I appreciate Japanese collector cars, just not necessarily what’s appreciating

When I was young and living in New York City, whenever I had money, I would go to the Carnegie Deli. Back then, the hamburger was $1.10 and the roast beef sandwich was $4.95. Well, that was like three burgers if you got the fries, too, which seemed ridiculous to me, so I never ordered the roast beef. Years later, I was playing Carnegie Hall, and I said to my wife, “Let’s go to the Carnegie Deli.” As we were walking over, I told her that since things were going okay now we should splurge and get the roast beef for $4.95. We went in and looked at the menu, and the roast beef was now $17. I said, “What!? I’m not paying 17 bucks!” To this day, I’ve never had the roast beef. I can’t bring myself to pay that much for a sandwich.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/09/11/jay-leno-appreciates-japanese-collector-cars
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A very few Japanese vehicles would I be interested in, and the ones I am, don’t seem to hash out with what the rest of the world is interested in.

Without apologies, here is the list:

Nissan Figuro (not sure about the spelling.)
Nissan Pulsar NX The modular nature of this vehicle intrigues me. Imagine a jeep-like modularity instilled within a station wagon’s body
Subaru Brat
Subaru Justy
1st Gen Toyota Prius (even though the one I had previously caught fire.)
Honda CRX from the 90s
Honda CRZ
Honda Ridgeline (1st generation. 2nd generation doesn’t look as cool.)
And, of course, obviously any of the ubiquitous super small tiny trucks and minivans that they have over there that never made it over here.
That’s it. Sure, the need for speed movies, especially Tokyo Drift, are cool. I guess I like quirky looks or utility better than break-neck speed.


The Kei vans and trucks are just super cool to me, but I have a soft spot for the sports cars from that region as well. Just not a large enough soft spot to shell out the money some are willing to spend.

Agree that the GTR doesn’t hold my attention like it does others. But appreciation is pretty broad. If I had the resources, (in addition to the FD RX7) my dream Japanese collectibles:

  • 85 Rx7 GSL-SE
  • 240z
  • TT Nissan 300Z (Z32)
  • Early 2000’s NSX T
  • 95 3000GT VR4

I appreciate Toyota’s shapely stab at building a Jaguar E-type

Jay, If you look at the 2000GT under the skin, mechanically it’s a copy of your beloved Lotus Elan, only with a DOHC inline six instead of the Elan’s four. - Ronnie Schreiber

Both variants of the MR2 are worth a long look.
I rather prefer the second smoother design, but the first more angular one is certainly period-correct wrt the whole wedgelike theme.

I hate to tell you, Jay, but you’ll never get to eat the roast beef at the Carnegie Deli - it closed a few years ago. But, when you come back to Philly to see the Simeone again, we’ll take you to Famous 4th St.!

Prices reflect what some DAMNED FOOL is willing to spend on what is and always will be…just a car. You can crow about art but mostly they are just a modality. I love cars and I have a home built hotrod that I drive a lot ( total cost: $4000 ) and because of our budget we drive a 2000 Chevy Metro and I’m fine with that.

Japanese cars have been a default fav since my somewhat moneyless youth in the early 70s. I had wanted a 240Z since the day they dropped. I muddled thru various Toyotas of some minor sporty nature till “the” Japanese sports car rolled out in 1978, the first gen of the Mazda RX7. Took me another 24 yrs before I got around to getting one, a Red 1980 GS that I have had since '03. It remains on the cusp of being “not quite collectible” while I have watched my first-love 240Zs finally catch fire and now sell for over $50K for the really good ones. heck one sold a month back for $124K. The time of JDM as collectibles (well, some) has arrived. Maybe brought on by the Demographic that grew up with them. And their bank accounts…

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I’ve ALWAYS liked the Acura NSX, Mid 80s’ Toyota Supra, Datsun 240Z, and Mitsubishi Eclipse.

:thinking: Everyone else seems to be stupid, dumb or a fool in your posts. So if you’re so smart, and everyone else contemptible, why is YOUR daily driver budget limited to a 20 yr old Chevy Metro?

My daily drivers for the last 20 years have been the Acura Integra and Acura RSX, types R and S. Hi revving (8,000 RP) good handling and when needed, the fold down rear seats hold a lot of golf clubs and fishing gear!!

Maybe because I have a brain and don’t waste money on being a fool just so I can say “look at me”

Japanese sports cars. I have owned and enjoyed a 260Z and a 1995 MR2. The Z was a rust bucket and the beautiful MR2 was a blast to drive except in the rain. Then it was slow down so you don’t kill yourself!

Nope…that’s not it. Nobody is that dumb.

I own and drive on weekends, a very early in the model year, 1979 Mazda RX7. It is Sonic Bronze with plaid seat cloth inserts, in beautiful original condition.

The '79 was a unique RX7 because of the fact that it does not have a catalytic converter. Instead, it has a recombustion chamber known as a “Thermal Reactor”, and utilizes an oil metering pump. It also has a choke, which I believe is also unique to the '79 models. Wankel engines are a hoot, and the carburetor is a pain in the …

In my youth, I also lusted after the Datsun 240Z, but never owned or drove one.

“feel like a circus bear while driving it” Well put. Advice I offer - if I’m asked - about a car is you should sit in it, drive it, and if possible see what you look like in it. If you’re over six foot, for example, that Lotus Elan, say, might make you look like a whole banana sticking up over the rim of the cereal bowl.

But what I wanted to say to the administrator is that Jay’s mentioning the malapropism-filled translations in Japanese car manuals (“Beware of the dog in the road”!) would make an entertaining forum topic. I’m sure they aren’t limited to just the Japanese mfgers.

I always thought the Mazda Rotory Pickup (REPU) was an interesting vehicle. Just because it’s a rotary engine pickup truck. This is something I could see Jay having in his garage next to the Cosmo.

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I actually owned a Honda S600. Back in the 70’s a friend had one and his wife demanded he sell it, so I bought it it for $500. It was the coupe and it was being serviced at the local Honda (motorcycle) dealer. 6 months later I sold if for $750 and purchased a motorcycle. Wish I had kept it. Only two Japanese cars I would consider keeping, 240Z and the Subaru Brat, both of which I still own.

Nobody else liked the NIssan Pulsar N/X? The modular one from the late 80s early 90s.

I do also admit to liking the Toyota FJ Cruiser.