UPDATE: These are now available in the JNC Shop. We at JNC like to come up with something new each year for JCCS, and this year we’re proud to introduce a new, interactive decal. The JNC “25 Year Club” decal honors cars that have passed that magical quarter-century mark to become official Japanese nostalgic cars.
The main motif is a daruma, a Buddhist symbol of good luck. In Japan, wooden daruma are typically sold with two blank eyes. The owner fills in the first eye when a goal is set (starting a project, training for a race, etc). The second eye is left blank until that goal has been completed. With the second pupil drawn in, both eyes are “open,” and that means the goal has been realized.
Toyota enthusiasts might recognize daruma as the Japanese nickname of the first-gen Celicas. That’s because its sunken grille and headlights remind Japanese people of the way a daruma’s face is recessed into his red body.
However, we don’t want to leave out JNC fans with a car that’s not quite there yet. That’s why one eye is blank. Everyone is free to rock the decal but we simply ask, using the honor system, that you don’t “open” the second eye until the car is 25 years old. Of course, those with a car 25 years or older can fill in the eye right away with some black paint.
Why 25? When we founded JNC, it was an easy way to distinguish old from new. In most states, cars are eligible for historic plates, certain inspection exemptions, and collector car insurance once it turns 25. It’s also the age at which you can legally import a classic car into the US. It’s been a rolling marker for what makes a car nostalgic, and so this year the cutoff is 1989.
The first row of black kanji says kyuusha, Japanese for “classic car.” The characters in white circles say kokuhou, or “national treasures.”
The 25 Year Club daruma will debut at our booth at the Japanese Classic Car Show this Saturday, September 27 in Long Beach, California. Look for a red tent. After the show these decals well be available in the JNC Shop.
Daruma Photo: Masaki Ikeda