Over the last five decades, Japanese carmakers have released some of the greatest sports cars made in Asia. Though they were looked down upon when they were first released, customer needs eventually changed, and they became increasingly popular among middle-class motorists. As a result, some of the oldest Japanese sports cars (especially the ones that were only released in the Japanese domestic market) have become highly valuable.
It is well-known that Japanese sports cars can be tuned to produce ridiculous amounts of power. Though some of these cars are now classics, they are still begging to be customized to look aggressive and be fast and mean machines that can terrorize modern supercars.
9 Nissan 300ZX
Most Japanese car manufacturers are perceived as companies that produce mainly reliable and affordable vehicles, they have shown that power is not everything. Thanks to amazing cars like the Z-Series and the Skylines, Nissan has succeeded in positioning themselves in the right market segment, the one with all the fast cars in it.
The 300ZX is the sort of underrated Japanese car petrol heads would love to own. In fact, the 300ZX is one of the most under-appreciated Z-car ever made. This widebody 300ZX is not only sick-looking but is also extremely powerful. This modified twin-turbo V6 can produce 598 hp and 551 lb-ft of torque at 21 psi.
8 Mazda RX-3
The name “Mazda” is often associated with some of the most average Japanese cars ever made. To most people, Mazda is essentially the brand that came up with the 626 and the MPV. However, Japanese car fans know too well that Mazda built some of the most legendary Japanese cars.
Produced between 1971 and 1978, the RX-3 is one of those Japanese that completely went under the radar in Europe and North America. Though the car was sold in North America between 1972 and 1977, hardly anyone remembers it. When looking at this gorgeous RX-3, it fair to say that the RX-3 deserves to be considered as a great base for a project.
7 Toyota Supra MK3
Most car aficionados are unaware that the Supra was actually a Celica until 1986. From the A70 onward, the Supra grew into the ultimate sports car made by Toyota. The following model, the A80, ended up being one of the best Japanese sports cars ever made. The Supra is hands down the best car ever made by Toyota.
The Supra is among the best Japanese sports cars ever made. The reason behind this is simple. They are extremely modular. Watching this cherry wide-body 500 hp MK3 Supra in action is simply mesmerizing. The car is absolutely gorgeous, and it really shows how much potential the MK3 has.
6 Datsun Skyline
The Skyline is best known as Nissan’s most rowdy and modular sports car. The R34 GT-R is considered one of the best sports cars ever made in Japan. However, the Skyline was not always a Nissan. Datsun, the now-defunct carmaker, came up with some of the sportiest cars, and those cars are now classics.
This Skyline Hakosuka is far from being your average classic car. This original engine was swapped for a modified twin-turbocharged 2.0L SR20DET powerplant. It is unclear how much power this engine cranks out, but it must produce enough power to allow this car to easily drift.
5 Mitsubishi Galant VR-4
Mitsubishi is a highly underrated automaker. Car aficionados would for sure know about the Lancer Evo or Eclipse GST. However, Mitsubishi has released a couple of other cars that are worth everybody’s attention. The Galant VR-4 is the car most people with a need for speed and a tight-ish budget would go for.
The Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 was unfortunately eclipsed by the Lancer Evo. The last VR-4 is equipped with a twin-turbocharged 2.5L V6 that produces 280 hp and 268 lb-ft of torque. That is quite impressive for a “second-rate” Mitsubishi. The only thing missing on the VR-4 is a mean-looking body kit, but whoever customized this Galant hit the nail right on the head and sorted that out.
4 Nissan Silvia S15
While muscle cars are known for being solely good in a straight line, Japanese sports cars are reputed to be very comfortable cruising relatively fast down a winding road. It is quite understandable that the drift culture came into existence, especially when looking at Japan’s mountain roads. Drifting is to Japan what is drag racing is to the US.
The Nissan Silvia S15 is known for being the queen of the track. The drift track, to be exact. Featured in Fast And Furious: Tokyo Drift, the car became more popular among the newer and younger gearheads out there. Though the car is basically a legal race car, it can also be modified to become the sort of cars available in the videogame Burnout.
3 Mazda Miata MX-5
The Mazda Miata is unarguably the most popular roadster ever made. The car was such a hit that BMW felt pressure to release a competing roadster. While occidental carmakers were trying to come up with the ultimate roadster, Mazda was perfecting the art of the roadster-making.
There are some videos on YouTube of this car being built. Its owner spent hours upon hours turning this regular Miata into a GT1 car. It is unsure whether a twin-turbocharged LS or 2JZGTE was shoehorned into the engine bay, but it sure deserves something potent.
2 Datsun 240Z
Datsun cars always had something most Japanese cars from the same era didn’t have. It must have been their sporty look, their outstanding performance. Yet, the company failed to remain in business. Fast-forward 45 years and some Datsun cars are worth as much as a brand-new luxury car.
This Fairlady Z06 is an absolute monster. As the name indicates, the 240Z was fitted with a 7.0L LS7 V8 that develops an impressive 570 hp. The thing is, LS swaps are a dime a dozen nowadays. What truly makes this 240Z a marvel is its humbling physique.
1 Toyota AE86
Tons of Japanese cars, especially classic ones, never made it to the US and European markets. The Toyota Crown and AE86 were unfortunately never made available to occidental drivers. As time went by, these somewhat obscure cars became classic gems even outside of Japan.
The Toyota Trueno/ AE86 is a legend, there is no denying that. In Japan, the car has been an emblem for over a decade, so much so that an anime series was centered around the car. Like most Japanese cars, the AE86 begs to be modified. This gorgeous flaming red, wide-bodied AE86 is the type of car petrol heads cannot stop staring at.
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