QotW: Which JNC has the greatest grille?


Grilles. They provide airflow, set one model apart from another, and can even form become the corporate identity of a brand. Japan has produced some truly outrageous grilles in its time, so therefore we ask:

QotW: Which JNC has the greatest grille?

Instead of a large rectangle like most trucks, the Prince Clipper’s designers bestowed it with two ovals, the same size and shape as the headlight bezels, and fitted asymmetrical crosshairs in each one. The result is a bizarre Iron Giant visage that’s instantly recognizable.

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a toy. Click through to see the winner of the last QotW, “What’s the best shade of JNC green?” 


Although we do love a green CSP311 Silvia (and the S13 two-tone to match) as many of you suggested, the winner this week was dickie, who gave one of the most entertaining QotW answers in recent memory. It made us chuckle out loud several times and is probably the most thorough essay on vintage Japanese automotive greens ever written.

This is a tough one, so many great hues to choose from…

Green Altair Metallic with ST stripes on first-gen Celicas is definitely up there.

Then there’s Moss(y) Green, a color I can’t seem to find a paint code for under the e20 Corolla but looking great nonetheless.

The only car that I think could push Toyota out of the limelight, so to speak, is the SA22 RX7 in it’s vibrant Mach Green, killer even compared to Datsun’s Citrus Green Z cars. The fact that the interior is so awesome helps it edge out the competition.

Still, in my opinion you can’t truly be green unless you’re green all the way through. To my knowledge, there just aren’t that many classic Japanese cars out there with a green interior. That’s where Toyota takes the cake and the overall win with the X7 Cressida in the uber-rare Jade Gray/Black 2-tone combo.

– Green paint code? Check.
– 2-tone? Check.
– Green interior? You better effing believe that’s a check.

You can still find examples that haven’t either faded to the color and texture of charcoal ash, and if you do you’d best buy it while you can. A very good friend of mine whose BEAMs-powered AE86 and X73 Cressida builds I’ve referenced before was on the lookout for one to carry his 1UZ/W58 setup. We came across two, one ruined by the shady owner’s hellaflush inclinations and lack of mechanical knowledge or common sense. The other was being sold be an older gentleman who not only didn’t speak English and communicated via his young daughter, but was also blind to the point he couldn’t confirm whether the car he was selling was actually verde or just plain ol’ gris.

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

JNC Decal smash

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14 Responses to QotW: Which JNC has the greatest grille?

  1. cesariojpn said:

    Easily the Toyota Century.

    The car is often marketed as a car with conservative styling and according to the brochure: ‘The Century is acquired through persistent work, the kind that is done in a plain but formal suit’. And it translates quite into the grille. The grille oozes refinement, yet is simple enough to be as subtle as possible. It is simply, yet majestically adorned with a Phoenix Emblem, the icon of the Century

    These two together instantly make the Century identifiable, much like a Business Suit made by a top tailor. The suit defines success and authority, but is simple enough to not be overbearing. A simple gold lapel pin accents yet not goes overtly tacky. The grille is the business suit, while the lapel pin is the emblem itself. Put them together, and you can see why Toyota made a wonderful analog to both.

  2. sammyd said:

    The saying goes two is always better than one. Thats why vote goes to the ms60 series crown. With the lower grille encompassing the headlights and unmistakable crown badge, and the thin, wraparond upper grille including the indicators. Styling in its day was quite controversial (and considered ugly) but in my opinion makes this series the most classic of crowns

    • Dave said:

      I LOVE these Crowns, especially the wagon! That front end, with that grille and wrap-around slat, makes it look like a ’70s spaceship. I can understand why it must’ve been too much for some people back then, but it sure is a cool-looking design.

  3. WTFunktion said:

    I do not even know if it is considered a grill, but I love the pig snout part of the first gen S13’s. I love the piggy face Nissans more than any other vehicle this planet has to offer, I do not know why, maybe because my first car was a pig. I used to hate it, now I hate the idea of not having a piggy faced s chassis around.

    I guess same goes for the piggy faced R31’s, LOVE THEM. Few things are better than a big, sharp angled, pig faced, Nissan sedan.

  4. Ryan "J3wman" Senensky said:

    Of course the Hakosuka Skyline has the best front end! Is that even a question?

    The first car to sport probably the most recognizable letters in the history of JNCs G-T-R.

    The subtle design elements of that grille, How the headlight bezel curves into the grille make it look like it is snarling at you. Definitely the thought in the minds of Porsche drivers as it was nipping at their heels before it passed them, and definitely something RX3 drivers didn’t know anything about.

    This grille is the reason for pretty much every illegitimate pregnancy in Japan from 1969-1980. The chrome bumper underlines everything, as to bring attention to it. It draws attention to everything that is brilliant about Japanese nostalgic cars. The boxy slightly curved shape brings an aura of strength and reliability, the subtle chrome around the edges shows Japan’s use of accents instead of gaudy body work to draw the eye, and the perfect elegance is a testament to the beauty that Japanese manufacturers put into every one of their cars.

    So yes this without a doubt is the best front end ever, not just for JNCs but EVER.

    If you are the one person that doesn’t know what a Hakosuka is this is a good example.


  5. pstar said:

    First of all, in my estimation the Japanese didn’t really enter the car manufacturing world until the age of “grilles as standalone works of art” was over. Grills aren’t really one of the things for “us”, as Japanese classic enthusiasts, just as digital dashboards and wild star-pattern wheels aren’t really for “them”, as American and European classic enthusiasts.

    Secondly, most of my favorite Japanese cars happen to be bottom feeders, and most of those have pop up headlights. As always, I have to call out the sublime AE86. Not sure Truenos’ bumper slots count, but the Levin grill with the integrated foglights is surely above average.

    My pick goes the the RX4 though. Its stereotypically overstyled like all proper Japanese headlight and taillight clusters of the era. Yet all its disparate elements

    • pstar said:

      …end up looking good. It looks deceptively simple, but upon closer inspection is intricate and complex. Like a traditional Japanese mansion with the wood and paper Seems simple, maybe bland at first. But then you realize all the details that make the design good.

  6. pstar said:

    First part of that comment disappeared? Or its still in “moderation”? If it doesn’t show up, we can play “guess what car im talking about”.

  7. Eugeny said:

    Toyota Crown S60 of course. Just look at that two-step grille, it’s totally something!

  8. dickie said:

    this won’t even be in the running for a win, but i’d suggest that the Mazda Cosmo AP/RX5 has the best grille of all time. the simple vertical bars that flow like a waterfall from the semi-horizontal upper fascia surface down the front of the nose to drop back and “disappear” behind the chrome bumper, at once evocative of a 50’s art deco electric shaver and the iconic 70’s style of the Zebra-3.

    • Ben Hsu said:

      Luckily for you, it’s not the most “correct” answer that wins; it’s the most funny/thought provoking/inspirational comment that will prove victorious.

  9. ErikFM said:

    Okay guys. Let’s be honest, these aren’t grills. The only correct answer is the S13 grill.

    You can all go home now. It’s like some of you don’t even know what a grill is!

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