Hachimaru Hero ranks the top 80s Japanese cars

KDR30 Nissan Skyline Super Silhouette

Hachimaru Hero (80s Hero) is the Bubble Decade’s counterpart to Nostalgic Hero. Both come from the same publisher but nowadays interest in 80s Japanese cars is picking up speed. Recently the magazine put out a reader survey asking for the top twenty domestic cars from the 80s. Here’s what they found. 

055-BK4730_Nissan Cedric 430

19. Nissan 430 Cedric (tie)


19. Toyota Z10 Soarer (tie)

Nissan Fairlady Z Japanese brochure S130 03

17. Nissan S130 Fairlady Z (tie)

1989 Chicago Auto Show Acura NSX

17. Honda NSX (tie)

02-6569_Mazda MX5 Miata_Chicago Auto Show 08

15. Mazda NA Roadster (tie)

Honda City Turbo R one-make racer

15. Honda City Turbo II (tie)

20131124-095_Nissan Skyline R31

14. Nissan R31 Skyline


13. Toyota A70 Supra


12. Toyota GX71 Mark II

8419_Nissan Skyline R32 GTR

11. Nissan R32 Skyline


10. Isuzu JR120/130 Piazza

011-9616_Mitsubishi Starion

9. Mitsubishi A183A/187A Starion


8. Toyota A60 Celica XX

163-DL0546_Nissan Leopard F31

7. Nissan F31 Leopard


6. Toyota Z20 Soarer


5. Nissan Z31 Fairlady Z


4. Toyota AW11 MR2


3 Mazda FC3S RX-7

Usui_Touge49-Toyota_Corolla AE86

2. Toyota AE86


1. Nissan DR30 Skyline

We were quite surprised to find the R32 had such a low ranking, but perhaps it’s not really “of the 80s” having appeared in August of 1989. Similarly, the Nissan Leopard/Infiniti M30 seems newer, but latter had a starring role in the famous cop show Abunai Deka. Likewise, the top ranking of the DR30 probably had something to do with its appearance in the most famous Japanese car show of all time, Seibu Keisatsu. That, plus the Group 5 monster that launched thousand zokusha. How would you have ranked them?


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17 Responses to Hachimaru Hero ranks the top 80s Japanese cars

  1. Nigel says:

    About the same except, S130 Z, A60 and any GX71 would be closer to the top.
    (R30 Skylines are #1 by me also).

  2. dankan says:

    I saw the Hasemi Group 5 car at a car dealership in Fukuoka once. Migod, in person it’s just stunning. Even cooler than the 2009 Super GT GT-R that was next to it.

  3. E-AT_me says:

    good god i love a nicely executed Z31. so damn sexy.

  4. Kev says:

    I’d say that the Hachimaru readers probably relate the R32 GT-R as a 90’s car, rather than an 80s one. Not too surprised that the DR30 voted higher with enthusiasts of the Duran Duran generation 🙂

  5. Bart says:

    So happy to see the Piazza in that line-up!!!

  6. JHMAB2 says:

    I’m a little surprised by the randomness of this whole line up, I feel they could’ve been in almost any order really. I am however, having a hard time seeing an NSX behind the Miata…

    I’m also surprised that the ST165 Celica is nowhere to be found! I would have knocked off the Z31 or A60 Celica for an ST165.

    I’d personally would have put the A70 at the top. =)

  7. Invinciblejets says:

    Fc in third^^^
    I’m happy:)

  8. salia-nwonk says:

    Nissans Z31 in the top five?
    I am happily surprised with that. It always seems that the vast majority of people make the jump from 280zx too 300zx completely skipping the Z31 as if it didn’t ever exist.

    Thank you.

  9. Tom Westmacott says:

    The NSX, R32 and Eunos feel, to me, like clear interlopers in this lineup; they ‘belong’ to the next era of Japanese cars, the world-beaters launched between 1989 and 1993.

    Logically, there’s no reason that car eras should follow neat decade periods, and I think they don’t; the ‘eighties’ cars really end around 1987. However, ‘eighties’ is a reasonable enough label, as long as it’s not taken too literally in terms of launch dates.

    Interestingly the ‘top ten’ on the list are clearly eighties cars. I have to admit I’m not that familiar with the eighties GT cars like the Soarer and Leopard, would be interested to learn more.

  10. … number 1 prerequisite for being an automotive newsie: immersion into the abyss of conspicuous consumption, to the threshold of stupefaction. Yet another car horny automotive journalist who can’t muster objectivity, much less see the forest through the trees. The vehicles which mattered most to the greatest number of people, the top 4 most most significant, most important Japanese automobiles of the 1980s are (1) Toyota’s Corolla, (2) Honda’s Civic, (3) Honda’s Accord, and (4) Toyota’s Camry. The significance is, after 3 decades, it’s relatively unchanged. Add Toyota’s Prius, the same pretty much holds true, today. Of least importance, and least significance in Japanese automotive history, a footnote in automotive history, Nissan’s Skyline had very little influence, and mattered to scant few people — asj.

  11. Censport says:

    The Mark II is #12! Sweet!

  12. ryan says:

    FC in third! Never gets recognized as an 80s car. Probably the only non boxy sports car made back then.

  13. atx says:

    So glad the a60 celica XX was higher than the a70’s. I really dig that header panel with the vents.

  14. conservancy@MHR says:

    … if the 4th most significant Japanese vehicle of the ’80s was, Toyota’s AW11? Then, how come JCCS/TORC officials conspicuously and systematically blocked it from participation in all JCCS car show events? Why is it JCCS/TORC failed to post invitations to the MR2 community, to their 27 September car show at the Queen Mary? – asj.

  15. classy says:

    I own a z31,.and a st165. The all trac should be on this list because it is toyotas best rally car, and held the pikes peak record for 10 years. Just on the strength of the 3sgte, which started in the 165, and used for some many models. Im totally biased here and this is because i own the cars but the 1) z31 2) st165 3) starion 4) corolla, owned a liftback 2 tg is super 5) rx-7 turbo II.

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