Every gasoline engine on the planet knows the Nissan Skyline R34 GTR, Mazda RX-7 FD3S and Toyota Supra A80 models. Considered one of the best sports cars out of Japan to date, this JDM Cars have earned the status of legends. These icons completely overshadowed other prominent Japanese sports cars.
Quite a few premium Japanese sports cars have slipped under the radars of their fans. Whether they were not made available in the United States or were poorly marketed, these cars were admired only by true connoisseurs. Many of these Japanese sports cars are not much appreciated and should be bought before it’s too late. While most gear heads have forgotten about it, it remains very attractive.
10 1991 Honda Legend
Car enthusiasts who love big displacement and growl sounds will automatically ignore anything Honda makes. While it’s true that Honda has never tried to compete with some of America’s toughest muscles, the Japanese automaker has released several vehicles that pack a mediocre punch. In fact, Honda was already showing its teeth in the early ’90s.
The legend is among the modified Honda cars. The engine comes with a 3.2 liter C32A V6 that develops 205 hp at 5500 rpm and 216 lb-ft of torque at 4400 rpm. The Legend goes from zero to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds and reaches a top speed of 140 mph. . It’s not your typical V6-powered Japanese car of the early ’90s.
9 1991 Infiniti M30
Infiniti debuted on the North American market in 1989. Just like Lexus and Acura, Infiniti offered more powerful and attractive cars that were slightly cheaper than their German counterparts. Surprisingly, gear heads across the board have forgotten early Infiniti cars. Hardcore Japanese car enthusiasts know the Infiniti M30 is well worth looking into.
The Infiniti M30 is an underrated Japanese car. Nissan equipped the M30 with the same engine as the 300ZX. The 3.0-liter VG30E V6 featured in the M30 pumps out 162 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 180 pound-feet of torque at 3500 rpm. By comparison, a 1991 Chevy Camaro V6 makes 140 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. The Infiniti M30 may be unknown, but it sure is an interesting car.
8 1992 Mazda 323 GTR
Mazda is known for two cars: the RX-7 FD3S and the MX-5 Miata. With Japan being one of the hot spots in the world, many hot gates have failed to show their value and the most popular cars have grabbed the spotlight. At Mazda, a hatchback can give the Nissan Pulsar GTI-R something to worry about.
When the hatchback ends up in conversation, the Volkswagen Golf and Honda Civic are the first cars that come to mind. However, it would be a mistake to ignore the large number of hanging hot hatches that fell under the radar. The Mazda 323 GTR is a beast powered by a turbocharged 1.8-liter four with 182 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 173 pound-feet of torque at 4500 rpm.
7 1992 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4
Mitsubishi is the only Japanese automaker known globally for its HVAC systems as well as the legendary Lancer Evolution. Even though Mitsubishi discontinued with the Lancer Evolution X, the company used to make great sports cars. Back in the ’90s, Mitsubishi had a lineup of machines capable of decimating high-quality German sports cars.
The 3000GT VR-4 is one of the best Mitsubishi sports cars ever. Although the vast majority of motorists didn’t view the 3000GT as something respectable, its current value is around $17,000 if they meet up. The 30-year-old Japanese car has maintained its value thanks to its 3.0-liter 6G72 V6 twin-turbocharged engine. Capable of generating 320 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 314 pound-feet of torque at 2500 rpm, the engine included in the 3000GT VR-4 is an absolute marvel.
6 1994 Honda Civic del Sol
Honda Civic seems to have sealed Honda’s fate. Underpowered and not particularly well equipped, the Civic quickly became the butt of the joke. As a result, the gear heads looking at Japanese cars will quickly ignore most Hondas. However, Honda has built two amazing cars including the Del Sol.
Honda Del Sol is one such affordable Japanese car that has a large selection of aftermarket parts. In fact, Del Sol needs a lot of aftermarket parts before it can become an Impreza-STi killing machine. With that said, the 1.6-liter B16A3 four-cylinder engine still puts out 160 horsepower at 7,600 rpm and 118 lb-ft of torque at 111 lb-ft of torque at 7,000 rpm.
5 1994 Toyota Celica GT-4 ST205
Toyota by definition is the ultimate Japanese car company. Thanks to the Supra that has evolved so beautifully over the years, Toyota has been able to secure a seat at the legitimate sports car maker’s table. Branched from Silica, the Supra has become unavailable to ordinary car enthusiasts. Celica remained in production alongside Supra and did not fail to attract JDM fans.
The Toyota Celica GT-4 ST205 Known among Japanese car enthusiasts. Having wreaked havoc at WRC, the Celica GT-4 has earned a reputation for being a bully. A turbocharged 2.0-liter 3S-GTE four-cylinder engine with 239 hp at 6000 rpm and 223 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. The Celica GT-4 ST205 is one of the last great Celicas to hit the runway.
4 1995 Lexus SC400
In Japan, Toyota Soarer is a legend. In the United States, Soarer is practically unknown. The reason behind this is that Toyota marketed the Soarer under the Lexus SC300 and 400 in North America. Introduced in the early 1990s, the SC400 had to compete with more established nameplates. The value of the SC400 has skyrocketed in recent years.
The Lexus SC400 is a beast that fails to attract attention. Under the hood is a 4.0L 1UZ-FE V8 naturally aspirated engine capable of producing 250 horsepower at 5300 rpm and 260 pound-feet of torque at 4400 rpm. By comparison, the same year’s Mustang GT came with a 5.0-liter V8 that produced 215 horsepower and 285 pound-feet of torque.
3 1995 Ionos Cosmo
High-end Japanese car brands have reshaped the market since their introduction. Lexus, Infiniti and Acura have secured their positions in America with some success. When it came to Mazda’s luxury car, Eunos, things were far from perfect. While the brand was little known in the United States, it was a hit in Japan. The IONOS came out with one of the finest Japanese sports coupes of the era.
Cosmos was first released in the 1960s. Over time, the roadster turned into an incredible sports coupe. Marketed under Eunos, the Cosmo came with a 2.0L 20B triple-rotor engine that produced 280 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 297 lb-ft of torque at 3000 rpm. With only 9,000 units, it is fair to assume that the Eunos Cosmo will appreciate in value in the future.
2 1997 Mitsubishi Legnum VR-4
The Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 is a great sedan that has never received the love and attention it deserved. Eclipse by the Lancer Evolution, Mitsubishi’s initial sports sedan ended up on the back burner. The eighth generation Galant VR-4 is by far the most attractive for various reasons. The four-door sedan remained, but an aggressive station wagon made its debut.
The Mitsubishi Legnum VR-4 It is basically a station wagon version of the Galant VR-4. Both cars share the same twin-turbocharged 2.5L 6A13 V6. Rated at 280 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 272 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm, the Legnum is a reassuring station wagon that deserves more attention. Like the Dodge Magnum SRT-8 and Volvo V70 R, the Legnum never fails to make a statement at car meetings.
1 2008 Acura TL Type S
When the name Acura comes up, the first car that comes to mind is logically the NSX. While it’s fair to admit that the NSX is amazing, it’s not the kind of sports car any transmission could handle. Acura has mass-produced sedans with power plants that produce enough power to get a healthy adrenaline rush. The Acura TL Type S is one of them.
At first glance, the Acura TL Type S is just another Japanese sedan with a couple of thirst traps attached to it. The truth is, the TL Type S is talking the talk and walking the path. Equipped with a naturally aspirated 3.5L J32A3 V6 engine producing 286 hp at 6200 rpm and 256 lb-ft of torque, the TL Type S is a sleeper that would surprise the most educated petrol head.
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