QotW: What Japanese luxury car would you get, and why?

We all love our roadsters and lightweight coupes but sometimes you just want the nicer things in life. Whether it’s a serene cabin as quiet as your penthouse living room, a fancy stereo, or just a seat that’s not made of vinyl, sometimes life calls for a luxury car. Now, luxury doesn’t mean we all have to run out and get Toyota Centurys. It can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. You can even find early Lexus and Acura cars in manual. Or in yellow. It doesn’t even have to have a luxury badge. Some might prefer the “stealth wealth” look of the Land Cruiser.

What Japanese luxury car would you get, and why?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What rite of passage every JNC owner must endure?”

Sadly, there is no one rite of passage a JNC owner must endure. There are many, and they are difficult. From the cleverly named Ty Rodend‘s regrets about tire size, to Geoff‘s tragic encounters with the LS Bro, to Troy and Randy Hone and vic and Steve‘s lament about the lack of parts, we’ve all been there. The winner this week, Martin, turns his minor annoyances into inspirational opportunities.

I think the one real universal rite of passage for any JNC owner is being asked what kind of car you drive. Doesn’t matter what model you have because at some point, be it a gas station, a parking lot, or the random stop light, sooner or later you will be asked. Part of the joy that comes with driving a classic car is that fact that there just are not many on the streets anymore and most only come out when the weather is nice. Especially with today’s throw-away/ disposable culture, holding on to anything for over 2 decades is a rarity and seeing a JNC from decades past is just as surprising as it is a treat.

Having owned a few JNC of varying rarity and levels of modification I get asked often and this frequently leads to stories of rides past from the questioner. At first I tried to get away as fast as possible but now I listen and chit-chat and share stories. I feel its important to portray the community as being open and friendly. Meeting other car people is a part of having one of these machines.

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

JNC Decal smash


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22 Responses to QotW: What Japanese luxury car would you get, and why?

  1. Jac says:

    My daily is a 2010 RX-350. While still a way off from JNC status, I am blown away by how much I love that car. 125K+ on the clock, I don’t even think she is broken in yet… Never saw myself as a Lexus guy, but now I don’t think I can go back. Maybe I should get an LX400 so I can rock the JNC sticker!

  2. Lupus says:

    The #2 on Dream Car List is UCF10. The essence of luxury & reliability. Even thru it’s a old car it aged very well. Still looks elegant and sophisticated. It’s big, gives a relaxing feel due to the high torque V8 + AT. VIP style at its finest. Today they are becoming more and more expensive and i wonder when will i be able t afford one…
    And the #1 on my list is Nissan Laurel C31, sadly the hardtop wasn’t availible in EU, only classic sedan. Like i menioned many times – this car can be made into almost anything: ghetto drifter, Wangan brute, stock classic for shows or… VIP sled. Afterall it’s a full fleged limusine with trunk big enough to put air-ride installation in it. 😉

  3. Peter g Safonov says:

    There are lots of reasons that anyone should get an LS400: legendary reliability, the history of being the first Lexus and the world-beating features that came with that–seriously, watch any Doug DeMuro video for an early 90s Merc and see how behind they were! But I just want one because I grew up in one. When I was 6 or 7, my dad got a used 1990 LS400, in a very of-its-era two tone grey-blue color with corresponding interior. And so, every road trip I went on for the rest of my childhood was spent in the back of that car. Just like I remember the track listing of every cassette that lived in that car (mostly grocery store 60s and 80s compilations), I remember every detail of that backseat. I spent a lot of time playing with the never-used ashtrays and carefully adjusting the climate-control vents. My dad later replaced it with a 1999 model, which he replaced with a 2001 Mercedes SL500 (which always had something wrong with it!), after which he returned to a 2009 LS460L, whose rear seat features I would have killed for as a kid. But I’d love to go back to that original 1990 LS400 and give a road trip in the drivers seat a try.

  4. dankan says:

    I think my answer will be boring, but either a Y34 Infiniti M45 or an XF20 LS400. Soft, fast, and quiet with classically simple, squared-off lines. Ideally in a nice, mossy green. Not the most nostalgic, but as luxury cars to both drive and be drive in, I can’t think of anything better.

  5. Emuman says:

    As much as I appreciate Lexus and the LS400 at the end I’m a die hard Mazda fan. My luxurious dream car is the Eunos Cosmo with 20b engine of course. I saw it once at a JDM meeting in Germany and will never ever forget the driver centric cockpit with working navigation system. The cosmo was the first production car with the a GPS based navigation system. The father of the owner is a radio and television engineer and was able to repair it. Funny because it has of course only Japanese map data onboard and is pretty much useless outside of Japan.
    The only car that could top the Cosmo for me is the planned but never realized Amati with W12 engine. Yes, Mazda planned a 12 cylinder engine in a luxurious body to attack Lexus. What if the bubble had never burst in a parallel universe?

    • 1990 SW20/1994 GT4/1997 LS400 Owner says:

      Toyota/Lexus also claims to have the first navigation unit in the Soarer/SC400. I wonder who was actually first.

  6. Mazluce says:

    Toyota Century for me. Having driven the VG40 Century, I can attest to its luxurious appointment and wafting ride. The definition of relaxation especially when someone else decides to drive and you it the back passenger seat legs reclined the massage function running while the electronic quarter rear windows bring in natural air into the cabin.

  7. MattP says:

    I would love to own and drive the ultimate in Japanese luxury: the Century.

    And since I live in Australia I can import a Century and the steering wheel is on the correct side. Yay!

  8. Dimitry says:

    Toyota Century.
    Why? Because Toyota Century is the epitome of luxurious JNC motoring without the obscene flashiness of global automotive luxury design.
    Owning and driving a Century on Canadian roads might not attract enough or any attention, but that is not what I’m going for – that is also not what a Century stands for.
    The Century is meant to show to only those who understand – this is the real deal. This is the serious car for a serious gentleman. This is the car that means business.

  9. al says:

    Somebody else said Eunos Cosmo, which would have been my battleship against a Merc SL…but I cannot pick that one again. So my second choice will be a Subaru SVX. Because it doesn’t fit anywhere else than on the luxury segment. It’s too big and heavy to be an sports car, too bland to be a GT and it’s an Auto… its ostentatious and a little pretentious, and quirky. Love the looks, and still turns heads whenever there is one around. What is more, it is also NOT shabby chic, like the Century trying to imitate a Jag or a Rolls, things they aren’t. It is almost subtle on that segment. And that is why it is a winner. It is the new black, the new cool. But old.

  10. Manu says:

    1989 Toyota soarer Aerocabin
    Only for the looks : Rad angular 80s body with freakin´ roof panel folded position and tucked away in the trunk.
    It looks as those maybach landaulets. Plus some nice BBS meshies.

  11. Wayne Thomas says:

    VG30 Toyota Century. Like there is an alternative to the Century.

  12. GSX-R35 says:

    Let me nominate a long-time favorite of mine – the A31 Nissan Cefiro.

    It was RWD (or available AWD), had a capable Laurel chassis with some R32 Skyline suspension bits mixed in, then had R32 driveline components sprinkled on top for added flavor – including different variants of the RB motors. All this makes for some tasty performance (used examples are sought after as great drift cars).

    To properly top off this confection of late 80s-early 90s Nissan goodness they draped it with a sleek sedan exterior that had the low-roof, long-hood proportions now sought after by modern luxury makers under the label of a “four-door coupe” – it was sort of a proto-Merc CLS you could say.

    Best of all, they actually made it in LHD for some markets like the Philippines where I grew up. As a young, hormone-addled youth I dreamed of having one and making good use of the ample backseat, if you know what I mean ;D

    Now, as an older, but not-much-wiser person living in the US of A I still dream of finding a good LHD example on my occasional trips to the old country and bringing it back here, enjoying its driving goodness…and making good use of that ample backseat. 🙂

    For hauling my friends around in copious ’90s radness…what did you think I meant?

    • Angelo says:

      I second this, though I can say, I see more drift-tuned Cefys rather than clean ones here in Manila.

      And those come at a premium now.

      • GSX-R35 says:

        Yeah, when I check olx, philkotse, and the like when I’m there all I see are clapped-out “project cars” or questionable “drift cars”…or even more clapped-out and questionable “drift car projects” lol.

        When a semi-decent one does come up they want crazy money.

        Almost bought a rare Autech version here in the States a few months ago but found a different, much more desirable JDM through a friend instead.

  13. Panamkin says:

    Carina ED St183 4ws!!! It is perfect car!!! I love this car!!! 4ever!!!

  14. Panamkin says:

    Carina ED St183 4ws!!! It is perfect car!!! I love this car!!! 4ever!!!

  15. mel says:

    1) 90-96 Mitsubishi Sigma/Diamante: 4WD, 4WS, ECS, TCL – tech you get on recent luxury offerings from Germany, only 25 yrs ago. Its best feature is still its attractive looking nose 😉 From a European perspective it is reasonably sized.
    2) Ludacris’ Legend
    3) Soarer Aerocabin

  16. mel says:

    First gen Acura/Honda Legend reviewed by Motorweek:


    Nice too!

  17. aRJayOh says:

    Oooh, HARD choice to make. I’m a Nissan and Mazda guy, so for a luxury car its a Nissan Y32 (Cedric/Gloria GranTurismo Ultima), done in subtle VIP style. Like a reliable, affordable Bentley. Second choice, if it’s sports luxury, is a ~1990 Eunos (Mazda) Cosmo Sport Type S (13B). Need a bigger garage…

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