QotW: What’s your favorite car from Japan’s tuning era?

If there’s anything we learned from the tragic passing of Junichi Tanaka a week ago, it was that many of you came to the world of Nihon steel after encountering an insane demo or race car from the glory days of Japan’s tuning era. These were days when specialty shops all across Japan were creating supercar-level drag, drift, and time attack cars, from Honda Civics to V12 Supras.

What’s your favorite car from Japan’s tuning era?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “Daily, Garage, Sell — Honda CR-X Si, Honda Civic Si, or Acura Integra GS-R?

We really wanted to give the win to ED-209, who gave us the most entertaining answer (and we do feel your pain), but alas, that answer also broke the rules of the game. Therefore, the answer goes to エーイダン, who said:

OK, this is an easy one:
Drive: The Civic, due to ease of finding parts and the fact that it’s been popular here in my neck of the woods since before I was born. It’s also the hatchback, which allows me to use the Civic for grocery runs if needed or helping out my mates.

Sell: The CR-X, because it’s the least practical and above all, least valuable at current. The CR-X is cool, don’t get me wrong, but just doesn’t have what the Civic has for practicality or what the Integra has for value.

Garage: Integra GSR. I may HATE Integra drivers with a passion, but I have nothing against the cars. Because of the idiots in their white caps, pants slung lower than their knees and their bloody megaphone exhausts, a good example of an Integra is becoming more like a needle in a haystack. The number of the good Integras are dwindling, so this little sports job should grow a bit more value. Just for Good measure, let’s assume the Integra is a Japan-spec model, so that the value already has some boost.

Omedetou! Your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop.

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16 Responses to QotW: What’s your favorite car from Japan’s tuning era?

  1. ArcherOnCars says:

    Somehow for me (maybe because of age) I associate tuning scene with drifting, and my earliest memory are HKS Altezza with that distinct livery. Or A’PEXi RX-7. I remember the RX-7 once had a feature in car audio magazine since Alpine was a sponsor and they had design a detachable audio system.

    Talk about tuning, can we consider the old cars like S800 based Dome Karasu a “tuning” car?

  2. Nigel says:

    I was always looking for anything to do with the nissan S13. (The Supra was my other favorite).

  3. Nigel says:

    Oh, and then I discovered the Nissan C33 Laurel !!

  4. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    Krazy Kei’s.

  5. ZRay says:

    Datsun 240Z, by far changed the world view to Japanese cars. The styling, engineering, and the pricing, set the future of the automotive world.

  6. cesariojpn says:

    I can probably get a ton of folks in agreement that their favorite car from Japan’s Tuning Era will be…..the Toyota Trueno from Initial D.

    Where to even begin? Many people outside of the tuning crowd, hell, even Japan would be going “Huh?” over a platform that is normally associated with boring economy cars, let alone one that is RWD. Then you get to the backstory of the car, and realizing it was the creation of a seasoned street racer given to his kid who was “nudged” into mastering the car…..

    Then you get to the car itself. Again, a car that many folks probably scrapped at the end of it’s useful life is a platform for such a machine. That it’s been regulated from racing duties to be a delivery car, put back to racing til it’s ultimately thrown to the side (Thanks Shaken!!).

    But when you start to get to the mods…..thats where it gets complicated. The wheels, okay, Watanabes. And the Carbon Fibre Hood. okay, given. Suspension upgrades and then you get to the engine. I’m still confused at what was what given the initial info at the time cause I still remember the stupid internet flame wars on what the engine was.

    Beside the point, Its amazing that a fictional car has managed to spawn real life analogs and inspire folks to come into the hobby….thought I lament that virtually every AE86 now is destined to be chopped up and screwed up from it’s stock status.

    • Wing Ho says:

      I wholeheartedly agree that Initial D is the show that really showed how many “economy cars” were actually gems. And while I LOVE Initial D’s portrayal of the AE86, I too am deeply saddened that they’re pretty much unobtanium now…

  7. dankan says:

    My all-time favourite has sadly disappeared from the internet. In March 1995, Sam Mitani wrote a piece in Road & Track on some of the best products of Japan’s tuning houses, and there truly were legends among them. A 600hp R32 Skyline from Trust, a ludicrous green RE Amemiya RX7, and best of all, an HKS-tuned RX7 with a new front end, greenhouse and massive fender flares. It was silver, the only body kit that didn’t ruin the looks of an FD RX7, and they were toying with limited production.

    Never heard about it again, and it seems to have disappeared without a trace, but as far as ultimate tuner-era cars goes, that one was pretty amazing.

  8. Wing Ho says:

    My first love and forever holy grail car will be the Nissan Skyline GTR (R32). Specifically in Gun Grey Metallic. This car appeared in Initial D, which is what brought me back to cars. Despite the hero car being the panda AE86, and the R32 relegated to a “villain car” early in the first season, I just couldn’t get enough of it.

    Back in High School, when Fast & Furious 2 had just come out, everyone was buzzing about the R34, but I stayed true to my first love. I made it a point to correct my peers (annoyingly) that my favourite car was the Skyline. Of the R32 variety. Yeah, I was THAT kid.

    Like the best things you grow up loving, but not fully understanding, I only found out much later that this beast of a car had a venerable history, destroying other cars in races, being called Godzilla, and just so happened to have its first production year that shared my birth year,

    Even after 29 years, this car still takes my breath away, and it;s made me want to learn about cars more and more. The more I learn, the more in awe I become of this car. Plus, it’s got this timelessness to it, like all the best designed cars. It’s got the perfect mix of masculinity and elegance.

    Somewhat like Daniel Craig as James Bond.

    Or like Donnie Yen playing Ip Man, mercilessly destroying 10 karate practitioners (awesome clip)

    Or a tommy gun in a violin case.

    Or Clapton’s Black Strat.

    Or… I suppose… a male figure skater. Just think about that one, and I’m sure you’ll all agree.

    Maybe that last one’s not for everyone.

    • Paul says:

      Ahh what history it had down-under too.

      In 1990, Group E production car racing was plagued with CRX and MR2 competence. Solution? Ban them! A precedence is set…

      Before the virtual silhouette racing circus of V8 “Suppercars”, our ATCC had R32 Skylines competing. They embarrassed the US-derived V8s to breaking point — they won the championship.

      Much bad blood, fans threatening boycotts and TV deals in peril! So they created a “new” entity (V8 Supercars Australia) with the express intention of rewriting the rules to exclude anything too fast. It was a meaningless two-horse race until recently. Flip a coin, heads; Ford, tails; GM.

      They tried their best to compensate by making the drivers the focus. Unfortunately, most were as dull as dishwater, spoiled preppy types or just plain a-holes.

  9. Daniel says:

    Without a doubt the R32 Skyline GT R, not the V Spec models though as im not too fond on the wheels of them but just the regular stock R32 from ’89. I played NFS 2015 and instantly fell in love with it. Black and with gold TE37s is my dream build for it.

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