QotW: For which post-1980 JNC is zenki better than kouki?

Conventional wisdom states that newer is better but we all know that’s not true, especially when it comes to cars. There are some in which the pre-facelift (zenki) is preferred over the post-facelift (kouki). We’re limiting this question to 1980 and newer Japanese automobiles, because it would be all too easy to pick the thin-bumpered versions of earlier cars. Also, 1980 was the year when carmakers began to establish a rhythm of 4-year redesign cycles with a mid-model change at year two.

For which post-1980 JNC is zenki better than kouki?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What JNC should be made into a Lego set?“.

This week’s comments came up with clever ways to slip some JNCs in to the Lego pipeline. Sammy B suggested the tried and true method of movie licenses, using Back to the Future or James Bond to get a 1985 Toyota Pickup or Toyota 2000GT. Taylor C. ended up repurposing an existing Porsche kit to make a Datsun 240Z. We agree with speedie that a Mazda 787B in the Technics line with working quad-rotor engine would be epic. James Mitsubishi Delica, especially if it opened up to be an overlanding rig with functional interior, would be awesome as well.

The winner this week was Daniel, who suggested a Y60 Nissan Patrol. Lego already has the Nissan license, and a big, square SUV is perfect for a brick-based building system:

Patrol Y60. Boxy and angular 4×4’s look best in Lego. The current Defender model not only looks like a Defender with no imagination required but working suspension and tons of gear make it a fun model. The Y60 with it’s flares on top of box flares and round headlamps are IMO the epitome of a good looking 4×4.

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

JNC Decal smash

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9 Responses to QotW: For which post-1980 JNC is zenki better than kouki?

  1. Lee L says:

    I always felt in the minority in the Z31 community, but I prefer the Zenki front and rear over the Kouki. In fact, a lot of people have swapped the kouki front end onto Zenki cars and I just always preferred the boxier look of the Zenki bodystyle.

    • Ko says:

      I feel similarly about two related cars, the FD RX7 and the NB miata, with both cars I much prefer the prefacelift front bumpers, I think in both cases they flow much better with the overarching design language of the body, and each has a subtle front lip option that really sets them off. I think the main critism that people have of them is that they are too soft or feminine looking, not aggresive enough – but thats what I love about those cars the fluid sweeping look remincent of old Lotus elans and e types.

  2. Franxou says:

    It has already been written, but I also think about the Z31 Nissan 300ZX!
    I do not really care about the front, I think the kouki one is better shaped better, feels shorter and it lost the black plastic part, but it also lost its squareish-ness that fits so well with the rest of the design…
    But the rear-end, Oh, the rear-end! I really dig the huge Zenki stoplights, it is huge, it has style, it fills the whole back of the car, and then redesign happens, and it got a wide thin lightbar.
    I can’t stand this mustache stoplight.

  3. streetspirit says:

    whadda ya know, another moment i can call upon the 3000-gt/GTO as my answer.
    it went from a ferrari testarossa level exotic look to a very happy catfish and later on something made said catfish kinda angry. i prefer the pop ups but the happy catfish is a close second!

  4. Alan says:

    SA22C RX-7. Those split taillights have a distinct 1960s aesthetic and are somehow vaguely reminiscent of the early Cosmo. Kouki tails are bland and derivative 1980s stuff.

  5. speedie says:

    There are so many, but for me it was the Isuzu Piazza (i.e., Impulse). The zenki designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro was a text book example of flowing lines and proportions. The kouki on the other hand looked like it was designed by a panel of sixth graders that all had to have their trophy day of inclusion. It is a textbook example of how not to copy the styling cues of a good design into a shortened chassis. There is a reason zenkis are sought after by collectors, while koukis are pretty much forgotten.

  6. Richard says:

    In pretty much ALL cars I prefer Zenki, for example the Z31 since it’s popular in the USofA.. the first gen looked sharp and athletic whereas the Kouki lost it’s definition with lard to an extent, end of the day facelifting is just maximising sales, Zenki in my eyes always will be the purest form.

  7. Ryan Senensky says:

    The Z31 is the poster child of terrible redesigns. The Zenki looked perfect but it looked like a 240SX in a fat suit post-facelift.

  8. Taylor C. says:

    The fourth generation Hiace had three facelifts, so I’ll group the first and second exteriors as Zenki and the latter two as the Kouki. The latter two generations included ABS, airbags, updates headlights, added foglights, and even an air-to-water intercooler that added a few more horsepower. HOWEVER, the Zenki versions have a 5-speed manual transmission. Nuff said.

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