QotW: What’s the most insane luxury feature on a JNC?

Toyota Century Pass-Through Seat

Japan’s culture had always put a high priority on service, but along with new technologies came novel ways for automakers to provide some truly crazy luxury experiences for their customers. Therefore we ask:

What’s the most insane luxury feature?

Heaps of things come to mind, like the flip-down portal in the front passenger seatback of a Toyota Century (so you can extend your legs and rest your feet up there), the Mitsubishi Debonair’s height adjustable suspension, or Honda’s 1981 navigation system. DR30 Skylines had some sort of lane guidance thing, the Mark II/Cressida had an entire auxiliary stereo control module located about 8 inches closer to the driver than the actual stereo, and the Nissan President had anti-lock brakes in 1971. And that’s not even counting the cars with build-in fridges.

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a toy. Click through to see the winner of the last QotW, “Which JNC has the greatest grille?” 


The winner this week is cesariojpn, who made a compelling analogy between that of the Toyota Century to a stylish yet formal business suit:

Easily the Toyota Century.

The car is often marketed as a car with conservative styling and according to the brochure: ‘The Century is acquired through persistent work, the kind that is done in a plain but formal suit.” And it translates quite into the grille. The grille oozes refinement, yet is simple enough to be as subtle as possible. It is simply, yet majestically adorned with a Phoenix Emblem, the icon of the Century

These two together instantly make the Century identifiable, much like a Business Suit made by a top tailor. The suit defines success and authority, but is simple enough to not be overbearing. A simple gold lapel pin accents yet not goes overtly tacky. The grille is the business suit, while the lapel pin is the emblem itself. Put them together, and you can see why Toyota made a wonderful analog to both.

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

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12 Responses to QotW: What’s the most insane luxury feature on a JNC?

  1. Nigel says:

    Not insane… just awesome.

    The Voltron “tech” worthy retractable front spoiler on the R31 Skyline.

  2. cesariojpn says:

    I won already, so I could care less about this one. Insanely enough, you can still get a Cassette Deck on a Toyota Century in 2014. I’m not kidding. Perfect for that Enka-mash with the older boss.


    • Randy says:

      Thanks for the article –

      I didn’t used to care for the different angles between the grille and headlights, but that one looks way nice.

  3. Ryan "J3wman" Senensky says:

    Im gonna HAVE to go with Honda’s sat nav in 1981, That predates even the US Military GPS by a decade. A close runner up though is METAL buttons in the 80s because Metal is the best music, my favorite thing is cruising in my 86 Subaru GL-10 listening to Megadeth or Vio-lence and pressing the METAL button to make EVERYTHING more Badass!

    • Dave says:

      Honda’s navigation system in the ’80s wasn’t satellite-based. It was run by some kind of gyroscope mechanism called “Electro Gyro-Cator.” You feed a transparency-like map into it, and the Electro Gyro-Cator is mechanically linked to the drivetrain to keep track of where you are in the map. There’s also some kind of helium-based device that detects movement for the system. It was ingenious and crazy complicated, and pretty sure it was the first navigation system offered to consumers in a production car. It certain was a pretty insane luxury feature.

      • Jason says:

        Here is the wiki article for it, super cool tech! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electro_Gyrocator

        Basically its a scaled down INS from an aircraft, some still have and use this type of tech today. Its very accurate and does work really well.

        The real question is, where can you find one today to purchase? I think it would be a great accessory to a 1st gen CRX or CVCC

  4. boyee says:

    I would say that the most insane luxury feature on a JNC would be the digital LED instrument cluster on a Mitsubishi Starion/Dodge Conquest. From the “tacho” to the turbo boost pressure meter, the temperature to voltmeter, and even the air conditioning mode display, all digital and directly in front of the driver to see all the vitals in his cockpit position. Nowadays, you see all the luxury cars have digital displays with more features of course, like HP, torque, and perhaps a G-force meters. Since this came out in the mid eighties, I would call that insanely futuristic!

    • Ryan "J3wman" Senensky says:

      That was regular as an option. Supra, 300ZX, All subarus, had Digital options. SICK AS HELL NONE THE LESS!

  5. ram9cc says:

    To me the most incredible feature in a JNC is in my 1983 Cressida Wagon – auto seatbelt retractors.

    When I get in the car – the car wants me to have a shoulder belt – i turn on the ignition and the car wraps me up. The illusion that this creates is so awesome, that when i’m cruising down the street to get some noodles i don’t realize – for an entire week after buying the car – that i havn’t been doing up the lapbelt.

    For creating an incredible feeling of robot butler service – I vote for automatic seat belts as an insane luxury feature – especially considering I still find myself forgetting to plug in the lap belt.

  6. dickie says:

    Refrigerated console storage, hidden air purifiers, doily seat covers, special passenger seats with pass-through backs for extended rear-seat legroom, privacy curtains, built in seat massagers, flip-down mobile phone consoles, retractable sunshades… the list goes on and on. this is stuff that even RR didn’t think of when they were designing their cushiest cars to cater to the conspicuously comfortable consumer.

    All of this is nice for the average head-of-industry or yakuza boss on the go, but do they REALLY get to enjoy the driving experience from the back seat? Nope.

    To get the most out of my Japanese luxury auto experience, I’d need to be gripping the wooden wheel of a well-appointed grand tourer, pushing my Italian leather-clad right foot onto the accelerator and lighting up the “TURBO” indicator next to the sweeping bar graph tach as it approaches the digital redline. I pull off of the expressway into a well-lit parking area, noticing the cabin has become a tad stuffy for my liking. With a flick of my sheepskin sheathed index finger, I activate a switch that causes my roof panel and rear window to fold neatly into the mile-long rear deck. As I exit the lot to resume my journey, the orange tinted light catches the reflective script against the black glass of the rear valence: AEROCABIN.

    Yes, a power folding roof section that leaves the B- and C- pillars intact and conjoined by a rollbar. This is the most insane luxury feature available on the classiest personal luxury coupe in existence. Ultra-refined, ultra-excessive, ultra-rare having been produced for less than a single model year: the MZ20 Soarer Aerocabin.

    thanks to 80sHero for the inspiration!

  7. Wayne Thomas says:

    Not insane, but the electronic push-button privacy curtains found in the Century and other vehicles is the height of luxury features in Japan.

  8. Exiv96 says:

    Most insane luxury JNC feature ? Definitely the F30 Nissan Leopard’s wing mirror wipers. There’s nothing more JDM than wing-mounted mirrors, so imagine one that stays clean whatever the weather ! One touch of a button and your dirty wing mirror is clean again. Total bliss.

    Incidentally, I learned about this, and many more 1980s JDM features, with 1/24 japanese plastic kits. So thank you Tamiya for the Leopard 280X SF-L’s magic mirrors and the Mugen CR-X Pro’s roof-mounted air scoop shaped like a periscope, thank you Fujimi for the R31 Skyline’s moveable GT Auto Spoiler, and thank you Aoshima for the X81 Mark II’s door window wiper.

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