Over the years, Japanese performance cars have practically dominated the car market in America and beyond. Frequently referred to as JDM cars, these automobiles have completely changed the way that people drive. This entire group of automobiles started out being all about economy. They were small, they got excellent gas mileage and they didn’t cost hardly anything. As they became more and more popular, the cars themselves began to transform into something that was truly unique. Below is a list of 10 of the most impressive JDM cars that have ever existed. They are in no particular order, as every individual has their own personal favorite. See if yours made the list.
1998 Honda Civic Type R (Signal Auto)
This car looks a lot like an economy car but it certainly doesn’t perform like one. As a matter of fact, the car that nobody really believed in managed to make a name for itself in drag racing history by beating practically everything that was thrown at it. It was then that people really started to take notice of this and other JDM cars. You might say that this particular automobile formed the foundation for all the others that came after it.
1996 Honda Civic (Sunny Styling)
As you might have guessed by now, the Honda Civic seems to be a popular car when it comes to JDM conversions. This one looked even more vanilla than the one listed above, but it was capable of performing quite well, thanks to its all composite design. In fact, the only thing vanilla about this car was its appearance. Its performance was pure racer.
2000 Toyota Altezza (HKS Japan)
This car looks like a racer, there’s no doubt about that. In fact, that’s exactly what it was designed to do. The interesting thing about the car, and perhaps something that’s a little depressing, is that it only took to the track one time. It was designed to set a world record and it absolutely dominated the record and then some. However, it’s extreme design meant that it was restricted from competing in any race and it certainly wasn’t street-legal, so it hasn’t been driven since then.
2002 Toyota Supra GT-300 (Top Secret)
This one produces an amazing 700 horsepower. If you’re wondering, that’s half its weight so it has no problem going as fast as you want it to go and still being controllable. The legacy for this particular car is in the design process, as virtually every sports car that’s come after it has been influenced by it in same way. Almost all of them follow certain aspects of its design, even to this day.
1996 Honda Del Sol (Top Fuel Japan)
When this car was built, people thought those responsible for its existence were crazy. They basically took everything off the car that wasn’t required in order to make it as light as possible and then stuck a 550 horsepower engine in the trunk. The first time the car took to the track, it set a blistering track record and people started to take notice about this little car that was capable of doing a lot more than anyone was initially willing to give it credit for.
2001 Nissan S13.5 (Signal Auto)
If you thought that drifting was something that only happened in the movies, think again. That’s precisely what this car was designed for and a whole slew of them came in its wake.
2001 Nissan Silvia S15 (HKS Japan)
If you want to see a car that’s capable of street drifting at its finest, this is it. You might consider the Honda Del Sol, which is listed above, to be the one that broke the stigma associated with street drifting. This car just might be the perfect automobile that’s formed from that initial foundation.
1992 Acura Integra RS (Jason Haradon)
This car has been designed to maintain as many original parts as possible. When it comes to its overall design, nothing has been changed, not even the paint. It makes it something of a performance drag racer and a classic all at the same time.
2001 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution (Sun Automobile)
This is another car that is most at home on the track. In fact, it owns several records and it still remains a force to be reckoned with any time it takes to the track, even though it’s now more than 10 years old.
1984 Honda GT-4 (CompTech)
Earning a spot as the oldest JDM automobile on this list, this was a car that managed to look fast and beat just about everything it came up against at the same time. At the time, nobody really realized that the car itself was starting a movement but judging from all the other JDM automobiles that have come along since then, that’s exactly what it did.