QotW: What JNC design has aged better with time?


Like many JNCs, when it debuted the X70 Cressida was an utterly nondescript family hauler. The ur-Avalon’s boxy lines were dismissed as typical Toyota conservative styling and it sat completely unrecognized for decades. Now we’re in a Cressida renaissance, and it’s the darling of tuners, VIPers and drifters alike. Somehow, its shape even seems to have aged better than that of its contemporaries, such as the Audi 5000, Volvo 760 and E28 BMW.

What JNC design has aged better with time?

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What JNC race replica would you buy?”

Mazda RX-3 vs Skyline GT-R

Of this week’s answers, we were tempted to choose Lupus‘s solid argument for the Akuma no Zetto, as well as Mick Beattie‘s justification for Allan Moffat’s Group C RX-7, but in the end, j_tso won for his oh-snap-clever yet to-the-point pick:

This RX-3 and then smirk at all the Hakosuka.

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

JNC Decal smash


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30 Responses to QotW: What JNC design has aged better with time?

  1. Ant says:

    I wonder if the answer to this isn’t simply, “all of them”.

    Several JNC designs were, realistically, quite boring back when they were new cars, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned with the benefit of hindsight it’s that some of the boxy shapes from the 1970s and 1980s have aged very well.

    What was once lack of imagination has become appealing simplicity, and now it’s the details that really make the car.

  2. Robin says:

    Im with Ant, All of them (I guess personal opinion).

    We had a little cruise and my friend with his sunny truck was parked next to a 458 ferrari and kids were taking pics of the pickup and other cars, yes no doubt the red car will get some attention but it did not get as much as the old Japanese vehicles. This to me says things have indeed changed a lot and people are appreciating what was once known as bland cars.

    Any neat and tastefully tuned or in original condition JNC is getting the respect they deserve, and i am sure this is happening world over.

    I think the Japanese were always ahead in terms of design and ergonomics. ”
    Those old shapes that were not appreciated and just bought for a daily runabout are now being re-looked at and we kinda go ” damn how i wish i was living back in the 80’s/90’s to appreciate it when it was new”.

  3. Kevin says:

    Yep, they’re right. Every one of them. Even the fugly little F10 that’s sitting at one of the the used car dealerships here in Missoula, MT looks awkwardly amazing!

  4. Lupus says:

    It’s a damn tough question. Especially beacuse the japanese machines have that “something” in them. Even today. It’s evan hard to replicate the look of true JDM machine on a same model sold here, in Europe. What’s more funny, I love the design of Toyota 2000GT, Supra A70, A80, Fairlady Z’s. But i’ve never been a fan of Jaguar E-type, witch is commonly refered as the ur-father of that sleek coupe design.
    A cannot decide witch i adore more: Nissan Laurel C31 for it’s box’iness or Supra JZA70 for technical advancement, sheer power and pop-up lights 😉

  5. Sleepin says:

    I guess if you would like to know which JNC does not look like an aged design, you would have to look at the RX-7 FD. I was in high school when the third generation came out. I remember thinking how sleek and futuristic it looked. I also thought the same of the A80 Supras. However, the A80 (as much as I love them) now looks as if it were an older design, while the FD is still sleek and modern looking (even with pop-up headlights).

  6. Chris says:

    For me it was the Datsun 240K.
    I had a couple when near new (even had some demos loaned to me for wedding cars by the local dealer)
    Everyone thought they were the worlds ugliest car.
    They had rust issues early on but look at them now…wish I still had them

    • Toby says:

      The 120y’s uglier older sister is what a few people call them, before the internet you couldn’t even get scrap value for them.

  7. Randy says:

    Ahhhhhh, I’ll agree with the majority of the early posters: ALL OF ‘EM.

    Thinking about it a bit, and I’ll probably rephrase the idea, but at least for now, let’s go with:

    They looked more “sculpted,” as opposed to what I have to call today’s look of “melted.”

    Remember back in the ’80s, when the discussion was that cars would be “jellybeans?” Leave a jellybean in the sun too long, and we’re kind of where we are now, except that there are more colors in a bag of jellybeans.

    Hey Ben – looks like no winner this week; we’re mostly agreeing… Oooohhh! Prizes for EVERYBODY! 🙂

  8. ahja says:

    I find the ST165 to be aging very well. Doing it totally under the radar too. http://www.rallyfx.com/photos/GT4/GT4-FR08-P4060059b.jpg

    And because I can’t let the anti-Audi rhetoric go unchallenged: The B2 Audi 4000 is a better looking car than the contemporary X70 Cressida http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_MiZ-UqDwf6c/TPx_2DkaomI/AAAAAAAAHXg/1Vgz0XNMXOE/s1600/1984+Audi+4000CS+Quattro+4000+CS+Saloon+4+door+sedan+1.jpg

  9. Brett says:

    I am a big fan of the A60 and the A70 Toyota Supras.

    The A60 went through a period where it fell out of favour, but today the innovation and purity of the design is really evident, and they are coming back into favour and will be valued more in the future.

    The A70 is a timeless shape that looks as good today as the day it emerged from under the covers.

  10. DJ Steeko says:

    There is really no denying the true craftmanship and sheer perfection in every aspect of a japanese car. I see cars from all countries of all era’s and I am completely drawn to Japanese cars from the late 60s to today (eg early crowns through to the latest lexus coupe).

    I look at Australian cars and they are ok, I look at European styling and I think it looks ugly as hell.. New american cars too (I like old american cars pre bubble shapes).

    I look at Japanese cars and there’s so many cool designs, I like so many, there’s so many to choose from and so many 2 doors ! The rest of the world has gone 4 door mad.

    To me the boxy coupes from around 1980 to 1985 are my fav, mainly due to the overall good looks from every angle… and pop up lights 🙂

    I love how everyone hates on them when they’re stock, but then fall in love with them when they’re dropped on some deep dish. It’s like these people are too limited in their minds to picture what these cars are supposed to look like 🙂

  11. DJ Steeko says:

    I would like to add that my 83 celica is so rare on the road now, that if anyone see’s it they ask what it is as it has no badges.. no idea it’s a toyota, no idea it’s a celica, no idea it’s rear wheel drive, no idea its factory turbo, no idea it uses 6L/100km, no idea how awesome it is 🙂

  12. S. Ichiban says:

    To me, a car gets better with age when folks stand around it–hands in their pockets, ducking and peeking for interesting details, grinning amusingly–exclaim: “They just don’t make them like they used to”.
    That said, S/C/R-body Skylines, Supras, Soarers, and the like don’t quite fit the bill because they have, more or less, stuck to their roots as up-scale GT cars. Impreza STI’s/RS’s and Lancer Evolutions also have not gotten better with age because of same, time-tested formula. Cars like MR2’s, Miatas, Sprinter Corollas, Civics, too, have always been synonymous with light, corner-happy, affordable sports-cars that their charm is timeless.
    Cars whose modern equivalents were NOTHING like they were before, age best with time. The Cressida was a proper, powerful, RWD executive car yet Toyota ditched its sporty platform, flashy chrome, and premium interior in the pursuit of sales with similar-sized but significantly watered-down Camry/Avalon. Toyota, since, has not bounced back (at least Nissan made the most out of the rival Maxima’s FF-layout with the Z34 V6, tons of powertrain tuning, bold-styling, and plush driver-oriented interior). The same story goes for the Celica, going from a fierce 240Z/510-fighter to a Tiburon-teaser…why bother picking on a Tiburon?! Why?! And the Mazda RX7–how did they go from a small, turbo-option, 2-seater (ok, there were 2+2’s but anyway…), stunning taillights, and futuristic bodies (the SA/FB wedge, FC 944-esque body (WAY ahead of its time!), Panoz-sleek FD)–to a physically disproportional, NA-only, 4-door? And how did Z-cars become so big and pricey? When are we going to get t-tops, two-tone, and simple GT-esque interior again?

  13. Ramón Mora says:

    For me most of the Toyotas age very well. Their looks are always a little controversial when new, but sometimes they are just setting the trend of things to come ( See the original Yaris of the late 90s ), in addition of that, their excelent quality and strong construction helps a lot.

  14. Okiera29 says:

    Hands down for me it is the Cressida/cresta/chaser/mark II body style. From the park bench bumpers to the gentle slope of the rear window it is pure 80s goodness. At stock height it looks ungainly and grandma-esque. With a slight rake it turns downright sinister. Like somebody juiced grandma’s oatmeal and now she is out for blood. The interiors have aged well and have just enough gizmos to be cute, but not tacky. Unfortunately for most of the country, the Cressida has just slipped away into rust and rest. The few that are left are used and abused. You left coasters have it good.

  15. Daniella Sky says:

    Definitely, it’s a Fairlady s30. This car has outstripped the time..

  16. felix says:

    All of them of course, the real question is, will there be anymore?
    For me most of the great car designs stopped by the 90’s.
    Only a handful of collectable cars are being made and designed these days.
    (and most of those are usually expensive)
    Most new cars are boring and are made to be recycled when finished with.

    • Sleepin says:

      I think the FR-S/BR-Z brothers will fall into the future classics category. Simply due to the body lines and the fact that they are, in most aspects, a throwback to a older design.

      • felix says:

        yes the new 86 was one of the cars that came to mind
        that would be affordable for normal people.
        (and of course the Mx5/miata and Rx8)

        • ahja says:

          I think the 370Z will be desirable in the future, since it is good looking and doesn’t sell very well now. The 350Z will age worse than a 280ZX. S2000 refuses to really depreciate and will be a future classic too.

          • felix says:

            It’s the basic family cars and sedans that won’t
            be worth collecting, as most have no style or
            character these days.

  17. Ed7_owner says:

    really jnc? one car? welp, I know ima get chewed out but the EF civic si pref 91.
    when one rolls up clean MAH NIGGAH. well theres also the corolla te72 godam thats a really clean build. its like the boso jr.
    nissan s12 silvia, because its an unsung hero.
    mazda repu rotary trucks.
    mitsubishi colt,
    and thats all i got…

  18. michael says:

    Z20 soarer, that is all.
    You have to see one up close to see all of the cleaver areas of design

    • ahja says:

      Soarers would been a fine car if the AE86 and Supra never existed, but as it is, its a Supra drivetrain in a body that looks like an awkwardly proportioned Levin coupe, the cartoonish greenhouse and overall big size being the main problems.

      And for some reason I highly doubt that it delivers on the metrics that make the AE86 such a stellar driver’s car, which are reliant on its small size, light weight, natural aspiration, and high revving.

  19. STAYlow says:

    I’d have to vote for my 83 RX7, classic wedge shape and pop up headlights. With the long hood and low seating position I always found myself parking feet away from an obstacle, pop up them lights and you could get within inches. The old Celica Supras still look great on the road as well.

  20. miatadon says:

    Integra, 2nd gen. I have a ’92 GS-R, and it looks better to me with each passing day.

  21. Jose says:

    The Land Cruiser 40 series, hands down.

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