We don’t need to tell you that the acceptance of Japanese cars as collectible classics is pushing prices to previously unseen heights. Among some makes and models, values of so-so condition cars are shooting past what cream puffs once traded for, which only ratchets the prices of the truly well-preserved examples even higher. The latest example is a Cincinnati, Ohio 1974 Toyota Celica that just sold for $61,000. Continue reading
We are constantly surprised by the prevalence of not-beat-to-dust Toyota pickups at shows like Toyotafest. Almost all of those, though, are examples that belie their actual mileage thanks to caring owners who have our full admiration. Then there’s this 1993 Toyota Truck coming up for sale, which is basically brand new with a jaw-dropping 94 miles on the odometer. Continue reading
Rays has launched two new wheels that may be of interest to JNCers. One is new wheel specifically geared towards 80s cars. The other is an anniversary model for a take on a 90s classic, but sized for cars from the 60s and 70s. That was a mouthful, but let us explain further. Continue reading
We’ve seen many Japanese manufacturers launch heritage programs in recent years, but Yamaha is taking the idea to a new level. The motorcycle maker has just launched an official heritage club for collectors of their vintage racing machines. The Yamaha Racing Heritage Club will create a registry of historic bikes and give owners a direct line to the very people who built them. Continue reading
It’s a problem that never crossed our minds before children, but it’s a real one. Many JNC staffers have kids and we are happily giving them lots of cool Hot Wheels, Matchbox, and other automotive toys (while also reliving our own childhoods). The tots like cars, which is great. Unfortunately, they also have many well-intentioned friends and relatives who know they like cars. The issue here is not so much the gifters, but the fact that there are far too many dumb car toys out there. Most are four wheels under an amorphous blob, but those aren’t even the worst. The worst are cars non-car people think car people like — the Lamborghini Venenos, chrome-wheeled DaimlerChrysler Chargers, and yellow Hummer H2s — or toys that are flat-out wrong, like a V8 RWD Honda Civic.
The kids don’t know any better and are pumped to get them, and soon they start to accumulate piles of unavoidable plastic crap, taking the place of actual good car toys. But you can’t tell people, “Hey, stop buying us crap toys,” and because they were gifts our spouses have deemed we can’t throw them out. With the holiday season upon us, we’re bracing for another avalanche of bad cars.
What do you do with dumb car toys?
As one of the few surviving lightweight, rear-wheel-drive sports coupes left in existence, there is obviously a lot of interest in the Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ. Which one should you get, though? The specific differences between the Toyobaru twins have been hard to pinpoint, especially when it comes to driving feel. In Japan, however, there’s a new curry dish to help you make your pick, with different flavors to represent each car. So as we sit down this week to stuff our gullets with Thanksgiving meals, let us take a moment to consider the subtle contrasts between the GR86 and BRZ. Continue reading
Toyota South Africa is celebrating its 60th anniversary today. The subsidiary was established in 1961, just four years after Toyota got a small foothold in California with the S30 Toyopet Crown. It shows just how rapidly — and perhaps optimistically — Toyota was expanding back then, in what must have been a gargantuan effort to broaden its presence beyond Japan. Continue reading
Companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to pick names for their products. They have to sound good, be memorable, and not accidentally mean something offensive in other languages. Despite the number of words, the pool of usable names is actually quite small (and shrinking every day). So even a made-up word like “Integra” was almost used by Ford to launch the original Taurus. Continue reading
It seemed like only yesterday but it was February 28, 2020 when the Geneva Motor Show was canceled. With millions in booth displays already spent and cars shipped from around the globe, the show was axed just four days before doors opened on March 3 due to the pandemic. All major international auto shows have had to cancel at least one (Detroit hasn’t been held in traditional form in almost three years) since then.
This past week the Los Angeles Auto Show opened, but it was a sad affair. Only 16 major brands had booths, compared to 31 in 2019. Many are predicting the death of the auto show. The dealer-run tire-kicking type will probably still exist, but the kind where OEMs flashily unveil breathtaking cars and the let the public view them on rotating turntables — the kind where many of us felt our first pangs of automotive love — is probably over.
What’s your fondest auto show memory?
Outside of genre-specific gatherings like JCCS or All Toyotafest, the automotive event that’s most embraced classic Japanese cars is Radwood. While cars from all countries of origin are welcome at the series of 80s and 90s-themed shows, rather than being afterthoughts as they might be viewed at your local cruise-in, JNCs are part-and-parcel of the entire Radwood experience. MR2s, 300ZXs and Civics are held in equal esteem to anything issued from Detroit, Stuttgart, or Modena. Continue reading
Today, November 18, is Civil Engineering Day in Japan, when the work of people who build the country’s massive infrastructure is celebrated. Since we marked the Tokyo Olympics earlier this year (and last) it’s only fitting that we mention another Olympics-inspired project: the Haneda Route, or Route 1 of the Shuto Expressway system. Connecting Haneda Airport with central Tokyo, construction began in 1962 in anticipation of the 1964 Summer Games. The expressway was opened in sections, with the section pictured above, by the Higashi-Shinagawa Pier and and Keihin Canal, opened to traffic in December 1963. The route has evolved over the decades. This once close-to-sea-level section has been replaced with an elevated one, and where Cedrics and Crowns roamed in 1963, Subaru and Mazda SUVs run today. Happy Civil Engineering Day from JNC.
Toyota commercials have been extremely bad since the “I love what you do for me” jump was discontinued. Like completely, utterly, forehead-slappingly bad. Even with the Supra they tried to be cool but ended up sounding like a stepdad trying to tell you what’s “lit”. The latest ad, however, stands out because it does away with all the cringey pretense and gets right to the core of what the car, a pair of GR86 coupes, should be. Continue reading
Yesterday, November 15 was the 85th birthday of car designer, race car builder driver, team manager, and artist Peter Brock. JNCers may know him best for his work on the Brock Racing Enterprises race team campaigning Datsun race cars in the US, but he’s done so much more. Corvette Stingrays, Shelby Cobra Daytonas, and even the world of hang gliders all owe a debt to Brock’s talent. Continue reading
The Lexus ES300 was largely decried as a “Camry with a fancy badge” back in the day. It was a more than that, though, even if it shared the same platform with its mainstream cousin. And so what if it did? The XV10 Camry was arguably the best Camry every made, and the ES300 added a significant amount of equipment to justify its price tag. It had unexpected features too, like a manual transmission. Continue reading
The elephant in the room this week is obviously the new Acura Integra. We thought about asking how Honda could have done better or, why automakers were constantly disappointing enthusiasts, but we felt that that horse had been well-beaten. So instead we’ll ask about the good times, especially since Integras seem to be another one of those cars that everyone either owned, or knew someone who owned one.
What’s your fondest memory of the Acura Integra?
The best comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What JNC should receive a lifetime achievement award for design?” Continue reading
With a name like Integra, expectations were bound to be high. But we don’t think Honda knew just how high they would be, especially from enthusiasts who still have an enormous amount of love for the trio of original Integra generations and the RSX. If you watched the live reveal video on YouTube, the chat section was a wall of vomit emojis and hate. Continue reading
It’s been 20 years since an Integra was sold under the Acura banner (20 years if you want to get technical and exclude the RSX). It’s back for 2023, looking like a reskinned current-generation Civic Si. The good news is, it’ll steal the Si’s standard 6-speed manual, helical limited-slip diff, and turbo four as well. The bad news is, well, it’s just another Civic Si. Continue reading
A car brochure collection of over 17,000 is used by Japanese police to investigate automotive crimes
Many of our readers have substantial car brochure collections, but none are likely to rival that of the Aichi Prefectural Police. Its Traffic Investigation Division has over 17,000 brochures covering nearly every make, model, year, and limited edition variant that can be found in Japan. The department uses them to identify cars involved in crimes, and has been building the collection for 40 years. Continue reading
The Japan Automotive Hall of Fame has announced its 2021 inductees. Each year three vehicles representing milestones in the country’s auto industry are selected for the honor. This year, they include two cars from the Bubble Era and a classic motorcycle. The honorees are the original Toyota Celsior/Lexus LS400, Nissan Be-1, and Kawasaki K1. Continue reading
Hyundai has just unveiled one of the coolest concept cars we’ve seen in a while, an electric sedan based on its 1986 Grandeur flagship. Don’t check your calendar, it’s not April 1; nor have you stumbled upon Korean Nostalgic Car, a site that doesn’t exist. We’re covering it because not only was the Grandeur based on the second-generation Mitsubishi Debonair, Hyundai played a pivotal role in the car existing in the first place. Continue reading