QotW: What’s your most prized JNC part?

009-1350_Nissan Skyline Hakosuka sedan GC10

If you have an old Japanese car, it’s not difficult to find yourself with a garage full of old Japanese parts, too. Even weird stuff like a 350mm Hitman steering wheel.

What’s your most prized JNC part?

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 best Japanese car name?” 

176-SM0378_ToyotaSoarerZ20

From a landslide of great answers we had to pick just one. Just to mention a few, Bryan was succinct and to the point about “Datsun,” Bob gave us a good chuckle with his rationale for “Debonair,” and Nathan provided rousing reasoning for choosing “Skyline.” This weeks winner, however, was Andrew, for his inspiring explanation of “Soarer”:

I like the name Soarer. Maybe a bit awkward to English ears, but it’s one of the few words whose actual sound evokes very similar meanings in both languages:

ソアラ (soara) is really similar sounding to 空 (sora), which means the sky or heavens.

I just like that this sound means very similar things in such different languages. And we can all find common ground when it comes to RWD GT cars with turbo straight sixes, right?

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

JNC Decal smash

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30 Responses to QotW: What’s your most prized JNC part?

  1. Banpei said:

    I’d say the JDM AA63 bumper for my Toyota Carina. It is still lying around in my garage, as I need to re-paint the front of the Carina first before I will use it to make the entire front JDM spec.
    The weird thing is that I bought this bumper as new-old-stock from a Toyota new-old-stick parts seller in the Netherlands. Here we have totally different bumper than the JDM GT-R bumpers: much shorter and we don’t have front indicators incorporated into the bumper.

    I think someone must have made an error ordering a replacement bumper somewhere in the 80s. Once it arrived they must have found out it was the wrong part, ordered the correct one and put this bumper in their warehouse. Thirty odd years later someone digs it up again, resells it and makes someone really happy not to have to bother with shipping a full bumper set from Japan. Thank you, whoever made that error! 😀

  2. I own a few super rare (and unfortunately, expensive) parts for my 240Z.
    aside from the Kakimoto Racing L-series valve cover and Hayashi drum Brakes, FET intake and so on, something that makes me realy proud of owning is a set of NOS Bride Histrix seats which will go into my car when it’s finnished.
    Once they were discontinued many years ago i accidently stumbled upon probably the last NOS item in existance and bought it directly. Turns out the seller was a Bride Boutique which still had an NOS item somewhere in a shelf and wanted to clear it.
    Looking for a second one for many years i figured out it’s hopeless to find another one (new or used).
    So when i went to Japan i talked to the Bride guys at the Tokyo Auto Salon and managed (with some help) to get them into making me another seat Brand spanking new, fresh from the factory.
    i mean come on, that makes the part so much cooler then just finding it on an online auction or buying it from a store. 🙂
    see the whole Story here: http://japanesenostalgiccar.com/forum/forum/garages/datsun-nissan-garage/4020-project-s30z-my-swiss-datsun-240z-1972

  3. Kieron said:

    I’m torn between my Checkman Racing seat or my Checkman Racing boot latches.

  4. Seattle Car Nut said:

    I regret that I’ve never owned a JDM Japanese car. I’ve seen a few here in Washington state, some in Seattle, some in Tacoma. I’d buy one if I could find one in decent original (stock) condition.

  5. SHC said:

    That would be my Hideo “Pops” Yoshimura S800 parts, my spare parts include a complete head which he supposedly worked on personally. Other parts include a header, intake/exhaust valves, a transmission and suspension pieces.

  6. Mark Newton-John said:

    I have an original Toyota factory Nippondenso air conditioner with the long center console for my 1974 Corolla SR5. Of course, it”s part of the project to restore this car. But would like to get it working again.
    I have yet to see one in another TE27.

  7. nar said:

    Its crazy trivial but mine are my front CRX mudflaps. They are super hard to find and when they do come up its priced like unobtanium. One of my friends from CRXcommunity tracked down a set for me that we’re used but i didn’t care, i was just happy and grateful to have them. It completes the look of the car and there is no pressure to keep them pristine. 🙂

    The interesting thing about these cars as they age is that the smallest things about them that make me smile. Like the LED’s on my climate control and defogger buttons that still work, or the plastic flap on the dash clock that broke and when i finally fixed it, it felt just as rewarding as getting a good set of rims and tires.

  8. Infini7 said:

    Have to be my Yours Spirt wing for my FC. Only know of 2 others in the states and it’s hard to even find pictures of them online. Took me a long time to find it.

  9. Leon Dixon said:

    This one is easy. Only I would say it is six parts… including an odd 3rd that is actually a British part that went on a Japanese prototype/pilot production car. Stay with me, you may like this story.

    The first part would be a hubcap that fit on the original alloy wheels of an early pilot MX-5 Miata (the wheels were a bit different too). The design of this little wheel cap differed from production models that arrrived with a smooth cap. The cap I saved has a high ring around the perimeter and then a center recess filled with a spun-brush finish cone. This cap was not released for production models. I saved mine from an early hand-constructed Miata that was later cut up and destroyed.

    The second part is a hand-made set of stopper rests for the lowered top frame on an early pilot Miata. This was when I was experimenting with rear windows (including tempered glass) and stowage height of the folded top. My stopper rest design was higher than the final release, but had benefits that I won’t go into at this point.

    The third part(s) is a set of un-used “LOTUS” badges and lettering which I was sent to purchase in order to disguise an early Miata that was being road tested in Southern California. We installed one set on the car to throw off people seeing it so they would not think it was a Mazda, but rather, a Lotus (yes, they believed it). The other set of Lotus badges and lettering remained in my desk for many years. I still have them today.

    The fourth part came from a prototype/pilot special Anniversary Edition Mazda RX-7. Unknown to most, this model alone included a very unique sonar security/anti-theft system. Part of this system was a tiny array located in the overhead console–different from all other 2nd-series RX-7s. This was a sensor that could actually detect a hand entering via an open sunroof and engage the security system. Unfortunately the system was never properly explained nor marketed and remains virtually unknown to this day. But it existed in the Anniversary RX-7…and was my suggestion. I saved two of the special sensors and wiring.

    Fifth part came about as a result of Mazda’s ill-fated attempt to open a luxury channel line. This car line would have been known as “Amati” (not to be confused with “Amanti” that appeared later from another company). The Amati line would have included two models, the senior being a luxury sedan equipped with a W-12 engine. The junior model would have had a Miller-cycle V-6. When the Amati line was cancelled, the junior vehicle came to market as the Mazda Millenia… and it was equipped with a special Bose audio system. I was involved in development and testing of this system and when this phase was completed, it was given to me. I still have the complete wire harness, speakers and special radio head with jog & shuttle type large knob controls that i suggested. This knob system ended up on many cars later on–including some American cars. But it originated on Amati/Millenia.

    Last, but not least, a remote key FOB I designed for the second-series Mazda MPV. Again, never marketed to customers as intended for the part–but released for sale with the cars, it was designed especially for women with long fingernails. The power sliding doors on this model required the respective door release buttons to be pushed and held in to open the doors. This was difficult to do with long nails. My long-button design allowed the user to press and hold with the side of the thumb. I managed to save only one of the prototype remotes. But it is a prized possession.

    I have saved other Japanese car trinkets over the years, including pieces from a special one-off Mazda MX-6 convertible I was involved in developing… and a special rotary engine rotor with a clock built into it, but these disappeared to parts unknown years ago, despite my best efforts to save them. The items mentioned here that I did manage to save are perhaps some with the most general interest.

    • LTDScott said:

      Crazy, just last night I saw an Anniversary FC RX-7 on Bring-a-Trailer and they actually mentioned the glass sensor that was only available on the Anniversary edition.

        • Leon Dixon said:

          Yes, I am very familiar with this unusual model of RX-7. I was there when it was developed and test drove early pilot prototypes. I wrote much of the owner’s manual and workshop manual as well as doing other work on the car.

          Cute to see some of the comments on it from people today. For instance on the sunroof. These mechanisms need to be kept clean and lubricated… and if so they are usually quite reliable.

          Main thing with a turbo rotary engine is use GOOD oil and change the oil religiously. And keep the engine cool. This also means to keep the intercooler clean. And NEVER pull in from a hard or long drive in hot weather and just turn the engine off. A very, very bad thing to to do these engines –especially with turbos.

          Instead, always allow the engine to idle for up to 5 minutes pior to shutting it down. Makes it far easier on your oil and on your engine (ultimately on your wallet).

          And always keep the cooling system and radiator in top condition and with fresh coolant. This also means to follow factory procedures for “burping” the radiator and coolant system to get rid of air pockets. Most owners never did this.

          Also… Canadian-spec Mazdas were not always the same as US-spec Mazdas… so the comparisons made on 1-to-1 basis are not always valid.

    • Bryan Thompson said:

      My Mother had a GLC and a 323 hatchback, both of them. I owned three B2000’s, and an 85 RX7 cream with brown interior that I drove for three years, and loved every minute. My late uncle had an RX3 that I didn’t know about until late I was telling him about my car. I’ve been in a frst gen GLC too. I love Mazda

  10. Felipe said:

    I would say that my set of wheels: Tomei Desmond with the center caps!! And the usually bad written philosophic phrase on the center caps!

  11. Bryan said:

    I’m going to just stick with the whole car overall, a combination of parts that still work together to make me happy every day of the week in a commute

  12. ahja said:

    Like Felipe, its wheels. I have some good ones. And some ultra rare ones. I was going to say which specific ones, but then I reconsidered because I only have 2 but would eventually like a full 4. Finding the 2 was pure dumb luck and finding 2 more has proven so damn difficult that its not a good idea that I point even one person in their direction before I get mines.

    Still, I have a very long way to go before I have all the parts that I want and the cars in their endgame stage. Life is a work in progress, and realistically I hope I have at least one of the hachis pristinely restomodded within 5 years.

  13. Justin said:

    Wheels are great. I love JDM flower power shift knobs. Stickers from Japan are cool too. I even love all the little trinkets from the Japanese dollar stores that we use to hang from our interiors.

    For me though, the most valued parts – the rare or hard to acquire OEM factory parts. Cressida Fender Mirrors. 4A-GE TRD side-draft manifold. Those things I cherish the most, because of their history.

  14. juppe said:

    Most expensive part would be my set NOS Toyota Tosco (pre-TRD) wheels. Never been fitted with tyres. Stumbled upon them on Ebay a few years ago, strangely there where hardly any bids.

    Most special part for me is the original radio hole cover of my ’75 TA22. So in ’75 you have a base model Celica, which was so cheap it didn’t even come with a radio, no one ever fitted a radio (and thankfully never cut the dash to fit a modern one), and left the cover in position all the time.

  15. Steve said:

    For the past 24 years, I’ve been collecting parts for the eventual (when time and space permit) restomod of my 1979 Celica. A lot of pricey, classic stuff. Yet, my most cherished piece is the little, brushed aluminum-look, “GT” badge that goes on the front grill that came on the 1978 Celica. For some reason, Toyota switched to a very uninteresting, white-on-black, “TOYOTA” badge for 1979 and I didn’t have the extra money to spend on a new “GT” badge from the parts counter back in the day. It took me until last year to find a used one in nice condition on ebay. Now I just need to find a NOS rear window gasket…

  16. Lupus said:

    My most precious JDM-style part is a wooden ItalVolanti Admiral steering wheel in 325mm diamaeter with camel leather crash-pad. I’ve said “JDM-style” because it’s of course not Japan made. It’s the finest italian handcraft, even beyond Nardi. I consider it JDM’ish ‘cose they are very desireble in Japan. And a similair wheel was mouted in Fujiwara’s Hachi, but in black/red leather trim.
    The wheel i own is unusualy small for ItalVolanti products. I’ve scavenged it from a badly crashed black Porsche 911(964). From the story i’ve recived from the guy that brought that wreckage from Germany to Poland i know that this Porsche had an accident on Autobahn at high speed. The driver survived thanks to 4-ponit harness he installed. German BlackBird… ?

  17. M1abrams said:

    Others may no see the significance of the flash-to-pass button on the end of the SSS Bluebird turn signal stock. It’s a small, stealthy detail (most would overlook it unless pointed out) and not a feature North Americans would care about back in the day. To me, this otherwise unnoteworthy button conjures imagery of the little sedan zooming down the Autobaun, passing slower traffic. It’s likely just a convenience/safety feature in other countries. Regardless, once I deal with the broken hair-thin wiring that exits the stalk and make it functional, I’ll be privately “beaming” over it.

  18. Adam said:

    My NA Miata has literally hundreds of small mods. I’ve been chipping away at it for years, turning it into my ideal “car”. But the part that immediately came to mind when considering this question is my Watanabe Falcon steering wheel.

    I originally bought it because the wheel is crazy rare and I was always curious about it. I’ve got a decent steering wheel collection (11 currently, shared between two cars) with a few rarities included in the ranks. When I found a nearly new Falcon for sale at a decent price, I jumped on it. I had to know what all the hype was about.

    The wheel lives up to the hype. For me, it surpasses the hype.

    I don’t love the Falcon because of how rare it is; I love it because of WHAT it is. The Falcon has this inward-angled oval anatomic grip that makes driving a very unique experience. It’s a pure pleasure to hold. The 340 mm diameter gives the wheel a sporty feel that no 350 mm rim can match, but doesn’t block the gauges like a 330 mm wheel does. From the subtle thumb rests on the spokes to the glove-soft leather and finger grips… it’s more of an experience than a steering wheel.

    I’ll put it this way – if I test drove a car and the steering wheel felt like my Watanabe Falcon, I would buy that car.

    Have I gushed enough? The Falcon is a wonderful piece and the most prized JNC part in my collection. I’m very fortunate to be the caretaker of one of these beauties.

    • Ant said:

      It really is a beautiful wheel. Spent many, many minutes scrolling up and down the page staring at it on your site! But then I also did that with the Momo Prototipo and the M2-1001 Momo…

      Do love a good steering wheel though. Currently have a wood-rimmed Nardi Classic in my Roadster, while I figure out what to do with the ageing leather Nardi that was in it originally (whatever comes as standard in a Eunos S-Spec).

      My previous MX-5, being a UK car, had a Momo Montecarlo as standard. And I’m currently tempted by either a suede-rimmed Prototipo or suede-rimmed Nardi Classic. Suspect it could get expensive.

  19. Ash said:

    My hako has a little flap vent for air to the drivers feet, it is actuated by a small pull knob by your right knee. It has a very satisfying action to it that clunks in just the right way.

  20. Chritopher J Figueroa said:

    Besides the actual car, which is a 89 soarer with a 7mgte. I would say my wheels that I got for it. There work meisters s2r and hud caps. Those things are so hard to find if u lose one good luck. And secondly my jdm aftermarket stereo simply because it plays cd and minimise. How cool is that. Oh its a kenwood double dine.

  21. Raymond said:

    My 1982 KP62 Toyota Starlet is completely original, not restored, just preserved. The most prized part are the rally wheel trim rings and the original hubcaps. I regret changed the original AM/FM radio for a Sony Radio Casette back in the nineties. That´s the only not original part. However, the radio still sounds great and is a 90s vintage part, so I will not make the same mistake again.

  22. Andrew Eve said:

    Probably my collection of eight Datsun 160Js??
    Maybe I reckon I have more Datsuns than anyone in the UK? 17
    Maybe I took more Datsuns to a car show than anyone ever? (5 A10s to the OhSoRetro car show in 2015)
    That was pathetic anyway, this year I am taking 10 Datsuns to the show.
    Just thought I might just as well boast

  23. Sideglide said:

    I have a few that are not exactly rare, but are to those with some that are trying to restore corollas (ae86s).

    1. OEM NOS clock bezels and heater control overlays. Back in the day, a few of us got the part numbers for these bits. After 20+ years, they, along with the door handle cups, are the most brittle thing on these old beasts. This was back when Dorikaze, Club4ag, and Hachiroku.net were the main sources (at least for N America) for these parts. We released the numbers and everyone grabbed some extras. I think in a months time, the price for each went from around $4 to $15, or more. Now, I am not sure they are even available.

    2. Working Digital Gauge cluster with “king kong”. I know of 3 in the US circa 8 years ago that had working digital gauge clusters from a J-spec Levin lux upgrade. 2 of them I installed and 1 was from Cali but with limited functionality. It took nearly 2 years of researching the wiring diagram, finding the plugs for the cluster (different) and wiring nearly 30 wires. even though it is annoying, I really liked hitting 101 km, having the “speed” light illuminate and hearing that 80’s Japanese bell go off to tell me I was going too fast. I set it up on a toggle switch the first week…

    3. AE86 auto covers. Probably my longest search at over 10 years. Like above, I found one, then the other. These are for the Trueno, a unique distinction. There were some for Soarers, Hiaces, etc. Most were not “auto” but had a cover you manually opened. I had a NOS of the manuals, with original instructions, box, packing etc. that I had to sell to help fund my hunt. I found one cover from a friend looking in Japan, and the other recently in Japan myself. I dunno if I would install them, but if I did, I would want to only use for special events.

    4. HKS 5AG stroker kit. Since BC now makes a stroker kit that is likely stronger and more reliable; and more HP, this stroker kit is more of a novelty. HKS made 2 kits depending on the 4AG big port (bluetop) or small port (redtop) engine. And yes, we know the color of the valve covers are not indicative of port sizing depending on market. I have the small port set which came with a crank and rods originally. The pistons are custom made by a speed shop in Japan with domed surfaces. In addition to the rare set, I have the matching valve covers that HKS “maybe” only made for racing applications. Don’t quote me on that though. All of this is going to be cryo-treated, balanced, and dropped in the next time I have access to my car.

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