QotW: Which carmaker takes the best care of its heritage?

The recent revelation that the Toyota USA Museum was crushing two of its cars was gut-wrenching for enthusiasts. Every carmaker struggles with the conflicting forces of keeping their heritage alive and having to juggle constraints of cost or space or legal liability. Some do a better job of managing those factors than others, and we enthusiasts benefit from seeing those collections come alive.

Which carmaker takes the best care of its heritage?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What advice or stories do you have about tires?“.

A lot of good advice was dispensed from last week’s comments. Starting with the basics, the first bit of guidance comes from JJ, who recommends you do your research and not get taken by a tire shop. speedie reminds us not to cheap out on the only four contact patches holding you to the road. And once you find a tire you like, George says to double check that TIN to make sure that date code is not too old.

steve warns us that bigger isn’t better, and should you ever want to know the diameter of the wheel plus tire, Jonathan P. has the formula for you. Once you’ve got the tires, Taylor C. reminds us to keep the pressure in check. Maybe even keep a 12-volt compressor in your car like Negishi no Keibajo. It would probably be a good idea not to let your tires get bald in case of any unexpected storms, as Lee L found out. At least his Z31 didn’t end up like Fred Langille‘s Renault, a blowout on which took off the wheel. Brett‘s Kurt Vonnegut paraphrase captured that sentiment perfectly.

Many comments came with recommended brands, many of which were used for years without failure or were surprisingly good value. Those include MWC‘s Yokohamas, speedie‘s Michelins, Chet Manley‘s Sumitomos, and Taylor C.;s Kumho Ecstas.

Of course, the biggest problem is that smaller sizes are hard to find these days, as Alan reminded us. That’s why the winner this week and in life was Land Ark, who not only managed to find 12-inch tires for his Nissan Figaro, but got clever when looking for a place to mount them:

Not only is finding 12″ tires for a Figaro a significant challenge – we had a no-name brand shipped from the Figaro Shop in England – but most shops don’t have a machine that can mount them on a wheel. We tried 10 different shops before we found one that could do smaller than 13″.
What finally worked for me was calling Tractor Supply thinking they may know who can mount trailer tires and being directed to the shop next door that could do it.

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

JNC Decal smash

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13 Responses to QotW: Which carmaker takes the best care of its heritage?

  1. Lukas says:

    Which carmaker takes the best care of its heritage?

    Thats an easy question. Volkswagen (VW) and Porsche. A decade ago, it was Mercedes-Benz, easy. But they let it go the last years, so Porsche and VW are the ones with the most effort in their heritage. And “care of its heritage” isnt just parts availability. Its their Museum, their Classic Marketing, their events that feature their classic fleet, all that.

  2. Dillon says:

    Its hard to argue away from Porsche as they openly offer factory restoration for their cars. Though it ,ay be a little more difficult to source individual parts directly from Porsche, they stand by and offer complete service, which you certainly pay for.

    However, it is nice to see that Nissan has stepped their game in offering more and more parts. Though I’m still unsure if it is their acknowledgement of poor manufacturing from back in the day, or realizing that their only real staples are the “Z” and “GTR” to keep the brand alive and well.

    Toyota seems to be slow moving, but you have to respect their work in restoring other manufacturer cars in their restoration pit at Mega Web.

  3. Ian N says:

    I thought I read this website as “Japanese Nostalgic Car”…..

    Well as far as _Japanese_ cars are concerned, we all know Honda cares about its heritage, methinks Toyota, Nissan too – and Subaru are making some inroads in that direction, but where’s Suzuki? Not having been to Japan (unfortunately), i have no knowledge of any Suzuki Heritage Museum or the like, I’m willing to guess that Mazda values its past… but could be wrong. C’mon Ben, put us out of our (my) misery!

    I agree with PP – making “retro” cars is (in my eyes at least) nothing at all to do with “taking the best care of its heritage”, but more to do with perhaps applying a light nod in that direction – but mainly making wads of do$h if possible (they possibly ran out of ideas, so naturally hark back towards cars they once made with character). They could at the very least include the company history in the training manual for all staff at all levels.

    My enduring wish is to finish my Subaru Young SS resto then waltz in to then Subaru dealers to see first the blank faces, then secondly ask if they have any parts for my Subaru.

    I just have to get my flamin’ skates on coz I’ll all too soon be older than me car!

  4. Lakdasa says:

    I have been to the Porsche and Mercedes Museums in Stuttgart and was in awe of their heritage and the collections. One problem I have with Mercedes is that they tend to leave out the Benz part of their heritage and focus mostly on the Daimler part. As part of my training for Mercedes they did a full brand tour, when I asked what about the birth place of Benz they just changed the topic. But we went to see the birthplace of Daimler his garage where he built his first car, etc etc.

    Coming to Japanese, I think Toyota does a wonderful job in Japan. Nissan seems to be working under closed doors in Zama. It was nice for Toyota to offer public viewing until recently showing how much they care about the history and heritage.

  5. JJ says:

    In terms of Japanese companies, Honda, hands down. Unlike a lot of other collections, theirs still runs!

    • Alan says:

      I’ve heard every single car in Toyota’s incredible Aichi collection runs, most of which are from other manufacturers.

  6. MikeRL411 says:

    If a manufacturer cannot honor its own past, donate to another automotive museum like the Peterson1

  7. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    Even during the Ghosn pandemic, I thought Nissan did an admirable job with their showroom right on the corner of Ginza 4 Chome along with their collection a few blocks away (gone now). A recent example in the Ginza room was a stunningly gorgeous Prince R380 race car from 1967 (I don’t approve of them changing the Prince decal with Nissan however).

  8. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    Heads up to anyone in the Seattle-Tacoma area, The LeMay America’s Car Museum is featuring an exhibit; “Shinka- An Immersive Japanese Automobile Exhibit”.


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