1990 Mazda Miata
While the rare-car world focuses on rare Bugattis and 1960s muscle cars, lots of car enthusiasts might unknowingly have potential top-dollar classics gathering value in their garages, overlooked by today’s collectors. They are the Japanese import models of yesteryear. (Pics)
Twenty- and thirtysomethings who grew up on Japanese cars, yet could never identify with a Chevrolet Chevelle, are ripe to grow nostalgic for the best of the old models. Tim Suddard, publisher of Classic Motorsports, says the generation that embraced Hondas, Datsuns and Mazdas are likely to treasure them in the future. Here are Suddard’s top 10 of Japanese import classics like to gain in value:
1997-2001 Acura Integra Type R
1997 Acura Integra Type R
This car was sold through Acura dealerships and had one mission in life: to win races. It features a lightened, reinforced body, reworked suspension, bigger brakes and hand-assembled engine. U.S. production was limited to about 3,850.
1979-’85 Mazda RX-7
1979 Mazda RX-7
After a less than stellar U.S. launch, the original RX-7 really helped put Mazda on the map. It married a smooth rotary engine with some sexy sheet metal. The underpinnings were a bit pedestrian, but it was the right car for the times.
1967-’73 Datsun 510
1967 Datsun 510
This box rocks. While it wasn’t super fast in stock trim, the 510 proved to be a great blank canvas. Peter Brock’s BRE race team made the car a winner in professional sedan competition, while countless enthusiasts made the 510 work well in so many different venues, from autocross and club racing to rally and even Baja. The next seven:
1971-’78 Mazda RX-3
1972 Mazda RX-3The Mazda RX-3, with its rotary engine, seems to have a special cult following that’s hard to describe. The cars have become rare and prices continue to climb. The RX-3 had also enjoyed a rather successful competition record in both professional and amateur competition.
1970-1973 Datsun 240Z
1970 Datsun 240Z
Some say that this car single-handedly destroyed the British sports car industry. The 240Z was fast, practical and beautiful. Its inline six engine emitted a new kind of smooth. It was a Jaguar XKE for the rest of us.
1990-2005 Acura NSX
1991 Acura NSX
The NSX proves that Honda can build a supercar. And in typical Honda fashion, the NSX didn’t ask its owners to make too many excuses. The car is comfortable, fast and stylish. Plus it always starts on the first try.
1985-’91 Honda CRX Si
1991 Honda CRX Si
Good things come in small sizes. The Honda CRX went through two design generations, both marrying a flyweight chassis with a willing engine. The Si version added the good bits: better brakes, more power and a bit nicer interior. The CRX Si is like driving the automotive equivalent of an air-powered impact gun.
1964-’66 Honda S600
1964 Honda S600
Honda’s first cars were anything but crude. The S600 featured a small inline-four engine fed by four individual carburetors–a nod to the company’s motorcycle roots. Another carryover from their bike history: The S600 features an unconventional chain drive.
1983-’87 Toyota Corolla GT-S
1983 Toyota Corolla GT-S
Make a car the star of an animated series, and odds are strong that it will garner a cult following. The Japanese manga “Initial D” follows the adventures of Takumi Fujiwara and his Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT-APEX. Thanks to his midnight mountain runs, this tofu delivery boy has become one of Japan’s best drivers–well, at least in the “Initial D” comics and animated programs. The Corolla GT-S is the U.S. version of his chosen mount.
1990-’97 Mazda Miata
1997 Mazda Miata
Here’s the car that helped re-ignite America’s love affair with the classic sports car. The original Miata wasn’t the fastest thing out there, but it had the right balance and poise to make it a great driver. Plus the top goes down. Mazda has made a ton of them, but it’s now getting harder to find a clean original model.
Via USA Today