USA Today Picks Top 10 Japanese Collector Cars

mazda_savanna_rx-3Last Friday USA Today picked their Top 10 Japanese cars that they think will become collectible in the future. The piece echoes what we’ve been preaching all along, that these cars capture the nostalgic feelings of twenty- and thirty-somethings and are often overlooked by collectors today.

USA Today‘s Top 10 Japanese Collector Cars

  • 1997-2001 Acura Integra Type R
  • 1979-85 Mazda RX-7
  • 1967-73 Datsun 510
  • 1971-78 Mazda RX-3
  • 1970-73 Datsun 240Z
  • 1990-2005 Acura NSX
  • 1985-91 Honda CRX Si
  • 1964-66 Honda S600
  • 1983-87 Toyota Corolla GT-S
  • 1990-97 Mazda Miata

Agree or disagree? Brief blurbs describing the reasons behind each pick are at USA Today. Thanks to Sarah for the tip.

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31 Responses to USA Today Picks Top 10 Japanese Collector Cars

  1. Komeuppance says:

    Integra?! Puh lees.

    Starion should be on that list.

  2. tunernutcase says:

    What happened to the hakosuka or the 2000GT…unless those are already solidly established as “collectible?” I have mixed feeling about the Integra Type R, but what about the Toyota Supra?

  3. redseven says:

    There some legit classics in here, but this just looks like some guys favourite jap cars list…
    I think the list nostalgic hero mag one was more relevant.

  4. banpei says:

    Sounds like a pretty random list to me…
    IMO the Honda S600, Datsun 510, Datsun 240Z, Mazda RX3 and Corolla GT-S should already be a collectable and the others sound like likely candidates for collections.

    The reason I say the Corolla GT-S is already a collectible is because there are hardly any original Corollas around anymore. Most of them have either ended up on the junkyard or have been subject to drifters/tuners/etc. If you can find a immaculate example of the Corolla GT-S it is already a collectible. ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. Nigel says:

    When does the alternate JNC list get put together ?

  6. AKADriver says:

    It’s easy to dismiss this as a bit of McPaper fluff, but Tim Suddard knows his stuff with “our” cars. I did notice that his list is a bit biased towards cars that had a racing history in the US, which is understandable coming from the Grassroots Motorsports/Classic Motorsports crew. Still, it overlooks a lot of cars that may be more famous as road cars, or ones that had their greatest glories in Japan. Still, if you’ve got to pick ten, Tim did a good job picking cars from most eras and classes.

  7. Komeko says:

    That list reads more like “What are the ten Japanese made cars that most ignorant and uninformed Americans, who don’t care at all about Japanese cars, can identify on sight.

    Tim Suddard as a source? Make me laugh! Maybe 20 years ago, but now Marjorie runs everything and speaks for him, with a level of incompetence that turned GRM into a joke long ago. I heard they closed down the magazine in 2007. Now they just sell very poor quality toilet paper with sharp edges and corners.

  8. bert says:

    I think it’s great that older japanese cars are getting attention in mainstream publications, and moving beyond “specialty” (translation: ignored) status! But we have to remember that not to long ago our favorite nostalgics were just simple transportation. When I was a teenager a friend of mine had an 83 Supra. I thought man thats a cool car! But to her it just got her from point A to point B. That was in the 90’s when a twelve year old japanese car was not considered a classic. Now with 30 a couple years away for me that same car is past the 25 year classic status and creeping up nostalgic. But the world still sees classic mostly as anything from the 70’s back. Any published list of “classic” cars is going to be different from the ones before it. As long as there getting big press time, than progress is being made!

  9. That is pretty close to my list. Those are also Type-R Integras. Not just the run of mill everyday Integras. Quite possibly one of best balanced FWD car ever produced. I think this list is also based on vehicles available in the the U.S.

  10. Zukiru says:

    this is what the mainstream crowd will be interested in not what us oddballs will want…

    there was a 2000 Prelude at our store the other day.

    perfectly clean like a new car. I told him he should hang on to that because it would be worth something one day. he said it was for sale lol, and that wasn’t the first he’d been told he should keep it.

    not sure how the third gen RX7 missed the list since it’s already almost as much used as it was new.

  11. Scooter3 says:

    I disagree with the Miata’s and the Intergra Type R being classified as collector cars. In my opinion a collector cars needs to have some age on it before its collectable. Seems its that way with most things. You can still go out to used car lots all over and find Miatas. These two are just to new of cars for me to consider to be collectable. I mean you can collect anything but it just doesnt make sense to me in the case of cars.

    My question is where are the First Gen. Celicas and Supras. The entire Mazda RX series should be included not just the 79-87. This guy also has an imense liking of Honda products.

  12. Kev says:

    I think that’s a good list too. Things like Hako and Toyota 2000GT wouldn’t be a usefull addition to a list of future collectibility because if anything their values have peaked and are so rare you can’t buy them anyway ๐Ÿ™‚

    Also agree on the Integra Type R…it’s status as the best handling fwd ever will be remembered long after any negative compact Honda stigma has worn off.

  13. Mr.L.J. Nordvik says:

    Any such list is bound to be debatable,I just think it’s great that someone outside the hardcore fan base (meaning:us) would assemble such a list. It’s not that long ago that 99 out of 100 auto scribes would deam “japanese classic” an oxymoron on par with “The best of Milli Vanilli”.

    Where the bloomin’ heck is the Hiace????

  14. Ken says:

    Where are the celicas? Or by the fact that they are left out are we to believe that they are like the 2000GT and the Hako and already collectable? I would argue that some of the cars on the list are already of the collectable status. 510s, 240Zs, RX-3 just to start. I would have left those off the list. Any of the aforementioned in good condition will cost more than they did new. I believe that would qualify them as collectable status already. Most of the other cars can still be found cheaply.

  15. Toyotageek says:

    What others have said. Any list is up to debate. One man’s A list is another man’s list of junkers. The point is, ‘other’ people besides us are beginning to talk about Japanese cars. We’ve seen lists from the New York Times and now USA Today, and that is getting pretty mainstream America. The tide is slowly turning.

    As mentioned in another reply, how about a JNC list. Each editor could compile a seperate list, and you could even run a poll to put together a readers top 10 list. ;D

  16. Ken says:

    Oh yeah, I am still happy to see that japanese cars are starting to get noticed in the auto-elite circles. How long till Pebble Beach calls??

  17. ITR2NV says:

    ITR 4 LIFE!!!!! w00t makes me happy I have kept my R for the past 5yrs! now I know I’ll never get rid of it ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Yeng says:

    Welp, grab all the cars which you think will be classics and hold on to your horses. There’s a tsunami of Japanese classics that will be hitting the American shore. This list is only the begining. Once the general public realizes what they’ve been overlooking, the Japanese classic list will grow.

    Just the other day, a Mucle car guy parked next to my fiends TA22 and thought it looked fantastic. he said he loved the body line. he also commented on my s30, “i’ve always loved the look of that car!”

  19. Oyaji Gaijin says:

    Ken Says:
    “Things like Hako and Toyota 2000GT wouldnโ€™t be a usefull addition to a list of future collectibility because if anything their values have peaked and are so rare you canโ€™t buy them anyway”

    This statement may be worth more than a thousand newspaper articles. A late 60’s DOHC race homologation edition Japanese production coupe (not a Skyline) in decent condition (not mint) is now listing for $22,000 USD. A standard coupe with upgraded engine and appearance to match that car is listing for $17,500 USD. Recognition by the general public and other segments of automotive fans may no longer be an issue. The market has determined that these cars are going to demand a premium price. The only remaining concern is getting the insurance industry to follow the market price and quit totaling out cars with more than a couple hundred dollars worth of damage.

  20. CLe4R says:

    Since we’re talking 20 years from now, where’s the 240/180sx?

    No Celicas at all (I would have been okay with seeing an AllTrac on there)?

  21. vballin says:

    I agree with the ITR and Celica GT-S, and even the 240sx cause not only were those cars actually GOOD in their own right, tuning will make original examples of these cars nearly impossible to find in 20 years (if not already)

  22. BlownArrow! says:

    1997-2001 Acura Integra Type R? Isn’t that a creampuff civic

    ๐Ÿ˜€ I get it He really ment 76-78 Arrow GT or Fire Arrow…….. :-/ right?……. ๐Ÿ˜›

    Oh I’m gona get crap from the honda guy’s … ๐Ÿ™

  23. zetozeto99 (j.ramirez) says:

    Pft… cmon! The 510 got on the list and the 810 didn’t?? Inconceivable!

  24. coupeZ600 says:

    I hate seeing lists like this, (Best Mountain-Towns, Best Cars To Collect, Coolest Little Dive-Bars On Historic Route 66) because I get all cold and clammy and tunnel-visioned as I read down the list. It’s like standing on a bar-stool on top of a chair on top of a table while someone’s waiting to knock the legs out from under you….. Vertigo. And then you get to the end of the List, and “Yippee, I’m/We’re/It’s Not On IT! YAYY!” It’s like dodging bullets everytime.

  25. mr fua racing says:

    I think they forgot about the 1980 toyota corrolla, witch until this day is the car more east cost import lover are looking to get more and more even the price on this little
    machine as going up tru the year. I know becuase I own two a 1980 1.8 corrolla and a
    1987 sr5 both a coupe.

  26. 240Z says:

    The Datsun 510 had a racing history, and basically a forerunner of the 810 concept. They are different cars though. The 240Z has been collectible, but has risen to new levels recently. It was the first true GT production Japanese sports car, that basically opened up the US market for Japanese sports car that followed. The 2000GT makes a great rare collector, but did not influence very much. The 76 Corolla SR5 coupe was a cool little car.

  27. xs10shl says:

    Although I’d agree that these cars will be future “collectibles” (in the sense that there will be a thriving future market for pretty much all of them) I suspect that Studdard is misleading people when he implies that these cars will out-gain any CPI. IMHO, these cars will be collectible in the same way that an early VW Bug or Bus is collectible – prices for good or restored examples will stay strong, and anything else will be cheap.

    Giving thought to Studdard’s logic in writing this article, I would have expected him to also consider some iteration of Supra, and perhaps a 93-95 MR2.

  28. Billy Jarrell says:

    I’m with a lot of you on the love it / hate it feelings on this list. Personally I would have like to seen the Z’s grouped as s30’s not just 240’s. And what about earlier Toyota’s? or even Subaru’s? Love them or hate them they’re both historical brands that I think will be collectable one day..especially since its becoming harder and harder to buy any proper sports car – (read: rear wheel drive). As for the Honda’s, I think the s2000 will be more sought after than the CRX or Integra years from now.. but just my opinion.

  29. ARCHINSTL says:

    I especially liked Zukiru’s comment: “this is what the mainstream crowd will be interested in not what us oddballs will wantโ€ฆ”
    I am the owner of an ’86 Tercel 4WD Wagon…’nuff said…
    If interested, our site is
    Tom M.

  30. Rob says:

    i am just glad to see the ever growing attention given to nostalgics and it is interesting to see someone looking to the future. any way you put it an NSX would be supercool in 20 years!!

    where is the JNC list??? ๐Ÿ˜›

  31. 47hako says:

    We’re talking about USA Today guys…the list is very fair and very generic if you change the Miata for lets say a 1st Gen MR2 there are 2 vehicles for every major Japanese brand, sans Mitsubishi (shocking). Its a very safe and cautious top ten.

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