Throughout the years, Japanese automakers have made some of the most incredible cars on the market. Whether it’s their unique looks or their high tuning abilities, these JDM sports cars are everybody’s favorite. Compared to the European cars, the Japanese have developed the nature of pushing boundaries. When automakers were using massive V8 engines, Japanese cars were killing it with their refined V6 engines. Even without those high-tech features and supreme luxury, these cars still cost less than their rivals. From the Nissans, and Toyotas to the classic Hondas, these are some of the most popular names in the industry. These popular cars changed the Japanese auto industry and the world markets forever. Let’s look at these 10 most successful JDM cars the Japanese carmakers ever made.
10. Autozam AZ-1
Not many people are aware of this one, but this Japanese Kei car is one of the most important cars. It is not as popular and well known as the Ford Mustang or the Chevrolet Camaro but in the Japanese markets, it’s a big deal. Mazda made the AZ-1 which also came as a rebadged Suzuki Cara in many markets. The sporty Kei car came with a sportier version of the Mazda Speed and attractive swing doors. The AZ-1 sported a raging exhaust, limited-slip differential, lightweight wheels, tuned suspension, and a new body kit.
9. Mazda Cosmo
Mazda made the 1967 Cosmo Sport, which featured a stunning-looking design with its two-door styled body. The Mazda Cosmo offered a tuned rotary engine, a comfortable interior, and many more. It was one of the first cars to come with a rotary engine which gave the Japanese buyers an advantage in road tax laws. The Cosmo came with a tuned rotary engine that produced 110 hp and cost less than the Toyota 2000GT.
8. Nissan 240Z
When Toyota was dominating the market with its 2000GT, Nissan had to make a perfect sports car to rival that. Nissan introduced the Datsun 240Z, featuring a gorgeous-looking exterior and a powerful 151-hp 2.4-liter straight-six engine. Unlike the 2000GT which Toyota made with only 337 examples, Nissan mass produced the Datsun 240Z. The 240Z was affordable and is still considered as one of the most stunning cars ever made.
7. Mazda RX-7
If you are a fan of the classic JDM imports, this Japanese car will blow your mind. The Mazda RX-7 with its 135 hp engine and rear-wheel drive. This car is a delight and a bank for your buck. It was one of the most good-looking cars of the time and is still loved for its upgradability.
6. Toyota 2000GT
The Toyota 2000GT is one of the most popular, rarest, and stunning-looking cars ever made. Toyota attempted to make a luxurious and sporty-looking car to rival the Italians and the Americans. The Toyota 2000GT came with a 2.0-liter inline-six engine that made 148 hp. The 2000GT in the ’60s was a car that defined the brand’s current Supra among the gearheads.
5. Mazda MX-5
The Mazda MX-5 Miata is one of the greatest cars that the Japanese carmaker ever built. The MX-5 was the type of sports car made for both daily drivings as well as your enthusiastic weekends. The Mazda MX-5 has the best looks of a sports car and a powerful engine that was reliable too. A beautiful-looking roadster featured a powerful engine, manual gearbox, and a thrilling rear-wheel drive. This Mazda changed the shape of how modern cars are made today.
4. Lexus LFA
There is no doubt that the Lexus LFA is one of the most popular and important cars not only in Japan but the entire world. Toyota made the Lexus brand compete with German cars. Then, the Lexus LFA came, as a result, featuring a stunning-looking modern design and outrageous performance. The automaker only made 500 examples of the LFA during that time. The car was an instant hit among every car enthusiast despite its exclusivity.
The 1997 Toyota Supra MkIV is one of the most popular and fastest cars the company made. The Supra came with a 3.0-liter 2JZ-GTE six-cylinder engine that made over 321 hp and 315 lb-ft of torque. The car can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds and can achieve a top speed of 155 mph. Since it was one of the first cars brought into the Amercian markets, it recently became a hit. The Supra competed with the popular American muscle such as the Mustangs and the Challengers.
2. Honda NSX
If you talk about some of the most beautiful and important cars from the auto industry, the NSX comes right on its way. The Acura NSX came with a powerful 3.2-liter V6 engine with liquid cooling that made over 276 horsepower. The NSX showed the world that the Japanese can also make high-performance cars that offer thrilling driving. The car can accelerate from 0-60 mph in under 4.7 seconds and achieve a top speed of over 170 mph.
1. Nissan GT-R Skyline
No car on the list became as successful as the Nissan GT-R, a perfect Japanese sports car that offered thrilling driving. The Skyline R32, R33, and the R34 generation of cars all became a huge hit. The Nissan Skyline came with a powerful twin-turbocharged straight-six engine that made 276 hp and 289 lb-ft of torque. The Nissan Skyline GT-R was a marvelous piece of engineering thanks to its ridiculous tuning potential. The Skyline GT-R was succeded by the current R35 GT-R which came as one of the most powerful GT-Rs ever made. The outrageous performance, thrilling handling, and stunning design made it one of the most successful JDM cars ever made.