QotW: What once-common car has suddenly disappeared?


It’s weird. One minute they’re everywhere, so common that you almost sick of seeing them. Seemed like every cool kid in town had one. Then one day you see one and you think to yourself, “Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen one of those!” and you realize this once popular enthusiast’s car is suddenly nowhere to be found.

What once-common car has suddenly disappeared?

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, “Which vintage barrel is the definitive “universal” JNC wheel?” 


Once again you supplied a great number of answers this week, from Michael‘s nomination of the Longchamp XR4 to ahja‘s suggestion of the SSR MkIII. Dankan had a great justification for the RS Watanabe 8-spoke, as did David Meyer for the Yayoi sakura. Hashiriya86 didn’t select one wheel but the ubiquitous meshie, while Randy limited it to a single design, the Enkei 92. Alvin cracked us up with his naming of the Atara Pisang. If we were going strictly by votes, the RS Watanabe would have won, but in the end the winner didn’t even really answer the question. Yuri simply said it depends on the car:

As a design director for a major aftermarket wheel manufacturer, my opinion is that no single wheel is the definitive universal jnc wheel. There are just too many variables design-wise both in terms of cool classic wheels out there, and the cars they go on. I mean sure, you could say the RS-Watanabe 8-spoke is pretty well known, but is it your first choice to put on a shakotan-styled Gloria? I’d personally have to throw some SSR Yayoi “sakuras” on that car. But would a sakura look as perfect on an FC RX7 when a set of Advan Oni’s could set it off so perfectly? And although an oni would look just about right on an AE86, wouldn’t you rather dress up that hachi-roku with a set of Long Champ XR-4’s, or even SSR Tomcats? And this doesn’t take into account all the special vehicle specific wheels out there. The Mugen CF-48 is a fantastically iconic JNC wheel, but only looks right on an origami bodied Honda.

What it comes down to, is that instead of there being a single definitive universal wheel, there are many definitive wheels, all perfectly matched for the car that they’re going on, and that’s what makes the world of JNC wheels so special. A thought that’s reflected in the awesome vintage wheel t-shirts the JNC store sells. You don’t see a solitary wheel on those, you see a collection of iconic designs from wide sampling of designers over many years. And that’s how it should be.

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: .

28 Responses to QotW: What once-common car has suddenly disappeared?

  1. Power Tryp says:

    There was no car more ubiquitous to the 70’s and early 80’s than the Datsun 510. Ask anybody’s parent and they either had one or spent a lot of time in their friends. They sold exceedingly well but unlike their sporty Zcar counterpart or the rugged body on frame 620 the 510 has been relegated to the scrap yard by most, the collectors by a few and to the memories of all.

  2. Clark McCrery says:

    I will say that this is a car that has been famous for over two decades and has been featured in numerous movies. It has won the respect of drivers from all deovtions, muscle, import, and euro alike. Yet – as if fighting obsolescence – this car has dwindled in numbers for the last 15 years, ever since the first “Fast and Furious” debuted. I’m sure you know it now, folks. It is indeed the 9-second Supra. Despite the proliferation of affordable “go-fast” parts and the corresponding rise in number of 800, 900, and 1000+ horsepower Supras, we have seen a stark drop in the number of single-digit quarter-mile runs by these cars. This alarming trend may mean that the beloved Supra will fall from grace as the import drag-racer of choice. What are our kids thinking when they see a 900-horsepower Supra run the same time as a stock Corvette with half the horsepower? The writing is on the wall if the next generation is only seeing these Supras get 10-, 11-, and 12-second slips. The decline of the 9-second Supra may still yet be unexplainable by science, but the effects of its vanishing act could collapse the hopes and dreams of an entire generation.

  3. Killer Bee says:

    While I slightly disagree with Power Tryp’s comment above about the Datsun 510 (I might be a bit biased owning two of them, but I still see them in the wild from time to time) there are quite a few cars from the late 80s and 90s that used to be plentiful that have absolutely disappeared from the roads. Here’s my quick list: 1st Gen Integras, 1st-3rd Gen Preludes, 2nd Gen 200SX and pretty much any Mitsubishi. I have a soft spot for many of the 80s Hondas, having owned a few in the day, and I’m surprised at how few of these have survived even as “beaters”. Perhaps they were victims of complex vacuum hosed emission systems, rust/accidents or “cheap” financing on newer cars that lead to their early demise.

  4. Scotty G says:

    A car that I never see anymore that was once seemingly everywhere is my first car: an E20 / 1971 Corolla 2-door wagon. I’ve seen one for sale recently (it had an automatic, unfortunately), but in the last decade or so I haven’t seen any for sale other than that one with an automatic. I haven’t been able to find another one to replace my first true love.

  5. Seiko The Neko says:

    I think my candidate would have to be any of the three generations of Toyota’s MR2. I used to pass by this one house that had three AW11s at one point, one Supercharged model in mint, showroom condition, and two N/A models in a “barn find” state. One day I passed by and all three had disappeared…Oh yeah, the guy also had a yellow ZZW30 and that was gone too. It was like aliens had come down and taken interest in the little midships so much so that they had taken them back with them. As for the SW20, one of my all time favorite cars, I used to see them on streets everywhere, turbo and N/A. Nowadays they’ve all gone away. Most I see are in a rough state or “stanced”. Luckily though, I’m first in line when my buddy sells his Turbo.


  6. Randy says:

    Here in the salt belt, pretty much anything pre-2K… Accords, Civics, Corollas, Camries, Mitsu or Mazda-anything; just GONE.

  7. mrbill says:

    Maybe the heavy-handed Honda heaven depicted in the lead-pic is stirring my subconscious thought on this one, but one ride I used to see everywhere was the funky little bean known as the Honda Del Sol. I realize it has not yet reached nostalgic status, but it answers the question.

    These weird little Hondas used to be thick like gnats in my part of Oklahoma, which is crazy because they’re pointless little cars that don’t offer you anything you can really use. Not even a back seat! Man did people love them though.

    For a solid few weeks in the Spring and Fall you could actually pull the top off and enjoy the windy, sun-filled sky. The rest of the year it was either ball-drippingly hot or snot-freezingly cold.

    Here’s to Joe! My weird little brother that loved his blue Del Sol enough to try and give it some life via an internet purchased cold-air intake.

    I haven’t seen one on the road for some time…maybe that’s a good thing.

    • RdS says:

      ..going with this as my favourite comment so far..!
      Definitely a once VERY popular (and true, genuinely pointless) car that disappeared as they fell out of fashion. I love seeing them.

  8. Cory says:

    Cars that were once plentiful that I no longer see are the ’94-’01 Integras, EK Civics, @G DSMs (clean variants), and stock 240SXs 🙂

    • Cory Ephland says:

      I agree wholeheartedly with this comment. I so miss my second gen Teggy! I had a ’93 Integra GSR with a sunroof and metallic black paint. Sadly the car was totaled when a dumb lady lane changed over my hood and slammed on the brakes. I have searched desperately for a suitable replacement but all I am able to find are aggressively tuned and dilapidated examples of how not to treat a really good car. Mine had slightly advanced timing and an ecu tune and clocked an amazing 157 mph at an altitude of 6,000 ft above sea level…

  9. Not sure if you guys are the same but down here in NZ we had a Huge Mazda Rotary Scene. I don’t think they have vanished I just think a lot have turned in to sunday drivers and Garage queens rather than family cars and daily drivers.

  10. cesariojpn says:

    Easily the Toyota Tercel and it’s sister siblings, the Paseo and Echo.

    Those things were like roaches; you’d see them driven as cheap roundabout cars, and as time goes by, they got “demoted” down the car food chain as skeevey roster stock at some claptrap car delaership, some somewhat middle class folks first car for a kid, or some poverty level persons mode of transport till the damn thing gave in or got towed and impounded for having dodgy registration/no insurance/driver had no license. Coupled with the notorious reputation that Japanese Steel isn’t as legendary as Samurai Swords of yore, and many only exist as forgotten backyard ornaments, or parked behind some rundown apartment complex out of the public eye.

  11. TSLegendary says:

    The Mitsubishi Starion or Eclipse GST or GSX. Used to be common in the tuner world then once the Lancer Evo came out they were gone in a heart beat.

  12. Wayne Thomas says:

    Not Japanese, but early 1990s Hyundais were ubiquitous, but now never seen. Can anyone even recall the last time you saw a Hyundai Scoupe or Accent or Tiburon?

  13. Nigel says:

    1996 to 2000 Honda Civic, now quite tricky to find. (Mine was written of just as I was about to restore it). It was a 99′.

  14. ahja says:

    There are a bunch of downmarket compacts (Subaru Justy, Daihatsu Charade) and boring sedans (80s Mazda 626 Mitsubishi Tredia) and that are virtually extinct that I don’t really lament the loss of.

    But cars that I actually care about, that I used to see frequently and now NEVER do… Isuzu Impulse and Ford Probe. I think 2nd gen Probes were fantastic looking. Mazda drivetrain AND chassis, which makes it more Japanese than a DSM.

  15. Robin says:

    Good Day JNC,

    For me it has to be a Toyota Cressida (all of them). There was a time when these were everywhere (especially when it was used as cabs/taxi’s in our country).

    Another car would be the ae92 Corolla, again in a country where these were being produced up until 2004, it would seem they have gone into hiding. When one is seen its either in really bad condition or extremely good, but a few years back every second car was a ae92 hatch or sedan.

    Third car, yes another Toyota, is the Hilux rn50 (if my codes are correct) . Our farmers love these and seeing these pickups/bakkies/trucks would be a daily occurrence. Recently their prices have gone up and they are hard to find on the road or even for sale.

    This got me thinking, are Toyota’s like that missing sock mystery… suddenly they just disappear.

  16. Roy says:

    I drive for my job (not a cabbie); I’m sorry, but all the cars mentioned above, I see everyday, (except maybe the Toyota Paseo, but I wouldn’t count it as “popular” either). Ironically, as the above picture attached to this inquiry depicts, I would choose the Honda Prelude, 2nd and 3rd gen, specifically. In a sea of Honda Civics and Accords, there was always that one guy that had a cool Prelude, and one that you wanted. A red ’91 Si with the clear and red taillights or even more rare the all white 4WS version. I never see those anymore, especially those 2nd Gen’s with the pop up headlights (drool). A close second would be the 1st Gen Mitsubishi Eclipse’s and associated DSM’s (Plymouth Laser/Eagle Talon), where did all of those go too?

    • Roy says:

      Correction, 3rd and 4th Gen Honda Prelude, not 2nd and 3rd.

    • ahja says:

      I see 3rd, 4th, and last gen Preludes all the time. I wonder what bizarro universe you come from where Scoupes, E20 Corollas, and 80s 200SXs are a daily sight but you don’t see *Preludes*.

  17. Parrot says:

    In Australia, undoubtedly any Datsun Nissan from the 70’s. Where are all the 1200’s, 120Y’s, 1600’s, stanzas, 180B’s, 200B’s, Bluebirds etc etc.

    I know a few 1600’s and a 1200 passed through my hands, 3 of those to destruction. But they were everywhere once upon a time. Now, you rarely see a Z series, but that’s about it.

    I knew there was a reason I went back to Toyota!

  18. Kenneth thomas says:

    The mazda 323 gtx as well as its two wheel drive sister the mazda 323 gt.

  19. Brignola says:

    Mazda 323 BA = hatchback (F): I saw one of the design mock-ups of that model at the Ford styling centre in Cologne, just after Ford had increased their stake in Mazda. In those days most styling exercises never made it to the production line and when they did the result was so disappointingly far away from the model that every magazine had on the cover. But this car was different: apart from smaller wheels and higher suspesion set-up the production model actually looked exactly like the clay model it was originally derived from. I liked it a lot and do even more so now that they’re mostly gone or tarted up by the boy-racers fraternity.

  20. psyaddict says:

    82-87 mazda 626, at least here in Estonia, haven’t seen them around for a very long time, i guess only the local mazda club members own them.
    2wd 323 is quite common, a friend has many 4wd gtr-gtx bodies 🙂

  21. Jay Yamasaki says:

    I literaly have not seen late 80’s (88 89) Hyundai Excel or Sonata in the last 20 years or so.

    Im not sure kids these days even know Hyundai was one of the first car companies to offer a 10 yr warranty.

    These cars were all the rage when they came out, as common as a sunny in SoCal.

    • Paulo says:

      There’s a reason you don’t see 80’s Excels…they were used and abused by teens whose parents bought them because they were cheap. Remember their ad…two for $10k.

      Unlike Japanese cars that stood up to abuse, an unmaintained Hyundai was a disposable car. That’s why in 1991, Hyundai was the “first automaker to provide buyers with regularly scheduled maintenance on top of a standard warranty at no additional cost”. A strategic move to ensure longer-lasting vehicles.

      The first-generation Excel was a dog, and that’s why despite free scheduled maintenance and quality improvements, Hyundai still had a PR problem. So in 1998, Hyundai “launched 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain protection, 5-year/60,000 mile bumper-to-bumper coverage and 5-year/unlimited mileage roadside assistance”. By then quality had vastly improved, and their lengthy warranty proved to be successful at enticing buyers whom otherwise would’ve never considered a Hyundai.

Leave a Reply

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