NEWS: Isuzu celebrates 60th anniversary of the Elf

Yesterday, every major newspaper in Japan carried the above spread in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Isuzu Elf, the first Japanese cab-over-engine light truck in its class. In six decades and six generations, the Elf has sold over 6.5 million units, including in the United States under the Chevy and GMC brands, and it was launched on August 26, 1959. Continue reading


PIXELATED: The latest Gran Turismo Sport update is packed with Japan’s best

The next Gran Turismo Sport update features an all-Japanese lineup of performance icons from five different carmakers. This is unusual, as these updates typically feature a smorgasbord of machinery from all around the world. For update 1.43, though, no matter what your Nihon steel the selection is unlikely to disappoint. Continue reading


QotW: What Japanese luxury car would you get, and why?

We all love our roadsters and lightweight coupes but sometimes you just want the nicer things in life. Whether it’s a serene cabin as quiet as your penthouse living room, a fancy stereo, or just a seat that’s not made of vinyl, sometimes life calls for a luxury car. Now, luxury doesn’t mean we all have to run out and get Toyota Centurys. It can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. You can even find early Lexus and Acura cars in manual. Or in yellow. It doesn’t even have to have a luxury badge. Some might prefer the “stealth wealth” look of the Land Cruiser.

What Japanese luxury car would you get, and why?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What rite of passage every JNC owner must endure?” Continue reading


EVENTS: Infiniti celebrates 30 years

As host of the  Japanese Automotive Invitational, Infiniti took the opportunity to showcase, well, itself. 2019 happens to mark 30 years of Nissan’s luxury brand, and it threw a big birthday party complete with classics, concepts, and some special edition models (and invited all the other Japanese automakers). Continue reading


EVENTS: Japanese Automotive Invitational 2019

Now in its second year, the Japanese Automotive Invitational seeks to introduce the idea of collectible Nihon steel to a crowd that considers a 1954 Ferrari 375 MM not classic enough. Located at the Infiniti booth that sits just outside the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance, it’s a primer for those who arrive at the prestigious golf course to gawk at Voisins and Delahayes. In other words, if you’re wondering what kind of Japanese car a super-rich old guy might be into, here’s a peek. Continue reading


NEWS: Toyota may kill off the Land Cruiser in the US market

We desperately hope this is wrong, but rumor has it that Toyota plans to kill off the Land Cruiser in the US market. If true that would mean the longest running model in the company’s history, offered continuously since day one of Toyota USA’s establishment in October of 1957, will no longer be their flagship vehicle here after the 2022 model year. Needless to say, we think that would be a terrible mistake. Continue reading


MOTORSPORT: Restored Gatorade RX-3 and other classic Mazda racers at Laguna Seca

Monterey Car Week’s centerpiece racing event, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, concluded this weekend. While there was a noticeable lack of Japanese representation at Laguna Seca as compared to last year (despite the fact that the theme was the 50th anniversary of IMSA), Mazda did bring out some seriously cool machinery that from the early days of their US racing efforts. Continue reading


MINICARS: The Datsun 240Z introduces a new Chameleon paint for Hot Wheels cars

Hot Wheels is about to introduce a new type of paint. Chameleon, which transitions from purple to green depending on the angle of light shined onto it, has been around in the full-size car scene for a while now, but this Custom 1972 Datsun 240Z will mark its first use on a Hot Wheels car. Continue reading


QotW: What rite of passage every JNC owner must endure?

Complete this sentence. You’re not a JNC owner unless you… Prefer driving a slow car fast? Live in deathly fear of salt? Have overpaid for parts from Japan? Have abused your AAA towing privileges to move a parts car? With every subculture there are certain joys hardships and that its members can jointly celebrate or commiserate in.

What rite of passage every JNC owner must endure?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “Where do you like to drive your JNC?Continue reading


NEWS: Lexus’ Nori Green Pearl is the new best color

Normally we don’t really report on a new car unless there’s some link to a past model, like a revived beloved nameplate, or some throwback design touches. There’s not much that’s retro about the new Lexus LC 500 Inspiration Series, but its limited color, Nori Green Pearl, is absolutely stunning and quite nostalgic. Continue reading


EVENTS: Radwood NorCal 2019

Just a week after my colleagues were at SpoCom in SoCal, Radwood returned to its ancestral home in NorCal. The traveling show of 80s and 90s nostalgia started in the Bay Area in 2017, and has been expanding rapidly. There is always a good selection of Japanese steel present, so we headed down to take a look. Continue reading


EVENTS: Some galleries from SpoCom SoCal 2019

If you want to see what thee latest trends in modified cars are, the SpoCom show is a pretty good place to start. The annual, multi-city show is where the cool kids vie for giant trophies for their whips. Subtlety is not the key here. After all, it’s show cars we’re talking about, and the bass-and-butts atmosphere makes the underground car meet scenes from early Fast and Furious movies look tame. Continue reading


NEWS: Honda releases retro StepVan-inspired N-WGN

At a glance the all-new Honda N-WGN might look like any number of kei vans zipping along the streets of Japan, but the design is actually much more clever. It’s never explicitly mentioned in Honda’s 1800-word press release, but Hondaheads will instantly recognize the shape as a throwback to the 1972 StepVan. Continue reading


VIDEO: That time Gucci used a dekotora to sell overpriced clothes

We somehow missed this, but in 2016 fashion brand Gucci used a dekotora to hawk its ridiculously priced clothing. In a video for their fall/winter line that year some Ziggy Stardust-looking “Gucci kids” (yes, that is a term the company actually uses) climb into a dekotora and hit the streets of Shinjuku. However, the truck isn’t simply any dekotora, it belongs to Kazuya Sekino, the same owner who used his truck to run supplies to the Tohoku region devastated by the 2011 tsunami. Continue reading


VIDEO: Every generation of Toyota Mark II gathered for the final Mark X send-off

After 11 generations and 51 model years, the Toyota Mark II/MarkX line is coming to an end. Toyota announced the cancellation of the decidedly old school, Camry-sized rear-wheel-drive sedan back in April. Now, with the Final Edition coming to showrooms in Japan, Tohoku Toyopet dealers have issued a video commemorating the once evergreen part of Toyota’s lineup. Continue reading


QotW: Where do you like to drive your JNC?

Today is day on which the national holiday Mountain Day in observed in Japan. Technically the holiday falls on August 11 because the kanji for “8” (八) resembles a mountain, and “11” resembles two trees, but everyone gets the day off on Monday the 12th. There is no agreed upon way to celebrate Mountain Day, but with 73 percent of Japan’s land being mountainous, we can probably all agree that taking your JNC to a touge road is a fine a way as any.

Where do you like to drive your JNC?

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 dealbreaker when buying a used JNC?Continue reading


EVENT: Mazda celebrates Roadster’s 30th anniversary in Turin

People around the world continue to celebrate the 30th birthday of the Mazda Roadster, this time at the home of the Italian automotive industry. In June, over 300 MX-5s gathered in Turin, Italy’s Detroit, for “MX-5 Icon’s Day,” a celebration that included the official Italian debut of the 30th Anniversary Edition MX-5. Continue reading


NEWS: Acura brings back yellow “heritage color” to the NSX

Acura is bringing back one of the most memorable colors for the NSX: yellow. According to Honda, Spa Yellow, named after the official racing color of Belgium and Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, was the fifth-most popular color for the first-generation NSX. Now it’s back, and will appear on the 2020 NSX. Continue reading


VIDEO: These dekotora drivers use their modded trucks for acts of charity

The image of a dekotora driver in Japan typically isn’t a wholly positive one. Much like hard core truckers in the US, they are seen as rough around the edges, people you wouldn’t want to confront alone at a remote highway rest stop. However, at least one dekotora owner wanted to change that image, and has enlisted his fellow drivers into using their trucks to do good. Continue reading


MINICARS: Tomica is coming to Walmart

There’s some great news for fans of Japanese diecast. Tomica cars will soon be available in the United States, at Walmart stores. “Having sold more than a half a billion units around the world, Tomica is known for luxury premium design, stylized details and more moveable parts than other diecast collectibles,” Tomy International’s PR team’s Scott Goldberg said in an email. It’s true Tomicas often have opening doors and great detail, but the for the current generation of collectors, unlike in the 80s, the real draw is the subject matter — Japanese cars. Continue reading