, but warming up and getting there not so much. What keeps me from switching is the initial cost, tuning time, and hunting electronic gremlins over time. I don’t need a laptop to tune a carb and it’s rebuildable.

  10. Mike in Long Beach said:

    Cup holders. I say again, the answer is CUP HOLDERS. Before you laugh, let me explain. My 1G Accord doesn’t have ’em. Doesn’t have a console. Doesn’t have room between the shifter and the front seats or between said front seats for one of those aftermarket bin/cup-holder things. And there is just NO PLACE to put your coffee or your energy drink or your soda or your beer (if you are just working on the interior, NOT DRIVING), or your phone, or your sun glasses, or your wallet or anything else. What’s more, the location of the door handles and window cranks leaves no convenient place for those window mounted cup holders from CarZone or PopBros, most of which are also designed for much thicker door padding and hang awkwardly from the thin 70’s door cards. The 1G Accord hatch is a great JNC but was born too soon and lacks these vital items that are now standard on just about every car in the world. Other than maybe an extra hundred hp, the sophisticated (for it’s time) Accord lacks nothing in providing pure driving pleasure, except for cup holders.

  11. Jayrdee said:

    Touch screen radio with blue-tooth and navigation for me. I’ve grown fond of the gps so I dont soak up my data and drain my phone battery. And its cool to let your passengers sync their phones up to cover DJ responsibilities.

    Oh yeah, and I’m sure my fellow AE86 owners can agree with me, CUP HOLDERSSS!!! I know you can get those that clip on to your air vents, initial D style, but I don’t know how comfortable I am resting my big ol’ speedway coffee on 30 year old brittle plastic. By myself its not a big deal to get a drink with a twist on cap, or not drink anything at all, but its always annoying to have to ask your lady-friend(s): “Hey, uhh … do you mind to like, either finish your drink or get something with a cap?”

    • Bryan Kitsune said:

      I remember in my old ST161 I had the cup holders you would hang on the doors (with a lip going into the window). Usually worked reasonably well, but one day I bought a ~ 40oz. fountain Mountain Dew from a convenience store, and didn’t even make it out of the parking lot before all 40 oz. were in my footwell. LOL. At least it wasn’t an AE86.

      • Jayrdee said:

        Lol I bet that ruined your day

        About a month or two ago I went to one of those little “cars and coffee” meets here in town. I was a few minutes early so I went to a McDonalds’s nearby and got a large coffee. Instead of sitting down and drinking it like I should have I thought I could just use my legs to hold the cup … luckily I didn’t spill anything, but it was a challenge. Not only was I trying not to spill it, but their coffee is quite possibly the hottest thing known to man. Definitely not trying to get 3rd degree burns on my feet haha.

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