Author Archives: Ben Hsu

QotW: What’s does the Fairlady mean to you?

Sixty-five years ago today, My Fair Lady opened on Broadway. The play would go on for a run of 2,715 performances, and as the legend goes, in one of those performances, sometime in 1959, in the audience sat then Nissan … Continue reading

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The Honda S660 will end production with another homage to the Beat roadster

Honda has announced that production of the S660 is coming to a close. A spiritual successor to the Beat and tribute to the S-series roadsters, the mid-engined kei sports car will end its run in March 2022. Honda is sending … Continue reading

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The “Miracle Corolla” was destroyed in the Tohoku tsunami, then restored by car enthusiasts across Japan

On March 11, 2011 a devastating earthquake and resulting tsunami struck eastern Japan. Nearly 16,000 people were killed and almost 2,600 went missing in what was the fourth strongest earthquake ever recorded. Masayuki Watanabe was one of the lucky ones, … Continue reading

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VIDEO: There will probably never be a car like the SW20 MR2 again

The Toyota MR2 was one of those rare Japanese cars that evolved constantly throughout its life. There were five distinct revisions, called Type I through Type V, made to hone the small mid-engined runabout into a better driver’s car. We … Continue reading

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Before Toyota sells you its next supercar, it wants to know if you’ve ever owned a 2000GT

This year the FIA plans to kick off new Le Mans Hypercar class and Toyota will be there, ready and waiting with its Gazoo Racing Super Sport. The class homologation rules require 20 road cars to be built, and Toyota’s … Continue reading

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MOTORSPORT: Mami Ayukawa, singer and racing driver

Mami Ayukawa is probably best known as a singer, but she was also a well-known racing driver in her time. She holds an FIA A-class racing license and competed in numerous races in Japan throughout the late 80s and early … Continue reading

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QotW: What’s your favorite automotive game?

Coming this week is March 10 (aka Mar 10, aka Mario Day), and 2021 also happens to be the 40th  anniversary year for Nintendo’s plumber mascot. In the decades since his debut in Donkey Kong games have had a huge … Continue reading

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Against all odds, Mazda still innovates to make cars fun

It’s no secret we at JNC, along with most enthusiast publications, have a special fondness for a small carmaker from Hiroshima. In an age when most carmakers have all but given up on the internal combustion engine, Mazda is still … Continue reading

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MINICARS: There’s a very good reason why this Toyoda AA model from the Toyota Automobile Museum costs ¥3,350

If you’ve been to the Toyota Automobile Museum’s gift shop, perhaps you’ve seen a 1:43 scale model of the company’s first production car, the 1936 Toyoda AA. It’s available in two colors and you can buy it for ¥3,350 (approx. … Continue reading

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VIDEO: Even the budget performance cars of 1991 Japan were incredible

God, 1991. It was a magical time for Japanese machinery. Every carmaker was offering an extraordinary car in their lineup, sometimes several. The abundance was so great that even at the low end of the price ladder, you could get … Continue reading

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Happy Z31 Day from JNC

Nissan cruelly left out the Z31 from the lineup when they talked about the Z Proto’s design inspirations last year. Don’t worry, Z31 stans. There’s a whole day devoted to celebrating the third-generation Nissan Z, and that’s today, 3/1. We’ll … Continue reading

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QotW: How did you learn to drive a manual?

The conventional wisdom is that Americans don’t buy manual transmission cars. While that’s largely true for vehicles like a Nissan Sentra, it turns out Americans do overwhelmingly prefer stick-shifts when the right car comes along. For example, 90 percent of … Continue reading

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VIDEO: Chip Foose reimagines the AW11 Toyota MR2

We recently learned about Chip Foose’s new video series, in which he applies his designer’s touch to popular classics, when he drew his interpretation of an FJ40 Land Cruiser. Turns out, he drew an AW11 Toyota MR2 as well, reimagining … Continue reading

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ART CORNER: Takashi Matsuyama’s Motor Panic

Takashi Matsuyama is a Japanese artist that creates wonderfully rich automotive landscapes in his art. Densely packed with cars, pop culture references, and easter eggs galore, his works are like a vehicular Where’s Waldo? Many of his illustrations were supposed … Continue reading

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MINICARS: Help us identify this grotesque Datsun 240Z toy car

Recently we received a bizarre toy that has us puzzled. It looks like a Datsun 240Z or S30 Nissan Fairlady Z that, instead of rolling on four wheels (which it has), walks on human feet. There are a few markings … Continue reading

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QotW: What do you actually drive?

Self-described car enthusiasts on the internet love to tell car companies what kind of cars should be made. And if all of them really put their money where their keyboards are, the world would be flush with 400-horsepower manual sports … Continue reading

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There’s a Honda Civic on the cover of Stephen King’s new book

We don’t know anything about horror master Stephen King’s new book, Later, except that there’s an early first-generation Honda Civic on the cover. We can’t seem to find out if the car is even in the story, but King has … Continue reading

Posted in Books | 6 Comments

VIDEO: The 1990 Isuzu Impulse deserved better

The second-generation Isuzu Impulse never got enough love. It was cheap, but not quite cheap enough. It was sporty, but not quite sporty enough, especially compared to the competition from Honda or Toyota. Isuzu was more of a truck brand … Continue reading

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Restoration of the Mazda 737C Le Mans race car has begun

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Mazda 787B’s historic win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. To commemorate the occasion one of its predecessors, the 1985 737C, is undergoing restoration. Last week in Hiroshima, technicians began disassembling … Continue reading

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Dreams and Sawzalls: How the Mitsubishi 3000GT Spyder was made

The Mitsubishi 3000GT Spyder was the first modern car to offer a power folding hardtop convertible roof. The option was a big deal in 1995, adding anywhere from $22,000, or the price of a new Acura Integra, to the cost … Continue reading

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