QotW: What’s your greatest “in the wild” JNC sighting?

Toyota 2000GT in San Luis Obispo

Incredibly, that Friday flatbed find wasn’t even our first our 2000GT sighting. A few years ago our intrepid Touge California rallymaster Patrick, who eagle-eyed the flatbed one, saw another one in the wild, this time in Solar Red and moving gloriously under its own power. He shall henceforth be known as The 2000GT Hunter.

What’s your greatest “in the wild” JNC sighting?

For our purposes, “in the wild” means on the street, parked somewhere other than a place specifically designed to display cars (ie, a car show, showroom, race track, you get the idea). Remember, pics or it didn’t happen. But if you don’t have them, you better make sure your story is pretty darn convincing.

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 the greatest forced-induction JNC?” 

1109_Toyota Eagle MarkIII GTP

There many good comments this week it was hard to pick just one. Robin‘s tale of the South African Nissan EXA provided new perspective on what was exported to the country that gave us Charlize Theron. Ant made a strong case for Soichiro Honda’s bulldog, and ahja made us laugh pretty hard with both his nomination of the 280ZX and his reply to melvin‘s Lancer Evo 0 comment. However, there can be just one and this week Nathan was the most inspiring, even though he cheated by circumventing the question:

Since the question didn’t specify that the vehicle had to be a road car, I’m nominating the almighty Toyota Eagle MkIII, which dominated the late years of IMSA’s GTP series. Why?

Forced induction is done to extract as much power as possible from an engine without having to increase its capacity, which adds weight, especially if the block is made of iron. The absolutely psychotic powerplant campaigned by Dan Gurney’s AAR team is arguably one of the best examples — if not the epitome — of this concept. The Eagle MkIII was powered by Toyota’s 503E, a 2.1L, single-turbo inline 4. TRD spared nothing, reportedly destroying 4 dynamometers in the development of the engine. In qualifying trim, this boosted mechanical monster was good for a claimed 800+ horsepower, although some competitors estimated horsepower was 900+. For the 1993 season, IMSA slapped the Toyotas with additional weight and a smaller restrictor in an effort to maintain parity with the rest of the field, but they still managed to belt out over 700 hp and continued to have their way with the competition.

While the car is best remembered for what it did in 1992 and 1993, it debuted in 1991, so it is technically a nostalgic this year. If that’s not a good enough reason, then the following numbers certainly are:

– 27 races
– 21 wins
– 18 poles
– 16 fastest laps
– 2 championships

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

JNC Decal smash

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14 Responses to QotW: What’s your greatest “in the wild” JNC sighting?

  1. Kuroneko says:

    While I am tempted to say it was either a Toyota 2000GT coincidentally driving past, while I was photographing another parked 2000GT. Or, a 2000GT passing me the other way as I struggled to keep an Audi R8 on my side of the road on the narrow Ashinoko Skyline. But!

    The greatest would simply be Panda AE86 coming around a bend on the Usui Touge – sideways…

  2. Ant says:

    The first one that truly made me take notice was, like Kuroneko above, a panda AE86. I was walking from my apartment to the local shop to get some supplies, and spied it through the window of a multi-storey car park. In the days before adequate smartphone cameras it was enough for me to rush back to my apartment and get my DSLR for a few decent snaps. Shopping had to wait…

    That said, my first visit to Japan a couple of months back couldn’t have yielded a more appropriate spot for me: a perfect silver Hakosuka, driving through Akasaka. Perfectly original by the looks of things.

  3. Lucio Oquendo says:

    I have yet to see a uber rare japanese vehicle. I still haven’t seen a nicely restored AE86… the rarest thing I’ve seen was probably a restored RX-2 lol… I still haven’t seen a non-beaten up Corolla of any kind outside of Puerto Rico…

  4. johnnyizegem says:

    Has to be a 2000gt. I saw it at a work shop (they do al kinds of crazy stuff, last week I saw a porsche 959, a weeks earlier I saw a peugeot 205 t16,.. let’s say I drive past it on purpose every day just in case I spot a rarity) but the 2000gt passed me on one of my walks with my daughter and I was lucky, it stopped at a petrol station so I could go and have a chat with the owner, and tell him I already took pics upclose because I saw it earlier at that said workshop… they installed a quick release steering wheel for him because he’s to big for the car… have a crappy cellphone pic from at the petrol station, and a few good ones from my other visit. (this all happend in Belgium by the way)

  5. Dan says:

    One afternoon, walking with a friend to their house after class, we spotted an old car stopped across the road.
    We craned our necks as we got closer, trying to get a good look through the traffic… quad headlights, the long front, the shape of the quarter window and the vent in the large, sloping C-pillar – it HAD to be a Datsun 240K! “Oh my God!” and “No way!” were repeated as we started acting like a pair of excited schoolgirls.

    Before we could cross and get a better look, the car started up and drove off. The cam on it must have been seriously big because it idled just like a rotary!
    As we watched it disappear down the road, my friend pointed out that the car didn’t have its iconic round tail lights…

    Turned out the “Kenmeri” we thought we’d spotted was actually a Mazda RX-4!

  6. Ni says:

    I don’t see a ton of old rare Japanese cars in my area. It’s rains a lot and thus many have rusted away. I can’t even think of anything I have seen out in the wild besides at car shows. So I must go with my driveway. In it you will find a Datsun 510 that was a Bob Sharp race car, a 280z getting an LS1 makeover, and a RA24 Toyota Celica on it’s way to a 1UZ.

  7. jivecom says:

    For me it wasn’t about the status of the car in general but what it meant to me. I saw a (perhaps not genuine admittedly) iron mask DR30 with all the right touches: Black and red two tone, giant RS Turbo decal, gold mesh wheels. To a little kid who had been playing Gran Turismo 2 it was like finding a unicorn (the fact that in my life since I have seen more 2000GTs than I have DR30s just helps fuel the fire)

    I’m a ridiculous Toyotaku, but an iron mask DR30 is probably my favourite JNC, and that sighting is why

  8. goodshow_aa says:

    Probably ten years ago, I was driving in the Costa Mesa/Huntington Beach area, and saw @mr_majestic007 kenmerri Skyline driving down the street. I was in my s14 at the time, and I dont think I have ever been so taken aback by seeing a car. It was the first one I had ever seen, and had been lusting for one since it first showed up on grand turismo a decade before. At this time, no one had this car let alone drove it up the street like it was some mediocre Porsche 911 which is the norm in so cal. I saw him time and time after that, he drove this car all the time, and with a full built l32 and kameari internals this thing screamed. . To this day when I think about the first time seeing it, I think it was the equivalent to when people in the late 60-70 first saw color tv.

  9. No later than last weekend, a white 2000GT at a crossroad in Geneva, Switzerland. Being an absolute lover of this car I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I’ve seen many of them in Japan, but never in Europe (except from the one exposed at Geneva Motor Show 2 years ago).

    When this shape I would recognize among thousands crossed my sight for maybe 2 or 3 seconds, it was like time was freezing. Very emotional. I was even more surprised when I saw it had actual Geneva license plates, which meant it was currently registered. Then it vanished, and I stayed, chuffed to bits.

    After investigating the case I learned that it is one of the three 2000GT that were imported to Switzerland back in the days, and one of the last 2 remaining (the third, a red one, was sold and went to the US last year). It had been purchased by the father of the current owner in the late 60’s and he kept it all his life. When he passed away his son kept it. This guy is a genuine encyclopedia about the 2000GT and his website is maybe one of the most complete you can find about the car.

    Though I’m used to seeing gorgeous cars in Geneva, seeing my all time favorite car in motion far from its natural habitat really was something else.

  10. Scotty G says:

    One that I see all the time is my former 1971 Toyota Corolla 2-door wagon. But, I only see it in my head, from memory; unfortunately. I have yet to find another one, so, if anyone knows of a nice one for sale, I’m a cash buyer.

  11. ahja says:

    In the Moiliili neighborhood (low/mid quality commercial and residential, very urban) of Honolulu I have seen the following: Plymouth Sapporo in mint condition (have also seen another beaterish one on island), a seemingly well-kept mid-70s Dodge-badged Mitsubishi Galant 2-door hardtop, and a somewhat rough RX-3 SP. The latter are the only ones I’ve ever seen and the Sapporo/Galant Lambda’s alleged extinction has been covered in both Hemmings S&E and on this very website. But I’m more electrified when I spy an AE86 that was previously unknown to me. (Probably some of you others also recall each instance of encountering your favorite car and have a mental database of what each on looks like and where it lives…I hope I’m not the only weirdo anyway.)

    After all this rambling my answer has become obvious to me. My greatest in the wild JNC sighting was my first ae86 that I hunted down and bought, now many years ago. It was rare even then. It won me over in so many way and has been the best thing I’ve ever bought. Its also changed who I am. Its like seeing your wife for the first time and instinctively knowing that she was your future wife (Is that actually even a thing? And a chick would probably think its more creepy than romantic if you told here about it…Maybe my Corolla experiences have warped my expectations and sabotaged my human love life)

    This post was longer than expected and now I need a smoke or a drink since I’m all sentimental. No photos, but the pictures in my mind are nice and clear and I imagine will always be. It had a car bra. lol. People actually bought/had those back then. k done

  12. Banpei says:

    Not so much a JNC yet: only two years short for that…

    Basically one of my colleagues told me some people were making photos of some Ferrari in the parking lot at work, but actually there was a tuned car parked next to it that I might be interested in. So I walked outside and found this (lightning) blue Nissan Skyline R33 GTS-t parked behind it. So I started to make photos of the Skyline, walking around it multiple times and my colleagues thought I was crazy…

    That evening when I wanted to upload the photos I actually started to look up that Ferrari and amazingly I have been taking photos of a 22 year old sub $10K Skyline (sorry Mitchel!) while the car parked in front of it was a two week old Ferrari F12 Berlinetta which costs over $400,000 here in the Netherlands. Yes I’m that ignorant of modern cars. 😀

    Proof that this actually happened:

  13. YaBoyYeti says:

    One time, I was at a swap meet and there was this little white truck hidden underneath colorful shaded tarps and discounted shouting from the vendors “BARATO BARATO PASALE PASALE. As I crept closer I felt this vehicle calling me. It was a mid 70s Hilux with a bizarre camper. I snapped a couple of pics. The body was beaten, it had a decepticon sticker on the driver door, (possibly from some snot kid) there was a huge window on the left side. The bed replaced the camper. The owner approached. He was weathered elderly man who was the 3rd owner, he mentioned that people gave him offers, and subsequently turned them down. “Yeah its a 22r and pretty reliable” He spoke in spanish. “Do you want to see the inside?” Hells yeah, I stepped inside. This truck had character the smell, heated vinyl form the sun. It was pretty stock and fairly clean except for the seats and floor mats which have seen better days. Peering to the abyss that is known as the camper. It was dusty, quiet and hollow. The maroon interior was very minimal just what you would expect from a mid 70s Japan. Yes this truck had stories and I didnt have time to listen.

    Yeah I could have told the story of the first time i saw a hakosuka but that wasnt in the wild, that was at wekfest. I still dont know whats it called a “chinook”?? Any way this was at mexican swapmeet next to a guy selling roadbikes and fake gshock watches. I left that day with a couple hws that were kinda hard to find. I mean it had overfenders!!! What a JNC and Imagine taking this campling??!?!

    Heres the link at the bottom.


  14. drive510 says:

    Looks like the grapevine.

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