QotW: What JNC memory do you have with your dad?

Happy Father’s Day everyone (well, yesterday, but you get what I mean). This week I want to ask you all about a fond memory with your father (or father figure) and how it relates to JNC. Maybe you were given a hand replacing the points on a 1968 Toyopet, or learned how to take an oil filter off without breaking out the kitty litter. Tell us,

What JNC memory do you have with your dad?

Briefly, mine involves an RX-4 wagon (in silver), a snowy day and floor mats. My family received an RX-4 hand-me-down from my grandfather when I was just old enough to really remember. We lived outside the city and would have to make a trek up a steep hill with plenty of twists and turns until it plateaued towards downtown. I never thought much of that hill. In fact, in my later years I drove an AE82, in 3rd gear, up it without a second thought. Most sane people drove the hill in second, and barely at that.

During the winter months, we found a large land yacht parked on the side, extremely close to a drop off. The driver had lost traction on a sharp corner and slid to the edge from the icy slush on the road. My dad stopped to give a hand. He was a volunteer firefighter so he had been to the same hill for emergency calls and knew how serious the situation was. Those days guard rails were sparingly used.

We tried to gather some nearby tree branches and rocks to cram under the tires but it didn’t help much. Then, we pulled the rubber floor mats out of the RX-4 and tried to give traction to the big car, with some success. Finally, I ended up sitting in the trunk with my dad pushing from behind for the big American beast to get enough traction to pull itself out of the slushy rut and back onto the road.

My dad may not have rocked a sweet Mazda jacket without a shirt like in the lead pic, but he was just as cool by saving the day in a raspy rotary wagon with grippy floor mats.

Let us know your memory. The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “Take the JNC Challenge, Part 06

Last week we gave you all $3800, cash, to help us replace our beloved Honda Shuttle originally suggested by Bob and looked after by Randy. The response was excellent with a range from another Shuttle suggested by Randy (maybe if we land a bonus from work) to several Mazdas taking up at least 50 percent of the discussion.

Seeing as this week’s QotW doesn’t involve the JNC challenge, we are going to wait until NEXT WEEK to reveal the new ride. The winner will be notified and announced next week. Until then, relax, take time during the week to do something nice for your JNC and go for a cruise.

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

This post is filed under: Question of the Week.

11 Responses to QotW: What JNC memory do you have with your dad?

  1. Jac Cottrell says:

    I grew up 100% Chevy. Dad is a mechanic, has old project corvettes in the garage, the whole deal. First car was a ’71 Chevelle that we dropped a hot L79 327 into.

    I graduate college, and within a month pick up a used Miata. I drive it home for the first time and am greeted with ‘WTF is that? All this money to get educated, and you buy THAT?!?’

    It didn’t take too long for him to get into it, we had it torn apart for new parts by the end of the summer. Also built a DIY turbo kit for the car with my Dad.

    But…it does’t end there! My brother is a bit younger and when it came time to find him a car I found a score. For just $400 and a set of snow tires I found an FC that ‘may need a little motor work…’ We had him working on rotarys! 🙂 That has been years ago, they are now 3 seasons into a turbo drift miata.

  2. robin says:

    The year was 1987 and I was born, as any other human I cannot recall what happened in those early years and all I have are blurry images of a little cream Nissan Sunny Truck (1400 bakkie where I am from) in the background of some of my baby photos

    I do remember that Nissan though as my Dad kept it for many years and many memories were made with that little thingy. Winter days our whole family of four crammed into the cabin with me sitting on my Mom’s lap and my older brother between my Dad and Mom on the bench-seat (SA spec), I distinctively remember the hot air filling the cabin through the gear lever as the boot was missing. It was key less entry and start due to the ignition being , for a lack of a better word, screwed.

    It got my brother and I in deep poop too with my Dad, we were bright sparks (sarcasm) and thought if we could drive on our favourite console (Sega 16bit megadrive ) meant we could drive a real car. Well my brother started the Nissan (with possibly a screwdriver) and off we went enjoying ourselves and we end up on a gravel road. Like every other kid would do (dont act like you are not thinking what we were thinking, it’s rwd afterall) my Brother selects first gear and revs it up and releases the clutch and he manages to keep it going straight and then selects second gear and swiftly releases the clutch and that is when all hell broke loose, he was 13 years old and I have never seen him sh!t his pants like he did that day. The 1400 bakkie starts to do its own thing and when the dust settled we were inches away from a wall, a higher power was definitely on our side that day and we could park the little Nissan back at home without a scratch. However somehow my Dad knew we went joy riding and that night we got a damn good talking to (those talks where it hurts more than a good ol’ hiding).

    That Nissan was by our side through everything, from my Mom’s business going bang due to large importation of inferior clothing at a price no local clothing manufacturer could compete with to the banks almost repossessing our house which lead my parents to sell up and had to move to an area where lets just say you needed to know how to protect yourself. That Nissan made sure it got us on time to where we needed to be, it started slowly rusting away almost at the same pace as my Dad’s self esteem due to not being able to survive some months and loan after loan to keep his Family from being without a roof or essentials. My Dad and the Nissan did boot sales over the weekends, hustled by buying unwanted goods and sold it at a local second hand flea-market. This was the best time of our lives, at the time it was not but now looking back it was a time when I bonded with my Dad the most ,as I would enjoy going with him to buy goods and would be excited to see how much profit we could make off of it… I could see the worry in my Dad’s eyes every time he bought stock and would always ask me a few times if it would sell, I would say yes but deep down I knew as well as he did that it was a gamble. And so we would trek along from suburb to suburb in this cream Nissan making a living. With my Dad working two jobs (one his day job and one the flea market) the little Nissan was putting on mileage like no ones business yet never leaving us stranded. It was loved and my Dad made sure it was kept neat as much as we could and was maintained as best as possible.

    Time came when my Dad said eff it we can’t struggle no more and sold everything to put money into a business, not just any business but where he worked for close to 30 years (at that time). the owner said he wants to retire and My Dad said he will buy the place before it gets sold to someone who knows nothing of how it was run and it going bang. The little Nissan had to go and I remember us having to see it off. I was not sad, I had no idea then that it was special but my Dad had sad eyes.

    My Brother and I grew up and we graduated and all those stuff that children should do you know, got jobs and paid taxes… Dad not allowing us to work for him and we had to find our own feet, both his sons help him out every weekend and we love messing around in the workshop building something weird and wonderful from a civic track car to a standard CRX… we certainly appreciate what we have now but we have never forgotten what brought us here.

    One day i came from work and popped in at the workshop and there it was, a cream little Nissan 1400 bakkie. Alot neater than what i remembered our one to be but it brought a smile to my Dad’s face. He bought it as a delivery vehicle for the workshop, I at first was happy but I got home and thought about it and offered to buy it from him so he can buy something newer so that this one can live a longer life. Deal was done and now my Dad and I still trek from suburb to suburb, only difference now is we do it for pleasure and we hunt down classic Japanese car parts or simply just enjoy the open road.

    He is car mad too and was the one who would take my Brother and I to our local track to watch circuit racing and was one of the few Dad’s to know the difference between a porsche, lamborghini and a ferrari… my friends dad’s called every sports car a ferrari. My Dad taught us the pleasure of driving and to enjoy a car and not abuse it, he used to say a lot that when driving you must have mechanical sympathy… I guess that was his secret to keeping a car for years without breaking down once.

    There is no way I could ever be an awesome Father like my Dad , when i eventually have a kid of my own, but I know I will have a cream Nissan that will be in the background of many photo’s that we take of our kid.

  3. CLShifter says:

    In 1980 I was three years old, my dad was still in the Navy and we’d just returned to the States after 2 years stationed in Spain. My parents ’73 Pinto had gone to Spain and back with us, but it was time for it to go. My dad bought a lightly used 1978 Corolla SR5 Liftback. He proceeded to drive it every day until 1991.

    I feel like I grew up in this car. It was a 1.6L hemi-head, RWD carb’d 4-banger with a 5-speed manual. It almost never broke. The exterior was maroon and the interior was tan vinyl. It had this foam headliner that I poked little holes in with a stick when I was 4. I watched Dad row that shifter for all those years, and he even let me shift it occasionally. Then I would go to my room and pretend the loose knob on top of the bedpost was a shifter, wiggling it back and forth while making engine sounds. Dad always did his own maintenance. I remember sitting next to the car when I was 5 while he changed the oil and tried to explain to me the workings of the 4-stroke ICE. I remember pretending his timing light was a laser gun, and him giving me little lengths of solder to bend and make shapes with while he worked on various electrical projects.

    When it as time for me to buy my first car, what did I end up with but a RWD, stick shift Japanese hatchback? In my case it was a Datsun 200SX, and Dad and I spent many hours in and under it together.

    Today, although I drive a newer vehicle on a daily basis, I still only drive manuals, and my love for old Japanese hatches remains strong. My ’88 200SX V6 sits in the garage, with different parts disassembled depending on what week it is. I lay the blame for this squarely on the shoulders of Dad’s ’78 Corolla SR5.

    It was rust that finally did it in.

  4. Scotty G says:

    I had the first Japanese car ever in our family – my first car, a 1971 Toyota Corolla 2-door wagon with a 4-speed. I bought it for $400 in 1981 after high school and even though it was starting to get rusty after a decade of Minnesota salty roads/winters, it was a great car. That is until I started heading odd noises in the engine. This was the 1.2L, unfortunately, not the 1.6, but it was still a fun car to drive. I eventually sold it for $750 and I’ve been looking for another one for years. I may as well be searching for Sasquatch, they’re nonexistent.

    We rebuilt the engine in our little one-car garage and I learned so much from him during that whole process. Also, things like cutting out rust and making new, custom-fit metal patches and welding them in, and doing all sorts of car-related things. Unfortunately, he died in a canoeing accident (yep, the canoe tipped over, in a remote lake by the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in far northern Minnesota) in 1985 and even after 32 years we still miss him terribly.

  5. Censport says:

    I can still remember my dad teaching me how to drive his 1972 Datsun pickup. It was 1976 and I was nine years old. My grandfather had a tobacco farm (corn in alternate years, naturally) and my dad had forty acres of his own hunting land to tend. I was put to work early! It took a few tries before I didn’t stall it, but that first sensation of movement had me hooked, and I haven’t stopped driving yet.

    Thanks Dad.

  6. Nigel says:

    My dad letting me learn to drive on gravel roads, near our old cottage.
    (Wagon V8, gravel nuff said). Became a Toyota fan when my dad started working at a local dealer back in the eighties.

  7. Taterhead says:


    No real memories of J-tin growing up aside from the late 70’s model Civic my grandparents pulled behind their motor home.

    It was always Chevys and Fords in my household. Japanese cars were “riceburners”.

    Which is why I promptly bought a 510 when I could and it is awaiting restoration from me and my son. Sometimes you have to break the cycle, or in this case, bad habit.

    And I love rice.

  8. Parrot says:

    The smell of the car when Dad brought home his new KE20. Even now, 46 years later, I’m transported right back to his smiling face whenever I get a faint similar whiff. Even the Toyota workshop when it went for service had a smell, an amalgam of paint, oil, plastic and……something.

  9. psyaddict says:

    My stepfather owned 3 generations of mazda 626, thats where i got my mazda love.
    The first one had this clip-on koala on the rearwiev mirror, and a horrible auto transmission, the locks were broken with screwdrivers and car was always open, otherwise the junkies would have broken the windows.
    Now I also have a 626 wagon, and a fc3s rx-7

  10. Gary says:

    Happy fathers day to all the American dads out there from us at Toyota Heritage.

    We celebrate Fathers day in September – but the meaning of this important day to all of you is not lost us!

  11. I don’t really have JNC memories with my Dad but he is somehow the person who started my passion for JNC.
    He was a rallye pilot in the 70’s, specialized in african rallyes. He used to race Datsun 1600SSS, among others Alpine A110 and Renault 8 Gordini. He also worked in the luxury car business here in Switzerland.
    I remember how he used to say that japanese cars were “crap” when I was young. Nevertheless, 2 cars were bringing stars in his eyes : the Toyota 2000GT and the Honda NSX. As those were still affordable back in the day I will always regret him not buying one of those. I will always remember the day he took me to the Geneva Motor Show to show me the NSX in real. It was love at first sight and it never went away.
    This is the moment when I started getting interested in the Japanese car history and the passion never left since then.

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