The 1990s was a weird time. Although countless young enthusiasts were customizing Japanese cars already, they operated outside the purview of mainstream publications, seen as a fad that would quickly fade. And what kind of Japanese customs did the car mags fall over themselves to cover? Cars like Harry Bentley Bradley’s Infiniti J30. The renowned designer’s creation definitely sprang from a different culture, but it made quite a splash in the world of paper media. And now, that piece of history can be yours. Continue reading
Hot Wheels designer Harry Bradley’s “shark fin” Infiniti J30 is now for sale
Honda Motocompo and Cub EZ90 revived by Chinese EV bike company
At the 2023 Tokyo Motorcycle Show this week a Chinese company showed off two new products that pay tribute to Honda designs. Manufactured by Felo, their styling appears to be modernized takes on the Honda Motocompo and Cub EZ90. They’re fully electric as well, so you won’t have to deal with a smelly old two-stroke between your legs. Continue reading
Nissan is converting a Skyline GT-R into an R32 EV
Nissan has launched a teaser for an electric Skyline GT-R. No, it’s not speculation for an R36, but a classic R32 GT-R that will be converted to an EV. So far there’s very little about the project, which is commencing on March 28. Oddly, the accompanying video has the soundtrack of an internal combustion R32 GT-R starting and idling. Continue reading
QotW: What JNC will never die?
We were as surprised as anyone to learn that the Toyota Camry was ending its 43-year run in Japan. It’s popular enough to live on in some form in places like the US even if it will no longer be sold in its home country. It got us thinking, though, if there was one model that might live forever. Which might weather the transition to electric vehicles, or be popular enough so that there will always been enough of an enthusiast following to keep it alive somewhere in the world?
What JNC will never die?
The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What aspect of car life makes you happy?“. Continue reading
The V10 Toyota Camry debuted 41 years ago today
The Camry we consider to the be the first-generation of Toyota’s hugely successful family sedan debuted in Japan 41 years ago today, on March 24, 1982. It almost seems like poetically tragic, seeing as how it came out yesterday that Toyota was killing off the nameplate in Japan. Toyota had big hopes for the model, built on a new front-wheel-drive chassis called the V10 internally, but the Camry never quite caught on in Japan as it did in America. Continue reading
Toyota will end Camry sales in Japan after 43 years
The name Camry is almost synonymous with Toyota. It would be unthinkable for Toyota to kill its bread-and-butter model off in the US, but that’s exactly what’s happening in Japan. Today, Toyota notified its Japanese dealers that Camry production would eventually wind down by the end of the year, concluding a 43-year history of sales in its home country. Continue reading
The Mitsubishi Lancer conquers the Safari Rally to hilariously incongruous music
We’re suckers for good vintage rally footage, especially when the car is an OG Mitsubishi Lancer 1600GSR conquering the Safari Rally. This video has it all — big air jumps, wheels sending plumes of river water skyward, a herd of giraffes galloping alongside the car. Unfortunately, it also has the most comically terrible music we’ve ever heard in a vintage rallying video. Continue reading
A toy car helped Nissan reclaim the Skyline trademark from Ford
Two years ago Ford filed a trademark application for the name “Skyline” with the US patent office and was granted those rights. As one of Nissan’s most valuable properties, the makers of the GT-R weren’t about to let Skyline get away. This month Nissan finally got the Skyline naming rights back, and it was done with the help of a diecast car. Continue reading
QotW: What aspect of car life makes you happy?
Happy International Day of Happiness, the day created to recognize happiness as a fundamental human goal. As enthusiasts we derive joy from many aspects of car ownership. It could be a drive on your favorite road, the satisfaction of working with your hands, the simple act of collecting, or something else entirely. There are many different ways to enjoy automobiles and it’s important to take a moment to remind ourselves of that.
What aspect of car life makes you happy?
The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “Who would you pick, living or dead, to go for a drive with, and in what car?“. Continue reading
The digital cars of Chris Labrooy are still fanciful fun
You might have noticed photos of some weird swan car built out of a Porsche 996 circulating on social media this week. Porsche is currently showing the art car in their display at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas this week. It’s the work of artist Chris Labrooy, who went viral in 2016 with his digital art featuring bizarrely stretched-out Japanese automotive icons like the AE86, NSX, Hako, and S30 Z. Continue reading
A Subaru 360 joins the super detailed subscription model club
The 1/8 scale subscription models are among the most expensive and time consuming kits available in Japan. It takes serious commitment to complete them, and because of their complexity only a couple get produced per year. Only the most revered cars are immortalized in this fashion, making the collection of subscription models something of an automotive hall of fame. While we’ve seen Skyline GT-Rs and Toyota 2000GTs receive the 1/8 treatment, the latest offering is far more humble — a 1958 Subaru 360. Continue reading
Traffic was already a problem in early 1960s Tokyo
Based on the cars, we’d peg this photo as no later than 1963. According to The Guardian the crowded street is located somewhere in Tokyo, and if we’re right about the year only about 5km of the Shuto Expressway would have been open at this point. There are no shoulders or street-side parking on this thoroughfare, and no median either despite six lanes of traffic.
The mix of cars is fascinating, with 312 Bluebirds, Toyota Publicas, Isuzu Hillman Minxes, and Mitsubishi Minicas fighting for space against Nissan Junior, Prince Clipper, and Toyota Toyoace trucks. The S40 Crowns were stately sedans of the day, but an imported 1962 Dodge Dart has found its way across the Pacific as well. Meanwhile, the bus headed for the mountain town of Hakone has a long way to go.
Toyota Celica hovercar invades Louis Vuitton photo shoot
The last place we ever expected to see a mid-80s Toyota Celica is a Louis Vuitton photo shoot. It’s not that the affordable coupe isn’t stylish. It’s just not the type of car a mindless chaser of brands would typically associate with ridiculously overpriced high fashion. But there it is, finished in lavender and de-wheeled to look like some kind of hovercar from the future. Continue reading
QotW: Who would you pick, living or dead, to go for a drive with, and in what car?
Picking a a famous person to hang with is well worn question territory, but we’re going to add our automotive twist to it. You can choose anyone, living or dead, to take a spin in the motor vehicle of your choice. It might be fun to blow a brilliant mind like Leonardo Da Vinci’s in a Mazda Miata, have Kunimitsu Takahashi show you the ropes in a Hakosuka GT-R, or take 1990s Demi Moore on a date in your S13. The possibilities are endless.
Who would you pick, living or dead, to go for a drive with, and in what car?
The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What lower-spec car would you be willing to own?“. Continue reading
50th Anniversary Edition Nissan 300ZX does burnouts in Larry June’s “89 Earthquake” video
I have no idea who Larry June or The Alchemist are because I’m old. What I do know is that in their new video that just dropped this week for the song “89 Earthquake” there’s a Z31 Nissan 300ZX ripping some donuts and burnouts. It’s not just any Z31 either, but a pretty slick stock-looking 50th Anniversary Edition. Continue reading
Does the Nissan 350Z deserve its bad rap?
Expectations were high when the Z was making a comeback after a seven-year hiatus from the US market, particularly when the Nissan 350Z’s design and marketing invited direct comparisons to the game-changing Datsun 240Z. At the same time, it was also expected to surpass the 300ZX that came before it. And all that came before we knew that the same basic chassis would still be around two decades later, or that it would be adopted en masse by sideshow dirtbags. Does the 350Z deserve its bad rap? Continue reading
Eriko Sanmiya retired from Olympic speed skating to race cars
Eriko Sanmiya is known in the English-speaking world almost exclusively as a speed skater. She competed in two Olympic Games and even broke the domestic record in the 1000m and placed second in the World Sprint Speed Skating Championships. Clearly she had a penchant for going fast. After the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, where she placed 8th in the 1000m, she abruptly retired from skating and took up auto racing instead. Continue reading
Suzuki Jimny Heritage Edition gets retro with decal stripes
Those lucky Australians. Not only do they get the Suzuki Jimny, an off-roader we will have to wait until 2043 to enjoy, but now they get this sharp new Heritage Edition variant. It is only available in a 5-speed manual and is festooned with excellent throwback stripes that hearken back to actual Jimny stripes circa 1985. Continue reading
Happy TE37 Day from JNC
We’ve spent the last few March sevenths honoring the Toyota Corolla TE37, but let’s not forget what is probably the most iconic wheel of the tuner age, the Volk Racing TE37. The instantly recognizable lightweight 6-spoke looks good on a variety of cars, from CRXes to Land Cruisers. Hopefully one day we can snap a photo of a TE37 Corolla wearing TE37s.
Please help find this stolen Honda Beat
Friend of JNC and past contributor Darren Brooke unfortunately had his Honda Beat stolen on March 3. It’s bright yellow, has a Washington license plate of BWG3102, and is quite unique in that it has a hardtop. It was taken right out of his driveway overnight, despite the fact that it was boxed in by other cars. Continue reading