Question of the Week: What 1987 car is the next classic?

It’s 2012 and that means another new model year has made it into the ranks of “classic.” The rolling 25 year cutoff for vehicles eligible for historic license plates and classic car insurance is now at the year of Iran-Contra, The Joshua Tree and The Simpsons. So we ask you, dear JNCers:

What 1987 car will be the next classic?

Here’s one candidate: the extremely rare 1987 Toyota Celica All-Trac IMSA GTO Edition. Officially, the American version of the legendary Celica GT-Four didn’t arrive on US shores until the 1988 model year, but one year prior TRD prepared a limited run of the top-dog AWD turbocharged ST165.

Modeled after the Long Beach Grand Prix pace car, they were sold solely through California dealerships to commemorate Toyota’s 1987 IMSA GTO championship. They came with special old school red-orange-yellow “IMSA GTO CHAMPION” decals, and only 77 were built. What automobile from the year of American Psycho do you think will be the next Japanese classic? Best comment will receive a random Japanese car doodad.

Sparked by the lack of Mazdas on Nostalgic Hero‘s Top 20 list, last time we asked “What is the most underrated nostalgic?” The winner is xs10shl, who cleverly wrote:

Series 1 Honda Accord LX. A little Luxo-mobile with great build quality, and a great standard feature list, including power steering. Should have been heeded by other auto makers as a sign that there was more to Japanese cars than the old one-sided econobox shtick. They probably still don’t know what hit them.

Congrats, you win a Choro-Q Mazda Carol. Even among Mazdas, this car was vastly underrated.


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31 Responses to Question of the Week: What 1987 car is the next classic?

  1. SomeOtherSteve says:

    If I still had my 87 Supra Turbo, it would be smog exempt in Georgia. *sigh*

  2. pat says:

    1986 Mitsubishi Cordia Turbo. Obscure 80’s styling. Looks like a Toyota ae86 and Delorean had a baby. Anyways, I had one as a teen and it was a fun car and looks great lowered. When was the last time you saw one?

  3. Danny says:

    Isn’t 87 the first year for the Nissan Pao? There’s a unique nostalgic that makes the modern Cube look super-sized. What better vehicle to drive to the beach in style, while sipping fuel in such moderation that the new CRZ looks like a drunkard in comparison?

    • tristinGrind says:

      The Nissan Pao was announced in 1987 at the Tokyo Auto Salon, but it wasnt actually released until 1989. Ive loved them for years, but cant import for a DD since its not past 25yrs old.

    • Tyler says:

      That, the BE-1, S-Cargo, Miata and myself all debuted, Tristin guessed it, in 1989.

  4. Joey says:

    1987 was the first year for the face-lifted Z31 Nissan 300ZX, with the cleaner, smoother body lines.

  5. goki says:

    my vote goes to Nissan’s 1987 GC22 Van…known as the Vanette or Largo in other parts of the word.

    Probably less than 300 left after the big Nissan recall/crush!!

  6. Isaac says:

    ’87 Mazda RX-7 Turbo II

  7. bert says:

    Subaru XT. A quirky car with some funky looks, but really quick, fun to drive, and pretty technical for it’s day! Hard to find in decent condition anymore though. A friend of mine had one in the early 2000’s and he’d regularly smack the crap out of malibu!

  8. Drive510 says:

    Has anyone ever watched the anime “You’re Under Arrest” ? The car is a 1987 Honda City Turbo 2 hatchback. Car explained at 18:06 on youtube

  9. banpei says:

    I’d say the introduction of the supercharged Toyota MR2 (1988 for the US though) has to be a good candidate. As the supercharged 4GZE was the second supercharged engine by Toyota it also meant it was a (more) reliable engine. Given the low curb weight, ideal weight distribution and great handling adding the supercharged 4A to this compact package was a killer combo.

    And for its boxy looks I think it is the total opposite of being square. 😉

  10. E-AT_me says:

    late 1987 would be the introduction of the EF series civic/crx for honda… yes, we didn’t get them till 88, but 4th quarter in Japan brought them out. of course they didn’t have the B16a VTEC’s, but i’ll take a DOHC ZC any day of the week.

  11. Retrocarfe says:

    Honda Crx gen1

    • E-AT_me says:

      you can already get a classic gen 1. 84-87 man.. and the very, VERY early 84’s had “flip-up” head lights. SUPER RARE!!!

  12. solidstripe says:

    The 87 Datsun 280zx, since they are not so loved as other “Z” cars, they will of been scraped by the truck load, but their bigger displacement L series motor are going to be quite sort after as a “period resto” engine of the future, thus further diminishing stocks untill low and behold, they are hard to come by – becoming a classic and sort after vehicle.

    Either that or the S12 Silvia with the last of the FJ20et’s.

    • John says:

      The 280ZX stopped in ’83. There’s no ’87 version. 😉

      • You are so cool! I don’t think I’ve truly read through anything like this before. So wonderful to find another person with a few genuine thoughts on this topic. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This site is something that is needed on the web, someone with a little originality!

  13. Bart says:

    What about a 1987 Isuzu Impulse RS Turbo Special Edition? I would think there are only a handful of these cars left in the USA. Mine will hopefully be at the next JCCS.

  14. 31gun says:

    Funnily enough, the HR31 Skyline GTS-R.
    Only 800 made, and if I’m not mistaken about to be allowed into USA.

  15. hampaslupa says:

    how about the Isuzu I-Mark RS, the one with Recaro package and Lotus handling.

  16. Isaac says:

    The inspiration for my comment:


    Unfortunately I sold her last year 🙁

  17. Matt says:

    1987 Nissan Silvia Full White RS-X
    Last of the S12 range, only 90 of them rolled off the production line.

  18. jackie says:

    the Rolla FX 16 hands down!

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