QotW: Which JNC model name should be revived?


History is littered with legendary nameplates that have ended in the scrapyard. We saw many of them at JCCS this weekend (coverage coming shortly), and it made us nostalgic for times when names like Silvia, Cressida and Prelude still existed.

Which JNC model name should be revived?

US automakers love recycling old names. Sometimes a re-born name is a hit (2008 Dodge Challenger). Sometimes it’s not (1978 Dodge Challenger). Toyota has a habit of using old chassis codes as new model names (FJ Cruiser, 86), Honda waited 30 years to bring back the S-Series, and Nissan revived the entire Datsun brand. However, we think the name Celica is a shoe-in for revival. It sounds good, has substantial recognition amongst the public, and would be perfect for a small, compact coupe.

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 rarest common car?


The winner this week was Midship Runabout, who lamented the fact that the wondrous Isuzu Impluse was no longer a common sight on US roads:

I’m not certain we could call this car “common” to begin with (perhaps Bart could weigh in with production numbers?) but the answer that came to mind immediately was the first-generation Isuzu Impulse. Prior to last year’s JCCS when three (three!) were on the lawn, I can’t remember the last time I saw one in the flesh. Maybe it was the fact that it was so darned good-looking, or maybe it was Isuzu’s excellent pre-Joe print campaign, but it sure seemed like Giugaro Impulses were everywhere back in the ’80s.

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

JNC Decal smash

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35 Responses to QotW: Which JNC model name should be revived?

  1. Dchil says:

    The Starion.

    The Mitsubishi Starion was the RWD sports car that everyone wanted from the triple diamond mafia in the 80’s.
    A 4 cylinder engine meant it was cheap to rego and the angular styling showed that Mitsubishi could make tough looking cars, especially in a wide body format.

    All they need to do is reintroduce the name on a RWD coupe running the Evo’s turbo motor at a price similar to the 86 and you get another great car that rivals the MX5 and the 86 trio.

  2. Steve says:

    240Z on a car that brings back what a 240Z was.

    • Dchil says:

      Well as the 240Z and 370Z are both called “Fairlady” inside Japan it is unlikely that Nissan japan would bring back a name they already have in production.

      Perhaps a new Silvia or Bluebird.

  3. Chase says:

    I personally hope no JNC model name gets revived anytime soon. What’s wrong with letting a legendary name die on a good note, rather than dragging it through terrible style changes until it ends up as a watered down econobox with just a recognizable name? I don’t know if anyone is keeping up with the sales of new Japanese sports cars but they are embarrassing.Just look at the 370z. It’s barely selling five thousand units for 2014. Numbers for the BRZ and FRS are even worse. No wonder Nissan has been reluctant about the IDx.
    Truth is new Japanese sports cars do not sell well enough for manufactures to invest in designing new ones. So even if, say the Celica or Silvia was revived, it would be a far cry from the car that gave it such a strong appeal among enthusiasts. And if a manufacturer did come out with a decent revival of a old model that had a solid foundation, it would be priced out of the market which it was intended for.

    • Charlie says:

      Well said !! I agree. In my opinion the Celica name should have been scrapped when they ruined it with frt wheel drive in 1986… dont get me wrong the AWD versions like the GT4 were very cool. but still there were very few of those..

    • Randy says:

      I kind of agree – only bring back a name if the vehicle IS what it WAS.
      – Don’t put “Celica” on a Yaris coupe; maybe that would be a Carina? Now, if Toyota wants to buy the IDx design from Nissan and do the base through GT/ST Celica…
      – Versa could have been 210, owing to it’s place in the lineup.

      Is Mitsu in a position to do the Starion right? I read somewhere that they’re dropping the Evo. If they’re in some trouble, then don’t put the name on a half-hearted attempt. Don’t make another Eclipse and put “Starion” on it; they are NOT the same thing. Some dimwit MBA would probably want to put “Starion” on a crossover-something.

      Maybe they’d be in better shape if they actually ADVERTISED. I’ve seen Camry ads, and when the new Corolla came out, and Sentra ads, and Mitsu ran a commercial a few times for the new Mirage, and I hate to say it, but I don’t remember off-hand the small SUV with that Kim K-ish looking woman driving… That’s a bad sign.

      Maybe they need to take a cue from the Koreans… I see a LOT of Hyundais and Kias out there (though few Velosters), but have only seen ONE GT-R, and I’m up to having seen my SECOND FRS/BRZ. (This one was blue!) I get the limited appeal of a $100K car, but the Toyobaru seems to have missed it’s demographic. Overpriced? Overpromised? Have seen exactly ZERO ads on the tube.

      Price, content, exposure, etc. C’mon multinational manufacturers; y’all can do better, but until such time as you produce something worthy of a Classic name, do not dilute it on an “Eh,” vehicle.

      • Randy says:

        Oh yeah – just had a thought – Y’ALL NEED BETTER NAMES. Letters and number don’t cut it; NAMES. Wanna buy an FU-II? Remember the 6000SUX? The designers/marketers should be forced to name their kids the stupid-@$$ things they call their vehicles. “I’d like you to meet my daughter: HORAT-15.”

  4. Ryan Senensky says:

    Speaking of the Impulse/Piazza, I think the Isuzu Piazza should be revived! Same layout, front engine, RWD, optional LSD and 4 wheel disc brakes. Since Mitsubishi owns a large stake in them, perhaps a 4B11T power plant. If they don’t make it too expensive or fast, just make it a competitor to a FR-S/Miata it would be perfect for bringing back Isuzu, especially if they sell it through Mitsubishi’s dealership network.

    As far as design goes, get a plain boxy design like a GTR or cadillac but with a relatively lower hoodline like a FRS/Miata and more viability.

    That is my vote for a car that needs a revival.

  5. Spudenater says:

    I’d be in favor of reviving the Cosmo. Many people have been missing the RX-8 and its rotary motor since it disappeared from the market a few years ago. If Mazda were to eventually bring rotaries back into the market after whatever technological improvements they deem fit, marketing the Cosmo as an upmarket stablemate to a more affordable sport coupe (RX-9? Rotary Miata?) and filling it with more luxury and lifestyle options could provide a unique competitor in the luxury coupe market. Granted, unique products doesn’t always translate to market share, and refining the buzzy Wankel motor to the smoothness that is expected in todays luxury segment may be easier said that done. But if Mazda weren’t able to knock off Infiniti or Lexus’ smooth sporty coupes, they could always go the Italian route and say “Yeah it’s expensive and not very comfortable, but it’s fast as hell, light as hell, and a killer in the corners.” to further push their fun-to-drive image.

  6. gypsy says:

    The Toyota Lexcen name should be revived as a tribute to Ben Lexcen for his engineering efforts in the eighties.

  7. Ben Maras says:

    Subaru Justy.

    Imagine a compact, hatchback coupe, about the size of a Fiat 500 or Ford Fiesta, complete with a current gen FB engine and symmetrical AWD. A turbocharged XT version would be available to compete with the smaller hot hatches and be hilariously fun to drive in the process.

  8. Beans says:

    You don’t need a page of reasons or paragraphs of why’s… Or even the history for that matter. The name SAVANNA stirs even the most brand loyal JNC head in some way good or bad.

  9. james says:

    I have a few. Capella,Eunos, and Alcyone(for the Subaru fans)

  10. daniel says:

    maybe mazda cosmo with hydrogen rotary engine, japan only, the fruit you can´t get.
    halo car, instant recognition, old / new technology, nostalgic and the same time future classic. A lineup like the original photo of the 60´ the final dream step (complete with the others cars you want in the poster of your childhood)

  11. pstar says:

    The Scion FR-S is the Toyota Celica, and I have long argued that it should be called as such. The BS Scion brand is a mistake.

    3-door hot hatches are all but extinct, a real tragedy. I hate all these lame 5-doors running around. I think it’d be pretty slick if Toyota would make a 3-door hatch of the new Corolla and call it a Corolla FX. Almost nobody, including the customers, would get the reference, but it wouldn’t harm it at all. Toyota shouldn’t even given the Matrix its own name, just called it a Corolla wagon.

    Then theres the RX7. The RX7 has only ever been a 2-door, 2-seat*, rotary powered sportscar. It will never be 4 doors, it will never have a piston engine, it will never be an electric car. The 911 is the only other car that has lasted multiple generations being an inherently “odd” vehicle and still badass as fuck. RX7 HAS to be revived, because a Mazda without it is a lamed and maimed Mazda. No matter how good the 2,3,6, and Miata may be, Mazda can’t have complete lineup without a RX. Its like a hamburger without a patty.

  12. JHMAB2 says:

    I’ll agree with the, “I don’t want any JNC name coming back” mindset. However, if any name should come back I’ll say the Prelude. Yeah, I’m partial to the Prelude, but the whole idea of the Prelude and the name was awesome. It seemed the the Prelude was the “prelude” to what was to come in future Hondas. The Prelude seemed to be the experimental car, 4WS and SH models which are a couple examples. Sure 4WS never caught on, (or did it with the new Acuras,?) but the SH continues through the Acura line in the SH-AWD MDX, TL, etc.

    I think it’d be great to have another experimental car for Honda to let the engineers toy with. It doesn’t have to stick too close to any one platform, they could make an AWD turbo version, or some other radical variation that could serve as a platform for Honda to test on.

    I know everyone says the Accord coupe is the same car, but I never felt the same in an Accord coupe, there’s just that little extra effort they put in the Prelude that made it special. I think the Prelude is what Honda needs to help build a better image in the enthusiast’s world. If there’s anything it should stick to, it would have to be a coupe, and a sunroof! The two trademarks of the Prelude.

    • JHMAB2 says:

      The first generation had little touches like the unique speedometer tachometer combo, as well as that little radio knob next to the gauges.

      Second generation introduced pop up headlights and dual carburetors as well as the FI Si model.

      Third generation introduced 4WS and I believe the B series, though I know in Japan the second generation had a B series engine.

      Fourth generation had electronic 4WS and the amazing VTEC H22 engine. Remember the light up dash? The whole dash is sleek and black till you turn the car on then the beautiful blue lights light up the dash. I’ve seen an Acura TL that replicated the same effect.

      Fifth generation introduced the SH package with ATTS.

      What would a new Prelude bring? If Honda brings it back we could be in for a whole lot of other cool features!

  13. austin says:

    I honestly feel the FRS should have been brought back as a Toyota Celica, as opposed to trying to build up the Scion nameplate.. I really dont see a need for the Scion name, as their lineup could have easily been under toyota.

    The Celica name is probably more commonly known to americans compared to a ae86 corolla revival (generally only Japanese car enthusiast pay attention to the ae86).

    Than if they wanted, could offer a slightly larger 6 cylinder variant with more power as the Celica Supra name.. Same chassis/suspension keeping costs reasonable etc.

    • cesariojpn says:

      Supposedly, the head of Scion BEGGED to get the GT-86 under the Scion brand cause the brand had sagging sales.

    • Ben Maras says:

      I really liked the GT-86 badge it got in the non-US market. Those numbers meant a lot to the right people, and was infinitely better for NOT being branded as a Scion.

  14. Mr.Northcove says:

    It’s sort of borderline nostalgic I guess,but I’d just love to see the MR2 return. Preferably using the feather weight roadster recipe of the last model.

  15. Rayson says:

    A proper affordable basic RWD 4 door sport sedan with manual transmission (Maybe a turbo option too?). This is pretty much what the market is lacking now. Something like a revived Datsun 510, hakosuka, or even chaser. I am sure it would sell in today’s market (At least thats what all my friends are complaining about). None of the luxury non-sense (Closet modern example I can find is the Lexus IS300 but manual are nearly impossible to find for these cars nowdays without the paying the premium), pretty much like a more practical FR-S. I am still surprised that no one is making one while everyone are obsessed with FWD sport sedan like the Civic Si, Sentra SE-R, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Civic Si sedan but an affordable RWD sedan would be awesome!

  16. Chase says:

    One thing to understand is the market for new Japanese sport cars is among the toughest to maintain and profit from. From the eyes of the Japanese manufacturers, who are basically businessmen, it just doesn’t make sense to invest the time and effort into building a sports car for a market that can’t support it.
    If you look around at what manufacturers, such as Toyota, Mazda, and Nissan are selling these days, it comprises of SUVs and four door family vehicles. Cars like the Nissan Rouge, RAV4, or the Mazda 3, are what these companies pour their energy in because that’s what sells best in America.
    So why did they ever bother making them in the first place? Maybe because 40 years ago these companies had to prove themselves across the pond in order to survive. I doubt Nissan would of had any kind of impact in the US if it wasn’t for cars like the 240z or 510. From a business stand point, making a good first impression in the US with cars like those was vital if they wanted to thrive here. No one would have bought cars from a funny little foreign brand called “Dat-sun” if all they made were 4 door family cars.
    That’s why you never see cars from these companies revolutionize the Japanese market anymore like they use to. They’ve gotten too comfortable with what’s been established and don’t see a need to take a risk on a car for enthusiasts that, for a majority, wouldn’t even be able to afford.

  17. cesariojpn says:

    Mitsubishi Debonair.

    I think Mitsubishi should’ve had at least one luxury offering to offset itself from the Lancer and…..and…..well they should’ve had a luxury offering. With most of the luxury brands ditching proper names for letter/number combinations (Q? Hundred Blocks? A rip-off from Doctor Who? WTF?), it’s hard to feel proper in a car with luxury when the name is something that sound like prole speak.

    The word “debonair” means “gentle, courteous, suave, lighthearted, nonchalant.” Sounds like Luxury words, right?

    • Adam Campbell says:

      I agree, Mitsubishi should have left the luxury market alone or made a separate marque for their luxo models instead of forcing buyers into them in the late 90’s early 00’s. The Mitsubishi name just doesn’t mean Luxury to Americans so the fact that they were wrapping everything in leather and forcing you to get leather everything just because you wanted a better stereo destroyed sales. They still do it to this day.
      I think they should have used the Debonair name as a marque for a luxury line, this would give them a luxury brand and pay homage to a classic car without ruining it.
      Plus i hate that the only Outlander i could find with the features my wife wanted only came with BLACK leather in Arizona of all places, reminds me that “if you want rear diff lock with your Montero you get leather”

  18. Sam Atkinson says:

    CRX. Sorry, but even the newer, sportier CR-Z is NOT a CRX.

    The new Civic Si coupe is a bloated also ran. I would love to see Honda go back to building basic but incredible small, sporty vehicles. The Fit is the closest right now, but too focused on being roomy and efficient – the old Honda’s had that, but were skewed to sporty.

    I would love to see a CRX revival. It would be a cornerstone.

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