Greatest Japanese Cars Most Gearheads Have Never Heard Of

Every car enthusiast knows Japan for it’s exotic car production. Japan is maintaining its legacy by producing cars which is loved by the mass. Here are some of the greatest Japanese cars which most gearheads have never heard of…


Japan has to rank among the top three nations in the world for automobile production. Japanese automobiles are the most popular worldwide despite not having the same reputation as German or Italian vehicles due to their simplicity, utility, dependability, and most importantly, affordability. Japanese automakers have created numerous iconic vehicles over the past century, including the Nissan GT-R Nismo, Mazda MX-5 Miata, Toyota Supra, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, and Honda NSX, which are well-known and adored throughout the world. The majority of gearheads, however, aren’t even aware of many other awesome Japanese cars because they were produced by obscure automakers, are extremely rare, or were never offered for sale outside of Japan. Let’s look at ten of the best JDM vehicles that you probably were unaware even existed.

10. Mazda Eunos Cosmo

Via-Road And Track Australia

The Mazda Cosmo Series I was the first production vehicle to be propelled by a Wankel rotary engine, and most gearheads have at least heard of it. Few people are aware of the Eunos Cosmo, which Mazda built thirty years after the Series I. The Mazda Eunos Cosmo is unique in a variety of ways. It featured a contemporary design, cutting-edge features like an integrated navigation system and a touchscreen for the climate control, and it is still the only Mazda to be powered by a triple-rotor Wankel engine, a 2.0L unit that produces more than 300 horsepower.

9. Toyota GT-One

Via-Wallpaper Flare

Leading automakers like Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, and McLaren joined the GT1 Championship when the FIA launched it in the 1990s. Toyota created the GT-One and road-legal versions to satisfy homologation requirements because it didn’t want to fall behind. The race car and the road car didn’t have many differences. The 3.6L R36V turbocharged V8 engine from Toyota was upgraded for the GT-One road car, which had a carbon fibre body. The GT-One is one of the rarest Japanese automobiles ever produced, with only two road-legal examples ever produced.

8. Aspark Owl


The EV market has advanced significantly. We hardly had any EVs on the roads a decade ago. Today, with the exception of supercars, we have EV options in almost every market segment. The Aspark Owl is undoubtedly one of the best electric supercars ever produced, despite the fact that not many people are aware of it. The Owl has every resource. One is that it has an exquisite design that grabs everyone’s attention and improves the much needed aerodynamics. The Owl is incredibly powerful, with a quad-motor powertrain producing an astounding 1,984 horsepower. Not many are able to handle this much amount of power.

7. Autozam AZ-1

Via-Torque GT

The majority of gearheads aren’t aware of this, but Mazda once had a sub-brand called Autozam that produced a number of awesome cars, primarily for the Kei car market. The AZ-1 is arguably the best vehicle Autozam has ever produced. The AZ-1 is a mid-engined Kei class sports car that was first introduced in the early 1990s. Its distinctive design, which includes gullwing doors, won over many admirers. The AZ-1, like the majority of other models produced by Autozam, was powered by a 653cc three-cylinder Suzuki engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission.

6. Nissan R390 GT1


When it comes to motorsports, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is unmatched in iconic status. Even just entering a car that can compete in this competition is a significant accomplishment. Midway through the 1990s, Nissan’s Nismo and Tom Walkinshaw Racing worked together to create the mind blowing Nissan R390 GT1 in order to create a car that could compete at Le Mans. Nissan created a single R390 GT1 road-legal model as needed. The race car’s 550hp twin-turbo V8 engine was used in this vehicle, giving it excellent performance.

5. Tommykaira ZZ

Via-Auto Messe Web

The majority of people who are familiar with Tommykaira know it best as a maker of custom automobiles. However, the Japanese tuning company produced and sold its own sports car, the ZZ, between 1996 and 2000. The first-generation ZZ was unique in a number of ways. In the first place, Tommykaira created it entirely from the ground up without using any styling cues from existing vehicles in production. A rare feature at the time was its detachable roof. The ZZ made a comeback in 2014 as a fully electric vehicle for the second generation after a long hiatus following the sale of 220 units.

4. Yamaha OX99-11


The majority of people are familiar with Yamaha as a producer of some of the best Japanese motorcycles. However, Yamaha has made numerous attempts to take on automakers like Toyota and Nissan, and the OX99-11, came very close to success in the early 1990s. The Yamaha OX99-11 is a strange sports car with a peculiar design that includes a canopy door and tandem seating. The OX99-11 was going to be swift because it had a 400hp V12. There were only three prototypes ever made.

3. Mazda 787B

Via-Wallpaper Cave

As we previously mentioned, it is difficult for any automaker to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans because the car must be both quick and dependable in order to endure nonstop racing for that long. Early in the 1990s, Mazda made the decision to build the 787B in order to try and win at Le Mans. Mazda made the decision to concentrate on making the 787B more dependable than any rival vehicle because it knew it couldn’t match the insane amounts of power that its European competitors had. The 787B became the first and only Japanese manufacturer to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, proving that the plan was successful.

2. Toyota Century V12


One of the most valuable brands in the world is Toyota because it has always dominated the market for inexpensive cars. But Toyota also produces high-end vehicles, and the Century is one of its best. Since its introduction in the 1960s, the Century has been the preferred vehicle of Japan’s wealthy and powerful. We’re interested in the second-generation Century, which made its debut in 1997. This vehicle features a powerful V12 engine, an opulent interior, and an elegant exterior. The best part is that it can now be imported into the US.

1. Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution


You can compete in a variety of motorsports, but the Dakar Rally is arguably the most difficult to win. It takes a special vehicle to win this horrifying competition, which is held in some of the most difficult terrain on earth. Because it has won 12 Dakar Rally championships, the Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution is the most successful Dakar Rally car ever produced. Mitsubishi produced over 2,500 road-legal versions of the Pajero Evolution in the late 1990s to satisfy homologation requirements. It’s one of the best off-road SUVs you can buy, so if you can get your hands on one, consider yourself lucky.


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