Author Archives: Ben Hsu
QotW: What aspect of car life makes you happy?
Happy International Day of Happiness, the day created to recognize happiness as a fundamental human goal. As enthusiasts we derive joy from many aspects of car ownership. It could be a drive on your favorite road, the satisfaction of working … Continue reading
The digital cars of Chris Labrooy are still fanciful fun
You might have noticed photos of some weird swan car built out of a Porsche 996 circulating on social media this week. Porsche is currently showing the art car in their display at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, … Continue reading
A Subaru 360 joins the super detailed subscription model club
The 1/8 scale subscription models are among the most expensive and time consuming kits available in Japan. It takes serious commitment to complete them, and because of their complexity only a couple get produced per year. Only the most … Continue reading
50th Anniversary Edition Nissan 300ZX does burnouts in Larry June’s “89 Earthquake” video
I have no idea who Larry June or The Alchemist are because I’m old. What I do know is that in their new video that just dropped this week for the song “89 Earthquake” there’s a Z31 Nissan 300ZX ripping … Continue reading
Does the Nissan 350Z deserve its bad rap?
Expectations were high when the Z was making a comeback after a seven-year hiatus from the US market, particularly when the Nissan 350Z’s design and marketing invited direct comparisons to the game-changing Datsun 240Z. At the same time, it was … Continue reading
Eriko Sanmiya retired from Olympic speed skating to race cars
Eriko Sanmiya is known in the English-speaking world almost exclusively as a speed skater. She competed in two Olympic Games and even broke the domestic record in the 1000m and placed second in the World Sprint Speed Skating Championships. Clearly … Continue reading
Please help find this stolen Honda Beat
Friend of JNC and past contributor Darren Brooke unfortunately had his Honda Beat stolen on March 3. It’s bright yellow, has a Washington license plate of BWG3102, and is quite unique in that it has a hardtop. It was taken … Continue reading
Mini-trucks preserved as works of art at the Grand National Roadster Show
The Grand National Roadster Show is among the most prestigious car shows in the world. It’s also for a long time been a bastion of American car culture, a celebration of everything from hot rods to lead sleds to lowriders … Continue reading
Isuzu Motors at the Yokohama Expo of 1989: upside-down cars and floating buses
During the Bubble Era, with Japan’s economy flush with cash, a number of regional expos sprang up around the country. Akin to miniature world’s fairs, they showcased local culture and industry thanks to corporate sponsors bursting with coin. One such … Continue reading
Shoichiro Toyoda, the Toyota president who built a global powerhouse, 1925 – 2023
Shoichiro Toyoda, the influential president of Toyota who captained the company during its growth into a worldwide phenomenon, passed away on February 14. The official cause, according to a Toyota press release, was heart failure. “Dr. Toyoda,” as he was … Continue reading
Honda co-founder Takeo Fujisawa to be inducted into Automotive Hall of Fame
Soichiro Honda may have been the genius engineer behind Honda Motor Company, but brains alone can’t sell products. For that, Honda-san relied on his friend and business partner Takeo Fujisawa (from left to right: Kiyoshi Kawashima, Soihciro Honda, Takeo Fujisawa), … Continue reading
QotW: What once uncool family car is now desirable?
On February 13, 1997 the original Subaru Forester debuted in Japan. It was just another AWD wagon marketed as an SUV from Fuji Heavy Industries, bigger than an Impreza but smaller than the Legacy. In the era of Jeep Cherokees … Continue reading
1994 Mitsubishi Galant was once a compelling alternative to the Honda Accord
Poor Mitsubishi. It’s fallen so far but in 1994 it was riding high. So high, in fact, that Motorweek introduced the seventh-generation Galant by saying, “Mitsubishi is a company on the move.” Not only that, but the sedan was an … Continue reading
TRD still offers old school desktop wallpapers of Toyota art by Masahisa Higuchi
Are wallpapers still a thing? Japanese websites used to issue loads of them. Now it’s a dying art. We were surprised to learn that TRD still offers a few, though given the subject matter it’s likely these have been hanging … Continue reading
Nissan and Renault are finally on equal footing
After decades of unhappiness in an unequal partnership, Nissan and Renault have rewritten the rules of their alliance. The two giants will now each hold an equal stake of 15 percent in the other, with Renault reducing their share down … Continue reading
QotW: What would your dream garage build include?
We’ve asked about dream garages filled with your most wanted cars, but not about the garage itself. What kind of home with your cars live in? We’re not talking a Jay Leno-style museum for 100 cars, but something more reasonable. … Continue reading
Will Nissan’s 80s retro-futuristic roadster be the first fun-to-drive EV?
The Nissan Max-Out concept doesn’t take any cues from previous Nissan models, but it’s aesthetic is decidedly retro. There’s a lot of 80s contour grid patterns and neon colors, and the entire presentation evokes an Out Run-type video game that … Continue reading
At least the Mazda Miata will be forever
Mazda’s all-SUV lineup might be demoralizing to some, but there is hope. They still make the Miata and, according to Mazda execs, the Miata will exist as long as the company does. It may not always have four cylinders or … Continue reading
Mazda CX-90: How Mazda laid out the roadmap for a glorious enthusiasts’ future, then threw it away
Many years ago a little bird at Mazda told us that the firm was working on a rear-wheel-drive sedan to be powered by a straight-six. We were stoked. On paper it was the ideal configuration — an inherently balanced engine … Continue reading
QotW: What’s your favorite JNC shout-out in a song lyric?
The Mazda MPV made its Japanese debut on January 30, 1990. Eagle-eyed observers might note that this date is two years after it debuted in the U.S. With available seating for 8 and 4WD, it was a unique conscription into … Continue reading