Lot of Rare JDM Cars Will Likely Draw Deep Pockets at Auction

The Fast and the Furious franchise was the spark the dry powder keg in the Japanese domestic market (JDM) enthusiast world needed. Huge action and impressive racing scenes exposed newbies and diehard fans of other types of cars to models like the Nissan Skyline, Mitsubishi Lancer EVO, and the now-unobtainable Toyota Supra. We don’t see these cars coming up for sale often, but a whole load of impeccable Japanese metal is heading to auction on Bring a Trailer

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Rare Rides: The 1966 Nissan Prince Royal, an Imperial Family Limousine

In Part I of our Abandoned History coverage of GM’s Turbo-Hydramatic transmission line, your author made reference to a very exclusive Nissan that made use of the hefty THM400. That extremely formal Rare Ride has been on my mind since then, so here we are. If it pleases your majesty: The 1966 Nissan Prince Royal.

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Rare Rides: The 1980 Toyota Corona, a Camry Predecessor

Today’s Corona is the third to appear in the Rare Rides series. We started in early 2020 with a 1968 Corona Coupe and followed up that October with a Mark II wagon. Today’s entrant is from the last time North Americans could buy one.

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Abandoned History: The Early 2000s WiLL Project, for The Youths (Part IV)

The WiLL branding project in early 2000s Japan was intended to excite and interest younger consumers with stylish products, all of which were marketed as WiLL. At the pinnacle of unique WiLL offerings were three different small Toyotas: The first two were the unpopular and unsuccessful retro-French themed Vi, and the modern-looking, popular, and unsuccessful VS.

Around the middle of VS production, Toyota just knew there had to be a part of the market they hadn’t reached yet and reintroduced the idea of the Vi with a polar opposite stylistic direction. This is the Cypha.

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Abandoned History: The Early 2000s WiLL Project, for The Youths (Part III)

Several Japanese companies embarked on the WiLL sub-brand exercise at the dawn of the new millennium. Miscellaneous WiLL-branded products were introduced alongside a funky new car offering from Toyota, the WiLL Vi.

The baguette-themed retro sedan was an immediate failure amongst the youthful consumers WiLL was supposed to attract, so Toyota had a very quick rethink. Meet VS.

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Rare Rides: A Very Luxurious Camry, the 1990 Lexus ES 250

Today’s Rare Ride was the only other car accompanying Lexus’ LS 400 at dealerships in 1990 and 1991. The fanciest Camry offered in the US, it was a badge conversion from a Camry sold in the Japanese market.

But consumers saw through the charade, so while the high-effort LS 400 flew off the showroom floor, the minimal effort ES just sat there.

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Abandoned History: The Early 2000s WiLL Project, for The Youths (Part II)

The WiLL project was a short-lived collaborative marketing effort by several Japanese brands, intended to capture the interest and money of youthful buyers. Using emotional engineering, seven companies launched new products in the early 2000s wearing WiLL sub-branding. Included in the myriad of offerings were three different subcompact Toyotas.

And here’s the first one, the WiLL Vi.

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Abandoned History: The Early 2000s WiLL Project, for The Youths (Part I)

Today’s Abandoned History story is one of targeted marketing. In the early 2000s, an amalgam of Japanese corporations combined efforts to reach out to younger consumers via unified branding. Cars, food, appliances – all across Japan new, youth-focused products all wore the same sub-brand: WiLL.

Collectively WiLL asked, “How do you do, fellow kids?”

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Rare Rides: A 1988 Nissan Van, Not Yet on Fire

Today’s Rare Ride represents Nissan’s first attempt at a family van for the North American market. But Nissan would prefer you forget the Van entirely, given how things went after its introduction.

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Rare Rides: The 2020 Mitsuoka Rock Star, Believe in Your Dreams

Today’s obscure Rare Ride is from perhaps the most courageous car company in existence today: Mitsuoka. This two-seater combines the zesty performance of a modern Japanese roadster with Sixties American Corvette styling.

Hazard a guess what it is underneath?

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Rare Rides: The 1991 Nissan Figaro, Completing a Cutesy Collection

Today’s Rare Ride is the last entrant in a set of four cars introduced to the series back in November 2018. Tiny, retro, and a convertible, Nissan’s Figaro is by far the most popular of the four Pike cars. It’s also the one you can always find for sale in the United States.

Let’s take a look.

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Rare Rides: The Ridiculous Toyota BB Open Deck, From 2002

Today’s Rare Ride is a very interesting version of a ho-hum economy hatchback. By the time Toyota finished with their edits, said hatchback was turned into a pickup truck in similar in concept to the Chevy Avalanche.

Feeling intrigued?

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Rare Rides: The 1967 Hino Contessa 1300S, Rear-engine Blip on the Radar

Hino is a well-known producer of commercial vehicles today and has been in the commercial truck market since World War II. But for a short while in the Sixties, they built their own rear-engine passenger car.

Say hello to Contessa.

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Rare Rides: A 1996 Infiniti J30, Luxury Sedan With a Heart of 300ZX (Part II)

In Part I of this two-parter we were introduced to the J30, Infiniti’s luxurious new sports sedan for the Nineties. Having learned from their Q45 mistakes, the brand was determined their new mid-sizer would be appealable to the American Market.

So what went wrong? Let’s find out.

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Rare Rides: A 1996 Infiniti J30, Luxury Sedan With a Heart of 300ZX (Part I)

The other day while we were reviewing the daringly spectacular first generation Q45, commenter SSJeep requested coverage of Infiniti’s other rear-drive sedan from the period, the J30. I thought Rare Rides already covered Infiniti’s mid-size offering, but it turned out I was remembering an installment of Buy/Drive/Burn.

That means it’s time for J30.

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  • MichaelBug For me, two issues in particular:1. It can be difficult for me to maintain my lane on a rainy night. Here in southeastern PA, PennDOT's lane markings aren't very reflective. They can be almost impossible to make out when wet.2. Backing out of a parking space in a lot with heavy pedestrian traffic. Oftentimes people will walk right into my blind spot even if I am creeping back with my 4-way flashers blinking. (No backup camera in my '11 Toyota Camry.)Michael B 🙂
  • Tagbert When you publish series like this, could you include links to the previous articles in the series so that we can follow through? Thank you. Edit: now I see a link embedded in the first paragraph that goes to the previous story. It wasn’t clear at first where that link went but now I understand.
  • DungBeetle62 When you're in one of these, you life in a state of constant low-level nervous about 90% of the time. But that other 10% kinda makes up for it.
  • Garrett Instead of foisting this problem on the car companies and the people who buy cars, make those who possess liquor licenses and those who purchase alcohol take on the economic cost of this problem.
  • Inside Looking Out Thieves are gradually winning the war with law enforcement in America not only in California and that is the tragic fact. They would rather put in jail police officer than thief.