The Best JDM Cars to Buy
September 15, 2020
The time has come. You've been working hard for a while now and saving every penny possible. Now it's time to treat yourself to something special. Something we all love. A new car. This is great, you've earned a new car and you know that it has to be Japanese because, of course, it has to be Japanese! But there's a problem. There are so many JDM cars to choose from! So how do you narrow it down? Well sit back and relax as we do the hard work for you by talking about what we feel are the best JDM cars to buy!
1. Mazda RX-7 (FD/FC)
Featured in everything from video games to movies, the FD RX-7 is definitely the most well-known RX-7 to date. Probably most recognized for its incredible engine sound and its appearance in the first Fast and Furious movie, the FD RX-7 definitely holds a special place in any JDM car lover's heart.
The FD started production in 1992 and ended in 2002. The car featured an amazing 1.3L twin-turbo, rotary engine that had a crazy high redline and an insane idle lope. The RX-7 could produce up to 276 horsepower depending on which trim level you bought which is a very respectable number given the size of the car. For transmission options, the RX-7 came in a 5-speed manual transmission or a 4 speed automatic. (Gross, we know)
As far as styling goes, we think the FD RX-7 is gorgeous. It's smooth, simple lines are timeless and its pop-up headlights earn extra cool factor points. Pricing for these bad boys is pretty steep though. The FD RX-7 has become a JDM icon which means people are willing to pay a lot of money to have one in their garage.
So what if you don't have bundles of cash hidden underneath your mattress to buy an FD but you still want to experience the magic of a rotary engine?
Enter: the FC RX-7
The FC isn't as well known as the FD but that's okay! The FC RX-7 still has a huge following and there are a lot of things you can do with them, depending on how deep your pockets are.
The FC began production in 1985 and ended in 1992. It featured a 1.3L single turbocharged rotary engine that shared the same characteristics as the FD. The highest model of the FC RX-7 produced 200 horsepower and still had a lightweight design. The transmission options were the same as the FD.
The best part about the FC is that it still looks good, sounds amazing, and costs significantly less than the FD! So if you want so some rotary glory without breaking the bank, the FC is the car for you!
2. Honda S2000
This beautiful 2 seater has one of the greatest Honda engines ever built, a long nose and short rear end. Pair that with rear-wheel drive and a manual transmission and you have the perfect recipe for a weekend sports car!
The S2000 can be powered by a 2.0L F20C 4 cylinder or 2.2L F22C1 4 cylinder with up to 247 horsepower giving it plenty of power to have some fun thanks to its lightweight design. One of the best features of the Honda S2000 is its insanely high redline. The S2000 can rev all the way to 9000 rpm depending on the engine! This makes the S2000 one of the most fun and unique driving experiences on the market today.
The aftermarket support for the S2000 is extremely large. You can find just about any build you can ever imagine done to the S2000. Everything from stance builds to track beasts. Plus, Honda gave the engine bay plenty of extra room for a big ole' turbo. Thanks Honda! These cars can look good on coilovers, air suspension, wide-bodied, and pretty much everything else you can think
The S2000 isn't appreciating in value but it isn't depreciating either. Their prices have stayed relatively the same over the past few years. Definitely something to consider when you decide you want to take the plunge into a complete masterpiece of a car with Honda reliability to back.
You've heard the term an oldie but a goodie, right? Well the Datsun 280Z is an oldie but the best-ie. Okay, that didn't make sense; but it doesn't have to!
The Datsun 280Z (and all of its other versions) are what pioneered the Z platform that we all know and love today. The 280Z came standard with a 2.8L Inline 6 cylinder that packed 170 horsepower and 168 lb. ft. of torque. Equipped with a 5-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive, you a car that is not only fun to drive but also absolutely screams. The 280Z boasts an extremely raw, visceral driving experience making it perfect for anyone who wants to feel everything going on while behind the wheel.
We don't have to tell you that the Datsun looks great too. With beautiful lines and old school styling (because it is old), the 280Z definitely stood out from other cars in its era and we feel that it is still one of the best looking cars ever to come out of Japan.
Of course, the Toyota Supra made it on this list. It deserves every bit of praise that it receives. Today, we'll be sticking to the Mark IV Supra which is arguably the most recognized JDM car of all time. The Toyota Supra's powerplant can consist of a natural aspirated 3.0L Inline 6, 2JZ-GE engine that produces 220 horsepower and 210 lb. ft of torque or a twin-turbo 2JZ-GTE engine that produces 278 horsepower and 310 lb. ft. of torque. The Supra is known for its incredible tunability while still being reliable. The 2JZ engine is extremely durable and when some boost is thrown at it, the Supra can be tuned to ludicrous levels of performance.
You better be ready to sell some organs if you want to get your hands on one of these bad boys. The Mark IV Supra has been appreciating in value, especially in the turbocharged models, and is becoming more of a collector car. If you're fortunate enough to come across a clean one for sale, be prepared to pay a hefty premium.
Nissan Skyline GT-R (R32/R33)
Last but certainly not least is the car you probably saw coming from the beginning of this list. We are of course talking about the Nissan Skyline! Specifically, we'll be talking about the R32 and R33 generations since they seem to be the easiest ones to get your hands on. The R32 Skyline is the most popular generation to own here in the US and a lot of that is thanks to its affordable price and availability after the importation rules that we have here. We're now starting to see a few more R33 Skylines pop up which is why they made the list as well.
There was a huge amount of variation between the models of both the R32 and R33 but the GTST and GT-R by far stood out from the rest. In the GT-R trim, the Skyline was powered by an RB26DETT engine producing anywhere from 275 horsepower to 316 horsepower depending on the year. This straight-six, twin-turbo engine offers a ton of power potential and one of the coolest engine sounds making it perfect for building a ton of power.
We don't tend to see too many Skylines on air suspension as most of them end up with some sort of coilover. For wheels, 18x9.5 seems to be pretty common as far as size goes and we notice that there are a wide variety of wheels that Skyline owners choose to run. We think they look awesome on anything from an Enkei RPF1 to a Kansei KNP!