The 10 Best JDM Cars Ever Produced
The ’90s was a great time for cars. Some might even be willing to call it the ‘Golden Era.’ If the cars being discussed are JDMs (Japanese Domestic Market), it’s hard to argue with that notion. JDM performance cars practically dominated the car market during the time of VHS and mixtapes. It’s an understatement to say that some of these cars have influenced many driving technologies and techniques today.
The common thread that binds these JDM cars was their focus on being compact and economical. They were small, provided excellent fuel mileage (for some, at least), and they didn’t hurt the wallet–a triple win for car lowers that didn’t have much spending power to speak of. As these cars grew in popularity, they started to evolve and eventually came to truly be their own. Without further ado, and in no particular order, below is a list of of the 10 best JDM cars that ever came into existence.
The Supra’s legacy relies more on the design rather than the performance side of things, but that doesn’t mean the car was a slowpoke. When the A80 came around, it quickly became a favorite among tuners. Such was its popularity that it even had the honor of becoming Paul Walker’s main car in the first “Fast and Furious” film.
Nissan Skyline GT-R
There’s no questioning the excellence of the Nissan Skyline GT-R; with its turbocharged engine, sophisticated all-wheel drive system, and sleek styling, the car was a dream come true for many tuners and enthusiasts alike. Unfortunately for the Skyline, its surge in popularity–courtesy of the release of the R34–came at a time when people were losing interest in JDM cars. Nevertheless, the GT-R is truly one JDM car to behold.
Honda Civic Type R
Although it may look like a budget car, the Civic Type R certainly doesn’t perform like one. In fact, it managed to make a name for itself in the world of drag racing by simply blowing every competitor away. As more and more car enthusiasts started taking the Type R seriously, this particular car soon became the foundation for all others that followed it.
Like the Supra, the Mazda RX-7 was mainly revered for its looks, with curves and contours positioned in all the right places. That said, the original twin-rotor turbocharged engine sounded like nothing you ever heard of, thanks to its Wankel rotary engine, and its perfect 50/50 front-to-rear weight ratio meant it was a nimble handler on and off the track.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
A car that is most at home on the track than on the road, the Evo still holds several racing records and remains a force to be reckoned with every time it appears on the track. They remain highly sought after, with a new-old (it was kept in storage) 2006 model selling for USD138,000 at an auction.
Subaru Impreza WRX STI
Built to compete directly with the Lancer Evo, the Impreza WRX STI became equally popular at rally and street races as the car it was built to challenge. Its all-wheel drive feature is arguably its most impressive, and its ability to complement the equipped boxer engine and uprated suspension helped the Impreza WRX STI pile up success after success at the World Rally Championship.
It was built to look and perform like a street racer, and even shatter world records, according to its designers. But despite the reason behind its creation, the Altezza’s wheels sadly never touched the race track one single time. The extreme design became its detriment, as it violated many racing restrictions. And because it wasn’t street legal, the car hasn’t been seen anywhere since then.
Honda Del Sol
Many thought that the engineers behind the Honda Del Sol were crazy. Basically, what they did was take everything they thought a car didn’t need and made the Del Sol as compact and light as they possibly can. As if that wasn’t enough, they decided to stick a 550-hp engine under the trunk. And with that, the Del Sol set blistering track records all over. As the saying goes, if it looks stupid but it works, it’s not stupid.
Acura Integra RS
The Integra RS is meant to be a drag racer and a classic at the same time, striking the perfect balance between on-road performance and looks. It’s worth noting that the car has been designed to maintain as many original parts as possible, so there’s no questioning its build quality. The rarity of an Integra RS only furthers the car’s legend and allure.
Nissan Silvia S15
If you want a car that’s capable of the finest street drifting possible, look no further than the Silvia S15. Widely considered to be the best-looking and performing vehicle at drifting events around the world, it’s surprising to know that nobody realized that the car itself was starting a revolution, but with all the other Japanese cars that mirrored the Silvia’s capabilities, it seem rather obvious now.