Best Japanese Vehicles Most Gearheads Have By no means Heard Of

When itemizing the best automaking international locations on the planet, it’s a must to embrace Japan within the high three. Japanese vehicles might not be as revered as German or Italian vehicles, however they’re the best-selling on the planet as a consequence of their simplicity, practicality, reliability, and most of all, affordability.



RELATED: These Are The Best Japanese Vehicles Of The Final Decade

During the last century, Japanese automakers have constructed many iconic fashions which can be recognized and liked in all corners of the globe, together with the Mazda MX-5 Miata, Toyota Supra, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, and Honda NSX. Nevertheless, there are a lot of different superior Japanese vehicles that almost all gearheads have by no means even heard of both as a result of they had been constructed by unknown automakers, are uncommon, or had been by no means offered outdoors Japan. Let’s discover ten of the most effective JDM vehicles you most likely did not know existed.

10 Aspark Owl

The EV business has come a great distance. A decade in the past, we barely had any EVs on the roads. Quick ahead to as we speak, and we’ve got EV choices in nearly each section, together with supercars. The most effective electrical supercars ever made needs to be the Aspark Owl, despite the fact that many aren’t aware of it.

The Owl has all the pieces. For one, it has a beautiful design that turns heads in all places and boosts aerodynamics. Geared up with a quad-motor powertrain growing an unbelievable 1,984 hp, the Owl can also be quick.

9 Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution

Of all of the motorsports you possibly can take part in, the Dakar Rally is arguably the toughest to win. This grotesque competitors takes place in a few of the hardest circumstances on the planet and requires a car to be particular to win it. Effectively, that is precisely what the Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution was, because it’s probably the most profitable Dakar Rally car ever made, with 12 titles gained.

To satisfy homologation necessities, Mitsubishi constructed 2,500 road-legal examples of the Pajero Evolution within the late ’90s. If you will get your palms on one, be grateful, because it’s among the many greatest off-road SUVs you should buy.

8 Mazda Eunos Cosmo

Most gearheads have at the very least heard of the Mazda Cosmo Collection I — it was the primary manufacturing automotive to be powered by a Wankel rotary engine. Nevertheless, not many know in regards to the Eunos Cosmo that Mazda constructed three a long time after the Collection I.

The Eunos Cosmo is particular in some ways. It had a contemporary design, superior applied sciences like a built-in navigation system and a local weather management touchscreen, and continues to be the one Mazda to be powered by a triple-rotor Wankel engine — a 2.0-liter unit belting out over 300 horses.


7 Toyota GT-One

When the FIA launched the GT1 Championship within the ’90s, high automakers like Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, and McLaren joined. Toyota did not need to be left behind, so it developed the GT-One and road-legal variations to fulfill homologation necessities.

RELATED: 10 Best GT1 Vehicles Ever Made

There weren’t many variations between the race automotive and the street automotive. The GT-One street automotive had a carbon-fiber physique and was outfitted with an uprated model of Toyota’s 3.6-liter R36V turbocharged V8 engine. With solely two road-legal examples ever made, the GT-One is among the many rarest Japanese vehicles ever constructed.


6 Autozam AZ-1

Most gearheads do not know this, however Mazda used to have a sub-brand known as Autozam that made a number of superior vehicles, principally focused to the Kei automotive market. Of all of the vehicles Autozam ever constructed, the AZ-1 is arguably the most effective.

Launched within the early ’90s, the AZ-1 is a mid-engined Kei class sports activities automotive that impressed many with its distinctive design that includes gullwing doorways. Like most different fashions constructed by Autozam, the AZ-1 was outfitted with a Suzuki-sourced 653cc three-cylinder engine paired with a five-speed handbook.

5 Nissan R390 GT1

The 24 Hours Of Le Mans is as iconic because it will get in relation to motorsports. Constructing a automotive that may compete on this competitors is a big achievement, not to mention profitable it. After returning to the racing world within the mid-90s, Nissan’s Nismo collaborated with Tom Walkinshaw Racing to develop a automotive that might compete at Le Mans, ensuing within the R390 GT1.

As required, Nissan constructed one road-legal model of the R390 GT1. This automotive was outfitted with the identical 550-hp twin-turbo V8 engine because the race automotive, giving it nice efficiency.

4 Toyota Century V12

Toyota has at all times dominated the inexpensive automotive market, which is why it is one of the useful manufacturers on the planet. Nevertheless, Toyota additionally builds luxurious vehicles, and the Century is among the many greatest it has to supply.

RELATED: These Japanese Luxurious Vehicles Can Put The Europeans To Disgrace

The Century debuted within the ’60s and has been the automotive of alternative for Japan’s wealthy and highly effective since. The second-generation Century, which debuted in 1997, is the one we’re eager about. This automotive has a sublime design, an opulent inside, and an enormous V12 engine underneath the hood. Better of all, it not too long ago grew to become eligible for import into the US.


3 Tommykaira ZZ

Most people who find themselves aware of Tommykaira comprehend it as a customized automotive builder. Nevertheless, from 1996 to 2000, the Japanese tuning firm constructed and offered its personal sports activities automotive — the ZZ.

The primary-generation ZZ was particular in some ways. For one, it was designed by Tommykaira from scratch and did not borrow any styling parts from different manufacturing vehicles. It additionally had a removable roof — a uncommon sight again then. After promoting 220 items, the ZZ went on an extended hiatus and got here again for the second technology in 2014 as a completely electrical automotive.

2 Mazda 787B

As we talked about earlier, profitable the 24 Hours of Le Mans is a troublesome ask for any automaker, because the automotive not solely must be quick however should even be dependable sufficient to deal with 24 hours of racing continuous.

Within the early ’90s, Mazda determined to have a crack at profitable at Le Mans, so it constructed the 787B. Mazda knew it could not match the insane quantities of energy European rivals had, so it determined to concentrate on making the 787B extra dependable than another automotive within the competitors. The technique labored completely, because the 787B grew to become the primary and solely Japanese producer to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

1 Yamaha OX99-11

Most individuals know Yamaha as a producer of a few of the greatest Japanese bikes. Nevertheless, Yamaha has tried a number of occasions to compete with the likes of Toyota and Nissan within the automotive world, and it nearly succeeded within the early ’90s with the OX99-11.

The OX99-11 is an uncommon sports activities automotive with a bizarre design that includes a cover door and a tandem seating association. Geared up with a 400-hp V12, the OX99-11 was going to be quick. Solely three prototypes had been ever made.

Leave a Comment