2021 All-Toyotafest, Part 01 — Starlet, Corolla, Celica, MR2

After a year and a half of no major car shows, it was good to be back. The 2021 Toyotafest picked back up right where 2019 left off, although a few changes had to be made due to the pandemic. Unfortunately, there were some opportunities missed — last year, for example, was supposed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Celica — that we won’t be able to get back. Others, like marking the 25th anniversary of Toyotafest, could continue onward. Continue reading

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Sung’s Garage’s new wheel pays homage to Z432

Actor and car guy Sung Kang has unveiled a new three-piece wheel destined for his DocZ project, itself an homage to the Datsun 240Z that dominated the 1971 East African Safari Rally. If you are looking to give your Z or 510 that restomod rally car look, this may be your chance. Continue reading

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QotW: What’s your must-see Japanese automotive destination?

We were greatly saddened by MegaWeb’s closing announcement last week. The Toyota showroom was one of our favorite destinations in Tokyo. However, there still remains a great many automotive destinations for Japanese car enthusiasts, whether it’s a museum, company showroom, legendary race track, car show, a meeting place like Daikoku Futo, or a restoration or tuner shop. One day they too will probably be gone. Before that happens, please let us and your fellow JNC readers know what they absolutely cannot miss.

What’s your must-see Japanese automotive destination?

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 form of motorsport?Continue reading

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3DBotMaker’s JNC Tournament Round 2

Round Two of 3DBotMaker’s JNC tournament has aired and, man, I am disappointed in myself. By all accounts my Toyota 2000GT should have been fast — it was painted like the Yatabe record breaker after all — but I didn’t account for the fact that Dave Yuan was such a ferocious driver. Continue reading

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For the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Daihatsu followed the torch from Greece to Japan

The last time Tokyo hosted the Olympics, Japan had yet to prove itself as a global force in the automotive realm. The country’s budding carmakers was eager to seize the opportunity that the 1964 Summer Games presented, to introduce the world to their wares. The boldest effort came from Daihatsu, which sent a small consort of cars to follow the Olympic torch route from Greece to Tokyo, a distance of 11,200 miles. Continue reading

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Ford has trademarked the Skyline name in America, but Nissan gets Fairlady Z trademark

A trademark for the name Skyline has been filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office under the category for motor vehicles. Normally, that would have enthusiasts cautiously optimistic about the potential of one of Japan’s most popular models coming stateside. However, the trademark was filed by Ford, not Nissan. Oops. Continue reading

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Toyota’s Megaweb showroom will close for good on Dec 31

One of our favorite places to visit in Tokyo has always been Toyota’s Megaweb showroom. Located in the Odaiba shopping district, it was perfect for getting a car fix while non-petrolhead traveling companions did some nearby souvenir collecting. Sadly, it has been announced that Megaweb will be shuttering its doors on December 31, 2021. Continue reading

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Nissan Pathfinder ad goes retro with 1987 model

It wasn’t a surprise when Nissan reached into its long history to promote cars like the new Z, or to bring out a classic Skyline GT-R for a Japanese market commercial. Those are beloved models and the older generations enjoy a devoted following. However, it did surprise us to see, during last night’s NBA finals game, a series of ads featuring glimpses of a first-gen WD21 Pathfinder. Continue reading

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McDonald’s popularized the drive-through in Japan and turns 50 today

Fifty years ago today, Japan’s first McDonald’s restaurant opened in Ginza, Tokyo. The American fast food chain not only introduced hamburgers to Japan, but the concept of the drive-through restaurant. It was a time when Japan was undergoing rapid motorization, and McDonald’s introduced a whole new way to enjoy driving. Continue reading

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QotW: What’s your favorite form of motorsport?

This week Japan will celebrate Health and Sports Day, a holiday that promotes athletics and active lifestyles. Normally it’s held in October, commemorating the opening of the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. This year, it’s been moved to July to mark the last year’s pandemic-postponed Olympics. Unfortunately auto racing has not been recognized as an official Olympic sport, but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate it in all its forms. From illicit touge battles to  Formula 1, diecast tournaments to Dakar trucks, there are plenty of different ways to experience the skill and speed it takes to wield a motor vehicle.

What’s your favorite form of motorsport?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What are your best tips for managing your JNC life?Continue reading

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3DBotMaker’s JNC Tournament Round 1

Round One of 3DBotMaker’s JNC tournament is here, and it’s a nail-biter. We have a beautiful lineup of, by coincidence, color matched classics with a heavy white, blue and red theme. The race is run four times, with cach of the four cars — a Hako GT-X, SA22C RX-7, 240Z, and 510 Wagon, all made by Hot Wheels — rotating through the four starting positions. Let’s see how they do. Continue reading

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TUNE UP: Biz Markie made the Mazda MPV a hip-hop symbol

Biz Markie has passed away at the age of 57. In his honor, we are republishing this story from August 18, 2017. RIP (April 8, 1964 – July 16, 2021).

Nineties hip-hop had no shortage of love for Japanese cars, but one that typically isn’t mentioned in the same breath as Lexus and Acura is the Mazda MPV. In some circles, though, it was apparently quite the coveted machine.  Continue reading

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Mazda almost built a front-drive rotary sedan in the 60s

Recently Mazda restored the 40-year-old MX-81 concept after it had been discovered in a warehouse. They shipped the Bertone-designed car back to Italy to have Italian coachbuilders recondition the body and interior.  However, the MX-81 from forty years ago is hardly Mazda’s first collaboration with Bertone. In fact, the relationship dates back to the early days of Mazda as a carmaker, with a young Ikuo Maeda, now Mazda’s global head of design, witnessing its unfolding. Continue reading

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There has been a Nissan Z in almost every Marvel movie

The fact that a Datsun Bluebird Wagon played a significant role in a Marvel production gave us a pretty good chuckle last week. However, it’s not the only Nissan to have appeared in the Marvel cinematic universe. Eagle eyed moviegoers may have noticed that, in fact, a Nissan has appeared in almost every Marvel movie and TV show. Have you seen it? Continue reading

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You can now buy NISMO parts direct from the Omori factory

Nissan’s factory in Omori has been the birthplace of some of the company’s most iconic cars. It’s the home of NISMO, and still cranks out parts for RB26, S20, and VQ motors. It’s always been a challenge to get these parts directly if you don’t have a friend in Japan, but NISMO has just announced an international ordering system for its prized parts. Continue reading

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VIDEO: The 1985 Honda Civic Wagon was the first crossover

Today’s market isn’t particularly kind to small cars, or cars in general, as the would-be small cars on stilts we know as crossovers dominate the sales charts. There was a time in 1985, however, when you could buy a literal crossover, a perfect pairing of utility, tossable driving dynamics, and fuel economy. Enter the third-generation Honda Civic five-door Wagon. Continue reading

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Reports that Mazda is killing the rotary are not true

Even though Mazda’s new rotary engine is not slated for a sports car, many Mazda enthusiasts have been eagerly awaiting its return. However, several English media outlets are reporting today Mazda’s rotary engine is once again on the back burner, with some even saying it’s dead. These are not accurate, according to Mazda. Continue reading

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QotW: What are your best tips for managing your JNC life?

The JNC life is not an easy one. It starts with one old, temperamental, and rare car. Next thing you know, your savings, house, and free time are consumed by tools, parts, and perhaps even a spare donor car or three. Long-time JNCers probably have it even worse, because for decades these cars and their second-hand parts were relatively cheap to acquire. It can all get quite overwhelming.

Today, July 12, is Simplicity Day, created in honor of Henry David Thoreau, the poet who got rid of his worldly possessions and went to go live in a cabin in the woods. We’re not suggesting that, but we know it can be a challenge to keep your garage space work-friendly and your projects on track.

What are your best tips for managing your JNC life?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s the best way to find your dream JNC?Continue reading

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3DBotMaker’s JNC tournament qualifying round

Here it is, the qualifying round for 3DBotMaker’s Japanese Nostalgic Car tournament. This race will set up the brackets and provide an idea of how fast the cars are. We had no influence on the tournament other than selecting the cars, and are also seeing this video for the first time. Let’s see how the cars stack up. Continue reading

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There’s a Datsun Bluebird 411 Wagon in Loki, y’all

Several readers sent in a hot tip yesterday regarding an old Datsun wagon guest starring in the Marvel cinematic universe. Specifically, it’s a 1965 Datsun Bluebird WP411 in the series Loki, and it plays a pretty significant part in the episode. Continue reading

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