QotW: What non-Japanese car would you modify in Japanese style?

The 1973 Lincoln Continental Mark IV we posted for Independence Day is a perfect example of how Japanese customization style can work on even non-Japanese cars. The Linc is a ridiculous car to begin with, and its nearly 20 feet of angular sheetmetal makes the perfect canvas for the jutting edges of the kaido racer style. From to dekotora to VIP, Japan has given us countless ways to modify cars.

What non-Japanese car would you modify in Japanese style?

The most entertaining comment by next week will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “How do you navigate when driving your JNC?“.

Hopefully some of you were able to put your favorite navigation techniques to use over the holiday weekend. We received a surprisingly diverse array of answers, from the very primitive to the very modern.

We’ll begin with the least technologically advanced method, the human brain, which comes courtesy of crank_case. Next up is MikeRL411‘s approach of just looking out the window. Lacerati‘s system of navigator riding shotgun is a good one, but ocassionally only half complete. The natural followup to that would be BlitzPig‘s rally-style strip charts written up after looking the route up the night before. On the other hand, Bryan Kitsune‘s AAA TripTik lets someone else to the looking up.

Moving into the age of electronics we have 555jay‘s period-correct Pioneer single-DIN deck with a flip-up nav screen. Lakdasa uses a combination of paperr maps and Google Maps if the former should fail. Entering the smartphone era is Ian G. with a cigarette lighter-powered FM transmitter and Waze.

As daniel noted, using a smart phone works but finding a proper mount is an issue. Alan puts his iPhone in the ashtray of LS, as fine a home as Steve Jobs’ glass widget is likely to have. Fred Langille seems to have found a good solution with a rear view mirror phone mount. Franxou imagines an even more advanced meter like the Tripper by Royal Enfield. Meanwhile, speedie simply goes along with the times.

The winner this week goes to David Hepp, who uses an impressive library of printed matter and a good ol’ magnetic needle:

Printed maps: Rand McNally, Thomas Guide, PEMEX México Road Atlas, MapsCo. And a handheld compass can be quite handy. I was a cross-country car transporter, pre-GPS – mostly P-cars, BMW’s and Audi’s.

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

JNC Decal smash

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20 Responses to QotW: What non-Japanese car would you modify in Japanese style?

  1. Michael Jue says:

    1974 Pontiac GTO. Sure, it’s a Nova by any other name but with Poncho power and a ram air hood scoop to start, better foundation than the ubiquitous Nova. Besides, it was a friend’s GTO who regularly beat me in my ’73 Nova. Ha! But yes, big box flares a la Datsun 510 or bolt-on bubble flares, either works to keep those 18x12s in back and 18x11s up front with enough associated rubber meat that I’d never hope to get heated up to maximum sticky in street driving. Maybe a small (but big) trunk spoiler/wing like a Stillen Z33 model only bigger for more drag. And a custom front air dam. Would set it up on a coil over suspension that would never be properly set up like most of the guys I see on the street. Haha. Or, wait, put it on air for more uselessness. But it’d be a fun attention getter. Sound like I’ve put a lot of thought into this? Hardly. About as long as it took me to poke fun at our crowd.(Myself included.)

  2. Well then… I already did a couple of years ago. At least in digital form. Debating which cars would be the most unlikely to ever get the Bosozuku treatment, I opted for a very sensible SAAB 900 Convertible. This generation has been nicknamed the dentist jet by Mighty Car Mods when they built their Wasaabi.

    Whenever I show this picture to anybody in Japan, they almost fall over laughing – which proves the point that you can have fun with whatever vehicle you choose as a base.

    Best regards


  3. Dillon says:

    A 1982 Oldsmobile Cutlass would be a great canvas to do it with.

    They are boxy enough to be able to add stylish apparel that the 80’s Japanese counterparts offered, such as aero, pop-up headlights, and fender mirrors.

    I think you could go multiple ways with them in terms of a Kaido, VIP, or a sleeper. Provide a solid drivetrain swap to a JZ or something to easily output some horsepower.

    Lastly, i personally think a set of Equip 01 or 03’s would look killer on the car.

  4. ra21benj says:

    Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. Wider fenders to fit stepped lipped RS Watanabe or SSR MK-III wheels. Front lip/air dam and Voltex Type 9 rear wing mounted not too high.

  5. Bryan Fox says:

    The question doesn’t stipulate it being nostalgic, so I guess I’ll say an A90 Supra? Sorry to be that guy.

    An answer more in the spirit of the intent of the question, probably a Porsche 944. It kinda gives off a Japanese vibe, and many times I’ve considered buying one.

  6. Alan says:

    Not a MkV Supra.


  7. HondaHoarder says:

    I had this idea a few years ago and decided to chrate it digitally…behold the kaido racer dodge charger!


    now I’m older and tasteless, I’d like to malaise the heck out of a japanese car. velour seats, chrome, wire wheels, vinyl roof on something like a ST170 corona

    • StreetSpirit says:

      that one actually inspired me to do my olds 98 kaido racer…digitally.

      i’d love to see a kenmeri or laurel with a vinyl top, park bench bumpers and brown for days, malaise me up!

  8. Rob Sayers says:

    I’m actually kinda doing that. My 15 Mustang has JDM rear decklid, Aftermarket tails which look pretty close to the JDM versions. The only obvious exterior thing I can change are the mirrors… but the USDM versions are much nicer.

    Ive also got a liberty walk spoiler I’ve been meaning to get installed for ages now. Also have some Junction Produce interior bits.

    Oh, and of course a tsurikawa hanging from the rear.

  9. Der Gerbil says:

    Lotus Esprit

  10. Ryan A. says:

    I’m going with a Dodge Van. I have a couple kids, so I wouldn’t go for the complete Dajiban and strip out the interior and have racing seats. Lowered a bit, on nice Wantanabe wheels, and a fun color. It’d be fun for longer trips — plenty of room to spread out and to haul whatever we needed.

  11. Franxou says:

    I propose the Triumph TR7 convertible, a much maligned car, last of the TR line, famously ugly when it came out, but I think it has lots of potential to be kitted like various the ’80s japanese fast cars and modded cars.
    Think of the Supra, the 280ZX, the Starion, it is from the late ’70s but the same boxy wheel arches and spoilers would work so well!

  12. StreetSpirit says:

    Got a hot minute?

    I’d like to start off with a 60’s GM 6 banger, two doors, four seats and nothing too heavy.

    This leaves me with a 1st gen firebird sprint, a 64 pontiac le mans 6 banger or a chevy corvair, whichever has not been crashed rusted or ‘upgraded’ yet.

    Now on to terms of styling, I’m an absolute sucker for fat air dams, ducktails and parcel shelf speakers.

    That being said there’s no way I could put some 80’s pioneer speakers in the back of these, so we’re going for a set of bespoke parcel shelf speakers made with moulded grey formica in a sleek rounded off shape with cream plastic details, chrome speaker grilles and a warm yellowish light.

    Wheels are gonna be 15’s, I’m thinking shadow-spokes or the cherry blossom style I love so much, in appropriately skinny rubber that just has to be lettered in white letters so phat and blocky it’s almost like a white wall

    Ducktail, of course, with exposed chrome hardware on the inside, and just like the 240z style complete with a flat surface for the chrome badging.

    Air-dam will be pretty straight forward and similar to the opel manta GSI front end but more era-appropriate as to not disturb the body line too much.

    Small fender flares are allowed, once more with chromed hardware and chrome striping where the body meets the flare.

    Paint it all in a coffee-cream off-white to and toss in some headlight covers in body-color with a thin chrome striping around the edges too

    So what we’ll end up with is a fallout-universe interpretation of the kaido racers and bad-boy rides that got me into JNC in the first place.

    Anyways, this was Streetspirit for the fantastical fantasy build-off, saying ride on daddy-o and if you’re not square, stick around cause we’re serving street specials like hotcakes!

  13. crank_case says:

    I’m not sure what I’d build, but I love this touge weapon of a Frogeye sprite.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=Hyne6c9ysyE&ab_channel=Number27

  14. Tom A. says:

    I’d go with a Jaguar XJS Coupe. It already has some S30-esque styling cues (if you squint…a lot), so why not lean into that with fender-mount mirrors, a ZG-inspired extended nose, a ducktail spoiler and a ground-hugging stance too?

    Oh, and replace the Jag V12 with a 1GZ-FE.

  15. dankan says:

    Liberty Walk AMC Gremlin.

    The mirth-mobile meets Wangan Express.

  16. Taylor C. says:

    I had a 2011 VW Jetta TDI Sportwagen, and I don’t think that could get anymore European. However, I had a set of ADVAN RS wheels on it, and I thought that was mighty JDM to find such a nice set of wheels with great specs to fit onto the wagen. I don’t think there’s JDM companies that’ll supply aftermarket exhausts for diesels though.

  17. エーイダン says:

    A 1976-ish Holden Torana 4-door. Modified it it in the bosozoku style with the black and white Police livery from Tochigi prefecture. Takeyari pipes, large overfenders, air dam with oil cooler. Why? Well…..back in high school I was issued an art project “pictures that tell a story”. So I drew a 1970s police car done up in the bosozoku style, while taking inspiration from manga drawings. Even added in the engine noise annotations in katakana.
    Initially the car I was aiming for would’ve been a Mazda or Nissan, but the end result came out resembling an over-customised Torana 5000 SLR with takeyari pipes, whale tail wing and 4-spoke alloys.

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