QotW: What’s the biggest hurdle to keeping your JNC nice?

It’s a myth that southern California is really good to cars. Sure, due to the desert climate old cars don’t rust (unless you live near the beach), but you can always fix rust if you’re determined enough a welder. What you can’t fix is the sun, and how it absolutely fries the brittle, vinyl-wrapped interiors of brittle, old Japanese cars. And it’s a lot harder to fix old dashboards, upholstery with intricate little embroidered logos than metal, and foam cushions that crack and turn to powder.

However, that’s a probably largely unique to the southwestern US. Depending on where you live, the issue could be the lack of parts support from OEMs, bad drivers, Honda thieves, or any number of phenomena constantly threatening your vintage car.

What’s the biggest hurdle to keeping your JNC nice?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What tuning house demo car do you want to own?

The range of tuner shop project cars is so diverse that there cannot be any one correct answer. Of course there were legends like Lee L‘s choice of Top Secret V12 Supra, Shaiyan Hossain‘s pick of an RE-Amemiya FD, or Ellis‘ vote of Mugen’s EA Sports Civic Special. It would also be wonderful to own Lupus‘ selection of the Hosoki S130 or Nigel‘s nomination of anything Mizuno or Biko Works. And Brycen Phillips‘ nomination of the Rocky Auto RB-powered S30 or Hachi_Rogue‘s selection of the Top Secret Celica give proper respect to modern builds of pre-tuner era JNCs.

We almost gave the win to those who actually expended efforts to save a famed car, like Kiki‘s Odula FD and F31Roger‘s Project Car M30. RX626 got even closer for creating a debate over whether a car like the Art Factory Del Sol is good for or detrimental to the JNC scene. In the end, Hachibrokeyou‘s nomination of one of Japan’s most unexpected (yet completely proper) in-period builds won the week.

The RE Amemiya Lotus Europa. N/A 20B engine, mated to a trans-axle with all the lightweight simplicity of a lotus. Its the perfect car for a wankel and its fun to see a Japanese touch on a European chassis.

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.

16 Responses to QotW: What’s the biggest hurdle to keeping your JNC nice?

  1. jim simpson says:

    Vinyl wrapped trim parts are a killer, and nearly impossible to replace, requiring stripping the remnants of the old vinyl from the factory off and repainting the bare metal so it at least looks correct…

  2. Howard D. says:

    Money! I have the parts, just need a way to feed my no budget, budget for my endless money pit…

  3. Brad D. says:

    Windshields. I live in constant fear that I will crack a glass on an obscure car. Almost anything else can be repaired, rebuilt or replaced with something else. But a curved glass windshield is not something you can replicate without HUGE cost. Unless someone knows of a way, then please let us all know!

  4. MikeRL411 says:

    The sun. Acrylic enamel original paint turn to chalk. Vinyl is a disaster. Gerage is the answer.

  5. speedie says:

    Any eighties car that had a digital dashboard. They are truly unobtanium. They are so rare in some instances that you cannot find a used one and when they break you have to pray you can find someone who “says” they can repair it. Will a future come when children will not be able to see a real Subaru XT-6 turbo digital dash with its car riding off into the sunset, or the Nissan 300ZX tach that looked like a sales growth projection graph?

    • Lee L says:

      I have the digi-dash in my Z31 and honestly the dash is pretty reliable, it’s the power supply that is problematic. A good one is hard to find, but there are a few people around that rebuild them.

    • f31roger says:

      I’ve been collecting Digital clusters for a few years now. Mostly US based Japanese cars, but I do have a couple JDM clusters.

      I picked up an f31 Leopard cluster years back and I always wanted to put in my M30. Then one of my friend’s in Japan did that to his M30.

      So he got me the pigtails and harness. When I tested the cluster, it didn’t work… but my cousin knew a guy in LA that is an electrical engineer and he replaced a lot of the components and got it working. Also asked him to make a harness.

  6. Marc Lawrence says:

    Hit and run drivers and idiots! – My 1984 owned since new 300ZxT and my Cutlass Ciera were totalled in front of my home and my cherry 91 S13 hatch was rearended – hit and run – When i asked the fellow who ran into my recently painted and new tired Ciera how he could possibly hit the only car on a 4 lane street void of traffic at 6am – He replied – “I dropped my banana.” – I was afraid to ask …. which banana.

  7. Banpei says:

    Even though our moist European weather and salty winter roads are harsh for our JNC, I don’t really fear the rust that much. My Carina has rotted front wings, holes in the doors and the trunk lid has been chewed on by the rust monster. However I have garaged my Carina so the deterioration should be stopped mostly. I have a garage full of spares and what’s leaving in that huge pile of spares can be fixed.

    But what can’t be fixed is too find time to actually fix up or replace those panels. The garage isn’t next to my home either, so I really have to travel there and finish what I started and cleanup before leading.

    When I owned my first JNC I was still young and had lots of time to wrench with my buddies. When my first sin was born I still had plenty of time as I could fix up things during every odd weekend. Now with two kids (one young and one teenage kid) it has become next to impossible to work on a car. Neither is my kids are interested in cars, so I can’t combine a wrench session with educating them on how to fix up a car themselves. Slowly I begin to accept that I have to wait patiently till the oldest has left the nest and the youngest old enough to do things by herself.

  8. Lukas says:

    Austria isnt nice to old cars, especially to old japanese cars.

    In most parts of the country, we have at least 5 to 6 month salt on the streets. The other half of the year, its very likely that a thunderstorm with hail catches you and destroys your car while you are on a nice summer cruise.

    And if thats not bad enough, people dont like you and your car too. Because only german cars are the shit here in german speaking countries. Everything other is just second choice. Or twentythird choice, if you are a car from Japan.

  9. Land Ark says:

    While considering my 2007 nostalgic, it’s alarmingly nearly there.
    For me, it’s the elements in general. My garage spot is occupied by my ANC (1967 Impala) So the Subaru is forced to sit outside 24/7 365. It doesn’t get driven very often these days and would still be considered low-ish miles for the age, but the rust has begun to take hold. I spent a significant amount of money to replace the UV ruined headlights, All the plastic parts on the exterior have been repainted, and the unpainted ones have turned light gray with time. “Fortunately” it’s already been in an accident so I don’t have to worry about keeping the paint original and at some point I’ll touch it up again.
    The interior has held up fairly well since I tinted the windows right when I got it and religiously use a windshield shade when parked. That didn’t stop the dash from turning stick – which has since been replaced by extended warranty.
    I bought a cover for it last summer to keep the sun and bid crap off of it while sitting.

    Of course, there’s also the constant fear that the turbo is going to take a crap and take the engine with it. But, honestly, I’d rather deal with that than the rust.

  10. Sammy B says:

    My 84 Van was on family car duty for 12 years and then became extra car for a few years. Then the last 20 or so has been garage queen status. Road salt has done a number of my vehicle. I honestly don’t know how many more years I’ll get 🙁

    From there, the big challenge, in addition to parts challenges like everybody, is finding somebody willing to work on old Toyota Vans in Ohio! Lots of mechanics have said no way…even a few dealers! These are pretty much extinct up here, so I don’t fully blame them.

  11. エーイダン says:

    Local drivers.

  12. f31roger says:

    An obscure cars are a hurdle, at least to me. Resources and parts can be the limitation of the car. When I got the Project Car M30… it was trashed (as it was a drift missile and in the area of Tehachapi, CA). Motor blown, interior trashed… exterior.. had it’s tweaks, but not as bad as some truly dedicated drift missiles.

    Hurdle 1 – Money. I kept going deeper and deeper more than I needed to, but I think it’s worth it. I want to make a good presentation with the M30.

    Going to redo the RB25DET is a FINANCIAL HURDLE (RB25 upgrades are just too much).
    But couldn’t put a rebuilt motor into a trashed car. That is when I decided to I had to rebuild the whole car.

    Interior – dashboard, glove box, rear interior panels, rear seats… all redone in black. Carpet and trim was changed from tan to grey (which I stripped a whole interior from an M30 in an Oakland pick n pull). https://www.projectleopard.f31club.com/project-leopard-interior-direction-change-2/

    Biggest Hurdle (2) – Custom hood work. Front of this car was trashed..

    Instead of using the M30 front, I wanted to use the Zenki F31 Leopard which I had been piecing together. The only part I couldn’t get transported was the hood. I stopped by N-Style Customs and Nagahama-san had a junk F31 leopard hood that he cut.

    Nobody wanted to piece the a hood. But my friend was up for the challenge and he is painting the whole car too (Sakura Garage in AZ).

    Hurdle 3 – Restoration time. Taking apart the whole car is very intricate. And since my friend runs a Datsun Restoration shop, he’s taking the approach with this car. Fix all the dents, correct the half —‘d stuff and start from ground zero.

    Hurdle 4 – Parts/shipping companies. If you own an obscure car (that people consider irrelevant), then you know parts can be difficult. I knew that owning an M30 (I currently own 3) that I need to do save parts. I’ve been doing this since 2005… but more dedicated since 2016. Most parts I am okay with. I’ve even saved parts for friends in Japan and Russia.
    My hurdle is parts from Japan. Besides the usual COVID19 delays, my Diana kit finally came in 8 months later. The problem is, my final touches for the Project Leopard were with the body kit and someone took it out. https://www.f31club.com/2021/05/20/missing-parts-from-japan-jdl-stacked-inc-and-wolfreign-motors/

    I also still have R31 door cards in Japan that I need to get shipped soon too.

    Hurdle 5 – Fixing someone else’s project/issues. Typically, I avoid buying someone else’s project especially if it is half —‘d or mistreated. Also with many owners, each doing their own crap to the car… it just gets worse. That is why to get over this hurdle, I have to redo everything, fix their damage, redo what they touched and build it to a level that my Japanese brothers want to see (they always wonder why US cars are rough condition).

  13. RotorNutcase says:

    “Here comes the sun….Do-do-do-do…” ARRGH!!! Yes, you hit it on the head!

    From day one, I am religious (or OCD) with using quality car covers, even when I went to work. I hated sunny, windy days (SANTA ANAs!!!) as there was always a chance my cover would be blown off even if I strapped it down.

    So the “Meaning of (extended) Life” for JNCs in So Cal depends on CAR COVERS

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