QotW: What car(s) from Japan would you import right now?

Let’s say a rich relative you never heard of died suddenly and left you a big chunk of cash. The only condition is that you use it to buy a Japan-market car in today’s rather favorable exchange rate climate. There are a few rules, however:

  • It has to be at least 25 years old per America’s import laws.
  • It shouldn’t be a car that was sold in the US unless it is significantly different (ie, engine, drivetrain, body style).
  • It should be a lesser known model. Go-tos like Nissan Skyline GT-Rs and Toyota Centurys are cool, but you’d need really good justification.

What car(s) from Japan would you import right now?

The most entertaining comment by next week will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What non-Japanese car would you modify in Japanese style?“. Continue reading

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The 1983 Nissan NX-21 concept was dead wrong about 21st century cars

At the 1983 Tokyo Motor Show the star of Nissan’s booth was a prediction of what an 21st century sedan might look like. Its hopes were right there in the experimental saloon’s name, the Nissan NX-21. As we know now from actually living in the 21st century that this future never came to be. In fact, with Nissan reportedly about to kill off almost all its sedan offerings in the US, this may be a good time to reflect on the misplaced optimism we once had. Continue reading

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A Toyota Celica takes on 1970s sports coupes plus a Daihatsu Taft in Hong Kong’s ‘No U-Turn’

The 1981 film No U-Turn is a car-centric romp with an 8-minute illegal race as its centerpiece action sequence. In it, an orange A20 Toyota Celica races a “who’s who” lineup of performance cars of the era, including a BMW 2002, Opel Manta, Ford Cortina, Mini, and Subaru Leone. However, its greatest rival is, inexplicably, a Daihatsu Taft. According to reviews it’s not a great movie, but the automotive choices are second to none. Continue reading

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This 1973 Datsun promo video makes us want to travel back in time

Created to introduce its audience to the Datsun brand, a 1973 Datsun promotional video serves up loads of drool-worthy imagery. The 20-minute short film presents a primer on Nissan history dating back to the 1930s before going behind the scenes at factories and testing facilities. It’s a technicolor feast for the eyes, as vivid Sunnys, Bluebirds, and 240Zs, dance across the screen. Continue reading

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Honda Prelude production confirmed, at least for Europe

Honda has confirmed that the Prelude name will be resurrected for a production car. The company announced that the upcoming sports coupe will be sold in Europe, but we’re still waiting to learn if it will come to the US. A concept finished in bright red will make its European debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed later this week. Continue reading

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QotW: What non-Japanese car would you modify in Japanese style?

The 1973 Lincoln Continental Mark IV we posted for Independence Day is a perfect example of how Japanese customization style can work on even non-Japanese cars. The Linc is a ridiculous car to begin with, and its nearly 20 feet of angular sheetmetal makes the perfect canvas for the jutting edges of the kaido racer style. From to dekotora to VIP, Japan has given us countless ways to modify cars.

What non-Japanese car would you modify in Japanese style?

The most entertaining comment by next week will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “How do you navigate when driving your JNC?“. Continue reading

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This Lincoln Continental Mark IV kaido racer makes every day Independence Day

One of the most shocking kaido racers ever built recently stepped onto the scene in Japan. Instead of the typical Nissan or Toyota base car, it uses a 1973 Lincoln Continental Mark IV as its foundation. Though Tokyo streets can make a Toyota Celsior feel large, this boat measures almost three feet longer in stock form. And yet, the owner has extended it by several feet with an ankle-slicing deppa front spoiler, a molded rear tail, and two-meter-long takeyari pipes. Continue reading

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A Hakosuka Skyline gets obliterated in ‘Did the Red Bird Escape?’

The 1973 film Akai Tori ni Geta? (Did the Red Bird Escape?) was an avant garde work that differed vastly from Japan’s typical crime dramas. Rather than heroic cops taking down bad guys, it was a tragedy about aimless youth and the darker side of 1970s Japan. That didn’t preclude it from featuring a protracted car chase at the climax, in which filmmakers destroyed a Nissan Skyline 2000GT borrowed from a Toho Studios producer. Continue reading

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Nissan’s next restoration will be a Z31 Fairlady Z NISMO rally car

With the restoration of its WRC Pulsar GTI-R complete, the next project Nissan will tackle is a third-generation Fairlady Z rally car. The Z31 claimed the All-Japan Rally’s 1985 championship, despite missing the first two races of the season. The restoration will once again be carried out by a team of volunteer Nissan employees on their off hours. Continue reading

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QotW: How do you navigate when driving your JNC?

Today is the 10th anniversary of Navigation Day in Japan, started in 2014 by Zenrin, the map company that helped create the world’s first in-car GPS in the Mazda Eunos Cosmo. The date of July 1 was chosen to coincide with the summer Obon holidays, a popular time for travelers to go long distances.

As much as we love our classic cars, there probably aren’t many of us who use period correct navigation methods. These days, it’s increasingly tempting to rely on navigation systems even if you’re familiar with the roads, thanks to features like real-time traffic updates. How do you find your way around when you’re an older car? Do you use a smartphone app, a separate GPS device like a Garmin, paper maps? Mega props if you carry a Thomas Guide.

How do you navigate when driving your JNC?

The most entertaining comment by next week will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “Which historic auto industry figure would you visit if you could time travel?“. Continue reading

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Nissan Pulsar GTI-R, the company’s final WRC rally car, has been restored

Nissan has restored a Pulsar GTI-R Group A rally car from its own collection. The project was undertaken by a group of all-volunteer Nissan employees, about 115 in all, who worked on the WRC car during off hours. After spending about a year on the restoration, the team recently held a small ceremony to commemorate its completion. Continue reading

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Toyota Celica GT-Four tribute stuffs GR Corolla drivetrain into GR86

Toyota has commissioned an interesting project for this fall’s SEMA Show. It plans to create a tribute to the famed Celica GT-Four rally cars by Frankenstein-ing two existing performance cars together. A GR86 will provide the coupe body, while a GR Corolla will donate its hardware for a turbo AWD drivetrain. Continue reading

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Flying Mitsubishi police cars chase a Mazda Grand Familia in one of Japan’s worst cop shows

The wild success of Seibu Keisatsu spawned a lot of similar cop shows. In Novemberr 1980 one short-lived series titled Hashire Nekketsukeiji (translated literally as “Run, Spirited Detective!”) followed the same format: police in the big city, hard luck stories, and gunfights. But instead of Tokyo’s finest in a fleet of Nissans, Hashire Nekketsukeiji landed Mitsubishi as a sponsor. As a result, all the good guys all drove Triple Diamonds. Continue reading

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The FC Mazda RX-7 Convertible was the Miata before the Miata

When the Mazda Miata debuted in 1989 it was heralded as a rebirth of the once-common British-style roadster. But Mazda may have already been attempting to resurrect that segment before the MX-5’s arrival. The FC Mazda RX-7 Convertible was described as the closest modern convertible to those roadsters when it debuted in 1988. Continue reading

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QotW: Which historic auto industry figure would you visit if you could time travel?

A recently published Japanese novel tells the a sci-fi story of what would happen if Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda traveled back in time to meet his grandfather Kiichiro Toyoda, the man who founded Toyota Motor Co. If time travel were real — and while we’re at it, a Star Trek-style universal language translator too — there are so many inventors, executives, race car drivers, designers, etc. whose brains we’d love to pick or whose brilliance we’d love to witness. It’s hard to pick just one.

Which historic auto industry figure would you visit if you could time travel?

The most entertaining comment by next week will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What was it like in the least powerful car you’ve ever been in?“. Continue reading

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Kamen Rider’s Ridoron had mandibles and a top speed of 932 mph — Guess the Tokusatsu Car!

Y’all thought you were so smart figuring out that Inazuman’s Raijingo was an Isuzu Bellett based on the shape of the windshield frame? Good luck guessing what car lies beneath the Ridoron, the vehicle from 1988’s 47-episode Kamen Rider Black RX. It’s high time we visited Japan’s most popular tokusatsu series of all time. Continue reading

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‘Toyota’s Child’ is a novel in which Akio Toyoda time travels to meet his grandfather

A new book about Akio Toyoda has been published in Japan, but it’s not your typical biography. Eri Yoshikawa’s Toyota no Ko, which translates to “Toyota’s Child”, is a science fiction novel in which the current Toyota chairman travels back in time to meet his grandfather, Kiichiro Toyoda, founder of Toyota Motor Co. Continue reading

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Suzuki Cappuccino may be revived by Toyota, which will continue sports car partnerships

Toyota might be single-handedly responsible for reviving Japan’s sports car market, if a whirlwind of rumors prove true. The latest says that Suzuki is working on resurrecting the legendary Cappuccino with Toyota’s assistance. The car might even spawn two other versions wearing Toyota and Daihatsu badges. Continue reading

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Nissan Z Heritage Edition lands stateside to mark 55th anniversary of the Z-Car

The rumors were right. Nissan is celebrating 55 years of the iconic Z by bringing Japan’s much-praised Customized Edition to America. Inspired by the S30 Fairlady Z and Datsun 240Z, the 2024 Nissan Z Heritage Edition adds several styling cues that are throwbacks to the S30 Z while improving on the design of the standard RZ34 Nissan Z. Continue reading

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QotW: What was it like driving the least powerful car you’ve ever been in?

True car enthusiasts know it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast. But what about a really slow car? Maybe just getting home without a catastrophic event makes an everyday drive a thrill ride. Anyway, we don’t care about experiences in the latest and greatest supercars. We want to hear about the harrowing adventures you’ve had in the slowest boxes you’ve ever had the pleasure of wheelin’.

What was it like in the least powerful car you’ve ever been in?

The most entertaining comment by next week will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s your favorite car-themed T-shirt?“. Continue reading

Posted in Question of the Week | Tagged | 18 Comments