QotW: What’s the most American JNC?


Most JNCs are great for slicing a touge, darting through urban streets, and possibly even a late night dice on the expressway if you’ve got a Bubble Era turbo. But what if you just want to take a long, comfortable cruise through several American states with Bruce Springsteen wailing through the radio? It may seem like a contradiction, but remember that many JNCs were built specifically for US tastes, and there’s no shortage of chromed land yachts or honest work trucks to take you through the heartland.

What’s the most American JNC?

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, “How do you live the JNC life?” 

2701_Isuzu 117

You impressed us tremendously with your answers this week, from the surprising number of you using a JNC as your daily driver to those in a perpetual state of tinkering. Yet others had collections both miniature and full-sized. This week’s winner was Matt, who’s building a kaido racer 910 and even chooses 7-Elevens when he needs to fill up:

Well… to be completely honest, I thought I was the only one and maybe I was just a little odd but nonetheless…

I’ve always had a love for Japanese culture and car culture in particular, ‘living the true JDM lifestyle’ really only started for me though when I purchased my ’85 Bluebird (Datsun 910) daily, it’s slow morph into ‘Kaido racer’ style is probably somewhat proof of this but I’ve opted not to just follow this style and do everything I can to make it 100% authentic Jdm Kaido racer, but to morph everything I love about the Japanese car scene and truly make it mine (ie; Follow the Japanese way of just putting things in it because I like those particular things – even if it’s not something you’d generally see on this style of car in JDM Land).

Apart from the car culture side of things, I seem to be frequenting more and more Asian restaurants for the likes of dumplings and rice dishes as opposed to those greasy disgusting American establishments. As well as hot pre-prepared food, dropping into any Asian grocer is becoming less of novelty and more’so a weekly habit, from which at an alarmingly rapid rate, Japanese items seem to be finding their way into my pantry and fridge, such as as Boss coffee, Pocari Sweat and Pocky Sticks as well as items to create complete Japanese style meals at home using 100% authentic ingredients.

Although I personally don’t use fuel from 7/11, dropping in there for a Krispy Kreme donut and glancing out to see my 910 parked under the orange, red, white and green glowing neon sign is like an instant transportation (in my mind) to the land of the rising sun (albeit admittedly a somewhat USDM influenced one).

My current search for a more practical daily driver – where most people here in Australia (car guys/girls included) might opt for a late model cheap to run Corolla or Holden Commodore, is leading me towards a DC2 Integra, not something rare in any sense here in Australia but the need to a Honda is probably… lets be honest, entirely a result of my need of creating an ‘at home’ sense of Japan. And of course almost every Hot Wheels, Matchbox or other car that my son (and myself) own is something that wears or is a relation of a Japanese make of car.

To end this ‘essay’, my latest little obsession is as a photographer finding images or scenes that could be straight out of Japan, where without knowing the origin of a photographed scene, you would just assume it’s from somewhere in J-land… this is actually going to become a little project of mine and I’m sure very soon some of these photographed scenes will flood my blog.

/end essay.

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

JNC Decal smash



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15 Responses to QotW: What’s the most American JNC?

  1. Matt says:

    Awesome. Thank-you guys.

  2. Banpei says:

    When I think about the most American car with my European eyes I immediately picture either a 1970 Dodge Challenger, a 1969 Ford Mustang fastback or a 1977 Smokey and the Bandit Pontiac Firebird (with the phoenix on it). Yes it probably is a bit influenced by 70s/80s movies. 😉

    Mapping these three cars on Japanese cars I come up with:
    1. Challenger: the butaketsu (pigsbutt) Nissan Laurel C130
    2. Mustang: Toyota Celica fastback RA28 or Mitsubishi Galant GTO
    3. Firebird: either a Nissan Fairlady (280ZX) S130 or the Celica Supra A40/A60

    If you squint your eyes and look at the butaketsu Laurel you really see a 1970 Challenger that has shrunk in the laundry. Even though the butaketsu Laurel is one of my favorite cars I don’t think it should be considered as an American copy: the Laurel was meant for the Japanese (and European) market and never sold in the US.

    Both the Celica fastback RA28 and Mitsubishi Galant GTO were clearly designed as a baby Mustang. The Celica did sell in the US but the Galant GTO did not. But the Celica lacked one thing: an engine with enough torque that would make the American want to buy the car.

    With the Celica Supra Toyota added two cylinders to the engine and a few inches to the chassis. Now the Celica had a lot more torque, with it longer nose it appealed more to the US market and these two generations paved the road for the Supra model. The first generation Celica Supra resembles the second generation Firebirds, while the second generation of the Celica Supra resembles more the third generation. And that would also be correct as they are all from the same era.

    That leaves us the Nissan 280ZX S130: the Fairlady was intended to get sold primarily to the US market. The long bonnet, sleek bumpers and the E-type lines made the S30 initially more a copy of a British sports car. However after 9 years of increasing displacement from 2.4 to 2.8 liters and the introduction of the crash safe bumpers, the S130 arrived that resembled more an American car than a British.

    If I had to pick one car from the ones I described, I would say the Celica Supra MA61 would fit the bill. Toyota emerged from a dull family commuter producing car company into a technologoy and performance driven company. Even their 80s Japanese slogan breaths this: Fun to Drive!

  3. Power Tryp says:

    The third generation Honda Accord. Think about it, when was the last time you saw one of these? I got ten bucks you saw one yesterday or the day before but because they are so embedded into “American” culture as an everyday car it didn’t click that these impressive little reliable go getters are still freaking everywhere.

    Not only that but they are the quietest entry into JNCdom that could have happened ever that there are clean examples literally waiting for some love. WHERE’S THE K SWAPPED ACCORD! Actually there probably is one or two out there but they get no love compared to its smaller sibling the CRX or Civic.

    You want American JDM? Well then look no further than the car that has woven itself so deeply into the fabric that is America that you don’t even notice it anymore.

  4. Ant says:

    The Miata – the entire idea of its conception was that of an American, Bob Hall, and it was the American team that pushed for its eventual front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout.

    It’s a pretty multinational car really – an American idea of the perfect British sports car built by the Japanese!

  5. Gerka says:

    Mazda REPU. Still blows my mind that it was only sold in North America, Cant get more Japanese American than a rotary powered pickup

  6. dickie says:

    To build off of Gerka’s answer: Subraru Brat. None of that European Wankel engine bull mess.

    Just a simple small pickup-truck layout with an all-A-MURKIN badge tacked onto a JNC “truck” platform. Why not Ford Courier/Mazda B-series, Plymouth Arrow/Dodge D50/Mitsubishi Forte and Chevy LUV/Isuzu D-Max? Because they’re half-ass attempts to capitalize on the small truck market, and the America I know doesn’t half-ass anything (except car builds based on Japanese trends where we tend to tack whatever mass-market tacky accessories to a semi-suitable chassis and call ourselves “kyusha clubs” at meets).

    What’s more American than bypassing the ridiculous anti-capitalist Chicken Tax tariff than sticking a couple plastic jumpseats in the bed of your JDM El Camino/Ranchero and selling it alongside the sad tagalongs that followed the undeniably excellent Toyota Hilux/Pickup and the Nissan 620?

    If you need further proof, just look to the fact that PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN, widely regarded as the most American president in recent history, owned and operated a Brat on his ranch for legitimate destructive testing purposes. If you think you’re more of a badass than a movie star/POTUS/rancher, please *please* try to suggest some weak alternative. the ghost of the Gipper will possess the Donald aka Number Forty Five and have your ass deported to some whiner locale post-haste. Try sharing your shitty QOTW suggestions from Communist China, you pinko scum.

  7. Randy says:

    How about the Cressida?

    “Softly-sprung,” compact-to-midsize sedan (coupe in earlier models) with a sub-200ci straight six engine and RWD; mostly sold with an automatic transmission.

    Sort of a luxury version of the Chevy II/Nova or Ford Falcon/Maverick/Fairmont.

  8. Sam says:

    Dodge Colt. Its literally a mitsi lancer in different badges. But as soon as you make it a dodge the yanks love em!

  9. Nathan says:

    Please allow me to edit my prior post. This was posted late at night and that clearly showed. It should read:

    Many Americans like big trucks, drooling over customized ones as children, then love to brag about the ones they have once old enough to drive. They also enjoy off-roading.

    With this in mind, the Toyota SR5 pickup is the correct answer, or more precisely Marty McFly’s 1985 Toyota SR5. It may not be some super unique American-only special, but a truck with a bull bar, roll bar, lights, etc. is certainly drool-worthy, about as American as it gets. Also, it was Marty McFly’s, which gets brownie points by virtue of him embodying the experiences of many American kids…and “Back to the Future” was a cult film in the US.

    But where does off-roading come into the picture, you ask? Simple. “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” The DeLorean isn’t the only car in that film that doesn’t need roads!

    Did I mention “Back to the Future”? I’m pretty sure I mentioned “Back to the Future”…. If that’s not enough to sway you, look at all the BTTF SR5 replicas and tributes that are built and how many show up at major car shows, such as JCCS, not to mention that Marty’s truck was enough of an icon for Toyota to build a tribute to it on the 30th anniversary of the film’s release.

  10. Nakazoto says:

    Just wanted to say that that’s a might fine looking 117 Coupe up there!

    As for the most American JNC, I think the Chevy Luv takes it hands down. It’s so American, most people don’t know that it’s an Isuzu Faster with some strange looking bowtie on it. Not only that, the full frame and sheer lightness of the truck lent itself well to building absolutely insane V8 power drag monsters. That’s as American as it gets!

  11. Johnny Tonel says:

    Although I am admittedly very biased to this question, the most American JNC by far and without a doubt is the Nissan Fairla– I mean Datsun 240z.

    The fact the name was changed to the aggressive 240z moniker by Mr K. while the first Series I’s were being rolled off the ship is just one argument that the Z was and is the first letter that most American’s would recall when thinking of JDM muscle.

    Z, a name that is still alive and well today in America, with the absence of the Evo, S2000, and Supra. Some series may come back in the future, such as the NSX, but the Z name is still here.

    Z, the chariot of Paul Newman and John Morton for not just winning but DOMINATING various American leagues on American racetracks.

    Z, with one of the largest engines offered at the time so it could cruise down American highways in comfort and confidence.

    Z, from my knowledge it is the oldest JNC to make numerous cameo appearances in the American produced “Cars” series.

    Z, one of the reasons Datsun became one of the largest importers in the 1970s and sold over 1 million vehicles.

    Z, with egronomic features that “fits” the American driver

    Z, my first car and first love

    (I need a 240z still though haha)

    From a obsessive, young Datsun Enthusiast
    1980 Datsun 280zx 10th Anniversary Edition
    1976 Datsun 280z 2+2

  12. Tom says:

    To me, the A60 Celica Coupe and the T140 Corona Coupe look the most ‘American’ amongst other JNC’s. I’m not sure why though – I think it may be due to the boxy rear ends which strike some similarities.

  13. sabotenfighter says:

    I say the Mazda Roadpacer AP. Sure its more the most Australian JNC, but think about it. Big boaty American style sedan, severely choked out engine (with loads of emissions reduction devices partly to blame) and thirsty to boot. Just about everything the Mid/Late 70s american car buyer was after!

  14. nlpnt says:

    Bit late to this but I nominate the 1985-89 Isuzu Gemini/I-Mark/Chevy Spectrum. From the original carbureted, floaty Spectrum to the final DOHC, Lotus-tuned I-Mark RS it’s a classic case of GM launching a half-baked car and improving it until it’s finally what it should have been all along, just before they pull the plug.

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