Some of us have been in the JNC game for years, decades even — *cough, cough. Ben. cough, Cressida obsession, cough* — and some are just now coming around on these thin-pillar’d, money draining, yet charming rides. Whether you are in the former or latter; I am curious:
What repair/mod/upgrade do you do on all your JNCs?
Now, it may depend on the level of reliability, aesthetic challenges, or safety. Conditions may apply. Personally, I’ve always tackled the brakes of any newly acquired vehicle. Sure, it may cost a few hundred dollars on top of the buying price, but to install a new BMC, brakes lines and pads is well worth it, especially if the car sprinkles rust where ever it goes. How about you?
The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What JNC do you recommend for a car enthusiast?“.
Last week’s responses were an exciting read with recommendations spanning from all ends of the spectrum to even if such a suggestion would be realistic or not to get someone to open up to a vehicle outside their comfort zone.
On that note, and from personal experience, a friend of mine took the plunge on some J-tin after having a go in my own AE86 back in the day. He owned a machine shop where I took my recently blown engine for decking and general overhaul. Once it was all back together, he gave it a test drive. He commented on how it sounded like a “mad bumblebee” and how he could see it being a blast on the old local farm roads. A few months later, he had one of his own (AE85) and was fiddling with the 3A-U engine to squeeze out power where ever possible. So, it is possible if they have an open mind!
Now, back to the task at hand. Some of you shot for the moon like Ant did with the suggestion of an R32 Skyline. As I didn’t set a price cap (on purpose) it is a good suggestion, but out of many’s grasps, I’m afraid. Others, like fifty5engineering, cast a wide net with just about any JNC that hasn’t rusted back to the soil.
About 30 percent of you recommended a Datsun in some form or another — sedan, coupe, or truck. JNC mini-trucks are a great suggestion, but hard to find. If you want a workhorse, sure, you can obtain them in various degrees of heap. The Mazda Rotary Truck on Motor Trend’s Roadkill web series is a favorite of mine, but, we are hoping to have a vehicle that can be used to show off someone’s unique perspective. For that, I think Taylor‘s own story fits the bill, with a Z31 being amply available, reasonably priced and equipped with looks that could fit in among anyone’s garage lineup.
When the time came last summer, there really wasn’t a hachi to be had, and so I went an looked at a very yellow ’86 Supra (that needed a bit more work than the ad let on) and an 87 Z31 that was still in the original paint, had the original plates, and drove pretty well. Now, I like the 80s lines of the Z31 (and yes, I really like the proportional of the 2+2) way more than the Z32 or anything that came after it. I could ramble about myself and proportional aesthetics (which the AE86 has in spades), but you’ll all move onto the next post if I did. TL;DR, I bought the Z31 and have totally enjoyed it and enjoyed learning about it, working on it, discovering the community around them, and I really really miss driving it even if it’s for a day.
Do Z31s have the same aftermarket support as, say, 510s or most of the 80s Toyotas? No! Omigosh, no, they definitely don’t. And I’ve made more pick n’ pull trips to get spare parts than I have trips to regular parts stores. But in some ways, that’s also part of the charm. And I feel like there’s a nice grassroots, passionate community that’s either starting to make parts, repair what’s there, or just generally willing to help each other out.
Would I necessarily recommend a Z31 to an enthusiast looking to get into J-tin? Eh, it depends on the person. There are definitely other cars that are easier to work on and get parts for. But for some, yeah, this’d be a great car to start with.
Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!