QotW: What does your family think of your JNC?


Our love for old Japanese cars may seem like the most rational thing in the world to friends and fellow JNCers, but often it leaves the rest of the unenlightened scratching their heads (ie “Why are you spending so much money and time on an old Corolla?” or “Is that thing safe?” or “What’s that smell?”).

What does your family think of your JNC?

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 was your second car?”  

Toyota Corolla E110

We were thoroughly entertained — and even inspired to conduct a few craigslist searches — from your answers this week. In particular we loved Skyler‘s tale of being young and in love with a Supra, Tj‘s “half a JNC” of an RB30-powered Holden, Brett‘s yarn of haggling his local dealer into submission for a Mitsubishi Lancer Celeste, Kathleen Walker‘s account of how her Mazda RX-7 changed her dating life, Ian Gopez‘s Mitsubishi Eclipse woes, and Kevin‘s anecdote about his A60 Supra. However, by far the most chuckle-inducing story was  Yoda‘s about his 1999 Corolla:

I’ve seen a lot of cool cars on this comment thread, but none of them are as cool as my second car.

My FIRST car was a primer-grey 1990 CB7 Accord LX held together with zip-ties, duct tape, and prayers to any deity that would listen. I loved that car more than anything, but pretty much every time I took it on the highway I would hold my breath, listening to the weary transmission floating between gears, the body panels shuddering about, the suspension groaning and wheezing. It overheated all the time, especially in the summer, leaving me stranded in many a hot parking lot. No A/C, and if you rolled down the windows, you’d have to take the trim panels off to get them back up again (which I got pretty good at, after a while). It was, in effect, a mess. But it got me to high school and to my summer job (most of the time) and was decently quick with the o/d off. I drove it, jerry-rigged it, and hobbled it together for two years, and loved every minute of it.

Then everything changed. I met a girl. And she didn’t think I was a total weirdo. In fact, she wanted to go on, dates? Suddenly, I needed a car that I could count on to get me places on-time, and without looking like a sweaty mess. Preferably one that wouldn’t fall apart if someone’s loose shopping cart bumped into it at Target. One fateful day while driving home from work, my TCU finally up and quit, hobbling the Accord’s transmission significantly. On the side of the road, waiting for my Dad to come get me, I decided it was time to make a change.

With my savings from selling popsices and sunscreen at the local waterpark gift shop, (and an advance on birthdays/Christmas for the forseeable future from my parents) I purchased what felt like the best upgrade in the history of time. My second car was Fremont’s finest, the 1999 Toyota Corolla CE. Finished in soothing Sandrift Metallic and retaining 3 of its original hubcaps, I wasn’t popular with the shop kids and their Mustangs and Civic Si’s, but I couldn’t hear their snickers over the sound of 120 Aichi stallions reigned in by a properly-sized timing chain and the glorious whir of my ice-cold A/C. I had a stereo, I had a gas guage that worked, I even had *two* sideview mirrors! I could drive this car on the highway all day without one once having to forcibly unclench by jaw. I imagine this was what it felt like to see color TV after a lifetime of black and white. It wasn’t a blast to drive, it will probably never be a collector’s item, but I’ll never forget the grin on my face when I would turn that key and my bland little Corolla would start, without fail. But seasons change. I graduated, went to college, moved away. I don’t know where that car is now, but I take comfort in the knowledge that it’s probably still on the road.

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

JNC Decal smash

This post is filed under: Question of the Week and
tagged: .

33 Responses to QotW: What does your family think of your JNC?

  1. MainstreaM says:

    They don’t mind especially since my boy has a RG powered RN10 Hilux as his first vehicle.

  2. Banpei says:

    Good one… Both my brother and mother think I’m nuts and I should grow up (over 40 and grow up? 😛 ) and sell my 1982 Toyota Carina.

    My son finds it an old clunker and he doesn’t understand why I keep it. He likes the modern Civic much better, especially as in his eyes it is designed after an UFO or something similar. The Carina looks like an ancient dinosaur, makes a lot of noise and smells like an elderly people’s home.

    My wife accepts it and let me keep my hobby/pet project. She knows I like old cars, she knows I will spends time on them and she knows I’ll be gone to car shows and meetings every now and then.

    Then my father is proud. As he used to own a similar 1982 Toyota Carina in the mid 80s he is proud his son still has the same car (after 9 years ownership) and cherishes it. And perhaps for me it is one of the few ways to bond with my father…

    • Randy says:

      So, a question for you – or anyone else who gets the “attitude” from those who don’t get it:

      On what do they think you should spend your time and money?

      (Maybe an idea for Ben’s next question…)

      • Banpei says:

        That’s a good question. 😉

        Mom/brother: spend it on my wife/kids
        Son: new(er) car
        Wife: pay off the house
        Father: use the money to give him a loan 😀

        • Randy says:

          Well, as much as I hate to agree with anyone’s wife ( 🙂 ), paying off the house WOULD be a good investment…Though (assuming you’re in the U.S.) you’d lose the tax deduction. (DON’T show her this reply!)

  3. Jerome says:

    They don’t take it seriously.

    My daily driver is a 1980 Toyota Tercel Liftback Deluxe. It runs way better than their modern cars but they still think it’s a toy more than a car. When I tell my mother I’m going to another city, even if it’s not far away, she ask me “Do you want to take mine? I don’t need it today.”

    Yeah thanks mom but my Tercel actually have the abillity to move people from one place to another!

    It’s fun to see how simple such an old car is but how scared other people may be when I ask them to drive it. Just like it can’t be driven without particular attention and it’s extremely complicated!

    They will probably change their mind when the bills for electrical failure will exceed the cost of their cars!

  4. Jordan Whistler says:

    My family thinks that me buying a Datsun 620 at the age of 20 was a waste of money, but the lessons I get out of working on it are priceless. So in the end they think it was a very good thing that I had bought my close to dream car. The Datsun 620

  5. Nichole says:

    At 20 years old I knew I wanted something that was not a civic or a old bmw… I searched my local craigslist page and found an 1983 280zx Turbo Datsun… Not in the best shape but okay considering the age! I then contacted the person and gave them a offer of 1,500$ usd. His asking price was 3,200$ usd. He nearly responded instantly and said ok.

    I told my mother I was buying this car and she said no you’re not- i came back saying… Let’s just see.

    I set up a date to buy the car and went for the test drive on a rainy day. The car was in worse shape then the photos… But came with a list of recently done work. Took the old lady for a test drive and the cherry bomb exhaust fell off on the road. But car ran well.

    Talked the owner down to $800 USD and drove myself a nice little datsun home.

    I kept it under wraps from my mother and friends for a month or so… Fixed it up basic tune up breaks oil change and a good cleaning. Then drove her home.

    My mom was mad at first but then took the car out to for a test drive and did some burn outs and hit 100 mph on a side street.

    Since then I have worked on the suspension- and some motor work. Upgrades.

    Currently in the works for a teal paint job with a flake.

    She’ll be a real neat car.

  6. Jose medina says:

    My second car was a 1973 Datsun 620 pickup with no engine or doors l. Was missing the head lights,hood,seats,and fenders.I haven’t finished it and its been 25 years since I got it.

  7. Lupus says:

    My family and friends where sceptical from the very beginning, when i purchesed my 2nd Daihastu. I started to put money and huge amout of my work in it. During the years I’ve spent in/uder/over/beside that car created an undescibable bond between us. A bond so strong that it emanates around us, it seems to be visible to other, sometimes evwn strange, people. At some point in my life my Gray Hatsu was the pivot of all my actions.
    My family accepted that at some point, mayby because it’s better for me to spend evenings in the garage and driving alone for pleasure, that hanging out with my constantly drunk buddys.
    About two years ago I wanted to pick up a girl. She was pretty, inteligent and all… Usual stuff when You get mesmerized by a female student on english lecture…
    But it was a miss like no other. She told me in-da-face that i’m no good for her, “because i’m to much into my car”. Then it struck me. I was always babling about my old japanese ride, about mods i’ve made to it, about my garage equipment, ’bout new driving technique i’ve learned lately.
    It was then, when i’ve decided that I won’t circle around Him – my Gray Interceptor. He should circle around ME.
    Now, i am not driving with Him so much, thus He dosen’t need so much maintance and attention. My life is slowly comming to more “normal” levels. But the bond ramains. I can’t imagene that i could get rid of Him. So does my souroundings. Now when i’m not showing Him so often, i’m beeing asked by various persons “what’s up with Your grey oldie”, or “did You sold that car? It was actually cool”. And i’m just answering: He’s fine…


    I asked and they said what’s a JNC! But normally they say that the only thing missing are wings.

  9. jivecom says:

    Good question. I get a wide range of responses to it (an ’84 Toyota Pickup 4×4).
    My mam (who’s also into cars but not really old JNCs) thinks it’s cute and supports my decision to spend thousands of dollars on an ageing truck even if she doesn’t really appreciate what it is or why I wanted it.

    My (now ex) girlfriend didn’t like it because the seats aren’t great, the radio doesn’t work, and it’s noisy and always smells of gas. She also didn’t appeciate the lack of a side step. With it being almost perpetually dirty, she would often get her legs a bit muddy trying to climb in

    My work mates (I don’t have much else in the way of family so mates are being subbed in) are truck guys but are BRO-DOZER truck guys. They are generally light-heartedly dismissive of it (It’s very small after all, which goes against everything bro-dozers stand for), but sometimes it gets annoying if we do any 4 wheeling and they actually talk about how incapable (they assume) it is. Luckily it’s plucky and has proven itself as more than capable enough, and because it’s so small I can actually do a lot more than any of them can, plus I understand the need for a winch at all times and they’re too focused on how “ugly” a winch is, as if a giant white F250 with chromed suspension isn’t also ugly

    My neighbors really hate it because it’s loud and because it doesn’t look good parked on the street, and because it’s always dirty. They are derisive and mean whenever I’m working on it as if it’s the most unreliable car, even though 99% of the work I do is just normal wear and tear like oil changes and things that all cars need to have done. But I don’t argue with them because I already work nights and get home at 1am, no need to antagonise them further

    My boss is jealous because mine is a straight axle and his is an ’86 with IFS. At least he’s got EFI too

    • Randy says:

      Just a thought for the neighbors: Put a quieter muffler on it, and a chrome exhaust tip, and ALWAYS make sure the tip is clean and polished… Not the rest of the truck; JUST the tip. Just to mess with them.

      • jivecom says:

        Well my sympathy for the noisiness goes out the window when the people who complain also have parties till all hours three or four times a week. Plus it’s not exactly obnoxious, it’s just not modern-car quiet. It’s a farm truck after all

        • Randy says:

          Oh, THOSE neighbors… Eh, as long as it’s all legal, they can just deal with it.

          I guess I’m lucky – none of that kind of my own. Of course, I’m working on becoming a hermit, so they could be running down the street on fire and I wouldn’t know…

  10. Justin says:

    I should start by saying, like most people these days… my parents are split up. I live with my mum, and she mostly tolerates my obsession with cars, even though she doesn’t “get it”. It wouldn’t really matter to her what car I had, I don’t think she would approve or disapprove in any sort of fashion.
    I have had a few wins with her. She drove my old Corolla Wagon (4A-GE swaped AE71) and claimed it was “fun – but too loud”. This weekend I’m going to Calgary and will be lending her my Cressida Wagon, a plan she isn’t thrilled with, but is accepting and will hopefully enjoy by the time it’s over (It’s got A/C for crying out loud! It’s a luxury automobile! – even though it scrapes over every speed bump…)

    My Dad is another story….

    Trying to convince my dad that any vintage car is practical is next to impossible. He’s not really around enough to see how often my wagon comes in handy for hauling stuff, or how little it actually costs to maintain it. All he hears is when I put more money into modifying or fixing it. If my dad had his way I’d be driving a brand new Audi or Mustang or Lexus…. or… something brand new. With a warranty. Not sure I’ve ever managed to pull a win out of him with any of my JNCs… even though he’s the one who started me on this kick! He had an FB RX-7 and an FD RX-7 when I was a kid. Mind you, at the time I suppose they both had warrenties…

    My last remaining grandparent – my Grandma – such a kind hearted woman. She thinks my cars are “cool” and “neat”. However she doesn’t really understand why I like to lower them, and make them so “bouncy”. She does enjoy coming for rides in my cressida though… at least compared to my corolla… which kind of terrified her.

    And finally my sister. I don’t think she really cares…. however I did get her to buy a new MX-5 with a 6spd and she loves it. So perhaps if she keeps it long enough, she’ll join the JNC crowd herself.

    • Randy says:

      So your dad would rather you have payments for X years, on something that’s going to depreciate, while what you have is paid for, done depreciating, and is actually a practical vehicle, with better gas mileage than an SUV?

      Oh yeah – insurance is probably lower on your car than on the new ones, too!

  11. Tom says:

    My dad was sceptical when I was in the hunt for a JNC. He would scoff at some of the potential cars I would show him. However one day, after over a year of searching, I sent him the link to the listing of a one-owner, original condition example with around 80,000km (50,000 miles) on the clock. Even had the original sale and purchase agreement in the glove box. “Hey dad, what do you think about this? looks like a good buy”. It had only been listed within the hour and they were asking a very fair price. Next thing, dad has called the owner, haggled a couple of hundred off asking, and deposited half of the money into their bank account with the other half payable on pickup. All without my knowledge. So I guess my dad kick-started my passion for JNC’s. I paid him back of course. Since then, I have been in the process of bringing it back to an ‘as new’ condition and he has been very supportive along the way. He even went ahead and bought me a new drivers door due to some rust and had it primed, ready for painting. He also found some replacement interior trim that was in better condition. He is enjoying being a part of it. I think it must be something he wishes he did when he were my age. My mother is also supportive, but less interested, she took it for a drive and enjoyed driving manual once again.

  12. 5MGEsupra says:

    For me if it weren’t for my dad I probably wouldn’t be as into JNCs as I am. My dads owned many old Toyotas over the years, so of course that got me into them which he fully supports. When I got my drivers permit I was looking for a MK2 Supra I could afford, however I didn’t have the money so he purchased three incomplete Supras and we fixed one of them up into a very nice drivers car, a super deep red 1985 P Type 5 speed. So of course he’s into having somebody else who’s really into our growing collection of old Toyotas, and a Miata. He’s more than happy to let me take any of his cars out for a drive, however unfortunately collector car insurance is quite restrictive..

    My mom on the other hand doesn’t get it at all, however she doesn’t say anything about it. Whenever me and my dad discuss any new purchases im always met with a ‘How the hell many do you have now?!?’ Brother is also into them as is my grandfather who’s not a car guy but still thinks they’re awesome. He owned an A40 Celica and 240Z back in the day after all.

  13. Mazdax605 says:

    My kids love my jnc’s and think they are cool even though almost everyone else in my family and most of my friends think they are strange cars not worth owning. My 9 year old boy thinks my 74 REPU is his or will be his as his first car. We went to look at a 91 Mitsubishi Montero RS this past weekend as a father/son project for my almost 14 year old son and he loved this seemingly unlovable hunk of jnc steel.

    I’m not entirely sure what my wife thinks about the collection of jnc’s, but on the rare occasion I mention selling one she won’t let me. I think she probably likes the Delica the most as we use it the most, and it’s a great family vehicle. Her 06 sienna is getting long in the tooth, and I’d love to get her in some sort of newer jnc, but I’m not sure she would go for it.

    My kids like riding shotgun in the rhd Delica and holding a spare steering wheel from one of my old RX-7’s just to mess with people on the road or at a drive through at a fast food joint. I don’t know what I would do without at least one jnc. Just last night we went out for ice cream in the Delica, and had at least 3 people ask all about it. I think my kids liked that, and I even caught my wife conversing with someone about the old odd ball.

  14. Byron Chiu says:

    I am blessed with a family whose lifestyle, tradition, and outlook have been positively shaped by our JNC’s.

    My family owns two Z31 300ZX’s.

    The ’84 GLL 2+2 has been in the family since I made it my project car in high-school. At first, the car was debatable. On one hand, my parents and I all thought it was a way to get myself into engineering; on the contrary, being the first-generation in the United States for less than a few decades, my parents worried that working on this car made me “too” different compared to my classmates who all pursued academics more fervently (you could say “desperately”) than I did. But here I am now, graduating on-schedule, running my university’s Formula SAE 2016-2017 team, and working at my second internship in the aerospace industry. Because of my JNC, my parents equally valued the education that comes from doing and book-learning–and the contentment of sticking to yourself.

    Today, the 84 GLL 2+2 has gotten exactly to how I wanted it. My father likes the performance, Recaro seat, and Enkei Apache’s. My mother loves the wedge-shaped blue-mist metallic body, fender mirrors, and window-banner with Chinese/Kanji characters. My sister always has a blast with the t-tops down. All these years have produced a relatively cheap, practical car that my father occasionally drives to work, that gets heads turning and mouths talking, that has made meeting new people and places more engaging for my parents in areas that don’t speak the most Mandarin, but that are very fluent in car culture and scenic beauty.

    Our other Z31 is an ’85 Turbo survivor–same color and leather interior, but with analog gauges, manual climate control, and just two seats, of course. My goal is to restore it to original condition, modifying what only makes it more comfortable and practical–so that my parents can relive 1985 in style. Given the condition and price at purchase, and their increasing value, this other JNC of ours has gotten us more interested in finding other future classics to invest in, something that my mom likes as a realtor and that my father likes as someone who doesn’t like gambling on stocks.

    In short, my JNC’s are the family’s JNC’s. And they have made my parent’s lives happier and more adventurous in the United States!

  15. Nakazoto says:

    My wife is by far the most understanding and wonderful supporter of my hobby ever. I made a post in the forum a while back that I think clearly demonstrates just how amazingly lucky I am.


  16. Collin says:

    (note: I’m a college student that still lives with my parents half the time)
    My Dad is the one who got me into JNCs in the first place. Growing up he had a few different Datsun Fairlady Roadsters, which is kind of what started my car obsession in general. He’s been super helpful in helping and teaching me about stuff on all the various JNCs I’ve had over my relatively short car owning career. I actually wasn’t even going to buy my current Datsun (710 Wagon) but he convinced me it was a good idea.

    My Mom is skeptical but supportive. She gets tired of me and my dad dragging home “another ugly, piece of junk old car” sometimes, but she generally let’s us go about our hobby of working on old cars that not many other people see the appeal in.

  17. Steve says:

    Having sold Rooster, my 1996 R2-Limited Eunos Roadster tribute Miata, I had my eye on a 996 Turbo as my next toy. The 911 has long been (and still is) a bucket list car for me, and as my non-traditional taste in hobby cars tends to require a highly strategic campaign in order to get my wife’s buy-in, I started planning.

    It started with heritage. I showed her documentaries about the Porsche 911’s heritage. Photos of racing variants. Names she’d recognize of celebrities who have owned and raced them. I should have expected it would be a far easier sell than some of my past cars. The 911 is, after all, a pretty car and wears a prestigious “P” badge. The wife’s blessing was easily garnered.

    This was mid 2014 and I was probably within a week of actually purchasing one of the two or three candidates I had narrowed my search down to. I don’t remember exactly how it happened – how I stumbled across this information – but I was suddenly made aware that the R32 Skyline GT-R was about to be 25 years old and legal to import to the USA.

    As my entire search shifted gears, I realized that I had dug myself into a very deep hole. I didn’t just have to convince my wife that the next ugly, 90’s Japanese car that I wanted to buy was a good idea. I had to convince her that it was a better idea than a Porsche 911 Turbo.

    I’ll save you the nitty gritty details of that campaign. Suffice to say, she’s grown to adore my BNR32. While she still thinks it’s ugly as sin, she “gets it”. So much so that I’m now potentially going to be bringing home a DR30 RS-X to park next to it in the garage.

    And, one day, when I’m ready to bring home a 911, I’ll have much less work to do convincing her it’s a good idea. Though, I know she’ll miss the Skyline. She’s already told me as much.

  18. Geoff says:

    When my wife was pregnant with our second child, she said this magic sentence to me, “Hey, you should go look at getting another Z so that we can both drive Zs to the Z club meetings”.

    She knew I’d always wanted an S30, and even our Z32TT didn’t scratch that particular itch.

    Nearly 10 years later, I’m still the luckiest man alive.

  19. Ryan says:

    My mother nicknamed my RX-7 the Vomatron. Apparently the smell of raw fuel and brisk acceleration does not equal a fun time?!

  20. Raymond says:

    Because the economic crisis of the 80s in my country, new cars were very expensive, with lots of taxes. So everybody brought used cars from the U.S. and Europe. I brought a 1982 Toyota Starlet, I was looking for a late 80s Corolla or Civic but this Starlet was in exceptional condition. This was our family car; me, young wife and 2 small girls for 8 years. We bought a brand new Nissan Sentra ( Taxes went down) for the wife and later a very nice Brazilian Fiat hatchback for the older daughter ( The youngest was a child by then ). The small and loyal Starlet remained with me for few more years. Wife was not happy and also my father told me that why I was keeping this car. I bought a brand new 2006 Suzuki hatchback as a daily driver but kept my Starlet. Since that time, I have “updated” my daily driver twice, but I keep my Starlet. Still family does not understand my relation with this little one, but I´m happy !!!

  21. Joe Musashi says:

    Hello, first time poster here, long time lurker (I love everything Mazda in here), and decided to give this a shot.
    My JNC is my second car; a silver NA Miata. The first being a Ford Ranger that was plenty of fun with a body style that I still love to see. A small, single cab truck is all I needed. Everyone in the house said it was cramped, but I saw it as cozy. I ended selling that truck to a friend to buy a bigger truck for the family.
    Fast forward a few years later, and I came upon a little silver Miata that looked okay. I decided it was the right time to jump on the opportunity to own something small again, and gave it a shot. Went and bought it, at night, and what did I get myself into. The next day, to my surprise, it was a disaster. At least the car ran, didn’t overheat, and the lights went up and down.
    The car was a smoker’s car, it stank so much it was nauseous, everything in the interior was browned from the cigarettes. The radio’s wiring was a mess and how it didn’t short, I’ll never know. The back window was this crispy yellow, cracked dash, seats with no foam and the power steering hose leaked as soon as I drove it to the garage. From the looks of it, it was well used, but not maintained properly, almost abandoned and sitting after the last owner was done with it.
    But don’t think it’s been a tragedy since I bought the car. I’ve learned a lot from fixing things and understanding them when they break down. This has all been priceless and valuable education to me.
    A speaker was missing, the other was garbage, cracked dash, cracked windshield, leaking valve cover, cas malfunctioning after it was up to op temperature , fuel pump on the way out, sorting out stiff wiring, timing belt snapped, and a leaking radiator to mention a few. But hey, If the car doesn’t want to quit, I won’t either.
    So finally, what does my family think of it? It’s all been nothing but positive reactions from everyone. My sister envies me for it and learned how to drive stick with it, my brother likes to show it to his friends, and mom and dad would want to keep it if I decided to sell it. My neighbors like to see outside, even like to help with the mechanics every once in a while.
    It doesn’t even end there, We hired a mechanic to fix something with my dad’s truck, and offered me money for it. Sometimes people on the street sometimes like to stop and ask questions about it and try to do the same. The most notable one that I’ll remember forever; while I was doing the timing belt, and there comes this knock-at-the-door sells-man. The dude shows up and all it was Miata-talk about how he used to have one, but had to sell his because his family was growing. We never discussed what he was selling and the guy left a lot happier than when he came to my door.
    I know this is just a Miata and feels like I’m making things up, but I swear to you I’m not. There’s something about it I guess. This is how it’s been with this car so far.

  22. Leonard Kruwel says:

    They have pretty much given up on my ever parting with my 1985 Civic Wagon. My only ally is my Son who is also addicted to his 1993 Accord Wagon, which has even MORE miles. Many cars have come and gone in my stable since 1987, even other Hondas, but this Civic is a keeper. The Swiss Army Knife of automobiles. As long as my trusted Mechanic can find parts, and it can pass smog here in CA, it shall live on, until it biodegrades

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *