QotW: What’s your favorite Japanese sports car?

Today, October 10, is Sports Day in Japan. The holiday was established after the opening day of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, which took place on this day exactly 58 years ago. Definitions for what constitutes a sports car will vary, but at a minimum it should stem from a performance-oriented design objective and have no more than two doors. Fixed or open roof structures are both admissible. While there is some debate over whether seating should be limited to two, we think 2+2 seating counts as well, as long as the car was designed with a goal toward performance.

What’s your favorite Japanese sports car?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “When is it time to call in the professionals?

One of  the biggest factors that determined when to turn over the job to professionals was availability of tools. Like j_c said, a fully stocked shop would make a knowledgeable mechanic unstoppable. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have that so as speedie, and Mark F Newton-John said, specialized tools and equipment are the limiting factor. Lupus and Fred Langille agreed that it was body work, while Chet Manley made a calculation for time. On the opposite end of the spectrum HE HE held out, saying the right time is never.

The winner this week was robin, who laid out a logical and sage advice for anyone who does go the professional route.

my process is:
– what is my end goal with the vehicle
– what tools do i have in-house to perform certain tasks to my satisfactory level
– what is my budget, this here is extremely difficult as this almost always changes as your build progresses, so have a minimum and a maximum then once you reach your max you should be at a point where the car is enjoyable so you can save up more to finish it.
– prioritize , have a list of important to least important
– When taking your car to a “professional” speak to current and previous clients if possible, with the internet there are many companies that have reviews so check those out before dropping your precious cargo off and do not pay in full ever until you are satisfied. When handing your vehicle over spend about 30mins to an hour with the owner/manager going over everything you need done, put it in writing and let them sign that they agreed to perform things your spoke about. Then pop in every 2 weeks to check progress, but dont be pushy or in their way. phone before coming to arrange a slot for you as respect goes both ways and these small things end up creating a great long standing relationship (dont get too friendly with anyone that does work for you and if its family know the difference between business and being friendly)
-Do a lot of prior research before going to said professional.
– Know your limits and as cool as it is to diy and try things yourself, it could be alot more costly in the end.

My answer is based on the rusted out Hakosuka and also restoring a vehicle, but for small mechanical work… always try to attempt things as there is an abundance of info online (especially on JNC).

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!
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20 Responses to QotW: What’s your favorite Japanese sports car?

  1. Trey Spicola says:

    Honda S2000 or Acura NSX

  2. BlitzPig says:

    Toyota 2000 GT.

    Beyond it’s mechanical specification, which is really good, it’s visually stunning and still fresh after all these years. No silly wings, lumps, bumps, or “surface excitement” that clutters up many Japanese sport models.

    Just purity of form, and function.

    It’s perfect.

  3. HE HE says:

    The thing is, I think that supercars like the Toyota 2000GT aren’t sports cars: They are super cars, cars that are super, you know? I also think that any type of race car (mainly rally) shouldn’t be included either because they aren’t really a sports car, rather a car that tears the dirt apart.
    Honestly, I might just say that the first gen Celica should get the prize as it’s a sporty car, it’s affordable, and it’s quite practical. It is by no means fast, but that’s why aftermarket support exists. The Celica has a lot of support from aftermarket companies, and yea, the Nissan Z line exists, but that doesn’t mean the Celica sucks.
    As you can tell, Toyota never bothered to keep making Celicas, but that means that they are more rare. To me, this is how the Celica is a favorite in my book. Everyone might think the Z is better, which the 370Z is my favorite Z in my personal opinion, but the Celica deserves as much love as the Zs get if not more. The Celica is basically a sportier Corolla, it’s just no one takes it seriously.


  4. Michael Jue says:

    I’d say you already pictured it – almost. Fairlady Z432. But of course, while we’re dreaming, let’s step it up a notch… Fairlady Z432R. Hen’s teeth, kids, and I would trade my back teeth and a kidney to own one of the few made.

  5. エーイダン says:

    The Nissan Skyline GT-R/GT-ES/RS. In some way every generation from the C10 hakosuka onwards right up to the R34 in 1999. Especially the R34, with all the bells and whistles and legendary tuning potential. Twin turbos, a 2.6 litre engine and street cred by the boatload, the R34 is among the ultimate dream cars. Since I’m Canadian there’s a few roaming about on Sunday nights as it is here. Perhaps one day I will actually be able to afford one without the necessity of selling my organs in China.

  6. midniteneon says:

    My favorite Japanese sports car is the Toyota Soarer. I specifically love the Z20 and Z30 generations. Toyota put their best into those cars and bringing the Z30s stateside as the Lexus SC was awesome. They are timeless cars, with a driving experience unlike anything else.

  7. Two seats. Mid-engine. Rear wheel drive. Low curb weight.

    That’s right, the ultimate Japanese sports car is the Toyota Van.

  8. JJ says:

    Honestly wanted to say an S2000, 300Z, Skyline or Supra. I wanted to. But after searching my heart and listening to my inner child, my favorite sports car is the FD RX-7.

    Being from the Canadian prairies you see tons of American muscle all through the summer. I have always wanted the contrarian car; light & nimble, powerful enough and it can actually take a corner. The fact that it has an engine that is completely different than anything else is icing on the cake.

  9. Jonathan P. says:

    My favorite Japanese Sports car….oh dang. The easy answer would be my 300ZX. Love that car. My other choices of answer would have to go to the Celica Supra, the AW11 MR2, and the Starion. I don’t what it is, but ’80s Wedges just look fast, even if they’re not that fast. However fast or slow, they’re still fun to drive, and they look good doing it. And that is what sells me.

  10. Lakdasa says:

    We would all go vote for the usual suspects such as Supra, Celica, Skyline, Z, Miata, NSX and the list goes on. I would look at what is the most Japanese out of them all. Giant killing or technological advanced would be what most would look at. I will go against the norm and say Suzuki Cappuccino the little Kei car with a mid mounted engine and great handling? Kei cars are a hallmark of Japan and how this came to being an awesome piece of engineering pips the rest. It may not be very powerful nor technologically advanced but it lets you have within the speed limit which is what most would want rather than having a superfast, which to have fun would mean braking the law.

  11. Lupus says:

    First car that comes to nind when i hear the phrase “japanese sports car” i of course MX-5. But for my taste it’s too comon. Next comes the S2k, but it still seems to be to new and modern to be considered noastaligic/vintage/classic. Sooo… MR2. Either the AW11 or SW20.But 1st incarnation more so. It’s stylish, nimble, gives fun, it’s rather simple, 2seats, usualy dosen’t want to kill the driver, nostalgic, is powered (mostly) by 4A-Gx series powerplant, has pop-up head lapms, can be equipped with t-top roof, and had it’s big role in a race manga (OverRev!). All boxes chceked 🙂

  12. Howard D. says:

    My favorite, is a car that I’ve owned since new, a 1989 Mitsubishi Starion.The “blister fender/wide body” (from 1986-’89) and staggered wheel sizes are very aggressive, (Don’t forget the EVEN WIDER SHP package wheels!) and most Japanese cars of that era did not have that look. If I’m not mistaken, it’s the first Japanese car to have the stereo controls on the steering wheel? And the first to have a fuel injected/turbo/intercooled combination? If I’m wrong on that, I easily stand corrected. For me, the car is timeless! Most Japanese cars now have rounded, softened body lines, etc., and that’s not for me.

    Then, there’s my Evo 9MR…

  13. Jeremy A. says:

    The Nissan Z-cars. And it’s not just because I own one, though that is a big part of it. It’s my favorite because there’s so many of them around. They were extremely popular and so there are a lot of them for not a lot of money. And while it can be fun to look at a sports car behind glass, or on a concourse, the best Japanese sports car is the one that’s being driven, enjoyed and experienced. And the Z-cars allow that. They give the common people the chance to experience Japanese performance and craftsmanship.

  14. f31roger says:

    man… I have to roll with an R31 Skyline M30 Tommy Kaira.

    I just think how awesome it would be to just drive one.

  15. thatdirtykid says:

    Probably my favorite category of car. Pre 80s Japanese Sports cars.

    The epitome of the genre is definitely the 2000GT. Its aged amazingly and set the bar. However I just cannot call cars that are completely unattainable as my favorites. I currently own an RA24 Celica, a non sports car Datsun, and have owned a FB RX7. I have driven a couple 240z and 280zx.

    My vote goes to the RX7. The weight balance, feel and unique joy of ringing out a rotary is just unmatched. Yes the Z car is faster in a line. The Celica has tons of charm and amazing looks, but we are talking sports cars and spirited driving and I would take more seat time in a FB RX7 over the others.

  16. Taylor C. says:

    I have been spending a few days staring at this question of the week, and it’s literally impossible for any fan person of JDM cars to reply with only sport car. So let’s roll out the list!

    Favorite Sports Car to drive: It’s gotta be my 1997 NA Miata. It’s so easy to drive, so simple to drive, so connected to its mechanisms. I have owned mine since 2005, and have put on about 120k miles on it (it has 207k miles), and I’ve commuted in it, taken it up and down California, tracked it all over, and drove it back home. Now that it’s in New England, each time I fire it back up in Spring it reminds me how lovely the shifting is, the easy the engine revs, how easy it is to heel-and-toe, and how it the exhaust sounds as I wind it up. I smile each time I fit into the driver’s seat.

    Favorite Sports Car to look at: My 1995 Nissan 300ZX, in Sapphire Blue. I have the J-spec kouki bumper and rear tail lights, and with it lowered a bit, the car just looks so good from all angles. The hood line is low, the directional wheels, that side profile, the way the car looks at you straight on, the way the rear looks, how low the car is; it’s the car we put up posters of when we were carefree kids.

    Favorite Sports Car that I can’t afford: This category will include a few cars, including the 1997 Acura NSX, which has the six-speed manual, 3.2l engine and higher horsepower, and still rocking the popup headlights. There’s a reason it’s called the “everyday supercar,” and how cool it’d be to drive that. There’s the 1994 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II, which has the nice BBS wheels, the nice technology, upgrades compared to the regular GT-R, and plain rarity; it’s something I was introduced to when it first came out in 1993, and I’ve had that on my bucket list since. The 2002 Skyline GT-R V-Spec II is also pretty cool. It’s basically captures the best of the three generations, adds a nice (albeit slightly heavy) shape, and moves that defy its size and weight.

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