QotW: What’s the greatest open top JNC?

262s_Honda S800

It’s summertime, and what better way to enjoy the sun than to take a drive with the top down? Japanese cars come in all shapes and sizes, but one body style Nihon tends to lay off of is the convertible. Therefore, we must ask:

What’s the greatest open top JNC?

It’s a tough decision, but given the historical significance of the Honda S-series, we’d probably have to go with Old Man Soichiro’s passion project. Not only did it signal the company’s foray into passenger cars, thus launching the Honda automotive empire, but it was loaded with technology found only on Formula 1-level cars at the time. The 10,000 rpm wonder can still be seen racing vigorously in classic events in Japan today, and is one of the most iconic nostalgic cars from the land of the rising sun.

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a toy. Click through to see the winner of the last QotW, “What’s the most Japanese non-Japanese car?” 


After a much-debated topic this week, with good choices coming from the BMC Mini, Lancia Delta Integrale, Lotus and Saturn contingents, the winner this week is Dave, who came out of left field and won the day with his pick of the Alpine. Our man in Japan Skorj even confirmed that several ex-Le Mans Alpines have been brought to Nihon. Says Dave:

Actually, I just thought of a decent one. I still don’t think it’s on par with the Europa, but there does seem to be above-average numbers of old Alpines in Japan vs. most other places. It kinda makes sense; Alpines are a bit esoteric and usual, making them pretty special little cars. They have a storied past as well as racing pedigree; A110s saw quite a bit of success in rallying in the early ’70s. They are very pretty and have the distinction of being a rear-engined sports car that’s not a 911. Later Alpines (I think A310?) were also featured in at least one comic book. I wouldn’t be surprised if Japan has the high concentration of Alpines outside of France, although I don’t know if that’s really the case.

Omedetou, Your comment has earned you a rare Hot Wheels Super Speeders mystery pack Mazda RX-7!


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13 Responses to QotW: What’s the greatest open top JNC?

  1. James says:

    One would have to think that the Datsun Fairlady Roadster 2000 would be up there with the greatest roadsters. Whilst not the first datsun roadster or ‘fairlady’, it set the legacy for performance for a line of cars which still exists today. Originally heralded as a bargain sports car, with incredible performance and economy for its time.

    Released for sale in March 1967, the fairlady was equipped with a 110KW SOHC engine in its highest specification, which propelled the dainty car to 193km/h, where it could cruise with ease, and yet still be able to return upwards of 8l/100km around town.

    Whilst there are many other open top JNCs (Honda s-series, Daihatsu Compagno, Toyota Sports 800), the fairlady’s worldwide presence and popularity in Japan, Europe, America and Australia was unmatched. Still today they are desirable cars, with body lines to drool over and speed to enjoy.

    They are the ultimate JNC roadster.

  2. ewokracing says:

    Real world, First generation MX-5.

    Fantasy world, the one off Toyota 2000 from ‘You only live twice”.

  3. Nigel says:

    FC RX-7…here I see more convertables.

    (Here being theToronto area).

    • invinciblejets says:

      My pick Is the fc rx7 vert …….not because I own one!…..well kinda haha…

      They do have a nice elegant look to them though especially with the stock 15″ bbs

      though I haven’t driven many convertible sports cars ..compared to my st162 celica convertible the rx7 faired alot better with the convertible conversion, strength wise..

      • Jim says:

        I agree, I too liked the look of the BBS wheels. The RX-7 vert is different from the Celica in that it was designed to be a convertible and built on the same production line. They were built to demanding precision standards and subjected to extensive testing. The flip up wind blocker, which is seen on many high end convertibles was invented by Mazda and I believe is licensed to companies like BMW for use in their cars. The Mazda engineers tested the vert by driving in the Japanese mountains in winter with the top down to verify that it could be driven with the top down in comfort.

  4. BearChair says:

    While there are certainly more exotic open-top cars, I think the Mazda MX-5 Miata, specifically the first-gen NA chassis, is the greatest open-top Japanese car of all time, and possibly the best all time, period.
    It provides the perfect balance of affordability, reliability, modability. The aftermarket support means that a buyer will be able to keep the car on the road for years to come without too many problems.
    The car has transcended just being a car and has become a platform on par with the ’57 Chevy, Mustang or 90 Honda Civic. Enthusiastic buyers can find a whole range of upgraded suspension, brake, wheels; and a whole range of turbos, superchargers and engine swap kits.
    Mazda claims the Miata is the most popular race car in America and given the number of track cars, Auto-Xers and Spec Miata cars out there it seems likely.

  5. Tizer says:

    O how can I possibly answer this question.. There are so many awesome convertible JNC’s. There are offcourse the obvious answers, the Honda S’ and the Fairlady Roadster.

    I have always liked the oddball cars, ones that almost nobody over here has ever heard off. The Celica Sunchaser is a good example of that and its one that I really want to own someday.

    But the best one of them all has to be the Honda City convertible! Its so strange that its cool. It looks like a Turbo II, but its not. It was designed by Pininfarina, but nobody would guess that. It was also the first car of its kind. It inspired a lot of other small convertibles I’m sure, like the March ‘vert, Suzuki Swift ‘vert and all the other compact ‘verts. Its hard to explain why, but I just love it!

  6. Tate says:

    For me, the only one that comes close to being the greatest open top is the 2000GT.

    I can’t imagine going at one of Toyota’s (and the world’s) finest machines with a grinder. So much so, that I’ve yet to modify any of my previous JNC’s with anything but reversible modifications.

    The greatest are normally bestowed for going “outside the box”. By making a regular coupe an open top, just to accommodate an actor in a film, is not only going outside the box, but making an already amazing machine into something that will be remembered forever.

  7. pstar says:

    In 10 or 15 years it’ll be the S2000.

  8. SurvivorDude says:

    Ask me again when the MR2 Roadster qualifies as nostalgic.

  9. Wagoneer says:

    I think the fact that in the UK (where I was living in the eighties and nineties) everyone referred to the MX-5 as a hair dressers car was really quite funny when they mostly drove Ford Escort XR3i, VW Golf GTi or Suzuki Jimny convertibles. The MX-5 resurrected the classic British open top sportscar that the hot hatches had killed in Europe. I remember Mazda even making a basic 1.6 version with steel wheels and no luxuries at all to really underline the fact that it was back to basics fun. The only other simple fun you could get in an open top sports car at the time was in a Honda Beat or Suzuki Cappuchino and they never exported them, with the exception of a very little number of Suzukis in the UK. Today the first gen MX-5 still has the same fun factor, but now it is a classic and not just a pastiche of and old Lotus, Triumph or MG.

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