Long before the WRX was even a glint in the eye of Subaru USA’s marketing team, Fuji Heavy Industries was offering a turbo wagon in the US market. The first-generation Legacy Sport Wagon was the most athletic wagon Subaru had brought to America, but it was also one of the rarest. It was sold for only two years — its inaugural year of 1993, which was mid-way through the generation, and 1994, the final year before the second-gen’s debut. Continue reading
A rumor out of Japan says that not only is Toyota reviving the MR2, but that it will have a purely gasoline-powered engine. In fact, the mid-engined runabout is likely to be the last combustion-only Toyota sports car ever made. The car may also have the GR Yaris to thank for its existence. Continue reading
Today is ET Day in Japan, commemorating the day in 1982 when the movie E.T. The Extraterrestrial was released there. Using that as a jumping off point, let’s say you encounter a curious and benign life form that has traveled millions of light years to our little backwater pre-warp planet. The humanoid being knows nothing about cars, as their civilization is so advanced that they just teleport everywhere and thus have no concept of wheeled transport. But just because they’re unnecessary doesn’t mean they’re not interesting. We still marvel at the pyramids, after all. Clearly this species is missing out on the fun, beauty, and engineering that automobiles offer.
What car would you show an alien to help them appreciate cars?
The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What car-themed series should we binge over the holidays?“. Continue reading
Toyota has shared some photos of concepts that have, until now, never seen the light of day. Their public revelation comes as part of the 50th anniversary of Toyota’s pioneering CALTY design studio in Newport Beach, California, the first of its kind from any automaker. The concepts include a sporty wagon built atop the Toyota 86 platform and a pre-Prius EV hatchback. Continue reading
Sometime in the early 1960s in a small workshop in Turin, two men work at their drafting boards. One is an Italian master, designer of what are considered to be the most beautiful cars ever made. The other is Japanese, and will go on to guide the shape of one of the country’s most beloved nameplates: the Skyline. Together, they will create two jewel-like little cars, both of which will be lost to time. But this year, Nissan has recreated their forgotten work with a resurrection of the Prince 1900 Sprint. Continue reading
We’ve been on a long journey with our friend Roy de Guzman, one of the first Americans to ever own a Hakosuka Skyline. We first met Roy back when JNC was on paper and Roy’s car was all white. We revisited the car when it was made into Hot Wheels form. The ever-changing Hako is now in its nth and arguably best iteration, powered by a turbocharged and carbureted L28 and wearing one of the more elegantly subtle Rocket Bunny kits out there. Continue reading
Honda has released an astounding documentary from its early days of motorcycle manufacturing. The 34-minute This is Honda dives deep into Honda’s factories, depicting every step of the production process, from raw steel to finished bike. Arguably the most amazing part is that the film was made in 1962, a year before Honda would even release its first car. The quality is massively impressive, with full color, a soundtrack that belongs in a kaiju movie, and a comprehensiveness that even includes the employee cafeteria. Continue reading
In 2014 a new trilogy of Initial D movies came out. Called New Initial D Movie — Legend, It was a reboot complete with new animation style, a retelling of the earlier chapters of the beloved series. We watched the original in the early 2000s, but we’ve never seen this one. The coming holidays might be a good time to catch up on what is now a nearly decade-old ode to underground drifting. We’ve also heard that Stranger Things and Archer, while not about cars per se, have pretty good background cars.
What car-themed series should we binge over the holidays?
In 2021 we reported on the sad end of the Yamaha SR400, a beloved motorcycle that had been in production for 43 years. Not only did it have a long life but Yamaha kept it remarkably faithful to the 1978 model, keeping in tact cues like a glass headlight, spoked wheels, analog gauges, a kickstarter, and more right up until the very end. To commemorate the SR400’s life, Yamaha will produce a limited run of 1/6-scale SR500 fuel tanks made in the very factory that built the bikes. Continue reading
I never liked the fourth-gen Prelude’s styling. I remember thinking it looked like a squashed Oldsmobile, and that its profile was too far a deviation from the angular wedges of its predecessors. That belief was only confirmed when the fifth-gen Prelude returned to the previous design theme. Dynamically, however, the Prelude rocked. It was a showcase of Honda’s technology and suspension engineering. And as this 1992 Motorweek review shows, even an automatic transmission couldn’t kill the Prelude’s spirit. Continue reading
This week is Thanksgiving (if you’re reading from the US), that time of year when we talk about the things in life that, big or small, we are grateful for. In the very futuristic sounding year of 2023, we are thankful for many things, but chief among them is the fact that carmakers like Toyota, Subaru, Mazda, Nissan, and Honda still make sports cars. That’s more than one would expect in a class that conventional wisdom says is dying, and it gives us hope that the next generation will still have fun with cars.
What car-related things are you thankful for?
The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What technology made modern cars less interesting?“. Continue reading
The ever-controversial Mitsuoka has released its latest concoction, taking the lines of a beloved classic and shoehorning it onto a modern chassis. In this case, the modern platform is that of a Honda Civic, but which classic is it? English media is saying this is an homage to the Dodge Challenger. In fact, it’s inspiration starts a little closer to home: the Kenmeri Skyline. Continue reading
When Star Trek: The Next Generation debuted on September 28, 1987 it was clear that this new show would be a departure from the occasionally campy escapades of the original. For one thing, the two-fisted antics from Captain James T. Kirk were gone, replaced by the more cerebral Jean-Luc Picard. Played by veteran British theatre actor Sir Patrick Stewart, Picard was a sort of space monk, a stickler for discipline and a frequent drinker of tea (Earl Grey, hot). The sensible sort of person who would, and did, show up to set every day in a silver Honda Prelude. Continue reading
If there’s one thing Toyota loves it’s reviving the chassis codes of past successes and making them full-blown model names. It did that with the FJ40-inspired FJ Cruiser back in 2007, then the AE86-inspired Toyota 86 in 2012. Now Toyota has trademarked the name “Land Cruiser FJ” in Japan. Could it be the spiritual successor of the FJ Cruiser? Continue reading
The Plymouth Arrow is nearly forgotten today, but the badge engineered Mitsubishi Lancer Celeste had a lot to offer. Its handling was rated quite positively in magazine tests of the era, and Mitsubishi’s signature “silent shaft” technology used a counterbalanced mass to run its inline-four with the smoothness of a straight-six. This 1976 promotional video, however, offers even more reasons to buy one. Continue reading
To the average consumer the formula is pretty straightforward: new = good. But JNC owners know better than that. The last couple of decades have seen an in-car technology boom, but if you’re reading this you likely long for the days when technology enhanced driving performance, not digital convenience; fuel injection, not
blind spot monitoring. Modern cars are faster than ever but arguably less fun. What was the turning point? CVTs? Drive by wire? Touchscreens? Mandatory traction control? Let us know when tech began detracting from the driving experience rather than amplifying it.
What technology made modern cars less interesting?
The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What works from your childhood fueled your love for cars?” Continue reading
In 1973 Toyota released a 20-minute promotional film called “In Small Packages”. It was created to introduce the company and its various models to Americans. Not only is it filled with beautiful footage of Corollas, Celicas, Coronas, and Land Cruisers, but it delves into how the cars were built before they landed in the hands of the customer. Keep in mind that it was filmed less than 10 years after the Corona clawed back some of the embarrassment that was the original Crown, so Toyota still had to convince us that they made dependable cars. Continue reading
Toyota is teaming up with streetwear brand Huf on a new line of apparel. Said to be inspired by 70s graphics, the clothes and accessories feature heaps of Toyota trucks and plenty of the red-orange-yellow tricolor. Some of the designs are pretty cool, but most of the vehicles depicted hail from the 80s and 90s. Is this cool? We are too old to know. Maybe you can tell us. Continue reading
Japan Automotive Hall of Fame honors Lexus founder, Honda F1 engineer, pioneers of four-wheel-steering
The Japan Automotive Hall of Fame has named four individuals to be inducted into their ranks. Each has been chosen for their contributions to Japan’s automotive industry. As with the four cars that were announced this year, there are names that we assumed would’ve already been included long ago. Better late than never, though. Continue reading
The Japan Automotive Hall of Fame has announced the inductees that will honored in its Historic & Heritage Vehicles category. The vehicles chosen have each determined to have contributed to the development of Japan’s automobile industry and car culture, and are deemed worthy of preservation. Continue reading