Mitsubishi Motors announces Ralliart revival

Japanese companies are in the midst of releasing their fiscal year financial reports right now. These are typically pretty boring investor briefs, but on May 11 Mitsubishi Motors divulged an interesting tidbit in theirs — that it plans to revive the Ralliart brand, and is considering a return to motorsports. Continue reading

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Toyota’s Megaweb garage takes in an MZ11 Soarer

After thoroughly restoring two iconic Nissans, the restoration pit at the Toyota’s MegaWeb showroom in Tokyo has finally taken in a car from the home team. The car in question is an 1981 Toyota Soarer 2800GT, resplendent in a two-tone gold over brown. However, the car isn’t undergoing a full restoration at the hands of Toyota’s expert technicians. It’s really more of a pit stop. Continue reading

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QotW: Are JNC prices getting out of control?

We’ve seen JNC prices on the rise for several years now, but within the past year or two there’s been an even sharper uptick. Celica Liftbacks are selling for $62,000. Datsun 240Zs are selling for over $100,000. An AE86 Corolla in nice but far from concours condition sold for $40,000 when a considerably nicer one sold for less than $25,000 just a two years ago. Perhaps people with secure finances are finally able to acquire the dream cars of their adolescence. Perhaps it’s speculation. Perhaps its a last gasp for analog cars in an increasingly electrified world. No matter the reason, prices are going up.

Are JNC prices getting out of control?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What would you do if you were Akio Toyoda?Continue reading

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Happy 510 Day from JNC

On May 31, 1971, it was the dawn of the SCCA Trans-Am 2.5 Challenge, a series which would turn the Datsun 510 into the Goliath-slaying David of the motorsports world. At the race held at Bryar Motorsports Park in New Hampshire, BRE entered John Morton’s No.46 510 for the first time. Morton was the fastest qualifier but his legendary 510 suffered mechanical problems that resulted in a DNF. That gave privateer Lothar Stahlberg of Utica, New York in his No.71 car the very first manufacturer’s championship point for Datsun in the US. The rest, they say, is history. Happy 510 Day from JNC!

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Toyota Corolla AE86 sells for $40,000 even with light rust

There are times when a car is found in a state that is neither creampuff nor derelict. It does not beg to be preserved, adding mileage to its already six-figure odometer doesn’t feel like abuse, and parking lot door dings and scratches are of less concern as sections have already been repainted. Examples as such usually go for half the price of their low-mileage, all original, pristine counterparts. In the case of this 1985 Corolla GT-S, however, it set the record at $40,000. Continue reading

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Mitsubishi UK’s auction breaks world record for Lancer Evolution sale

We were saddened last month to learn that Mitsubishi UK was selling off its entire heritage fleet, a result of the company pulling out of the UK market altogether. Some of its cars had been part of the collection for 47 years, since Mitsubishi established a UK presence in 1974. It was a rare opportunity to acquire some of the best specimens of the triple diamond marque. The auction results are now in, and one of the cars has set a new world record for its kind. Continue reading

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EVENTS: The inaugural Kyushu Kei Car Meeting

On Sunday April 25th the inaugural Kyushu Kei Car Meeting was held in Asakura City, Fukuoka Prefecture. I see a raised hand in the back there. “Inaugural” means, like, the first one? Well, yeah. Due to a glaringly obvious oversight, the year of 2021 marks the first that the island of Kyushu (Japan’s third largest) gets an event dedicated to those dimensionally-limited machines of unlimited quirk and charisma. Continue reading

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Enkei expands selection of Neo-Classic wheels

Enkei has added new variants for two of its iconic wheels in the Neo-Classic line, a selection of wheels that have evolved with modern production processes but still retain their classic form. The Apache 2 Neo and Mesh 4 Neo now come in a two-piece design and in both “lo” and “hi” disc, promoting a wider range of customization. Continue reading

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QotW: What would you do if you were Akio Toyoda?

Today is Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda’s 65th birthday. So, first of all, happy birthday, Toyoda-san! It’s a notable age, because in the US it was once the traditional age at which one receives a gold watch and rides off into retirement. Toyoda, however, shows no sign of quitting as head of one of the largest companies in the world. Whatever you believe about Toyota’s cars, it’s one of the most successful corporations in history.

Not only that, but due to its size and strength, Toyota basically defines segments, indirectly sets the prices of materials, and has an outsized say in the direction of the industry. Toyoda himself is also head of the Japan Auto Manufacturer’s Association, which oversees the Tokyo Motor Show, negotiates government policies that affect technology and trade, and affects the livelihoods and careers of about 8 percent of Japan’s working population. It’s a position of tremendous power, and as close as you can get to being a king in modern times. So…

What would you do if you were Akio Toyoda?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “How do you feel about car investors and flippers?Continue reading

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Nissan is restoring the beloved Y31 Cima of actress Kazue Itoh

Last October Japanese actress Kazue Itoh caused a bit of a stir among her fans when she posted a photo of her car on Instagram. They were surprised to see the star driving a 30-year-old Nissan Cima that she’s owned since new. After seeing Itoh note some of its imperfections, the fans took to social media, imploring Nissan to restore the car for her. The company agreed, and on April 26 they held a small press conference at Autech headquarters before taking possession Itoh’s beloved Cima to begin the process. Continue reading

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The Toyota Crown Vellfire minivan is slightly less insulting than the Crown SUV

We’ve been very concerned with the Toyota Crown recently. It has been rough times for the nearly 70-year history of Japan’s staple sedan. We recently learned that, at the Shanghai Auto Show, Toyota debuted the Crown Kluger SUV, a lightly disguised Highlander that will succeed the Crown sedan in China. That has been followed up by a second Crown-badged car, a minivan. However, the Crown Vellfire feels like a bit of a salve on the insults and injuries that have been visited on the  Crown name. Continue reading

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A father-son Datsun 240Z story kicks off Nissan’s “StorieZ” videos

Nissan USA continues to embrace the Z’s heritage, with its new mini webisode series “StorieZ”. The inaugural episode tells the journey one special father-son Datsun 240Z project that has traveled from Southern California to Georgia to Tennessee and spanned four decades. Continue reading

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Liberty Walk debuts S15 Silvia widebody with Super Silhouette throwback

The widebody wizards at Liberty Walk have done it again, and this time the subject is the S15 Nissan Silvia. Called the LB-Super Silhouette S15, the name is fitting, as it’s a direct callback to the Nichira Silvia Group 5 race car of the 1980s. Now, it’s aura has been resurrected as a monster drift machine. Continue reading

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Inside the world of Kimono My House, one of the oldest Japanese hobby shops in the US

Before anime and Japanese sci-fi became mainstream on US shores, a small hobby shop in Emeryville, California filled that niche for those in the know. Kimono My House is probably the oldest Japanese toy store in the United States, its shelves a vast array of who’s who in Japanese pop culture: Astro Boy, Destoroyah, Godzilla, Ultraman, Kamen Rider, Mazinger Z, and Macross, just to name a few. It wasn’t only a kaiju and mecha mecca; it was also one of the very few places outside of Japan where you can find vintage Mach GoGoGo (Speed Racer), Diapet, and Tomica. It’s been thriving despite the coronavirus pandemic, but now it needs help. Continue reading

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Gran Turismo officially recognized as an Olympic sport

Polyphony Digital has had its partnership with the FIA since 2018, resulting in FIA-sanctioned Gran Turismo Championships. With the International Olympic Committee’s latest announcement, Gran Turismo will become an official Olympic Sport. Continue reading

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QotW: How do you feel about car investors and flippers?

Japanese cars have been rising sharply in price in recent years and that’s attracted all kinds of buyers. That includes those who make a hobby (or living) out of finding nice examples and selling them for profit. On the one hand, it’s getting harder for long-time enthusiasts to afford their dream cars thanks to the aggressive tactics. On the other, higher prices mean cars that might have otherwise been donated for scrap or handed down to a teenager are coming out of the woodwork and hitting the marketplace. Is it all fair game in the land of capitalism, or are investors and flippers a scourge to the community?

How do you feel about car investors and flippers?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s your favorite Honda design?Continue reading

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EVENTS: Ryu Asada Memorial Drive and Fundraiser

Ryu Asada was loved. By his family, by his friends, by his colleagues, and by the 200 people that showed up with a week’s notice to celebrate his life. The venerated Hot Wheels and Matchbox designer was taken from all too soon by stage IV colorectal cancer last month at the age of 42. Continue reading

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Isuzu once made a J-body with a ceramic diesel hybrid engine for the Tokyo Motor Show

Every Earth Day we highlight a hybrid or alternative fuel concept car from Japan’s past. Back in 1985, long before the Prius was a twinkle in Toyota’s eye, Isuzu revealed a hybrid compact sedan at the Tokyo Motor Show. The Isuzu Ceramic Aska was not only an early hybrid but, like its name implies, powered by an experimental ceramic engine. Continue reading

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Transformers to release an updated, more realistic Honda City robot

The character named Skids was not a very memorable one from the original Transformers lineup. We honestly can’t remember anything he did in the cartoon series. But, he was a Honda City hatchback in car mode, something we didn’t really get as kids because he was apparently often depicted as a minivan in the series and comic books. Soon, however, a new and more realistic version is being released in Japan. Continue reading

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Subaru Impreza 22B STi sells for $312,555

The GC Impreza turned 25 years old three years ago, and prices have been on the rise ever since. The WRC test car, chassis 97001 sold for under $300,000 that same year. Yesterday, its legendary road-going incarnation, a 25,000-mile 1998 Impreza 22B STi, sold for more than that. Continue reading

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