Nobody buys these JDM cars today
Since Paul Walker burst onto the scene with his 10-second car, the Toyota Supra, many auto enthusiasts in the United States have succumbed to the charms of the JDM. The term is often used, but for those who are not clear, JDM stands for Japanese Domestic Market. Which means these are cars intended only for sale in Japan and not on foreign shores, with engine-less versions hitting the US and European markets.
The problem with JDMs is that they’ve been put forward. For example, the Toyota Supra is a cool car, but because of its potential rather than its performance. If you get a JDM Supra you will have to inflate it a lot to bring it to F&F level performance. Also, keep in mind that the JDMs you get are 25 year old cars.
So if you like them like a classic, they will look good on you. If you decide to let go, store them, they will disappoint you. Probably why no one buys these JDM cars anymore today.
ten Isuzu 117 Coupé: sporty JDM with diesel engine
Isuzu doesn’t have a great deal of experience in the United States, so much so that they’ve risen and gone, vowing never to come back. So they didn’t. This means that there are a lot of JDM Isuzu in the market but few buyers because it is not easy to buy a car that does not have a current presence in the market.
Coupe 117 was a compact GT-type sports car, produced from 1968 to 1981. It was the first Japanese car designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and is somewhat of a collector’s item now, only few seem to buy it. .
9 Daihatsu Copen: A Kei JDM Roadster
The Daihatsu Copen translates to the color blue and aims to give you enough thrill to take away all the stress of the day. It’s a very small Kei car so obviously the engine comes with travel restrictions.
It looks incredibly sporty, but with a mere 660cc engine it is unlikely to take you on thrilling rides. This will get you all the double takes in the world, but it’s not enough, which is why no one seems to be buying this JDM.
8 Mitsubishi Galant AMG: a tuned European JDM
In the 90s, Mitsubishi decided to go for a European tuning, so they went with Merc’s favorite, AMG. The Galant, best known as the rebadged Galant Lambda, aka the second generation Dodge Challenger, wasn’t much of a challenge.
With AMG’s help, the Galant gallantly managed to propel 170 horsepower out of its four-cylinder, but its looks let it down. And it’s still a boring JDM car unless you like sleepers and drummers. They should have spruced up the look too.
seven Nissan Figaro: a very small classic JDM
The ’90s Figaro was also a JDM meant to look like a retro classic, almost Beetle inspired in its look. It was a small car but not a Kei with a 1000cc engine that could give you thrills. But it’s a small car indeed, and the interior can be stuffy for two full-sized adults.
Plus, the look makes it almost classic, and more than a speedster, this cute little Japanese car is a cruiser. So if you want F&F-like thrills, the Figaro is not the car for you. The name may be French, but the performance is anything but.
6 Daihatsu Midget II: JMD Kei Truck
The Daihatsu Midget II was not a Kei car, it was a Kei truck, producing 30 horsepower with its tiny 660cc engine. It looked adorable, but we doubt everything is what you’re looking for from a JDM you’ve saved so carefully.
With a narrow body and rather convex wheels, he looked like an exotic insect. And it even took over 10 seconds to start, not to mention running faster than a bike. Nobody wants a JDM.
5 Mitsubishi FTO: V6 in a JMD
The Mitsubishi FTO was another Italian touch in a Japanese car with the FTO standing for Fresco Turismo Omologato. Translated into English, his Future Touring Origination. The FTO never made it to the United States, but it did sell to the United Kingdom and Australia, running on a 200-horsepower V6 engine.
Few of them were made or sold at the time, which is why there aren’t many resold today, despite being a fairly affordable JDM. The car looked as cool as it looked, but didn’t attract too much attention in the JDM car market.
4 Nissan Patrol: off-road JDM
The Nissan Patrol is a nifty off-roader, capable enough to have made it into the militia of many countries. That said, it’s not quite a Toyota Landcruiser and doesn’t have the same skill or off-road prowess.
It’s cool and capable, but it’s far from the thing you would want to import as JDM, given that Land Cruiser is already bringing its latest to US shores. Why would you want an older Nissan Patrol then, let alone the cool name?
3 Suzuki Alto Works: JMD Kei Hatchback
What most people don’t realize about JDM cars is that a lot of them are Kei cars. These were the smallest of Japanese cars, built for high tax, cheap and also had to have very small displacement engines.
Like the Suzuki Alto Works, which makes 64 horsepower from a small engine and looks like a rather bloated hatchback. So sure it’s fun driving but not the thrill you expect from a JDM.
2 Nissan Skyline GTS-T: JDM but not a GT-R
Don’t automatically pick up anything from the JDM Marketplace after reading Nissan Skyline because not all Skylines are GT-Rs. Some are the GTS-T and carry a turbocharged six-cylinder engine that’s good for a few kicks, but just not in the GT-R league.
When you bet for a JDM, you might as well bet for the best, right, instead of going for the second? Because the GTS-T is just that, the GT-R’s second fiddle.
1 Mazda Eunos Cosmo: the first Wankel JDM
The Mazda Cosmo became a halo vehicle for this Japanese company, as it was the first to be equipped with the Wankel rotary engine. It was sold under the name Eunos Cosmo in Japan through the luxury division of Mazda.
The idea was to show Mazda at the forefront of the whole space age, hence the nameplate and the choice of engine. It’s a pretty cool car, but the engine can be difficult to manage and best left to the Japanese experts. In the United States, it is better to go for a classic Mazda that was sold here than not.
Sources: Road & Track, MotorAuthority
These celebrities have been seen driving in their JDMs several times, which tells us that they love Japanese cars as much as we do.
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