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?

Being able to live as Akio Toyoda’s may seem nice, but if anything the answers showed that even being one of the most powerful men in global business isn’t necessarily a walk in the park.

Many of the answers had to do with recapturing some semblance of Toyota’s glory. BlitzPig would develop an in-house inline-six and inline-four family of engines so the company would no longer need to outsource their performance cars. エーイダン would make make Crown its own sub-brand. Tim would license the IP on classic designs to third party builders (the way the Big Three do) to increase the supply of parts for classics.

However, Just as many of you prioritized the future, taking into consideration the mass electrification of the auto industry. Tygerleo would drop some coin on developing true EVs. Tom Westmacott would, in addition to EVs, homologate the GR Yaris for North America and team up with Mazda to inject some inline-sixes and fun into the lineup. Yuri would update classics with EV powertrains and safety, but make body panels 100% interchangeable with classics like the 2000GT, Supra, and AE86. ACSK would make a last hurrah ICE car in the form of a lightweight driving machine, but Daniel countered with the same principle but his swan song would be a hybrid V12 Century.

The outcome we’d most like to see, however, was the one proposed by Ellis. It wasn’t the continuation 2000GT models or his motorsports push or his LFA successor (though we’d love to see those as well), but his brilliant idea a retro electric Corona. It looked like a futuristic machine when it debuted, was nicknamed barikan, or electric shaver, and is the perfect shape for a heritage design like the Nissan Pao or Figaro.

Firstly I’d start a limited run of 2000GT continuation models. Perhaps 83 of them, one for each year of the company being around. Maybe make each one be related to a specific event in Toyota history such as race wins or significant people who worked for/with the company.

Next I’d start the development of a Lexus LFA successor. Something to scare the low volume hypercar makers with.

I’d invest in more retro styled electric cars, similar to what Honda did with the Honda e. With the future of Kei cars in doubt Japan will need smaller cars to fill the gap. Can you imagine a modern day re-imagining of the Corona RT40 that’s electric powered? Or what about an electric Kei van styled on the H10 HiAce?

I seem to recall the Toyota i-REAL being very cool when I saw it shown on TV over a decade ago. Look at bringing that type of single or twin occupant electric vehicle to market.

And finally I’d look for new ways to get Toyota involved in motorsports. As I’m not a Nascar fan, with no more Toyota in F1 the only time I really get to enjoy seeing Toyota in motorsports is in endurance races like Le Mans. Seeing a vehicle I could go out and buy being raced on TV or in person at the track would make me a lot more invested in the brand.

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15 Responses to QotW: Are JNC prices getting out of control?

  1. Sam says:

    Well, supply and demand

    As less of these cars exist because people are fulfilling their automotive fantasies, or people are slamming them into walls in the name of Dorisha, the price of them has to go up. Seeing a stock 240SX is like seeing a unicorn- it’s even hard to see an IMAGE of a stock 240SX (don’t believe me? Just look up 240SX and see how long it takes).

    The price of them is going up higher than it should be because people insist on using them for their own mod projects instead of using a newer car that’s still in production.

    It’s just unfortunate, and not much can be done about it. All you can do is make sure you take care of the cars you have to preserve for a future generation.

  2. f31roger says:


    Mainly for the cars that are really popular. Definitely the drift/RWD platforms. Datsun Z and 510s… yup.

    What I am now seeing is people looking into other platforms to beat up and not care. The Infiniti M30 falls into that category at times.

    Not only are prices going up, but getting a clean example or stock example is almost getting super rare.

    I loved S13s and S14s… and regret selling my 89 fastback years ago… but I don’t even expect to ever buy another one at the prices and at the rate they are getting modified, crashed and salvaged.

    The only thing I want to have in the future.. An A31 Cefiro. I’m NO drifter, so this would just be a car for me to build and enjoy as a cruiser.

    At present day… That’s what I’m doing with my M30s… building to have a nice car with intentions of long term enjoyment.

  3. Su says:

    I’ve own three A60 Celicas. The last one was a 1984 Celica GTS. I regret selling it. This generation was not beloved and the prices were reasonable for a used one; but even the values on these have climbed. My plan was to eventually buy another one. The prices have become high enough that it’s not reasonable to own one. I lose interest in a car when it’s just an asset taking up garage space. I now own a 1st generation Scion xB which I enjoy and drive daily.

  4. I think every car has its low and high peaks and there’s a natural cycle for it.

    Usually a new car is owned by a “wealthy” person than can afford a new car
    Then the car is sold secondhand to some teenager
    A new version of the model gets released so interest in the relatively new car is drawn towards the newly released cars. while the old version is not concidered a classic, but just an “older car”. That’s the point to buy.

    People slowly start to realize that a certain car is cheap and cool and then they start to buy it and modify them until it’s really hard to find a good stock example anymore. thats when people looking for their dreams start to spend big money on it.

    Aside from a few bluechips that really is worth a big investment (from an investors point of view) all the other cars just follow this natural cycle in my opinion.

    The interesting thing is to figure out when it is the right time to buy a car for a reasonable price. If you’re lucky enough you just buy your dream car at a good pont and then realize 15 years later that prices meanwhile have skyrocketed.
    If you’re an unlucky person who had to or wanted to sell your car when it was relatively cheap, you might wake up one day and realize you could have made a lot of money if you’ve kept it another 20 years.

    but then there’s the uppe rpeak as well. when things come too expensive, interest usually slows down, people look for something they can afford, and prices fall again..

  5. Gilles says:

    2 years ago I was having a $10,000 estimate, now I have $17,000. In 2 years iI have a jump of $7,000. I have it since new, I should keep it some more years!

  6. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    Yes. While the enthusiast can stand back & muse at these absurd prices, these actions have unintended consequences. Parts prices, classic car insurance, trailer queens, garage queens, etc… I don’t feel it’s a healthy situation for the everyday enthusiast. That’s just my opinion though. I generally don’t like to monetize everything. The Japanese side of me certainly hates even talking about money. Short of the most expensive tuna at Tsukiji, you generally don’t see people in Japan in moneytalk. Maybe a Japan Nostalgic Attitude.

  7. RX626 says:

    Yes. Already in Japan.
    Due to the influence of Initial D and Fast and Furious, the price increase of JNC has been happening for some time.
    However, I feel that the trend has been especially pronounced in the past few years. Probably the biggest reason for this price increase is the US law.
    It is now legal to bring in JNCs that are more than 25 years old, and many of the iconic JNCs of the 90s are now included in this category.
    As a result, the prices of even those models that used to rise slowly have risen tremendously.

    And the fact that the price hikes are now occurring indiscriminately for all JNC sports cars is an anomaly.
    For example, the ST205 Celica GT-Four was not a hero like the GT-R or Supra. Therefore, until just a few years ago, it was one of the JNC high performance models that could be purchased inexpensively.
    However, the prices of such cars have been rising, and some of them are now as expensive as when they were new.

    And with this increase in price, JNCs are being stolen more frequently in Japan.
    Of course, the goal of the thieves is to resell them overseas.
    Every day on twitter, there are tweets about JNC thefts and requests for information, and not a day goes by when I don’t see a report of a theft, especially of a Silvia and Skyline (including trim levels that are not GT-Rs).

    I hope this crazy surge in demand for JNCs ends up being a temporary fad, but it probably won’t.
    The time has come for us JNC enthusiasts to buy and carefully protect our favorite models before they become priced like Ferraris and Porsches.

  8. Damian says:

    We can rebel. Buy a hybrid and ditch the hybrid bit. I thought the latest NSX could be a good candidate. Might lose 800lbs of fwd driveline, electric motors and batteries, and it might become a better car to drive.

  9. ACSK says:

    They are out of control, but I don’t think that will change. It’s not just JNCs. Right now, I think people with the means are scrambling to mitigate hyper-inflation by putting their money into anything they deem more a more secure or better option.

  10. Geoff says:

    Yeah, it’s out of control. They used to be quirky, fun economy cars without much in the way of monetary value, now it’s like trying to buy a house on the West Coast, with all of the working class priced out of the market.

    I don’t want to think of myself as lucky, and I want my kids to enjoy the hobby like I have, but if the only option is a last gen Miata, I’m not sure I’ll be able to pass it on.

    Don’t get me wrong, Miatas are great cars, but they’re (and so in a broader scope are all modern cars) black box solutions.

    I hope I’m wrong, and electrification brings with it a hot-rod subculture like JNCs did in their earlier days, but I’m not letting go of my Datsuns yet (in fact, I just picked up a ’69 1600 for the kids to restore).

  11. Samuel Graham says:

    Prices are definitely out of control, but I think it can be explained. More people are clamoring for JDM classics, but they’re very rare now. Scarce in the first place, too many have been modified and driven into the ground. Take the AE86 for example. Just two years ago, a pristine 1986 model sold for 26 grand, while now less than perfect models are selling for almost double that. I also think that presence in video games has influenced people to own their own JNC. I’ve known people who have paid ridiculous prices on old, beat-up examples of cars like the Nissan Skyline or Toyota Supra because they’ve played them in Forza or Grand Turismo. We will probably never know the real cause of sky-high JNC prices, but we can take a pretty good guess.

  12. speedie says:

    This happens with all good cars eventually. especially ones that have been ignored and suddenly “discovered”. I saw this happen with BMW 2002s. You could buy a condition 2 car for $1,500 back in the 90s. Now you can’t touch one for less than $15,000. We are currently experiencing a Covid bump in prices as people who would normally be spending their extra money on vacations, entertainment and dining have been stuck at home and looking to keep busy. Nothing says make me feel good than to buy that car you wanted when you were in high school or got your first job. I expect we will see a small to medium correction in pricing once things get back to normal.

  13. Shaiyan Hossain says:

    the prices for these were going to go up anyways, regardless, because they don’t make them anymore, (at least that was the adage is) and decreasing supply (why it’s so hard to find a clean unmolested EG Civic for cheap these days in 2021 for example)
    there is also the whole Nostalgia factor as many of these cars have special places in our hearts and we will pay dearly to live our dreams
    the problem imo really begins when you have the ridiculous classic car speculative market thanks to outlets like BaT which pump up prices ($210k E30, $120k+ Supra Turbos, $40k AE86, etc) making once somewhat attainable and aspirational hero cars, an investment for the wealthy, many of which who don’t have interest in cars to begin with
    not just that, but as countries start banning new ICE car sales, enthusiasts will flock to the used market and the problem may end up getting worse

  14. My day job is at a nonprofit museum and my side gig pays me in Hot Wheels cars (which I’m totally cool with), so anything more desirable than a rusty first-gen Xterra is beyond my reach.

    Good thing I like first-gen Xterras!

    It’s all the factors mentioned above, including trying to avoid the coming hyper-inflation.

    Recently, I’ve been putting my time and money into Japanese Nostalgic Bicycles. Nishikis, Fujis, Miyatas, etc., from the 70s and early 80s. Don’t know if classic road bikes are a good investment, but so far I’ve lost twelve pounds enjoying my collection.

  15. My_Fairlady_ZFG says:


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