QotW: Which car should receive the factory restoration treatment next?

We recently learned that Nissan is offering an unparalleled nut-and-bolt restoration program for the Skyline GT-R. The ¥45 million ($433,000 USD) restoration ain’t cheap, but it’s far more thorough than the 240Z restoration program from the 1990s, and everything is handled by NISMO technicians at NISMO facilities. The treatment leaves you with a car that is like new or better, and makes a statement that Nissan believes that the Skyline GT-R is worthy of such effort. But, not all cars are.

Which car should receive the factory restoration treatment next?

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 playlist for the year your car was made?

We will admit some bias in picking the winner last week, the soundtrack Vitor chose for his ST165 Toyota Celica. Those musical tastes mirror those of many JNC staffers, and like JNC, features a wide variety of subject matter. Congrats, Vitor!

Playlist Mix Tape Side A for my 1988 Toyota Celica ST165
1-Where Is My Mind? the Pixies
2- The Mercy Seat. Nick Cave
3- Everyay is like Sunday.. Morrissey
4- Stand. R.E.M.
5- Teenage Riot. sonic Youth
6- Jane Says. Jane’s Addiction

Side B for my 1979 Toyota Hiace diesel
1- Highway to Hell. AC/dc
2- London Calling. The Clash
3- Bad case of loving you. Robert Plant
4- My Sharona. The knack
5- Sultans of swing. dire Straits
6- Shadowplay. Joy division

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

JNC Decal smash

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28 Responses to QotW: Which car should receive the factory restoration treatment next?

  1. Lupus said:

    Mazda FD & FC. Due to it’s engine’s uniqeness. And they’r both wonderfull cars.
    And A80 Supra. Because most of them had been modded in some way, some with hi-class gear & good taste, some with plastic junk and putty.

  2. Lee L said:

    With the staggering increase in value of this car, as well as its importance in the history of Japanese performance cars I would say the DC2 Integra Type R would be a great car for such a treatment.

    It’s hard to rationalize doing this for any car, but if I had that much expendable income I would probably buy an R32 and have this done. Why not? Also, I’m sure the value of these specific cars will be ridiculous.

  3. Banpei said:

    I would suggest the Mitsubishi Galant AMG E33A for three reasons:
    1. The Galant AMG might be less powerful and lack the 4WD system of the VR4, but it’s much rarer! The AMG sold in less numbers (see also 2. why) and even fewer survive today. In my opinion it’s even better looking than the VR4!

    2. It had a very expensive production process: the Galant AMG was produced as an ordinary Galant in Japan, then shipped to AMG in Germany, Europe, then modified by AMG and then finally shipped back to Japan. This all happened pre-Mercedes ownership, so naturally AMG didn’t have problems creating a few thousand specialty cars for Mitsubishi.

    3. AMG sprinkled a lot of their magic over the car: AMG brakes, big spoiler on the boot, the naturally aspirated DOHC 4G63 now featured titanium valve springs, increased compression ratio (from 9:1 to 10.4:1), improved exhaust manifold, a Dual Stage Cyclone intake and an AMG custom ECU. Also the interior and exterior were changed and featured many unique AMG parts.

    As you can see the Mitsubishi Galant AMG is no longer an ordinary Mitsubishi anymore. That means if it should receive factory restoration treatment it would have to be done by AMG. I would love to see the look of those AMG engineers restoring a bunch of Mitsubishis as heritage program. But that will probably never happen…but I can always hope!

    • MikeRL411 said:

      Germans doing a factory restoration on a Japanese car ! Great idea but hard to explain 20 years from now.

      • Ian N said:

        20 years from now, nothing will be explainable in today’s terms. Change is happening so rapidly (planned and unplanned) that the World we know now will hardly be recognisable by then. That is why the Subaru Young SS deserves the factory resto treatment – an island of recognition in a sea of unfamiliarity! (-:

      • Banpei said:

        The German Mazda HQ did a couple of almost factory restorations in old heritage Mazda’s, so it wouldn’t be that strange for the Germans to work on a Japanese car. 😅
        But I agree: the choice of AMG to build these Japanese performance cars was an odd choice! 😆

    • Mark F Newton-John said:

      uhh, the only problem with that is are there any cars left to restore? And for the few that might be left, not a viable proposition of having make parts for it. Hey Mitsubishi, I know you don’t have any money, but can you spend $100,000 to restore my car that looks to most people like an oba-san car?

      • Banpei said:

        Yes good point: hardly any survivors, but isn’t that the same case for 95% of the Japanese performance cars? Even for the R30 there wouldn’t be enough survivors nor the price level to make it worth. Perhaps the rare R31 GTs-R is going to be expensive enough in 10 years to justify such a treatment?
        In other words: does it matter for this question? I found the thought of German AMG engineers restoring a Mitsubishi hilarious and that would be priceless 😆

  4. Howard D. said:

    My vote is for the Mitsubishi Starion ESI-R/Chrysler Conquest. Prices are climbing, and their worth is slowly being recognized, and ones that have been taken care of sell at a eye opening prices. (On the website BaT, some are selling in the $20K + range) This car was exported to The States at rather low numbers compared to the big guy auto manufacturers. The wide body version (1986-‘89) has found an all new niche over recent years with the younger crowd, and the popularity is also rising as is the price of buying one. Along with others, I feel the look is timeless with the ‘blister fenders’, and the staggered wheel widths.

  5. Crank_case said:

    Suzuki Cappuccino, but I am very, very biased, at least a heritage parts program.

  6. charlie bigsby said:

    I’ve gotta say it should be the Toyota Sports 800.. Yotahachi. only 3033 produced and according to the owners registry in japan less than 400 survive. at least a handful should get the “factory treatment” since so many have been “restored” poorly or worse yet converted to electric or had crazy engine swaps.. I cant say that I could afford to have mine done but I would surely try.

  7. Mark F Newton-John said:

    Pfft. Typical F&F responses. Come on, something with real culturall impact, not something you might see with an unpainted body kit and fart can.
    LS400? Nah. Subaru 360? Err. Datsun F10? Very funky but a hard no. 240Z? Done that. JZA80 Supra? What, so some yahoo can mod it beyond recognition again? The KE10 Corolla was certainly culturally significant, but I doubt there are enough of them around to make it worthwhile, and too many TE27s are being made into nisemono Levins.
    How about… the MZ10 Soarer? In the ’80s, it was THE symbol of upward mobility and of the bubble era of the time. There are likely a few of those still in well worn, but unmolested condition to make it a candidate. Maybe even an AeroCoupe or two.

  8. Hector said:

    Sa22c/fb Mazfa Rx-7’s, ae86 Toyota Corollas, 1st gen and 2nd gen Honda CRX’s at the very least deserve to have parts brought back into production so that people can restore them themselves if the manufacturer’s don’t desire to offer to restore the car themselves.

  9. Steve said:

    I dunno if I really like the idea of the nut-and-bolt, ground-up, better-than-new restoration. What is the point? Just so that some Jay Leno type can buy it just to stick it in his private collection and then brag about his $500k GTR? Or maybe get stuck in some museum, whether private or corporate, as a “cultural icon” or “touchstone”?

    All I see happening is crazy prices for JNCs, past and future, spiking to even crazier heights as everyone starts to believe that their car is “the one” resulting in fewer cars to enjoy.

    I would prefer the manufacturers stick to, and expand, their current trend of creating parts programs to re-manufacture rubber, glass, and plastic parts that don’t cost an arm and a leg for us “little guys” who like to preserve, tinker on, and DRIVE our JNCs.

  10. F31Roger said:

    American and sub-cultural stand point.

    I feel the car had to have made an impact in the company. While I don’t think people are gonna be jumping at a $400k restoration, I do feel there are cars that do deserve restore treatment.

    Definitely agree with the RX7s. Even with a few small businesses making stuff for these and a more rotary experts and resources (it sucked 21yrs ago when I had my FC), they’ve been kept alive.

    90s Hondas/Acuras – While not as legendary as those sports cars like the Skyline or the Supra or even the 280zx… just like the Miata, a lot of these cars carried Honda.

    I can’t even imagine how much of an impact the car scene would be today if it wasn’t for the Honda golden era of the early 2000s. All these manufactures were jumping on the bandwagon to do R&D to make parts.

    Mitsubishi Eclipse (1st and 2nd generation) same as above, but I remember the 1st gen GSX being used in road races and SCCA events when I was younger.

    Toyota – Celica and Supra for sure.

    Since many cars within a certain brand are share parts and people are willing to buy older cars rather than new cars (on an enthusiats level), I think that the companies can make money, continue customer loyalty by having some kind of heritage program.

  11. emuman said:

    Eunos Cosmo, so many are lost forever for 20b swaps.

  12. dankan said:

    I think the high-end performance cars and LS400 are obvious answers, but I’d love to see this offered for something more humble that still had a huge impact. And given how few cars are left in decent condition I think it might be necessary to preserve what little history is left.

    I think Toyota and Nissan should offer the full resto service to AE86 Corollas and S13 Silvias respectively. Most are long-wrecked drift missiles at this point, so there is a diminishing number of these cars still out there, but the level of impact they had on driving culture and the companies that made them means that they need to be preserved. And I think they deserve at least as much respect as the unobtanium which is already being given the garage queen treatment.

  13. My_Fairlady_ZFG said:

    I don’t know about a factory restoration, but I want them to start mass producing AE86’s again. Put them back into production, exactly as they were. No airbags, or automatic braking. Exactly as they were. I don’t care if it makes sense or not from a business standpoint. Just do it. Flood the market with them again. Then maybe, in a few years, I’ll actually be able to afford one.
    I know we always get happy and excited when new “sports” cars come out, (Supra, gr Yaris, 400Z, etc) and I have even defended some in the past, all the new features just completely change the experience. I want simple. Things are getting too complicated. Not the answer you were looking for, but it’s how I feel

  14. HotWheelsAndFriedChicken ! said:

    I really want to say mk4 supra, but for what? People arent gonna want a stock supra. Many people that is. Even I wouldn’t want my supra bone stock.
    I think a sensible choice would be the FC or FD rx7, and now I know that theres a heritage parts program, it would probably be possible to get a restoration program going.

  15. S said:

    80 Series Land Cruiser

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