The steering wheel. It’s probably the thing you interact with the most when driving a car, so let’s give it some consideration.
What’s the greatest JNC steering wheel?
Allow us to make a case for the Nissan Gloria Turbo Brougham VIP Super Selection Ⅱ‘s floating wheel. Not only does the hub stay centered as the wheel rotates around it, it’s filled with buttons — cruise control on the right and auxiliary controls for the stereo on the left, including a volume dial. It is the most Japanese thing we can imagine next to Godzilla fighting Gundam on the back of a bullet train.
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 best car story with dad?”
There we many touching stories this week, including robin‘s story of dad’s CRX, Bobby‘s tale of his dad and his Starlet, and Seiko the Neko‘s story of the dad we all hope to be. The story that made us chuckle the most, however, was Tim‘s recounting of the time he almost burned down his firefighter dad’s house with his 240Z:
I bought a 1971 Datsun 240Z while I lived in an apartment. My parent’s house was only a few hours away, so I stored it there under the second story deck in a kind of make-shift carport, and headed down to work on it during the weekends. It turns out that there was a lot of bondo on it, and after stripping it off, I discovered that some of the body needed to be replaced. I’d never done any welding before at this point, but my father had. He borrowed a welder from a friend, and I bought a mask and the parts.
Fast forward to the next weekend. I brought down the mask and parts, and we spent the first day teaching me the basics. I cut apart and stitched back together an old chunk of metal a couple dozen times. We decided to start the real work the next day. Dad helped show me where to cut so that I’m not welding a compound curve upside down. We got the old piece out, and tacked the new one in place. I started filling in the gaps, and my father went inside to use the restroom.
So, I’m unsupervised. We’ve been working on this for a couple hours by this point, and I’m confident… Okay, maybe even a little cocky. Things are going good until I reach the rear of the doorframe. It turns out, the previous owner filled in every nook and cranny with expanding foam. It also turns out that this stuff is highly flammable. Do you know what happens to flammable foam when a high amperage electrical current and tiny bits of very hot metal hit it? I’m sure you can guess.
Whoosh. My car is on fire. My dad’s a firefighter. This is embarrassing. Well, the car’s sitting on a dirt floor, so I pick up as much as I can, and throw it at the small fire. Nope, that’s not going to do it. And I can’t find the hose. Crap. Okay, let’s get dad before I burn down my car AND his house. (It’s underneath a large wooden deck, remember?)
So, I run upstairs, and bang on the bathroom door.
“Dad, you there?”
“The car’s on fire.”
“The car. It’s on fire.”
By the time he made it downstairs, the fire had put itself out, so there was no serious damage. But it’s still something I remember every time I see that little alcove. Even though I recall being fairly scared at the time, I look back on it and kinda chuckle inside. But to this day, I don’t do bodywork. Electrical, mechanical, heck, even upholstery – I’ll give it a shot. But anything that involves a welder gets handed over to a professional.
Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!
I don’t know if they’re the greatest ever, but both the first gen Nissan Patrol and Subaru XT had fantastic steering wheels.
this patrol i found in a junkyard had an original wheel. is this the one you’re talking about?
That’s the one. Did you take it with you?
no, i wanted to rescue the whole truck but the junkyard owner wasn’t having it. so rare, and such a shame to end up in a yard in any condition.
Nissan/Datsun Competition Steering Wheel. The one found on S30Z’s and Hako’s. I’ve encoutered that it’s sometimes called Nismo Compe. Function over form, but the form itself is an astonishing work of art. Sportish, but still elegant. Only Nardi Calssico can look so good, but it’s aftermarket so it dosen’t count here. 😉
I love the simple elegant design of the 4-spoke steering wheel on the Series-I,II,III RX-7. I know it isn’t the greatest steering wheel of all time, but it is classy looking, and works with the over all simple design of the car. I have one in my REPU, and also a spare to give to my boys to use as a dummy steering wheel when they ride “shotgun” in my RHD Delica. Yes we mess with people, and yes I know it is wrong.
Also the Mazda Eunos Cosmo had a really cool looking steering wheel. It was futuristic looking in my opinion, and those cars are now officially JNC’s, correct.
I like the steering wheel so much i snagged one for my miata.
Gotta be the AE86 wheel from the Canadian/Japanese upper spec models. Nice, classic 3 spoke leather wheel with a decent amount of dish. I don’t know how the US market got that horrendous Kleenex box thing.
+1 on the AE86 wheel. I Europe only the AE82 got the leather option and all we got was the cheaper plastic one.
This is what they look like. Leather on the left, plastic on the right:
I recently discovered the Watanabe-made falcon steering wheel seen here- http://www.jdmjunkies.ch/wordpress/2012-02-10/240z-watanabe-rs-falcon-steering-wheel-arrived/
Did not even know these existed until not too long ago. Very simple design but at the same time it is a rarity and has a classic look that could fit perfectly with any JNC (-:
..the MA10ET power/torque graph on the hornpad of the K10 March Turbo’s wheel.. is just.. Its just amazing..
the “BEST” steering wheel ever was covered by 80shero in his blog post and belongs to the k10 March turbo. on top of complimenting the incredibly 80s gauge cluster with its wide rectangular ribbed spokes, it comes with a friggin’ dyno graph emblazoned on the horn pad. as far as i’m aware, that’s a first – and only – in any sort of application.
most of my JNC favorites hail from the pastel blazer and neon laser era, and all of the manufacturers produced appropriately “unique” steering wheels. In addition to the aforementioned Nissan offering, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Mazda, and Honda brought their a-game in the form of asymmetric spoke design, integrated buttons and controls or just plain starfighter-esque looks.
so who reigns supreme? none of the above. the “Greatest” steering wheel in any JNC belongs to the Toyota MX29 Mark II wagon, as exemplified in Eddie’s very famous car. What makes it great?
– the wood rim
– the triple two-tone spokes with brushed aluminum finish for the highlights and textured black plastic for the negative space
– the “dish”
– the padded center a la Nissan Compe plus…
– …the small windowed model-specific Mark II logo in the center of the pad
i would swap this into my MX36 in a heartbeat if they weren’t so hard to come by.
i almost forgot a staple for all of the Toyota wheels i’ve encountered from this period:
– single directional horn buttons on each spoke.
check out how the horn turns 90° around the wheel. some would call this an efficient cost-cutting measure as they needed only one part number for each button. some would call it laziness. i call it interesting enough to warrant being called out.
I certainly do agree with the March K10 steering wheel. That is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen!
BTW: thanks for liking the Toyota Corona/Carina/Celica TT140/TA63 Twin-Cam Turbo steering wheel! If it were a bit dished like the AE86 item it would have been awesome! 🙂
I’ve always had a soft spot for the ’70s Isuzu padded three-spoke sport wheel, as seen on the Chevy LUV Mikado and some Buick-Opels.
For some reason I have liked the late 60s/early 70s steering wheels from Nissan the best. The 240Z/KPGC10 had a nice dished three spoke steering wheel with a big horn button in the middle that looked really sporty.
But for some reason the steering wheel from the “lesser” Skyline 2400GT (as they were called overseas) is my favorite:
The steering wheel is similar in design but instead of the drilled-hole design it now features slim spokes on which all three have horn buttons. Looks a lot more classy IMO.
I managed to pick up one very similar to that off a Aus. 240k for $10 at a garage sale. Slotted it straight onto my s130 and it’s easily the greatest steering wheel i have ever felt.
If we’re talking actual older JNC’s, not the sorta JNC 80’s cars…..it has to be either the Mazda Cosmo(L10A/L10B) or R100. Actual wood rim, metal spokes with holes and lovely detailed horn pads. Greatest in my opinion comes from the “less is more” side, rather than the “more is more” side.
My vote is for the ’86-’89 Honda Accord steering wheel, which i love for it’s simplicity and because it felt good in my hands. The rim was very thick and felt sporty compared to other family sedans. It was a simple arched 4-spoke design with nothing but four horn buttons and two cruise control buttons on the right side that didn’t look added-on or cluttered.
I think I appreciated it even more after seeing a friend’s ’86 Pontiac 6000 STE. It had 12 different buttons, all with tiny labels and the same size, in the small middle part of the wheel and to blow the horn you had to find a spot to press in a 1″x1″ area that didn’t have the buttons! I love my redundant audio controls for volume, station/track and both of my Mazdas and the Bluetooth controls on my CX-9’s steering wheel. But they are intuitive and I can use them without even looking. In my friend’s Pontiac, you actually had to look down, away from the road and try to read what the stupid button did. Then you had to take your hand off the steering wheel to press it. The controls on my Mazda steering wheels and the cruise on my ’89 Accord can be used with my thumb without ever taking a hand off the wheel!
Mitsubishi (Galant) Sigma has to be right up there for its 1980s uniqueness.