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The 7 Greatest Japanese Sports Cars Of All The Time
01. Datsun 240Z
The 1970-78 Datsun 240/260/280Z is surely the most influential Japanese sports car. It wasn’t the first, as it was preceded by the Honda S600, Toyota 200GT and Nissan’s own Datsun Fair lady roadster. But the 240Z was the first world class sports car that caused those who previously would have bought a German or English sports car to seriously consider a Japanese brand. Its chief appeal was its modern styling and a sonorous 151 hp inline six cylinder engine with a 7 K rpm red line.
02. Mazda RX-7
Mazda’s third generation RX-7 of 1993-95 was Japan’s first step towards super car dome, with its no holds barred twin turbocharged 225 hp rotary engine, race tuned suspension design. This RX 7 was built to achieve astonishing performance numbers (like it’s 5.0 seconds 0.60 time) and win comparison tests, but its ride and fuel economy were similarly suitable only for the track.
03. Toyota Supra
The 1994-96 Toyota Supra was the RX-7 twin turbo’s main rival. It’s more tolerable ride comfort and the capacity of its 320 hp six cylinder engine to be tuned for still more power without dramatically shortening its life have made it more popular enthusiasts. Like the Mazda, though, the Supra was too expensive in its day to sell well.
04. Nissan Skyline GT R 32
The Nissan GT R has been around for 46 years, but only the current generation was sold in the U.S. However, GT-R R32 models from 1989-1993 are now old enough to import into U.S. as historic vehicles, and they are very popular among in the know enthusiasts who love their combination of a twin turbocharged 276 hp inline six cylinder and all wheel drive. Be aware, however, that the steering wheel is on the right side of the car. The 1993 V-Spec is the hot setup.
05. Lexus LFA
Maybe it’s no surprise, but the newest and most expensive Japanese sports car in history is the best one. Lexus sold 500 of these 553 hp cars in 2012 for $400,000 and was reported to have lost money at that price. V 10 power and sophisticated computer control of the all wheel drive system made the LFA a monster on the track, despite its docile manners around town. Its performance and extreme rarity will surely make these sought after collectables sooner rather than later. Lexus LFA is the also member of this list ‘the 7 greatest japanese sports cars of all the time’.
06. Honda Intagra Type R
The Honda Integra Type R was noisy and harsh but that unpolished ego is what people loved. The spritely four cylinder coupe was a success because of it’s raw engine, capable of spurting out 141KW, a size able amount almost 20 years ago. It,s short gearing would wear you down over a long distance, when used in the short bursts Honda intended, the original Type R was sheer bliss. It simplicity is what enamored so many drivers within it, it’s visceral appeal kept them coming back. In a world when modern convenience has taken over cars, a throwback fun sports coupe would be just what the doctor ordered.
07. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
It’s no secrete that Mitsubishi is in trouble and has been for awhile now, the Lancer has been on sale in its current from for almost 10 years while its rivals have been several new generations. The Japanese brand which brought us the long time rival to the Subaru WRX announced that it is culling the Lancer evaluation last year, even before it was engulfed in the fuel use fudging scandal. A stalwart in rallying circles for yonks, the Mitsubishi Lancer evaluation – or simply Evo brought racing pedigree to the road. It was simple, fast and added attitude into the mix, which made it ooze its motor sport heritage. However, as time went on the Mitsubishi fiddled with the winning formula that made it so popular in the 1990s. The Evo became larger and heavier, diluting it’s core properties and motor sport roots. There is however a ray of light in regards to the Lancer Evaluation. Nissan recently acquired a 33 per cent stake in the Japanese brand, and with the know how to Nissan’s Nismo and Renault sport divisions now at its disposal via the three way alliance, a fast small car could find its way back in to Mitsubishi’s armory – eventually.
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