Auction site Bring a Trailer is celebrating its 100,000 listing, and it’s a special one. The milestone car is the company’s own 1973 Datsun 240Z. Maintained by Z Car Garage of San Jose, California and fitted with a Rebello 2.7-liter straight-six, it’s already been bid up to $104,240 at the time of this writing with five days left on the auction. Its potentially record-setting price will benefit the Piston Foundation, which helps students interested in the collector car industry. To mark this occasion, we asked BaT what the 10 most expensive Japanese cars sold on the game-changing auction site were. Here are their answers:
They came back to us with two lists. First is the one going strictly by the numbers, and you’ll see why there’s a second list soon enough.
10. 1967 Toyota 2000GT ($560,000 on 12/19/2016): Chassis: MF10-10128; a Solar Red RHD example with 76,822 kilometers (47,735 miles) that was one of three sold new in Mozambique; painstakingly restored by Restauraciones Clasicas of San José, Costa Rica.
9. 2012 Lexus LFA ($725,000 on 10/7/21): No. 312 of 500 built of what is arguably the greatest Japanese car ever built; finished in a basic Starlight Black over Saddle Tan with only 7,000 miles on the odometer.
8. 2012 Lexus LFA ($725,000 on 8/25/22): No. 75 of 500 built, the only example with an Absolutely Red exterior; red and black interior; 7,300 miles.
7. 2012 Lexus LFA ($775,000 on 12/29/22): No. 427 of 500 built; finished in Pearl Red over black leather; 13,000 miles.
6. 2012 Lexus LFA ($808,000 on 7/2/21): No. 184 of 500 built; Pearl Yellow over black and ivory leather; only 72 miles on the odometer.
5. 2012 Lexus LFA ($845,000 on 4/20/22): No. 235 of 500 built; Starfire Pearl over white leather; only 850 miles on the odometer.
4. 1968 Toyota 2000GT ($850,000 on 11/2/21): Chassis MF10-10101; Pegasus White; one of 84 LHD examples; approximately 19,000 km on 5-digit odometer but true mileage unknown.
3. 1967 Toyota 2000GT ($875,015 on 11/12/21): Chassis MF10-10128; the same car as No. 10 on this list with a difference of about $315,000 in five years.
2. 1967 Toyota 2000GT ($1.15 million on 6/27/22): Chassis MF10-10193; Solar Red; 1 of 84 LHD examples; originally delivered to Switzerland; approximately 2,000 miles on odometer but true mileage unknown.
1. 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring Package ($1.62 million on 3/18/22): No. 349 of 500 built; 1 of 64 Nürburgring Package cars worldwide; 1 of 15 Nürburgring Package cars in US spec; 9K5 Orange over black Alcantara; Approximately 2,000 miles on the odometer.
As you can see, every single car in the top 10 is one of two Toyota models; either a 2000GT or Lexus LFA. So we were given a second list of high-dollar Japanese cars with a little more variety.
10. 2009 Honda S2000 CR ($200,000 on 4/23/22): One of approximately 700 Club Racer spec sold in the US; Rio Yellow over black; includes hardtop; only 123 miles on the odometer.
9. 1994 Toyota Supra Turbo ($232,000 on 9/21/22): 6-speed manual transmission; Black on black; leather trim package and premium sound system; only 13,000 miles on the odometer.
8. 1994 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II N1 ($235,000 on 10/12/22): No. 35 of 64 N1 models built for FIA homologation (air con and radio not standard); Crystal White over gray; only approximately 8,000 km (5,000 miles) on the odometer.
7. 1970 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 ($270,000 on 6/9/22): Resto-mod by FJ Company; “G40-S” model with Toyota 1GR V6, 5-speed manual transmission, and J70 suspension swaps; Cadet Blue over brown leather.
6. 1993 Honda NSX-R ($305,993 on 10/12/22): One of 483 NA1 Type Rs built, a track-oriented version of the original NSX; Brooklands Green over black Alcantara; Approximately 61k kilometers (approximately 38k miles) on the odometer.
5. 1971 Datsun 240Z ($310,000 on 1/29/20): Series 1 car built May 1970 and owned by the same family until 2019. Racing Green over tan vinyl; 21,750 miles on the odometer.
4. 1998 Subaru Impreza 22B STi ($312,555 on 4/19/21): No. 156 of approximately 400 built; World Rally Blue over black cloth and blue Alcantara; 40k kilometers (approximately 25k miles); imported under Show and Display exemption.
3. 1999 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec Midnight Purple II ($315,187 on 6/22/21): 1 of 282 V-spec Midnight Purple II models built; 64k kilometers (approximately 40k miles) on the odometer; imported under Show and Display exemption.
2. 2002 Nissan Skyline GT-R M-Spec Nür ($455,000 on 1/17/23): No. 88 of 285 M-Spec Nür models built, 1 of 144 M-spec Nür models painted in Millennium Jade; said to have been a one-owner car in Japan until imported under Show and Display exemption; set to have undergone Sports Resetting tuning at NISMO; wears NISMO twin-plate clutch, intercooler, R-tune intake, 18″ LMGT4 wheels, titanium exhaust system, NISMO front and rear underbody spoilers and side skirts, carbon-fiber rear spoiler blade.
1. 1990 Nissan 300ZX IMSA GTO race car ($545,000 on 5/20/21): One of seven factory-supported examples; built by Clayton Cunningham Racing; placed second in class at 1991 12 Hours of Sebring with driver Steve Millen; achieved seven pole positions; four wins, and three second-place finishes during the 1991 season.
Taking the 2000GT and LFA out of the running makes room for Nissans and Hondas. Top-spec performance models are most desirable, and the lower the mileage the better when it comes to collectability. Race cars with provenance will always be valuable as well.
Bring a Trailer launched its auction site on July 2014. It didn’t reach its 50,000th listing until June 2021, but in less than two years since it’s doubled its listings. It topped $1 billion in sales in 2022. Along the way it has helped usher the collectability of once under-the-radar Japanese cars into the mainstream. It’s an impressive force in the collector car community and shows no signs of slowing down.