Nostalgic Hero selects Top 20 Japanese Classics

The 150th volume of Nostalgic Hero just hit the stands as a special edition in which the editors pick the Top 20 Nostalgic Cars of 2012. Back in 2007 they issued a Top 50 list, and some have risen, some have fallen.

There’s much room for discussion, and keep in mind that some of these cars represent different things in the Japanese market than they do in the US. But without further ado, the envelope please… 

20. Hino Contessa 1300 Coupe
19. Suzuki Fronte Coupe
18. Subaru 360
17. Datsun Fairlady 1600/2000
16. Daihatsu Midget
15. Nissan Sunny Coupe 1200 GX5 (B110)
14. Nissan Skyline HT 2000GT-ES (C210)
13. Mitsubishi Colt Galant GTO MR
12. Isuzu 117 Coupe
11. Toyota Celica Liftback 2000GT
10. Isuzu Bellet 1600 GTR
09. Nissan Bluebird 1800 SSS (510)
08. Toyota Corolla Levin 1600 (TE27)
07. Honda S600/S800
06. Toyota Sports 800
05. Mazda Cosmo Sport
04. Nissan Skyline HT 2000GT-R (C110)
03. Nissan Fairlady 240ZG
02. Toyota 2000GT
01. Nissan Skyline HT 2000GT-R (C10)

So, do you agree? Sound off in the comments below.

This post is filed under: honda, isuzu, mazda, mitsubishi, nissan, subaru, suzuki, toyota and
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38 Responses to Nostalgic Hero selects Top 20 Japanese Classics

  1. jivecom says:

    not at all surprised to see the hako #1, but the C210 being there at all caught me off guard. very pleased to see the sport 800 made it to the top 10, though. and the suzuki fronte is always good for a laugh, since fronte is italian for forehead (and also because the cars are shaped funny, but i love them). i like all the cars on this list

  2. says:

    Seems like my wishlist ended up at NostalgicHero istead of beeing sent to Santa.. 🙂

  3. Tally says:

    Yea go TE27 8th place not bad at all! 3 Toyota’s in top 10!

  4. Andrew says:

    No love for Mazda, with the exception of the Cosmo… That’s a shame…
    Considering all the spanking rotaries do… Ce’st la vie… Lol

  5. Brownie says:

    aside from Hako its cool to see the Contessa in the list. its layout really left me in amazement.

  6. Nigel says:

    Nice to see the Colt on that list and the 110 Sunny.
    Kenmeri in number four, is cool.

  7. Kelly Greenidge says:

    Great list with lots of diversity but I know Mazda made a great impact with more cars!!!

  8. jpr says:

    Do you think it would be possible for you to add pics of all these cars? Value added, you know.


  9. ギャラン says:

    COLT GALANT GTO moves up from #28 to #13? WOOOOHOOOO!!!!

  10. Iwakuni91 says:


    Found this while cruising the web. Enjoy!

  11. dave says:

    “Top 20 Nostalgic Cars of 2012”? I don’t really put much stock in these top lists; they reflect mostly the taste and opinion of the author anyway. Really surprised the original RX-7 isn’t on that list. Also kinda irked the Savanna (RX-3) is also missing. Am pleased to see the Fronte though. I’m a fan of that little car. Also am a fan of the Hino Contessa.

  12. PowerTryp says:

    Just on the off chance anyone wanted to see the #s in percentage form.
    35% Nissan (inc. Datsun)
    20% Toyota
    10% Isuzu (surprise!)
    5% Mazda, Honda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Suzuki, Hino, Daihatsu.

    That out of the way. This list is basically a Japanese dreamcar list for any one who visits this site except I’m kinda surprised at the lack of love Honda got. The only Honda on the list is one of the few RWD cars they made.

    This just goes to show that the Japanese classic car culture is just as RWD obsessed as their American counterparts.

    Last. JNC, Could you do a feature on the Hino Contessa? It reminds me of the Corvair.

  13. xs10shl says:

    Z432 off the list entirely. Ouch!

    A little bit of a shocker that a Mazda R130 Luce or RX-3 is not on either top-20. Who exactly is getting polled here?

  14. Victor says:

    I’m surprised that the Hako’s Main rival of the 70’s the Savanna RX3 isnt here….

  15. Mazdax605 says:

    No way the Subaru 360 is better than an SA22C RX-7!! Those are terrible little cars in almost every way. I would love to own one, but no way is it better than an RX-7 in any way. The SA22C may be the soul reason Mazda is still around still, and it should be on the list.

  16. Kev says:

    Like all of these lists, it does reflect current fashions in Japan, and for some reason, in recent years the older rotaries have subsided into the background a little. You hardly ever see one in the Japanese classic car mags and shows.

    But on the other hand, the C210 has been enjoying a bit of an ascendancy of late, with more and more being featured in magazines. And you also have to remember that it’s a bit of a TV cult car, since it was the hero cop car in Seibu Keisatsu back in period (so it’s…kinda…like a JDM General Lee 🙂 )

  17. angelo alvarado says:

    yup… the AE86 Levin has been out… but then, that car still deserves the title right?

  18. Bob says:

    Nice list, but I agree it represents the scene and feelings of those in Japan more than in the US or other markets, and that’s to be expected. I can dig it.

  19. Savannarx3 says:

    There are no Mazdas except the Cosmo because there are none left here in Japan! They’ve all been bought by Australians and Kiwis. They probably couldn’t find a car for a photo shoot!

  20. classy1 says:

    What about the gt-4. Chassis, 165, 185, or the best and final 205rc. :0

  21. John says:

    FYI, I think the newest thing on that list is a 1980 model. 🙂

  22. gypsy says:

    The editors clearly have no idea !

    With a list like that Im very surprised the “Homer Mobile” never made the list 🙂

  23. Pete240z says:

    Where in the USA is this magazine purchased? I bought 2 copies at the JCCS 2010 event and have them memorized.

  24. Bart says:

    I’m very happy to see the Bellet 1600 GT on the list! Someday I will import one….someday…

  25. Supralaju says:

    Toyota all the way,

  26. Rotary_Bern says:

    Very very surprised and disappointed the Savanna RX-3 is not on this list. This the car that dethroned the Hako and went on to win a record number of wins in Japan.

  27. Dima says:

    Basicly it’s OK, but where are AE86 and RX-7 ? Probebly Top 20 is not enough to incluse even only best JDM nostalgic cars. It shoul be at list Top 30 .

  28. RB says:

    So this explains why C210s got so expensive recently..

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