QotW: If you could own a Japanese race car from any era, what would it be?

Race cars. Purposeful, raw, historic.  We recently learned that Subaru WRC rally cars were going to be restored for anyone lucky enough to own one. They seem like a thrill to drive. That would be a completely logical pick from the cars that exist. Sadly, many others have been destroyed or lost to history. But let’s say you have a time machine and can go back to pluck any competition machine from Japan’s history and bring it back to your garage.

If you could own a Japanese race car from any era, what would it be?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s your ultimate SUV restomod project?

Y’all had a great number of cool ideas for this money-no-object QotW. Not surprisingly, many chose Land Cruisers as the canvas for their ultimate SUV build: teddy‘s 1UZ-powered Lexus LX450, Alan‘s Century-swapped J100 Land Cruiser, cesariojpn‘s bulletproof FJ40 with J200 drivetrain.

Others thought of clever intra-marque swaps, like Ant‘s HR-V Type R, Tom A‘s Hayabusa-engined Jimny, or Angelo‘s Delica-skinned Pajero Evolution. エーイダン‘s Evo X in Mitsubishi Jeep clothing. We even liked The101‘s RB26DETT Isuzu Amigo, because Isuzu Amigos are just awesome.

However, there can be only one winner, and this week it went to Sebastian Motsch‘s BRE-inspired Nissan Pathfinder Turbo. We don’t often find someone who is dedicated enough to illustrate a beautiful Photoshop version of their car, but Sebastian did just that — and it looks great, using the livery to accentuate the Pathfinder’s unique lines.

The Acura conversion is a very nice example for out-of-the-box thinking. It inspired me and therefore I created my own vision of a resto-modded Japanese classic 4×4: a WD21 Nissan Pathfinder / Terrano. You can read about my thoughts and look at the picture here: http://www.sebastianmotsch.com/nissan-pathfinder-terrano-turbo/

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

JNC Decal smash

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17 Responses to QotW: If you could own a Japanese race car from any era, what would it be?

  1. RainMeister says:

    Hands down Ayrton Senna’s championship winning McLaren Honda MP4/4, but does the chassis also have to be Japanese? Then I would take Richie Ginther’s first Honda F1 race winner, the Honda RA272.

    Alternatively, I would take the Fuji GP winning yellow #21 Nissan R382. That V12 was home grown compared with the predecessor R381’s Chevy V8. Or maybe the Daytona 24 hour conquering Nissan R91CP.

    And don’t even get me started on production based Nissan/Datsun race and rally cars. They were the first Japanese auto maker to seriously and extensively factory race. So I wish I had Adam Carolla’s garage, or better yet the Nissan Motorsport garage in Yokohama. What history!

  2. Troy says:

    I’m a pretty young person, so I haven’t seen many Japanese race cars in the flesh, and I really haven’t seen any of them driven at the limit, so one could say that I don’t have a deep backstory to any particular race car. I can pull out one card that influenced me so deeply that even an entire decade later I still consider the street version to be my ultimate affordable dream car.

    Back around 12 years ago, I was first introduced to the world of motorsport through my dad and his PS2. He had all the greatest car games, Midnight Club 3, WRC, FlatOut 2, and the old Burnout games as well. One game stood out as the greatest of all though, Gran Turismo 4. With such a legendary status, it overwhelmed me, and to this day I’m still very proud of my 95.7% complete save file.

    One car though, became my utmost favorite to drive though. It wasn’t the Calsonic R32 or those shadow Group C racers that appear rarely. I loved the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV WRC car. It might seem a bit bland, but this car, through my childhood, has become something that’s more than just a car to me. Since then I’ve been a diehard Evo fan, particular to the IV-VI models, and one day, I’ll finally get my keys to a Steel Silver Evo IV GSR, a dream I’ve had all those years.

  3. Nigel says:

    A Mazda 254i , ear plugs under the helmet at Fuji Speedway and then Mosport.
    (Driving it afew times a year would be fine).

  4. BlitzPig says:

    Pete Brock’s 240Z


  5. Banpei says:

    It’s really tempting to go for all sorts of exotic race cars here. Heck I even would fancy a Toyota 7 or Nissan 380 myself, but that would be hardly practical at all. The only place I could drive and enjoy such a car is on a circuit and probably my pockets aren’t deep enough for that… The 2000GT endurance racer is tempting for this purpose as well, but I would feel objected against adding any extra kilometer to the odometer.

    So all I would ask for is a light, simple and humble car that can be enjoyed both on the street and track. That’s what Toyota must have thought as well when they created the Sports 800 based upon the Publica’s underpinnings. It’s supposed to be a great car to drive on the roads and through fast corners. The engine is a little bit under powered, but that makes attacking corners even more thriving! Back in the late 60s many boy-racers bought one as their daily commute and weekend-racecar, so I would be happy to take one of those old grassroots race cars and continue to enjoy it!

  6. Tim Mings says:

    I own one. Arguably the single most important Japanese race car for American HONDA, the 1970 N600 BAJA racer. It marked the beginning of HONDA’S race car efforts stateside. It’s loud, it’s rude, and rough as a cob! Check my Instagram to see it….. @mercilessmings

  7. Scotty G says:

    No-brainer: Tim Mings’ 1970 Honda N600 BAJA racer!

  8. teddy says:

    100% a skyline rs super silhouette

  9. Erik V Stolburg says:

    I’d personally go for the all-mighty 787B or JACCS Accord

  10. speedie says:

    Mazda 787B No. 55. It was the only non-piston car to win Le Mans and the first win for a Japanese manufacturer. The livery is so iconic a manga artist could not have done better and the engine sounds are an acceptable reason to go deaf. The four unrestricted rotors at full breath sound like a pack of hyenas tearing each other apart.

  11. j_tso says:

    Impreza WRC – any year before 2006

    Gonna have to go with a rally car since they need to be street legal to travel between stages. I’d hate to have a car that can only be driven on a track. The platform is also versatile, they can be set up for a variety of paved or rough roads. Also, driving an actual rally car would be the only time I wouldn’t feel embarrassed with the Impreza’s stupid huge wing.

    The African Safari 240Z, is a close second because it’s iconic and simple enough for even me to maintain.

  12. エーイダン says:

    I love the Mitsubishi Evo, but that seems a tad too obvious of a choice….hm…Perhaps the 1973 East African Safari Rally Mitsubishi Colt would do, as it is essentially the great grandpa of the Lancer Evolution…..

  13. Some Guy says:

    I would personally choose the Prince R380 as it was the first purpose built Japanese racing car. It was a very important milestone in Japanese racing history and the fact that it is so unknown upsets me.

  14. To me, it comes down to a Skyline GT-R. As far as production-based racers go, it’s the closest thing that Japan has produced to the Porsche 911 in terms of long-term competitiveness across multiple model generations. The question is: WHICH GT-R? The ’71 Fuji-winning Hako would be a great choice, as would be a Calsonic R32. But for me, because I have a sick sense of humor, I would choose the Winfield-liveried ’92 R32 of Jim Richards and Mark Skaife, winner of the 1992 Bathurst 1000 (best known for Richards’ “Pack of Arseholes” victory speech).

  15. Tom A. says:

    Rally-spec A70 Supra 3.0i

  16. Iwakuni91 says:

    Mazda Furai

    A prototype concept car built off a race car chassis destroyed by idiots (I’m looking at you Top Gear). Think about it; when was the last time a Japanese concept car was mourned by Western gear heads? What Japanese car company would even allow its one of a kind concept/race car on a test track with automotive journalists (tell us Ben!)?

    A 450HP Wankel engine designed by Racing Beat. A chassis used in the Petit Le Mans series. A design that transitions an automaker from foreign ownership back to self-sufficiency.

    Everybody has talked about Skylines, Evo’s and even the mighty 787B, all truly worthy autos. But you don’t have to go back in time to drive those cars, they’re still here with us. But the Furai served to bridge the gap between the race track and the buying public, so it is incredibly ironic that the buying public destroyed it. And no amount of money will get you in one today, for that, you need a time machine.



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