QotW: What part did you install that is completely unnecessary?

Sometimes, we just want to make our cars a bit more unique, a little touch that says this JNC is mine. Those touches can be everything from a sticker to some vintage barrels that haven’t been curbed so many times it resembles sandpaper. Back when I found my first JNC, I installed a Momo steering wheel with a TRD horn button, but I also felt the need to add a carbon fiber horn button surround ring. It looked nice and tied the interior together but I also had to avoid it for fear of scratching it while I battled the weekly traffic on the 5. Ultimately, I sold it and reduced my blood pressure by a few points.

What part did you install that is completely unnecessary?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What JNC fun facts do you know?

It’s been raining pretty strong the past week in Tokyo. Not only did that mean it was hot and humid now, it also meant there was no opportunity to go hunting around cars. Thankfully, the suggestions from QotW gave me plenty of hunting opportunities online as I looked in on some of your comments.

Out of the gate, Banpei and Yuri drop some serious knowledge, especially about how the beloved S13 and AE86 came to the US with pop-ups. ArcherOnCars had a fun fact on how the Sports 800 got it’s design from a fighter jet, and Mark Newton-John may have cracked the case on a few model names… or maybe not.

This week, we highlight nlpnt with an interesting fact about badge re-re-re-engineering for the US market broken down into areas of  the US. We’ll let the tale reveal itself below:

The first year of GM’s multiple-captive-import program, 1985, the Spectrum (Isuzu Gemini) was offered only on the East Coast, the Nova (Corolla) only in the Midwest and as a sedan and the Sprint (Suzuki Cultus) as a three-door on the west coast. National distribution for all and five-door hatchbacks of the latter two came for the ’86 model year…

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

JNC Decal smash

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19 Responses to QotW: What part did you install that is completely unnecessary?

  1. Pippin Osborne says:

    I installed a turbo timer in my R34 Skyline because I’d been doing some track days in it and the oil would be incredibly hot after a session. It turns out that I never needed it because I’ve been doing track days in my 300ZX ever since.

  2. Banpei says:

    I installed various JDM parts in my Carina: JDM headlights, JDM grille, JDM tail lights, JDM steering wheel, JDM mudflaps and Celica supra rims that were also available on the JDM Carina GT-R. These are all unnecessary parts: underneath everything my Carina remains a Euro-spec Toyota Carina DX TA60 that will never truly become a genuine Carina GT-R AA63.

  3. Lupus says:

    A car phone. That wacky earphone-thing with spiral cord. Just for making the interior of my early ’90s Daihatsu even more ’90s.
    Actually it looks kinda ridiciolous mated with Suzuki Swift bucket seats, Schroth 3-point harness and TRD duracon shift knob. But it works. It’s not just a mock-up, but fully functional cell-phone with integrated hands-free mode.
    Just take a look:
    I don’t use it at all, but it showed up to be a great conversation starter with younger females 😉

  4. Selleeka says:

    The JECO clock in my ’74 Celica GT wouldn’t keep time, a common affliction . So I put a manifold vacuum gauge in its place. Pretty useless.

  5. KiKiIchiBan says:

    I had an SR20 180SX about 12 years ago. I purchased a hello kitty cup holder for it for maximum scene points. What a douche bag.

    In the Bluebird Coupe I have the factory sequential flashers. Totally useless in a race car and were originally removed but I had to have them. It’s the only non essential item on that car.

  6. Styles says:

    Mine isn’t something I’ve put on, but something that was already on my Celica XX when it came from Japan, it’s an Aerokraft rear spoiler. Classic 80’s soft neoprene. It’s in great condition, but I’m just not sold on it any more. I’ve smoothed out the sides (removed the mouldings) and taken off the export spec sunshade/upper spoiler that didn’t belong on a JDM car. I need to get some work done on a little rust on my hatch, so I think when I do that I’ll remove the spoiler too……

  7. Speedie says:

    A coat hanger. Someone stole the antenna on my 76 Celica hatchback and being a poor student I installed the mentioned coat hanger to get some reception. Surprisingly it offered the same reception as the factory original; crackly and crappy. It did have street cred back in the eighties. “Yeah, I’m still listening, you want my coat hanger you scum?”

  8. Randy Hone says:

    I added a sub woofer cover from a JDM 1991 MR2 to my US market car, added nothing to the sound, you can’t even see it unless you move the driver seat forward. But. I know it’s there.

  9. jivecom says:

    Mud flaps for my Pickup/Hilux. I bought them mostly because I like mud flaps, but they’re remarkably ineffective. I’m guessing good mud flaps exist, but mine might as well be holograms for all the good they do
    They at least serve their main purpose, which is lookin tough, so it wasn’t a complete wash (though the truck needs one every time I go out!)

  10. Mark Newton-John says:

    Fog lamps. You know, 70s style round fogs that were more orange than yellow. And made a pretty glow in front of your car that was useless in Central Valley tule fog. And who used a relay? Direct wire those suckers with a wire from the battery to a switch under the dash, and back to the fogs. So when it shorts out, you can see the smoke from the melted insulation.
    Ah, my reckless youth.

  11. Brian90 says:

    in my ae80 a Panasonic ETC (electronic toll collector) where a lady’s voice telling me that i have no card inserted in japanese roughly 30 secs after i start the car. Even though where i stay there’s no tolls, but yeah. i like the fact that it adds to the JDM car tech vibe thingy lol

  12. Emuman says:

    A stainless steel frame around the rotary symbol on the front lid at the bottom part – which is hard to see anyway – and a plastic sheet RX-8 symbol for the brake light – which I will never see, because I sit in the car.

  13. Yuri says:

    I spent $75 in shipping on a $35 pair of mirrors from Up Garage in Japan.
    The mirrors are the foldable OEM RHD units for an AE86, and don’t look much different from the ones that came on my GTS, except they are pointed incorrectly for a LHD car and completely manual instead of power (and they’re not broken.)
    So $110 and several weeks of waiting for a part that is indistinguishable from what my car had, only they work way worse. Because JDM…

    • Banpei says:

      You got them pretty cheaply! I paid about $88 for a zenki driver side electric mirror and $60 for shipping and handling.
      But for me it wasn’t unnecessary: my JDM AE86 had a broken mirror and I need it to be fixed to pass the import inspection. 😉

  14. Jayrdee says:

    Unnecessary parts?
    I’m too broke for parts in general.
    RHD AE86 w/ Watanabe wheels >>> College.

    But seriously, I’m on campus eating a PB&J sandwich right now because I’m still recovering from draining my savings account on my AE86. That was a year ago.

  15. Jeremy A. says:

    The radio in my 280ZX Turbo died. My ZX has the green digital gauge cluster. I searched far and wide, and ended up paying far too much of a markup above MSRP for a modern Kenwood head unit with only a simple knob, and a backlit LCD display that is the same color and luminance as the green VFD’s in the digital dash cluster.

    Then there’s the ‘Z’ horn button for the OMP wheel- And not the Z-31 up z, but the old gen 1 and 2 Z font.

  16. nlpnt says:


    And my ’87 Dodge Colt (speaking of badge-engineering…) had a round stick-on digital clock that I picked up at Ames (any other northeasterners remember them?) which fit perfectly in the lighter’s recessed dashboard hole for the lighter after I ditched the lighter itself. It had its’ own battery and wasn’t powered by the 12v lighter circuit. Kept lousy time, but close enough since I never wore a watch and didn’t carry a cellphone yet, and looked better than the empty socket.

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