QotW: Who deserves to be in the JNC Hall of Fame?

Last week we wrote about two great men from Japanese motoring history. Former president of Toyota Shoichiro Toyoda passed away, while co-founder of Honda Takeo Fujisawa was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame. That got us thinking about creating a Hall of Fame for Japan’s auto industry from scratch. Who deserves to the honored? There are executives, engineers, race car drivers, tuners, designers (like Satoru Nozaki pictured above, who penned the beautiful Toyota 2000GT) and more. You don’t even need to name names. “The person who…” is good enough. Personally, I would like to thank whoever decided to put a crotch vent in my 4Runner.

Who deserves to be in the JNC Hall of Fame?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What once uncool family car is now desirable?“.

In terms of what is considered uncool by the normies, it’s hard to top a minivan. But as Sammy B pointed out, the Toyota Previa is a unique machine in both design and layout. Meanwhile エーイダン notes that the rear-wheel-drive Nissan Elgrands have been cropping up more and more in the US, and for good reason.

In the same vein wagons, especially economy ones like nlpnt‘s Corolla longroof, have now shifted into the cool column as the body style nears extinction. Like the Miata, Lakdasa‘s suggestion of the Suzuki Vitara was once considered a hairdresser’s car, but underneath it had the bones (ladder frame, 4WD) to be really good at what it was built for. TheJWT says it’s the Toyota Crown, which in Japan was about as ubiquitous a car as one could name. One wonders if the newest Crown will ever have that kind of cachet.

The winner this week goes to ninjastealth, who nominated the Crown of the USA, the Toyota Cressida. For decades it was considered the Toyota that grandpa bought. By the 2000s most people had forgotten the nameplate even existed. If you see one today, it’s far more likely to be lowered on some SSRs than on its way to the golf course.

I inherited an 85′ Cressida in 1993 with the pillow tufted velour interior. I got sideways with a car full of friends in SF, coming down a steep hill when I pulled the E-brake. Only learned 25 years later that it shared the straight 6 with a Supra. It would chirp tires from 1st to 2nd gear
0-60 runs with an auto trans! Very stupid of me and fun looking back.

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

JNC Decal smash

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7 Responses to QotW: Who deserves to be in the JNC Hall of Fame?

  1. Fred Langille says:

    How about the two separate designers of both the Honda 600 AND the Subaru 360? Minimalist cars, they both are but, with the former (of which I had one that I purchased at Ft. Jackson SC and drove cross country to Phoenix, AZ in 3 days!). Both started these two marques sucess stories here. I still miss my Z600 at times (especially at the gas pump, the little beast got 45/60 combined!) and, the “Ladybug” has the notoriety of being banned in NJ as unsafe!

    • Ian N says:

      Shinroku Momose (and engineering/design team) for the Subaru 360…… but just which Honda 600 do you refer to… S600? N600? or Z600 (of which you make mention – but it would have bee the N360/N600 that actually began the Honda success story…. in _cars_, preceded of course by the motorbike success story). That having been said, up until the Honda 1300/Civic battle, it would have been Soichiro Honda (and engineering/design team) anyway.

      – and I entirely agree! (along with Satoru Nozaki.- and Yamaha, for the Toyota 2000GT)

  2. Tim Mings says:

    Dave Ekins, and Bill Robertson Jr. Drivers of American HONDA’s first race car, the “BAJA N600” obviously…….

  3. dankan says:

    I would like to nominate the engineering and styling teams at Honda in the 1980s. From the City/Motocompo combo, through all of the classic Civics of the period, to the 4-wheel steering Prelude, and the NSX. That was a run of consistent styling and engineering character that mainly focused on fun for the regular person, but executed with a level of creativity that in many ways no other brand has ever matched. A full decade of hits across a whole model range, and no one’s been able to match it since.

  4. chrisp says:

    Mr. Akio Toyoda .

    He managed Toyota through several crises.
    He was/is an important driving force ( not literally 😉 ) behind:
    – the Lexus LFA
    – the modern Toyota 86 (when so many competitors abandoned this kind of car)
    – the GR Yaris
    – Gazoo Racing
    – the Supra co-developed with BMW

    Not just these, during his tenure as CEO, also “regular” Toyotas such as the Corolla and Prius became more enjoyable to drive. Nice-to-drive everyday cars can make one discover the joy of driving in general. Isn’t that an important step in creating the sporty car / sports car audience?

    (It also seems there is continuation for the foreseeable future: similar enthusiasm is now present among Toyota management: Mr. Koji Sato, the next CEO, was the Lexus LC chief engineer. He is an AE86 owner as well, and IIRC he’s not the only AE86 owner among current Toyota managers.)

  5. Tofu Delivery says:

    I nominate Jun Imai and Ryu Asada. The designs they did for Hot Wheels and Matchbox have gotten a lot of people excited about JDM cars, people that probably wouldn’t have been otherwise.

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