QotW: What’s the rarest JNC?

1997 Lexus SC 300 Pikes Peak

We all know there were 351 Toyota 2000GTs made, but that does not make them rare. To see one, just walk into any car museum in Japan. There’s plenty of well preserved ones at US car shows too. How about a modernized 2000GT? Did you know that Lexus made only 120 facelifted 5-speed SC 300s? That facelift occurred in 1997, the last year a manual transmission was offered in the US. On top of that, the vast majority of them have been turned into “gentleman’s Supras” or drift missiles with mods of questionable taste. That’s just one example, but we’re sure there are even more obscure cars out there.

What’s the rarest 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, “What’s your most heroic repair story?” 


The winner this week was Andrij Mishalow, who took a 1,300 mile road trip with no mufflers and a questionable starter. The Coke can trick probably would have worked with some proper hose clamps, but then there wouldn’t be much of an adventure, would there?

Many many years ago, around 1989, I owned a KE 25 with a 3/4 race built 4K. The car looked like crap, the only panel that was straight was the roof, with bog and rust and 3 shades of bamboo yellow paint. I had a 1 3/4 inch exhaust, straight thru to just one muffler out the back.

The exhaust was made by the engine builder, but was not supported in many places like it should have, so it tended to vibrate a bit when driving.

Well, long story short, my best mate and I decided we would drive 1300 miles over 2 days just because we were bored. Well, the exhaust split just before the muffler when we were about 100 miles into our journey, so we stopped beside the road, and fix it as best as we could. All I had in my tool kit was some fencing wire, pliers and some empty cans of coke.

I sliced the can into a strip, would that around the pipe, before wrapping the fencing wire over the can and then tying it off in 2 other places. Worked a treat, for about 10 miles.

We continued our trip, with the muffler placed in the boot, an open pipe, and no stereo that could be heard.

On the way back home, the bolts fell out off the starter motor, so I had to tie wire it, and hot fuel the car on the way back.

Took 3 days for our hearing to return after the trip, but lesson was now learnt. Have more stuff in my tool kit.

Did I mention that I dropped the car off at the engine builder’s place to get the pipe repairs, and he commented to me casually, that he thinks he heard my car from almost half a mile away when I turned up.

Ah, the memories ?

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

JNC Decal smash

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24 Responses to QotW: What’s the rarest JNC?

  1. Scotty G says:

    Without question, a 1971 E20 Corolla 2-door (or, 3-door, as they say) wagon with a manual transmission! It was my first car back in 1980 and I have yet to find another one in the last decade since I’ve been actively looking for one.

  2. goodshow_aa says:

    I would think the cp311 silvia. but I am not sure on exact numbers.

  3. nar says:

    Canadian CRX Si Special Edition. Only 250 were made with consecutive vin numbers. They all came in vogue silver with painted side mirrors and side trim. Who knows how many of those 250 have survived.

  4. Lupus says:

    My car – Daihatsu Applause A101 zenki made between ’89 and ’92. Just think when have You seen such car for the last time? If You ever had…

  5. melvin says:

    Mitsubishi’s obscure front wheel drive 8 cilinder Toyota Century contender: the 1st gen Dignity. 59 built.

  6. Ant says:

    A bone-stock, completely unmolested Civic?

    • sabin simard says:

      My girlfriend have a never winter driven Canadian 2000 hatchback DX 5 speed with 60000KM (less than 30000 miles), bone stock and unmolested with still two of the four firestone FR680 that came with the car when she bough the car brand new.

  7. Tom Westmacott says:

    I think the Toyota (Toyoda) AA has to take this one. About 1,400 were made, yet only the shell of an example still exists, in the Louwman museum, minus the original engine (plus perhaps the black one if that indeed turned out to be a Toyota?) – there isn’t one complete example known to exist anywhere, truly a rare JNC.

  8. Mazluce says:

    For the American market I would say the Isuzu I-Mark RS. Who could forget “Joe” commerials. Neat cars with handling by Lotus and one year only in the states. What more could one ask for?

  9. 02Anders says:

    I’ll just have to mention the sleek Isuzu Bellett Fastback.
    Now any Bellett is a rare bird nowadays, but the Fastback takes it to another level!
    Production numbers are difficult to come by though. Some claim as little as 60 examples before it was discontinued. Others recon it got into the 400’s. Who knows…??
    Bizarrely they were all delivered from factory in plain white.
    Such a cool and stylish little coupe with a design which was totally it’s own.
    Wish I could find and – not least – afford one!

  10. Brett says:

    Bitter experience has taught me that the rarest car on earth, JNC or otherwise, is the model that I have recently decided to buy, after seeing many for sale and gradually convincing myself that they are a great car and buy, and for which I am now desperately and unsuccessfully scouring the ads.

    Happens every time, without fail.

    • Ant says:

      The flip side to that is owning a car you think everyone will want when you eventually come to sell, and then it takes 8 months to find a buyer. Not that I’m bitter about it or anything…

    • Ryan Senensky says:

      Same here, I’ll see rough 654151631 FB RX7s per day and like 2 SA22s, then I’ll start to look for an FB and there will be 1 on craigslist with half a floor left in it and a LS swap.

  11. JovaTecH says:

    The Isuzu Impulse (Piazza) Turbo and I-Mark very rare on this days

  12. Mikey says:

    Has to be the 83-85 Nissan Bluebird 240 rs. 200 Made for group b spec racing 265hp and under 1000kg must have been driven hard by the few owners that had them or race car’d? Man I don’t think I have ever seen one in NZ and we are Jap Import mad. Rare, fast, awesome and outrageous flares. Gotta be a winner.

  13. MarkSJB says:

    I’ll vote for the 1997 Miata R Package. Mazda only made 47 of them that year. They were intended for people who wanted to track their Miata, so you can bet less than 47 of them survive today!

    • Ant says:

      Was the 97 R Package different from any of the other years though? It looks like 1800-ish were made overall since 1994, which is still pretty rare but not on the scale of some of the specials made in Japan – I’m thinking things like the M2 versions of the Eunos Roadster, the Eunos RS-Ltd etc.

      Most were made in runs of 200-500 overall (M2s were 300), and several were more mechanically different from stock than the R Package (particularly, again, the M2s).

      Actually, one of the rarest I can think of would be the MX-5 Le Mans – just 24 produced in 1991, all for the UK, all turbocharged by Brodie Brittain Racing (but officially sold through Mazda) and the majority wearing the orange and green Renown livery of the 787B.

  14. Hanif says:

    I’ll vote for toyota SW20 MR2 spider. The one with the soft top convertible roof and manual gearbox

  15. Lorth says:

    I would like to say the Ta64 Celia convertible with the 4T-GTE engine. I think only one was made.

  16. Matt says:

    I think I’d have to put forward the Nissan Bluebird 910 Series 3 TRX. Being the owner of a Series 3 910, I know how hard it is to find parts for and how rarely you see them on the road. (I think I’ve seen 3 standard model S3 910’s in the time that I’ve owned mine – one of them was in a wrecking yard). There is only one immaculately presented original TRX that I know of still road registered here in Australia and I haven’t seen it in person. I have spoken to quite a number of people who own and have owned Bluebirds of the 910 variety, almost all have said that they haven’t seen a TRX for at least 15-20 years.

    I believe the TRX models were put together by Nissan Australia and so possibly only locally available, which given that’s true, would certainly make them a top contender for one of the rarest JNC.

  17. MainstreaM says:

    I would say the Starion GX. It was a non turbo, carburated, solid rear axle version of Mitsubishi’s famous halo car. Short production run of a stripped down model guaranteed low production numbers. Being what it is, it was fairly undesirable when several years old which understandably relates to even less surviving. I’ve only ever seen an actual example one time and it was for sale in New Zealand just a couple of years ago.
    Wikipedia says:
    “A naturally aspirated version known as the GX was offered in the Japanese market, with production ending in 1983. The Starion GX was offered without power windows, air conditioning, independent rear suspension, fuel injection or power-assisted steering.”

  18. Andrew says:

    My first thought was the B12 Sentra Sport Coupe, but a quick check of autotempest reveals no fewer than FOUR currently for sale around the country (prices range from $500 to “make an offer” to $3500), so I guess they’re not that rare. I still feel like I’ve never seen one in the wild.

    So what about the AWD Colt Vista / Summit Wagon? These were Mitsubishi RVR captive imports, and only sold from ’92 – ’96, but the vast majority were the DL and LX (FWD) trims.

    Although speaking of RVRs, they put out new JDM trim levels for that thing like every year, tacking on aggressive adjectives like Dragon Ball reboots: Sports Gear! Open Gear Limited! Hyper Sports Gear! Super Sports Gear! Sports Gear Limited 2.0! Sports Gear Z! Hyper Sports Gear Z! (not even kidding). One of these trims must be down to the last few examples by now…

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