QotW: Did you spend your youth dreaming about someday owning a Nissan or Mitsubishi?

This week’s question comes from an unlikely source — Porsche. Spotted in a Macan forum, the print ad features a 964-generation 911 and thus would have run sometime between 1990 and 1994. Of course, by then Nissan and Mitsubishi had sent forth plenty of incredible cars into the world. Z-cars, Skylines, GTOs, VR-4s, and so on. So thanks, Porsche, for giving us an excellent Question of the Week (for the sake of argument, let’s open this up to other JNCs as well).

Did you spend your youth dreaming about someday owning a Nissan or Mitsubishi?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s the best JNC you can find for $1,000?

The winner last week was Tom Westmacott, who lives in the UK and thus has access to the cheapest used car market (especially relative to new car prices) we’ve seen anywhere. Tom also correctly calls us out for not publishing enough material on his pick, the Mazda MX-3. We’ll rectify that soon:

In the moist climate of the UK, rust is the grim reaper that denies us classics. As such, those models that have more recently graduated to nostalgic status are the ones that are most likely to be available in half-decent condition for low prices, so we’re looking at the early nineties bubble-era cars. Obviously there’s no Skylines or NSXes for a grand, so we’re looking out for the forgotten and overlooked cars, where the efforts of their creators were quickly forgotten by the fickle marketplace.

The Mazda MX-3 is a great example; a specially made 1.8L V6 in a bespoke three-door coupe bodyshell on the 323 platform, it’s a great example of the niche-filling and design and engineering over bean-counting attitude that powered the explosion of models in the bubble era. This car sold well in the UK, mainly for its good looks and low costs, but has now vanished from most people’s memories – I’m not sure even JNC have done an article on it.

The model I’ve found is a 1998 car, the last year of production of a car that launched back in 1991, so qualifying for JNC status. The ad is honest about body and paintwork imperfections, however the MoT history speaks encouragingly of extensive underbody repairs a few years ago. With its smooth V6 in a small, light body and neat aero styling, it’s surely worth tidying up and enjoying as a rare, quirky and yet entirely usable example of Japan’s bubble era.


Omedetou! Your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop.

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23 Responses to QotW: Did you spend your youth dreaming about someday owning a Nissan or Mitsubishi?

  1. Khoua says:

    Yep. Had to be around 2000-2001, before the release of the Fast and the Furious, my cousin took me in a ride in his 92 Talon Tsi AWD. I was 12 and it was the first time I ever got sucked into the seat, I will never forget that moment. After that, owning a Mitsubishi Eclipse was on my mind. Even dreamt a few times about cruising around in one. It was always a blast to see the car when we had family gatherings. Then, he mentioned the 3000GT VR4 and faintly mentioned a Galant VR4 that was a total sleeper. In my head, the Galant VR4 looked like a regular 92′ Honda Accord so I didn’t give it much thought. Few years later, I got a Galant VR4. 🙂 I still regret selling the Galant VR4 to this day.

  2. Jeremy A. says:

    I did, among other cars. Being a first wave millenial, my formative years were ones in which the Datsun 280ZX, NIssan 300ZX, Nissan Pulsar, and the Mitsubishi Starion were both on the roads commonly, and in my toybox. Being ‘into cars’ from a young age, I in fact did dream of owning these cars, even if I wouldn’t realize what they were until much later.

  3. Joel says:

    Had a Conquest Tsi (Mistsubishi ESI-R) and I absolutely loved the car. The biggest issue I had was that in all the cars I’ve owned it was the single most expense car to maintain. Parts were incredibly expensive because they all had to come from Japan.

  4. Dankan says:

    Well, no. I spend my youth dreaming of owning an FD RX-7. Now, I dream of owning a sporty family machine. Adulthood really sucks sometimes.

  5. Nigel says:

    Mazda FD or FC Rx-7…still dreaming to this day !

  6. Howard says:

    Mine was always a Mitsubishi Starion ESI-R. I finally was able to buy a brand-new one

  7. Mike in Long Beach says:

    When I went to the Buick dealer to pick up my new Opel 1900 Manta, they had just taken in a very low mileage 240Z. When I expressed interest, the dealer said he would let me have it instead of my new Opel, for the same price. I was so tempted as the Z had just come out and was dead sexy. Automotive journalists were unanimous in their praise for the revolutionary Z. But I wanted my first brand new car. So I stuck with the Manta. It turned out to be a wonderful little coupe, but I always looked back on the decision to pass on the Z with regret.

  8. Yuri says:

    I certainly did. Playing Gran Turismo in High school set in motion my love of the JDM, and I closely followed the market for hints that some of these mythical kaiju were headed to the states. In 2004 I graduated College, and got a job. The first night after I started working, I went into a Mitsubishi dealership, and came home (not even home, I was living in a hotel for the first week) with a brand new Blue-By-You 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII GSR.
    Yeah, I literally bought an Evo before I had even worked out my housing situation.

  9. Alan says:

    Yes, and in no small part to avoid being associated with the same kind of brainless, shallow I-value-myself-only-through-my-wealth kind of snobbery exhibited in the ad above.

    • Atomu says:

      I see no snobbery in the ad above.
      It even mentions ‘affordable’, hardly an elite attribute.

      As to the question, as a kid I dreamed of Porsche and have now owned four.
      All without a hint of pettiness.

      I’ve also owned Japanese cars happily as well.

      Funny that.

      • Alan says:

        The whole premise of the ad is that a Nissan or Mitsu is somehow beneath a Porsche. And let’s not forget that at ~$60k (about twice that in today’s money), a new abase Carrera 2 964 was never affordable to the types of working class individuals who were ostensibly forced to slum it up in a Japanese car.

      • speedie says:

        The ad is total snobbery. Its a “all you could afford was cheap unexciting Japanese Cars.” Now decades later (when you are obviously making more money) you can buy a Porsche. The “we are now making it affordable” part is just playing on the old “and you deserve it” line.

        The ad really shows how concerned Porsche was that they could lose a whole generation of potential buyers that had been driving affordability, reliability, great value for your money Japanese cars. These buyers could now had the option of moving up to a 300ZX twin turbo, 3000GT VR4, FD RX-7, Supra, or of an NSX.

        Yes Porsche you were right to be scared.

  10. Howard Dreispan says:

    In 1984, I saw my first Starion/Conquest. I had never seen a car with those body lines before! It instantly became my dream? In 1986, I bought the ‘flat fender’ version. Then, one day while driving, I saw my first ever wide body! I had read about them in all 1980s magazines, but to see one, ‘WOW’! After 3 months of convincing (begging!) my wife to let me take the plunge, she very reluctantly,kind of said “yes”! (I traded in my 1986) I got my car Dec., 1988 (It’s a 1989), and have it to this day, 30 years! I am the original owner (92K original miles, paint, interior, etc., HKS parts installed in the ’90s). I love that car so much, that I also bought new, a 2006 Evo IX-MR, and a 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport LE. Yes, I am still married (34 years), and I am trying to convince her for number four!

  11. エーイダン says:

    To be honest, I was a teen when I came to finally start fantasising about owning a Nissan- a Skyline R34 GT-R to be precise. Although it sits slightly below a ’10 Holden Ute SS-V and a ’93 Ford Escort RS Cosworth, it’s still my top pick of Japanese cars. Why the R34? Well, you can thank Jeremy Clarkson for that. His demonstration of the then-new R34 in his series ‘Clarkson’s car years’ from 2000 pretty much is what took me in. The R34’s dashboard display showing the specifics of what’s going on I the engine and the fact that one can use a cable to connect their computer to the car and download their driving data mad me go bonkers. The twin turbos and the performance of the car took a backseat to those 2 features, and on a car as old as me.

  12. Madis says:

    Totally! I didnt know what i wanted yet but some turbo models of nissan, mitsubishi, toyota and mazda were for sure in my list (i can remember i said i wanted a 323 gtr at my graduation)
    I probably wanted a 959 porsche also and a countach because i had model cars of these.
    Now i own a fc3s turbo II, 89, a 626 wagon 98, , 323 hatchback 90, and starting to buy a 69 mazda 1500

  13. Angelo says:

    Well, I did. We were all about practicality in the family..

    So, I used to think of the C22 Vanette being parked in the driveway as a kid. Too bad they’re too rare here in the country.

    We ended up having a Space Gear tho, so yeah.

  14. Mr. Bill says:

    In short, no…I did not spend my youth dreaming about Nissan and Mitsubishis. At least not my early youth.

    Being in Jr. High and High School when the ad in question was run, and growing up in Oklahoma, meant that my driving ambitions were more focused on muscle cars than super or sport-compact cars. I knew little of the fantastic Japanese cars available at the time, but did know that people liked to race Zs and RX-7s, and that European sports and super cars were beyond my means.

    I was looking at Mustangs and the like for potential rides, and since my license came in 1996 my head was still into classic muscle and pony cars.

    Then 1998 brought PlayStation and Gran Turismo into my home and changed my life. I forsook the Fords and Chevys of my forefathers and bought my first Nissan, a 1995 200sx SE-R, that very year. Now I’m nearly 40 years old and have a 280z project car in the works. I’ve spent my adulthood dreaming about, and owning, Nissans.

  15. Luke says:

    I did like the Porsche 911 when I was a kid. I think it was because it looked sporty and came in my favorite color, yellow. But around Junior high or High school I learned about the Mazda RX-7 and the rotary engine and those cars have been my favorite ever since. The RX-7 caught my eye because it was beautiful looking, reasonably obtainable and totally unconventional compared to anything else out there. My dream car is a 1985 RX-7 GSL-SE. I am, however, happy with my ’84 Mazda GLC.

  16. c.s.matczak says:

    Honestly yes I did dream of owning a Nissan. Growing up my older sister would talk about “nice cars” like Porsches and BMWs, but her first car, and what would be my first car in 2004 was a Champagne colored 1993 240sx hatchback. In the years leading up to then I only had a passing interest in cars. Dad did most of his wrenching quietly in the garage after long work days while I was already getting set to go to bed, and I still had some time before I could drive legally so I was mostly concerned with cars in 1:64 scale or 32-bit. That changed in 2003, the year before I got my license. My sister was a recent graduate and she told Dad that she wanted to go to the Houston Auto Show so she could start researching new cars. So they went, and I stayed home likely spending the evening on some long-winded run through a PS2 game. Around the time Mom was setting the dinner table, my Dad and sister came home from the show. My sister threw a swag-bag down on the couch and yelled “Got you a poster!” as I was in the bathroom washing my hands. I came out, grabbed the tube of thick glossy white and unrolled it. There in 24×36, dashed across a field of bright blue was golden-orange blurred streak of pure sex. The next four words that escaped my lips, and probably the last words I spoke that night were “I want that car”. The five of us sat down to dinner as my parents and sister spoke of the potential, more responsible, four wheeled investment opportunities that lay on her horizon. We finished our plates and my younger brother and I loaded the dishwasher. I went to my bedroom and hung the poster on the ceiling over my bed then snuck out to the driver seat of the 240 and practiced throwing gear shifts while Dad checked all the fluids and tire pressure for our modest stable. I got my license the following January, finished up high school in the 240 and a few years later, upon transferring to U of H and picking up a second job, I bought a shiny new 2008 350Z. I never gave Porsche a thought.

  17. Ren Höek says:

    Well, since the ad requested “honesty”…

    -Ferrari F40
    -Shelby Cobra
    -DeLorean DMC-12
    -Mitsubishi Starion
    -Toyota Supra

    Shockingly, no Porsche.
    That said, the 1996 911 Turbo S was pretty compelling back in the day.
    Unfortunately, I wasn’t a kid at that point, but rather a surly teenager who resented overpriced, overrated German cars.

  18. Ben Hsu says:

    This ad was probably targeted exactly at people like me. I did dream of Porsches as a kid, but where I lived the German cars were considered the alternative to douchey Ferraris and Lambos, though I liked those too. The Porsche I dreamed of however, was the 928 S4 or GT, not the 911. Outside of the Z, I didn’t really notice Japanese cars until the Z32 TT came out and when I by pure happenstance found out about the Toyota 2000GT. Now, the German cars have succeeded in moving into the same demographic strata as Ferraris and Lambos anyway, so, good job I guess?

  19. Salil P says:


    Growing up in India as a kid, our car market had just opened up in the 1990s after decades of the protectionist economic policies. One of the first “high-end” sedans launched in the late 90s was the then Mitsubishi Lancer. While we never got the Evo officially in India, there were sufficient numbers of modified cars running on swapped Evo drivetrains imported from Japan.

    Add to the golden era of WRC with Tommi Makkinen driving the Evo, I was mesmerised by the road going version, a red Tommi Makkinen Edition (Evo 6.5). While Mitsubishi is almost on the verge of shutting down operations in India, the Lancer is still a dream for me and hope to find a clean example soon. So yes, I did dream of owning a Mitsubishi. Porsche was out of reach for a person like me as I could never see one on the road in my country back then.

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