Mitsuoka announces production of “M55” Honda-based Kenmeri Skyline

Mitsuoka announced on February 29 that it will put the M55, shown last November as a concept, into production. The M55 was built to mark Mitsuoka’s 55th anniversary and is based on a modern Honda Civic, but the body has been completely restyled as an homage to the Kenmeri Nissan Skyline. Continue reading

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Toyota GR cars fight off boring autonomous vehicles in anime series GRip

Toyota has launched an anime miniseries to promote its Gazoo Racing lineup of sports cars. It’s called GRip: A Toyota Story, and its first two letters cleverly match the prefix in the series’ three star cars, the GR Corolla, GR Supra, and GR86. GRip takes place in a dystopian future where automated cars have taken over most of the streets and human-driven cars have to stick together. Continue reading

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NISMO twin-cam head for Nissan L-series straight-six unveiled

NISMO has been busy reissuing heritage parts for RB26-era Skyline GT-Rs, but recently they dropped a bombshell by building something completely new and unexpected for the previous generation of Nissan straight-sixes. In honor of the 40th anniversary of their founding in 1984, a NISMO race engineer designed a twin-cam head to replace the single-cam unit on classic L-series motors. Continue reading

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QotW: What should be the last purely gasoline-powered car ever produced?

If the rumors are true, the upcoming and very limited MR2 will likely be the last Toyota powered solely by gasoline. All future models will either be a gasoline-electric hybrid, electric only, or hydrogen-powered (either fuel cell or hydrogen fuel). It might be the last gasoline Toyota, but it might not be the last gasoline car. What if other automakers followed Toyota’s plan to revive a limited-run model as a last hurrah to internal combustion?

What should be the last purely gasoline-powered car ever produced?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “Which Mitsubishi model is the most Mitsubishi?“. Continue reading

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Toyota MR2 revival reportedly mulling single or double decklids

According to reports from Japan Toyota’s upcoming MR2 is progressing nicely. The question apparently isn’t whether they should pursue an MR2 at all, but whether it should have one or two decklids. On the one hand, a single rear door that opens to reveal the engine and a storage area would make it more exotic, like a Ferrari or new NSX. On the other, previous generations of MR2 have used a “double deck” setup with separate doors for engine and trunk. Continue reading

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Weds Racing Forg, Japan’s first forged 3-piece wheel reissued

In 1977 the Weds Racing Forg made history as Japan’s first 3-piece forged wheel. It immediately became popular among touring car race teams. To commemorate Weds’ 60th anniversary in 2024, the wheel company is remaking the Racing Forg in three variations. Continue reading

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Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS sedan: Not quite a WRX, but deserving of a nod

It’s hard to overstate how badly we yearned for a Subaru WRX in the 1990s. But even as Fuji Heavy Industries stubbornly refused to import them due to a misguided belief that US market conditions weren’t right, they did toss us a bone with the Impreza 2.5 RS. Rather than a turbocharged EJ20, we got a naturally aspirated EJ25. It wasn’t quite a rally car for the road, but it was good enough for Motorweek to describe it as the best-driving sport compact around. Continue reading

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QotW: Which Mitsubishi model is the most Mitsubishi?

We’ve previously asked which models best represent the essence of Honda, Toyota, and Subaru. Now it’s Mitsubishi’s turn. The company was once known for having an entire portfolio of turbocharged cars, and for their broad AWD lineup. They’ve also been known for tough trucks and for being rally legends. But if you had to pick one car that best represents the brand, what would it be?

Which Mitsubishi model is the most Mitsubishi?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “For which post-1980 JNC is zenki better than kouki?“. Continue reading

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Help a JNC reader find his dream Toyota Hiace van

We have a special request today. Taylor C., one of JNC‘s long-time readers and repeat QotW champion, is on the hunt for a Toyota Hiace van. Unfortunately, what he wants is, in his words, “a unicorn”. He’s about to settle for a van that’s already sitting on the lot of a US-based importer, but before he flies cross country to buy it, we’re going to do him a solid and see if anyone out there can find him his ultimate van. Continue reading

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Come join JNC at the American Honda Collection Hall this Saturday, Feb 17, for Cars, Bikes & Coffee

So the Honda Collection Hall is reopening in Japan, but if you can’t make it all the way to Tochigi, here’s a much closer option. The American Honda Collection Hall in Torrance, Calif. is opening its doors this Saturday, February 17, for a Cars, Bikes & Coffee event. Doors open from 9am to 12pm, and all types of cars and bikes are welcome, not just Hondas/Acuras. JNC has been invited to set up a booth, and when Honda calls you don’t say no, so be sure to stop by. See the cars on display but also check out the newly opened American Honda Collection Hall. Here is the official flyer with parking and directions. See you there!

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Honda Collection Hall in Japan to reopen March 1, 2024

If you need another excuse to visit Japan, Honda announced today that the Honda Collection Hall will reopen March 1, 2024. One of the great car museums of Japan, the three-story building has been closed for renovations since the beginning of December. The extensive, three-month renewal has arranged exhibits to tell the story from Honda’s founding days to present so visitors can experience the monumental challenges the company faced and see how it overcame them. Continue reading

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Mazda’s chocolate classics are the perfect Valentine’s Day gift

It’s Valentine’s Day, and this year a set of chocolates by Mazda has suddenly jumped into the top spot for our most wanted present list. The company has created a set of eight delicious looking chocolate bars, each with a differently historic car drawn on it in great detail. Continue reading

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Enkei Dish II brings back old school style for newer vehicles

The original Enkei Dish was an old school slot mag-style wheel sized for Japanese cars. They were released way back in 1968, and has been revived in several permutations since. On February 8 Enkei announced that they’re back again under the name Enkei Dish II. Continue reading

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QotW: For which post-1980 JNC is zenki better than kouki?

Conventional wisdom states that newer is better but we all know that’s not true, especially when it comes to cars. There are some in which the pre-facelift (zenki) is preferred over the post-facelift (kouki). We’re limiting this question to 1980 and newer Japanese automobiles, because it would be all too easy to pick the thin-bumpered versions of earlier cars. Also, 1980 was the year when carmakers began to establish a rhythm of 4-year redesign cycles with a mid-model change at year two.

For which post-1980 JNC is zenki better than kouki?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What JNC should be made into a Lego set?“. Continue reading

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Happy Year of the Dragon from JNC

Today, February 10, is the Lunar New Year, and that means it’s officially the Year of the Dragon. The A20 Toyota Celica is the car that represents this mythical beast. For a creature that is so prominent in Asian culture, it’s surprising there aren’t more dragon references in the automotive realm, but the Celica might just be the perfect car for this logo. Continue reading

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The Mazda MX-5 Miata turns 35 today

On February 9, 1989 one of the most influential cars of the 20th Century was unveiled: The Mazda MX-5 Miata. It was shown to the world at the Chicago Auto Show and kicked off a roadster renaissance, inspiring BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi,  Honda, and Nissan to create 2-seater convertibles of their own. Even after 35 years, the Miata is still the most affordable and accessible gateway to get into driving as pleasure. Continue reading

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Kawasaki Ninja’s 40th anniversary colors are awesomely retro

Real ninja, the silent assassins of feudal Japan, date back to the 15th century. The iconic Kawasaki Ninja, however, turns 40 years old this year. The moniker debuted in 1984 as a rebranding of the GPZ900R, a groundbreaking sportbike that held the record for the fastest production motorcycle for four years (until 1988). To celebrate four decades of the Ninja, Kawasaki is releasing its newest Ninjas in super rad retro livery. Continue reading

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Toyotafest 2024 date and location announced

Public Service Announcement: Toyotafest 2024 will be held at the Marina Green in Long Beach, Calif. on Saturday, June 8, 2024. This will mark the 28th annual All-Toyotafest, which welcomes Toyota, Lexus, Scion, and Toyopet vehicles. Vendor registration is already open, and registration for show cars will open in the spring. It’s a good a time as any to mark your calendars.

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Happy TE27 Day from JNC

The great-grandfather to the AE86, the Toyota TE27 still isn’t that well known among car collector circles. We spotted this one in with glorious glass-smooth paint in the parking lot outside the Tokyo Nostalgic Car Show in 2010. A VW Bus towers over the lowered Corolla Levin. However, this year Hot Wheels is coming out with a diecast version of it, something we’ve been advocating since the Jun Imai days. But nowadays Hot Wheels is an incredibly influential brand, with collectors that aren’t even traditional real car enthusiasts. It’s likely that after this year, TE27s will be much more on collectors’ radar. Happy TE27 Day from JNC.

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Volk Racing TE37V celebrates 10th anniversary with exclusive finishes

It’s hard to believe, but the Volk Racing TE37V is at least a decade old. The wheel was developed by Rays to merge the iconic TE37 6-spoke with fitments for old school cars with smaller diameters and low offsets. To honor 10 years of the TE37V, Rays is offering the appropriately named Volk Racing TE37V 10th Anniversary Edition, featuring new finishes and colors. Continue reading

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