Japan’s motorsports history unfolds at Suzuka Circuit in the 1960s

This year marks the 60th anniversary of Suzuka Circuit. Japan’s first full-scale race track. It was the brain child of Soichiro Honda, who so fervently believed in racing as a means to improve his motorcycles and cars, he carved out an entire mountainside to give Japan a motorsports venue. Continue reading

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The Nissan Z configurator is now online, so this is how we’d build one

After what feels like eons of waiting, the time has finally come when you can get a new Z. Nissan has just launched its online configurator, prompting us to wonder how we would build a new Z. When a JNC staffer buys a car, we typically think about factors beyond just our immediate ownership. We see ourselves as curators of cars, and take into account how the car will live on beyond our ownership. In short, what will someone like us want to see at a car show 30 years from now? Continue reading

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Rate This Ad: Nissan off-roads through the decades

A new Nissan commercial takes viewers on a ride through the decades. Titled “60 Years in 30 Seconds”, it features spokeswoman Brie Larson time-jumping from the 1959 to present day in various Nissans. If you think that sounds familiar, it’s a premise Nissan has used before. However, instead of sports cars, this time it’s off-road vehicles. Continue reading

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How good are you at Japan’s Car Meister Test?

Can you correctly answer 100 questions about cars in one hour? If so, you might have what it takes to pass Japan’s Car Meister Test. Since 2014, the Japan Meister Test Association has held exams to see who qualifies as a certified master of automotive knowledge. Applications for this year’s test have opened, and while we don’t know what questions will be on the 2022 edition, you ca sample questions from previous years below. Continue reading

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QotW: What is the most “Japanese” car?

On this day 45 years ago, August 8, 1977, the fifth-generation Nissan Skyline debuted. We know the car today by its nickname, the Skyline Japan. It originated from the car’s ad campaign slogan, which claimed (by way of translation), “A famous car born from the Japanese climate.” Of course, back in 1977 the Skyline name was barely known outside of Japan and without the name, there wasn’t much about the mid-size sedan that signified it as uniquely Japanese. Hindsight offers us a different perspective but perhaps readers can identify a car that best represents Japan.

What is the most “Japanese” car?

The best comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What is the best engineered Toyota?Continue reading

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Building a tiny Mazda 787B model in 1/87 scale

The 1991 Mazda 787B needs no introduction. Its iconic orange and green paint scheme is one of the most recognizable liveries ever to grace a Le Mans winner. Due to its historic nature countless models of this car have been made, many of which are from companies even serious collectors have never heard of. As a challenge, I decided to make one of the smallest 787Bs out there, just two inches in length and about half the size of a Hot Wheels, as detailed as possible. Continue reading

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Nissan Z with revised grille, NISMO seats spotted testing in Los Angeles and Arizona

A new Nissan Z test mule has been spotted testing on Angeles Crest Highway near Los Angeles and in Arizona. Notably, it features a revised grille that evokes the Fairlady Z432R-inspired prototype unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Salon in January. In addition, the lightly camouflaged car in Arizona sports NISMO seats, which may indicate a performance version, possibly even a NISMO variant. Continue reading

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Rate This Ad: Multi-generational Toyota family

Normally “national sales events” ads are pretty boring. You have the latest models zipping along a city street while APR financing options are recited at Micro Machine Man speed. For this summer’s Toyotathon, however, Toyota is pulling out the classics for a multi-generational tale of Toyota ownership. Continue reading

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After 30 years Honda finally acknowledges “tuners”

One of the biggest mysteries of the universe will always be why Honda never capitalized on the whole “tuner” phenomenon of the 90s. Back in the era of front-wheel drag racing and underglow, car enthusiasts in the 18-34 age range thought Hondas and Acuras were the coolest ticket on the street. It was a marketing department’s dream, a demographic most companies would kill for, and yet, Honda completely ignored them. Continue reading

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QotW: What is the best engineered Toyota?

In 1985 Japan’s Patent Office named the country’s 10 greatest inventors. As it turns out, a full six out of the ten came from Japan’s central region. The most famous among them, at least to automotive enthusiasts, was Sakichi Toyoda, founder of what the company we know today as Toyota. That is why Toyoda-san’s home prefecture established August 1 as Aichi Invention Day. It was 125 years ago today, on August 1, 1897, that Mr Toyoda received the patent on the automatic loom upon which the Toyota empire was built. In that spirit, our question for the week is:

What is the best engineered Toyota?

The best comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW,  “How do you encourage a kid who’s just discovering cars?Continue reading

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Which Toyota Crown is the real Toyota Crown?

After much consternation and speculation the 16th-generation Crown was launched earlier this month, and to be honest we are still vexed. The Crown Crossover is, to us, such an affront to nearly 70 years of tradition that we can’t stop thinking about it. It’s not just its grotesque styling or front-wheel biased AWD drivetrain, though those are bothersome, but it represents a greater question. That is, does Toyota care about its own history? Continue reading

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Nissan Skyline Super Silhouette returns to Gran Turismo after 23 years

After a 23 year absence, the fire-breathing Nissan Skyline Super Silhouette race car is back in Gran Turismo. The iconic race car is part of the July 2022 free update to GT7, making its long-awaited return to the franchise. This time, it’s one of over 400 so-called “super-premium quality” cars, which have significantly greater detail and high-fidelity engine sounds. It’s a fitting treatment for one of Japan’s most recognizable racing machines. Continue reading

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Toyota, Daihatsu, and Suzuki to build 1.0-liter sports car?

Toyota, Daihatsu, and Suzuki are reportedly teaming up to build a 1.0-liter sports car.  There hasn’t been a real compact sports car from Japan since the Honda S660, and that was discontinued last year. A one-liter car would exceed kei car specs, but there is still room in the market for a niche performance car. The segment once teemed with offerings like the Honda Beat, Mazda AZ-1, and Suzuki Cappuccino, not to mention hot hatch kei cars like the Suzuki Alto Works. Continue reading

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Initial D taxis are here to take you around Takumi’s hometown

The city of Shibukawa, Gunma is promoting itself as the home town of Initial D protagonist Takumi Fujiwara. The real-life town is where all the action of the series began, and even now, 27 years after its debut, fans of the manga are still traveling there. Now, the city is adding taxis, inspired by the cars of Takumi and Keisuke Takahashi, that visitors can hail. Continue reading

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QotW: How do you encourage a kid who’s just discovering cars?

On a recent visit with some friends that I haven’t seen in years, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the younger of their two kids, now eight years old, is really into cars. His parents aren’t, so he’s been going to the library and borrowing the latest car magazines, studying the cars he sees on the street, and correcting his dad (“Our neighbor has a Land Cruiser, not a 4Runner!”). He reminds me of myself at that age. Naturally he loves supercars and big trucks, but I this is how I know he’s a connoisseur: his favorite is a Subaru WRX.

I immediately gave him a stack of Hot Wheels, but it made me somewhat sad. “Is this a real car?” he asked of the Honda CRX. “I’ve never seen one before,” he said of the FD Mazda RX-7. “So many coupes!” he noted as he opened Nissans, Porsches, and Camaros. He’s grown up in a world of Teslas and crossovers. I want to introduce him to the classics.

How do you encourage a kid who’s just discovering cars?

The best comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s the last year that had cars which interested you?“. Continue reading

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How Honda celebrated 50 years of the Civic

Yesterday Honda launched the new Civic Type R, but the occasion was more than just the debut of Honda’s latest FF rocket. Honda also took the opportunity to celebrate the Civic’s 50th birthday with a lineup of multiple body styles and generations. People would have been there just to see the new Type R, but the celebration was a nice little nod to the history of Honda’s most important model. Continue reading

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30 years of Type R, 50 years of Civic converge into Honda’s next masterpiece

It’s been 30 years since a tiny red letter “R” appeared on a Championship White Honda. That car was the 1992 NSX Type R, an even more hard core, light weight, and track focused version of Honda’s already brilliant supercar. That would be fitting enough a reason to launch the new Civic Type R this year, but it also happens to be the 50th anniversary of the Civic itself. Which is the grander accomplishment? Continue reading

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Celebrate 50 years of the Kawasaki Z1 with this incredible Swiss motorcycle museum

This year marks the 50th anniversary of one history’s most important motorcycles, the Kawasaki Z1. To celebrate the occasion, and to promote the retro Z900RS inspired by the Z1, the company held a little event at its Swiss importer’s headquarters. As it happens, this is also the location of one of the largest and most thorough Kawasaki museums in the world. It houses around 100 bikes, each one brand new and displayed since it was unboxed. Continue reading

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Happy 720 Day from JNC

As you go forth and enjoy your summer vacations, please remember that gigantic mobile homes are excessive. Our ancestors made do with campers like this Datsun pickup, and they did it with style. Happy 720 Day from JNC!

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Rent a classic Toyota on your next trip to Japan

About five years ago a bunch of automakers were trying to rebrand themselves as “mobility companies” to deal with the shifting trends of the industry. Car ownership was dead! People were just going to pay subscriptions to borrow a car whenever they needed one. Well, at least one good thing came out of it, and it’s the fact that you can now rent these classic Toyotas the next time you visit Japan. Continue reading

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