Author Archives: Ben Hsu

QotW: What would you put in a Mitsubishi theme park?

We recently learned that Mitsubishi is opening a theme park in Japan. While not automotive-themed, we do hope that they include at least some nods to their automotive division’s long history. Why not include a Pajero jungle cruise, Lancer Evolution … Continue reading

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Toyota celebrates 40 years of AE86 with GR86 anniversary edition

The iconic Toyota AE86 was introduced to the world in 1983 in Japan, making this year the 40th anniversary of the beloved classic. So it was only fitting that Toyota mark the occasion by releasing a tribute edition of the … Continue reading

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The Mazda RWD straight-six sports sedan might not be dead yet

Hallelujah! The on-again, off-again Mazda FR straight-six sports sedan might not be completely dead yet. A new report out of Japan says that Hiroshima might be proceeding with the project, which was slated to be the next Mazda 6. Last … Continue reading

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QotW: What automatic transmission JNC makes a great driver’s car?

My wife knows how to drive a manual, but isn’t confident and doesn’t want to deal with it in traffic. Right now she sees driving as mostly an unavoidable chore, but my hope is that if we start off with … Continue reading

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American Honda Collection Hall officially opens at Honda HQ in Torrance, California

In Japan carmakers proudly display their wares at their company headquarters, but that’s not always the case for their American subsidiaries. For years, Honda kept their US heritage collection in a warehouse — a nice one — but one that … Continue reading

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Nissan Frontier Hardbody debuts loaded with retro 1980s nods

Remember the Nissan Hardbody teaser from last week? It debuted today and as was foretold from the teaser it’s an option package on the Frontier rather than a distinct model. However, the package contains several nostalgic nods to the original … Continue reading

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Subaru could return to WRC thanks to Akio Toyoda

Akio Toyota may have retired from being president of Toyota, but he appears to be active as ever when it comes to promoting cars. And it’s not just cars from his own company, which his grandfather founded, that he’s promoting. … Continue reading

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Chairman Akio Toyoda gives thumbs up from behind the wheel of a Honda

If you needed further proof that Akio Toyoda is the most delightful car executive in the world, look no further. The former president of Toyota recently charmed Japan’s netizens when he was spotted at a rally event in Japan driving … Continue reading

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Nissan Hardbody nameplate to be revived, likely with D21 3-spoke block wheels

Nissan dropped a mysterious little teaser Thursday centered around the delightful D21 Hardbody. The no-nonsense compact pickup embodied the notion of form following function, and there was a minimalist beauty in its simplicity. We aren’t naive enough to think that … Continue reading

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Toyota Century SUV design sketches show longer, wider body

The dust is still settling from Toyota’s Century SUV bombshell, and strong opinions will continue to reverberate for some time. In the meantime, thanks to some design illustrations we can glimpse what those who worked on the car originally imagined. … Continue reading

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The Toyota Century SUV is here

At the time Toyota was developing the original Century, the most luxurious cars available in Japan were foreign made. Kiichiro Toyoda wanted to build a Japanese car that could go head-to-head with them, but Toyota’s experience in building passenger cars … Continue reading

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QotW: What Honda model is the most Honda?

Honda has made some fantastic vehicles in its 75 years as a company. But if you had to pick just one car to represent the distilled essence of Honda, what would it be? From the humble Civic CVCC to the … Continue reading

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How Toyota recreated its long-lost first race car from scratch after 70 years

At long last Toyota has revealed the full story of how they recreated their first race car, the 1951 Toyopet Racer. News of the car’s existence was only made public last year, and after 71 years lost to history no … Continue reading

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The Toyota Century SUV sure looks like it’s happening

Toyota has released a teaser showing a white-gloved chauffeur hand resting on the door handle of a tall and upright black vehicle. What else could this be but the rumored Century SUV? It was rumored to arrive before the end … Continue reading

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Sam Mitani’s Red Mist packs action and espionage with Japanese cars

In his second novel, former International Editor for Road & Track magazine Sam Mitani continues to blend gripping action and international intrigue with fast cars, most of which are Japanese. It’s not hard to understand why. Almost 30 years ago … Continue reading

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Tokyo’s Rainbow Bridge, monument of legendary street races, turns 30 years old

No blast down Tokyo’s legendary Wangan would be complete without an encounter with the Rainbow Bridge. The 2,618-foot suspension bridge links the city’s Shuto expressway to the Bayshore Route, sites of Tokyo’s storied street racing scenes. On August 26, the … Continue reading

Posted in Nihon Life | 3 Comments

Enkei Al’Vita brings back an aluminum “steelie” that brought back an actual 1950s steelie

Enkei has revived a classic wheel design that looks like a steelie but is actually cast aluminum. The original Enkei Al’Life debuted in 1990 with the same “looks like steel but lighter” concept. The remake is called the Al’Vita, appropriately, … Continue reading

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This 1958 Datsun L210 is one of the first Nissans sold in the United States

One of the the oldest Nissans in the USA is currently for sale. Nissan established a foothold in the US market one year after Toyota in 1957, and this 1958 Datsun 1000 would have been among the first sold. It … Continue reading

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Watch Honda co-founder Takeo Fujisawa’s induction into the Automotive Hall of Fame

Soichiro Honda’s name may have been on the buildings, but Takeo Fujisawa was just as important a figure in making Honda the global powerhouse it is today. As brilliant as Soichiro Honda was as an engineer, Fujisawa was equally talented … Continue reading

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Watch the R32 Nissan Skyline dominate the Japan Touring Car Championship

Between coverage of the latest variants of the Nissan Z and Skyline, we’re pretty NISMO’ed out. Instead, let’s return to NISMO’s heyday, when the R32 Skyline GT-R first appeared on the scene. It had been nearly 20 years since the … Continue reading

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