In 1972 a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a court even Nissan’s CEO didn’t want to face for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Tokyo underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the J-team. Cue the music!
To be clear, there isn’t a Japanese A-Team reboot coming. I know, it’s tragic. But if there was, what kind of van would house four ex-military fugitives, be able to evade the law, and haul around their vast arsenal of weapons, surveillance equipment, and disguises?
What JNC van should star in a Japanese A-Team reboot?
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 favorite radio controlled JNC?”
This question apparently brought back a lot of memories for some readers. Unsurprisingly, Tamiyas were a popular choice, like CycoPablo‘s and nlpnt choice of the Subaru BRAT, sightline‘s Toyota Castrol Celica WRC, or MWC‘s massive backlog of radio controlled vehicles. However, our winner this week wasn’t someone who answered the original QotW directly. It was someone who helped a fellow reader out.
Ian G wrote about a fond memory of a Toyota HiLux r/c he received as a child in 1983. He expressed interest in finding another, but he didn’t list the maker. And yet, Emuman came to the rescue by identifying the exact car! Hopefully that will help Ian track down another. Here’s the exchange:
The picture in this article almost says it all. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been into cars. Like most, it started with a love of Matchbox and Hotwheels die cast. But my life altering moment happened on a vacation trip to HK around 1983 (I believe) and my mom gifted me my first JNC remote controlled car, a Toyota 4 Runner (Toyota Hilux 4Runner in those parts). It was close to 1:18 scale. It was silver with the big off road wheel set up, light bar, decal graphics package etc. and I brought that toy everywhere with me. I took it to school for show & tell, showed it off to my friends and family.
To this day, I have fond memories of that 4Runner. It pretty much started my love of Japanese cars/JNC’s. It was just so cool to have. And to think, my love of cars didn’t happen because of a car. This predated my love of MR2’s after my first sighting by a couple of years.
As I mentioned, that picture you have with this article reminded me of my old RC. I think I’ll go find me one now.
Are you talking about this one?
I also owned and loved it. My cousin had a Suzuki SJ using the same chassis.
Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!
As long as it has around 400 hp and 400 torque I want one. Other wise the motor those came stock with would have a lot of trouble turning what looks like a set of 33 inch diameter tires.
Suzuki Carry…and it requires a long explanation why.
When I was 8 years old The A Team invaded the Dutch television. It had been programmed at 7:00PM and was clearly targeted at kids like me. Naturally me and all my friends liked the series a lot but at the same time there were a lot of concerned parents who did not like it at all. Soon the schoolyard was divided by the who-were-allowed-to-watch and the who-weren’t.
This was picked up by two Dutch comedians in their weekly TV show (equally popular). In this show they confronted the “program manager” of the TV station broadcasting it, threw him off the balcony BA-style, posed in front of a Suzuki Carry van (later renamed to Every) in Face/Hanibal style and then drove off:
The full clip can be found here:
But beware: it’s in Dutch and there is no subtitling. 😉
To add to the Suzuki Carry angle, the British equivalent (Bedford Rascal) got the A-Team treatment on Fifth Gear in a cringe Drifting Competition. The hosts (one even more cringing and possibly racist stereotyping) chanting “Drifto!! Drifto!!” like an uninformed Weaboo brought down the segment. At least the crash was memorable.
That’s an epic battle! How could I have missed that episode watching Fifth Gear after all these years?
Cause Top Gear was better.
If you wanna drive around in something that will survive the the next phase of the zombie apocalypse…a Toyota Mega Cruiser with an urban camouflage paint job.
Alright!!! Another van deal!!!
While I do think the Japanese have a smaller stature than Americans for the most part, a crack commando team I think would have a “bigger” guy. Maybe not too big, but I can think an equal to BA would be someone like Sakuraba (my OG MMA hero).
With that said, I will exclude the kei vans, even one dressed up as the GMC Vandura. (you can google Kei vans and the “B Team”.. .LOL.
from the UK.
What interests me is that someone used a Nissan Serena (mid sized van) compared to the Elgrand.
I do think it is appropriate to use a midsized van for the just to be on par with the A Team.
I want to find an equivalent and slightly above the 80s. I would want a street van over a camper van. Plus a bit of power since there would be chases and all.
90’s Townace and Hiace like my friend Tsuyoshi-san
Hiaces have soo much out there for them.. but are huge. Grand Cabin is seriously a tiny RV.
Mitsubishi L300 or L400 Space gear.
While I do love the L300 toaster and L400’s crystal roof… These are typically lifted and for off road. Our J A- Team would need a van for the streets too.
Nissan Serenas (1st and 2nd gen) I think are great vans and could find.
Mitsubishi Grandis – slightly bigger than a wagon, I personally feel..
Mazda MPV (1st gen) – smaller and crappy MPG, but 4 guys could be in there.
My vote goes for one of these:
Mazda Bongo (maybe even a Friendee) are also midsized and spacious. Having a Friendee, maybe having more space to sleep. If you really want to push size, I guess you can go for the Bongo Brawny.
*Note Bias* Toyota Previa S/C – Even though not as powerful as today’s Sienna, it is definitely better than the “van/ townace” as far as power. Middle row capts chairs can swing the seats 180 and have mounted guns shooting out the trunk because of the huge space or have a small command center.
W30 Nissan Largo Highway Star.. wider and AWD.. yet still midsized. Like the Previa (among many 90s vans) the back row seats can be folded to the sides.. giving instant access to more room and the trunk. Same scenario as the Previa in a shoot out.
*please note that the Largo also has a cool factory livery.
Honda StepWgn (1st gen). I always dig these over the Odyssey (JDM). This picture is with American Flare… so I gotta add to my list.
While it would be cool to have a Bisimoto Powered Odyssey for a J A-Team, I focused on the era when I was watching the A Team (I’m an 80s kid, and A Team was my show!). I wanted to have the practicality and functionality of a specific van.
While I do mention a few JDM vans, the reality is, if you do have a Largo or A Delica, where would you get parts? Unless you can have someone build parts being trapped in a barn surrounded by militar police. Then again, The Japanese police don’t seem as aggressive as American police.
Unless you have Takayama and Oshita-san on your tail (Abunai Deka reference).
The A-Team van is quintessentially American, its vast size and 5.7 V8 engine suiting it to the deserts and dirt tracks where bad guys hide out in the U.S.A. Conversely, the J-Team will need to master the miniscule alleyways and narrow mountain roads of Japan. A compact and intelligently well-packaged vehicle is the Japanese way.
The ninth-gen Suzuki Every Turbo RZ Super Multi Roof is clearly the van we need. With a Cappucino DOHC engine swap and boost boost, we should be able to put 120hp down to all four wheels – plenty for low-speed acceleration. The ubiquity of this van will let the J-Team slip by the police, while the four sunroofs will make it easy to look out for helicopters.
New Perspective since it is a Reboot.
If we are rebooting with up to date vans…
3rd gen Toyota Sienna – Spacious and common. AWD version available and OEM power is 235+ hp.
What slightly more power for the Toyota Sienna – HKS supercharger kit.
Odyssey, which are equally nice… but its been proven with Bisimoto tuning… 1000 hp.
Last generation Nissan Quest – also equally nice.
All a spacious, especially in the trunk. Easy to set up a command center as NAV and DVD display screens come from the ceiling and removing/folding back row seats into the trunk gives more space.
For today’s upgrades, even OEM they are all decent powered.
Must have chromed bumpers
My argument for not using a kei vehicle is that many of the police dramas had bad ass cars.
Taiyou ni Hoero!
I just feel that a kei van wouldn’t last in a chase with The Super Z, or R30 Machine RS1-3 or an A31 Cefiro, or Gloria or F31 leopard or a 3.0gt Supra.
So you need a van that was capable of leaving these cars in a chase or at least give a good fight. Not be outran.
Subaru Sambar, first gen model. Because picture Mr. T trying to get in or out.
The PERFECT JDM van for a JDM A Team is something maybe some of you aren’t familiar with. It is relatively rare in japan. It also isn’t even technically Japanese. It is something called a Dajiban, a rare and mysterious creature imported from the far shores of America. Ok. Yes. It’s a Dodge utility van. If you have further questions, check out this video by noriyaro.
Basically, Japanese people imported old Dodge vans to use as tow rigs and tool haulers and whatnot, but then they realized they could drift them too. So they did. By lowering them and slapping on some fender flares, they invented the Dajiban, a shakotan utility van. They put the U.S. in kyUSha. And I like it very much. I legitimately want a dodge van now. And I never thought I’d say that. The fact that there is a group of people who drifts American work vans is a beautiful thing. Really makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. So yeah, I can totally see a Japanese Mr. T, Hanibal, Face and of course Murdock bust through a road block sideways, guns blazing, laughing and carrying on. Drifting makes everything better. And if it’s in a dajiban, you have plenty of room for friends and an Arsenal.
The ideal J-Team van would no doubt be a Toyota Previa/Estima and here’s why:
1. They’re everywhere. Whether you’re hiding in the Underground of L.A. or Tokyo, they are ubiquitous enough that they can slip by authorities.
2. They’re indestructible. They can go forever with little maintenance and plenty of abuse.
3. There’s plenty of dress-up parts. VIP, street racer, family shuttle, or unlicensed handyman, the van can wear plenty of disguises. There’s even a drift Previa or two out there. Just pull into an abandoned warehouse for a modification montage.
4. They’re proven. In Breaking Bad it was the underground identity salesman’s ride of choice. In Carpool, it jumped out of a building and kept going. In Last Action Hero, you can attach a minigun to it.
So there you have it. The Previa does it all. Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?