QotW: What JNC did you once hate but now love?

If you were alive in the late 1980s, you’ll recall that the V20 Camry was everywhere. Few at the time thought they were particularly attractive, and they seemed to carry the stigma that Camrys today still hold — reliable as death but not particularly stirring. But then you remember that this Camry was available with a 5-speed and a V6 and all-wheel-drive. And the mere fact that it has an actual steering column physically connected to the wheels and an actual throttle cable connected to a butterfly valve probably makes it better to drive than many of the “by wire” cars that would be in its class today. Now, I wouldn’t mind having one.

What JNC did you once hate but now love?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “Which S13 would you get, Silvia or 180SX?

The people have spoken, and we agree. Far and away, there was one clear winner this round, and that was Tom Westmacott, with many in the comments chiming in just to give him props. Here’s the epic comment that won the week:

A sibling spat, is it?

Silvia: “I was here first”
180: “But *my* customers lobbied Nissan to keep me in production for another five years after *you* were replaced”
Silvia: “Well anyway, I’m the pure original design, you’re just a compromised derivative”
180: (winks one pop-up)
Silvia: “I’m named after a beautiful woman”
180: “I’m named for a cool skateboarding trick”
Silvia: “Skateboard? You fatty, you’re a good 50kg more than me on the scales”
180: “Hah, my sleek fastback will swallow a mountain bike whole”
Silvia: “My two-door shell is more rigid than your floppy hatchback”
180: “But my teardrop shape is more aerodynamic”
Silvia: “You have boring trim levels like S and X, I’m an original with my pack of cards model designations”
180: “Yeah, but I never had to suffer the normally aspirated CA18DE. 135bhp… call yourself a sports car?”
Silvia: “I’ll have you know that Lime Green Two Tone is officially the best paint job ever bestowed on a car by any factory, anywhere”
180: “Two tone paint?? Come off it grandpa. My blackout B-pillars and full-width tail reflector are the cutting-edge late-eighties look”
Silvia: “Talking of reflectors, my reflector front-end is distinctive and unmistakable, unlike your generically rounded front bumper – your face is barely distinguishable from any other nineties coupe”
180: “Actually my original look is the split vent that pays homage to the legendary Bizzarrini 5300”
Silvia: “Pays homage to the nose of a farmyard pig, more like! Oink, oink, it’s ton-katsu for dinner!”
180: “I was good-looking enough to be sold in all world markets, while your saloon nose wasn’t fit for export”
Silvia: “But that just means that now I’m the exotic JDM ride that all the cool kids want, while you’re the common-as-muck drift slut”

Nissan Shacho: “Calm down children, the Finance Director and I love both of you very much.”

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

JNC Decal smash

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14 Responses to QotW: What JNC did you once hate but now love?

  1. Jeremy A. says:

    2nd Gen NIssan Maxima. When I was a kid in the late 80s, it was just another boxy snore-mobile sedan. As I got older, got to know more about cars, I turned my nose up at it. Front wheel drive! When the previous generation was rear wheel drive? I tossed it aside, with the label ‘wrong wheel drive’.

    Of course, as I aged, and came to appreciate JNCs, and especially the Bubble-Era cars, the Maxima started to grow on me. It didn’t matter that it was front wheel drive anymore; It wasn’t a sports car, it was a “sporty” car, and I’d come to know the difference. And then when I got a chance to drive a perfectly preserved 1988 model, and saw how it was basically a showcase for everything Japan had to offer that was scaring the pants off of the Big Three domestic producers, such as the Sonar Suspension, the keyless entry, the digital instrument package, whiz-bang sound system, and actual legroom for 4 passengers, I realized I was in love with the car. I loved everything the car stood for, and everything it did for Nissan. The little Maxima helped me come to realize that little “wrong wheel drive” cars like it, which had features that John Q. Carbuyer was interested in beyond pure performance allowed the automakers to make the low-volume enthusaist-oriented cars (Like the Z) that I’m such a big fan of.

  2. Jayrdee says:

    For me it was all the 3rd / 4th generation Civic Hatchbacks, “wagovans”, and CRXs.

    Growing up as a kid I remember seeing the junk around town. Mismatched panels, rust, that ugly horizontal exhaust dragging the ground, etc.

    I just thought they were the ugliest things alive…
    … until I got the Motul Civic on Gran Turismo and decimated everything.

  3. BlitzPig says:

    First off, you have to understand that I am a bit older than most of the posters here, so my hated JNCs were ALL OF THEM.

    Let me explain. I was a dedicated European car snob in the 1970s. I though that the Japanese cars were all slow, ill handling, under braked, rust buckets. Which, with the exception of the 240Z they were, and the Z car was still a rust bucket.

    Slowly however I began to become disillusioned with the expensive to own, unreliable British, and later, German cars that I owned. Yeah they were good driver’s cars, but when my Jetta ate it’s fourth fuel pump, and God knows how many fuel pump relays, I took a leap of faith and bought a CRX, and after that I’ve never looked back.

    Now I’d love to have an early Corolla with rear drive, and a twin cam and a sorted suspension and big brakes and flares. Not something a guy my age would normally aspire to, but yeah, I want one.

  4. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    Honda N360. They were everywhere and usually somebody’s first new car. Uninspiring colors save for the red or white. Tiny toy wheels too. Well…. I love them now. Cherried or tricked, they are awesome. I even like Honda’s reincarnation with the Urban EV Concept car. What a great car to hot-rod / electrify into a Tesla eater!

  5. DanielP says:

    The Z31. Especially after the release of the Z32 the Z31 just looked dated and heavy. The intercooler holes and the paltry power of the turbo V6 didn’t help. The T-tops and again the heavy look lent it a certain Japanese Camaro vibe. The drivers at the time (early/mid 90’s) didn’t help with their wife beaters and gold chains.

    That all changed when I saw an ZR2 Fairlady, then I began searching the auctions and goo and educating myself. Discovered that these had RB series inline sixes with tuning potential! And that all the cars needed was a slight drop in ride height and some appropriate wheels and bam! Be still my heart!

  6. エーイダン says:

    To be brutally frank, I never really hated any Japanese car, but I really do hate the types of people who lately in my area own Civic Si’s, ’90s Integras, ‘Looney Tuners’ I call them. But if we’re going to talk the drivers and not the cars for just a moment, I really hate the people of my generation who cannot resist the urge to decimate the value on a perfectly good, low mileage Japan-spec car with tasteless and irremovable modifications……and of course megaphone exhaust systems and those stupid and stupidly pricey sound systems. Thank god ground effects are outlawed in this province, otherwise I’d be scarred for life.

    Now I know, a lot of people are going to probably chew me out for what I just said, but don’t take it as an offence to the JNC community. Some modified cars are done in a tasteful way. Sure, mesh rims and a turbocharger never hurt anyone, but the ‘ricer’ crowd really is the automotive equivalent to the antichrist.

    • Mark Newton-John says:

      I agree, take the movie “Gran Torino”. What are the hoodlums driving? Your stereotypical Civic with an unfinished body kit and requisite fart can exhaust. Glad to see less of them as they have crapped out on their owners.

  7. Banpei says:

    I hated my fathers Toyota Carina wagon when I was a kid from the very first day, but only after he bought a new car five years later I started to love it.

    We entered a Subaru dealership and I was convinced my father would walk out the door with a Subaru XT (Alcyone), or at least with a third generation L-Series (Leone) coupe. But no, he was more interested in a Toyota Carina TA60 wagon trade-in that had been converted to run on liquid petrol gas (LPG) as well.

    Due to the nature of my father’s work, being a contractor, every car he owned suffered heavily from daily abuse, like hauling trailers every day. Apart from that, my father doesn’t really believe in regular service intervals. The Carina could withstand this abuse for more than five years, only to be replaced by an ARO 4×4 series 10 that only lasted 2 years before giving up.

    I was really impressed by the resilience of the Carina, so much that I wanted to own one myself one day. I never was able to find a wagon variant (all destroyed by contractors or exported) but I did find a nice 4 door sedan instead that I still love and cherish. 😉

  8. Chris says:

    I have always loved the V20 Camry. I guess I was at the right age in 1988 when my folks bought a white V6 LE one. So much so that when I turned 16 in 1995, that’s the car I wanted. I ended up with a 1990 DX that had 120,000 miles on it the day I drove it home in March of that year. My folks had traded the 88 in 1993 and fortunately it was bought by a retired lady who drove it less than 11,000 miles over the next 9 years. I kept track of it and in the fall of 2002 I bought it back from her with 82,689 miles on it. I have kept both, the 88 still has less than 90,000 miles on it, and that reliable little 90 hit 275,000 this year. The 88 is still very clean, the 90’s interior is in great shape, but the paint needs some work and it needs some deferred maintenance taken care of. But I love boxy sedans of that era. Always have, probably always will. I never liked the designs that came out in the early 90’s, with their rounded forms and austere lack of decoration/chrome.

  9. Scotty G says:

    I can safely say that I have never hated any of them. I don’t hate any vehicles of any type no matter where they’re from or what era they were born in. I’m an equal opportunity car lover.

  10. ra21benj says:

    A187A wide-body Mitsubishi Starion/Dodge Conquest. This car came out around the same time the EF civics and DA Integras came out. I was getting used to smooth aero styling with big glass, and the Starion was the opposite. It’s styling was busy straight lines, creases, and small glass. I always thought it was the Japanese version of a muscle car. It was the opposite of what I wanted at the time.

    After seeing one winning at the street races and a nice slammed one in college (silver with fin-spoke wheels), I’ve totally changed my mind about Starions. I love how it’s got so much Japanese style to it. It doesn’t need anything added to it to look perfect. Factory spoilers and wide-body are so cool looking. Future classic for me.

  11. Mark Newton-John says:

    Datsun F10. “My, what BIG EYES you have.” And someone at a car magazine dared compared it to a Porsche 924, if only for the curved glass hatchback. As a Toyota guy, I’d point and do a Nelson, “Ha ha…”
    Now, since they are all but extinct, my tastes have changed to like the obviously funky look of the F10. Same with the early 200SX.

  12. Ant says:

    I grew up liking all JNCs, thanks to a Gran Turismo education.

    Apart from the Nissan S30. Until five years ago or so I was bored of all the attention they seemed to get on car forums and the like, and the modified examples on show all looked the same to me – deep dish wheels, bolt-on arches etc. I really couldn’t see what the fuss was about.

    Then about five years ago I drove an original, unmodified example. Ah, now I got it. Relatively compact by modern standards, healthy power output for the era, great proportions, and generally rather fine to drive. I’m not a cool person, but it made me feel rather swish driving it too.

    The unfortunate aspect is that when I wasn’t so keen on them, I probably had a shot at affording one. By the time the penny dropped, prices were already on their way up…

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