Important JDM Cars Of The Decade
JDM cars come directly from Japan and are some of the coolest vehicles ever produced. Here are some of the most important in the last decade.
So, let’s talk about JDM. Caught your interest, didn’t we? Ever since Paul Walker and his Fast and Furious troop drove Supras, Mazdas, and Nissans in over-hyped scenes – we have been hooked on JDM. But what is JDM? Japanese Domestic Market, a set of cars that Japan produced solely for itself and was considered too advanced to be brought to America. The good news is that you can get JDMs in America now.
The bad news is that the 25-year cooling period is still there. So for 2020, you can only get a JDM that was released in 1995 in Japan, or before. Keeping that in mind, here goes the best JDMs of this decade (which belonged to the 90s in Japan).
10Mazda Cosmo Series JC: JDM Models 1990-96
Forget twin-rotor engines, the Mazda Cosmo Series JC, also known as the Eunos Cosmo, came with a triple-rotor engine. And it was the only Mazda to have one. This was the fourth generation of the Cosmo, and as good as the early generations were, this was an absolute hit on many counts, The triple-rotor mill came to a 2.0-liter displacement and offered 300 horses as well as 297 ft-lb torque with its twin turbochargers. A four-seater coupe, this was a pretty expensive car back then as its larger size meant buyers had to pay yearly taxes. It had a GPS navigation system back then, but the fuel economy was at an all-time low too.
9Honda NSX: JDM Models 1990-95
This is the Acura NSX in America, sure. The Acura brand does not exist in Japan and all the Acura cars in Japan go as Honda cars only. That said, for the JDM fans in America – it has to be the Honda NSX that wins hands down. And by 2020, you can get the Honda NSX 1995 as a JDM import in the US.
The NSX was Honda's idea of showing that you didn’t need a Ferrari for performance, and neither did you have to pay through your nose. The 1990-2005 Honda NSX remained virtually unchanged in its first generation with its all-aluminum body and a 3.0-liter VTEC engine that could take it to 191mph.
8Toyota MR2: JDM Models 1989-95
When it came out, people called it the poor man’s Ferrari because the design cues were obvious. A small and sports car, this was all about performance. Front and rear suspension were MacPhersons, and all four wheels had disc brakes – plus the MR2 came cheap. The GT-S trim came with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four that jetted almost 220 horses. For a car this small and this light, this was akin to rocket fuel. It ran well and was quite the crowd-pleaser in Japan. The GT-S trim never reached the US. With 1989-1994 models clear to be imported now as JDMs, this could be quite the show stopper. Plus they are easily modded.
7Subaru Impreza WRX STI: JDM Model 1994
The Subaru Impreza was introduced in 1992 and lasted until 2000. It came to the US as well. However, like with many car models that America and Japan share, the Japanese only models always had an extra kick. In 1994, Subaru launched the Subaru Impreza WRX STI as a JDM-only car.
STI stood for Subaru Tecnica International, and these models came with the enhanced transmission, suspension as well a tuned engine that took its performance over the moon. These cars were race and rally legends in Japan, and now the 1994 model can be had as a JDM import in America, at 247 horses of utter power.
6Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution: JDM Model 1992-95
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution stayed from 1992 to 2016 but it’s the second generation that lasted 1993-95 that can be had as a JDM now. With a 2.0-liter inline-four engine that spewed 252 horses, this car was a direct competitor of the Subaru Impreza WRX STI. And we don’t just mean in sales and marketing, we mean in racing and rallies. While standard cars came with 15-inch spoke wheels, some racing tuners even came with steel wheels. Now its all about the model you are lucky enough to net and afford. The 1993-95 model was the Evo II. By 2016, the generations had climbed to Evo X though can get these only by 2040…
5Honda DC2 Integra Type R: JDM Model 1995
The 1995 Honda DC2 Integra Type R was a JDM only product, simply because it was one upgraded product tuned for pure performance. While at the time Honda lost money on each DC2 Integra Type R they sold, today these cars sell at a premium in the JDM bazaar.
The 1995 model can be legally brought in as a JDM pretty soon, and with its 195-horsepower producing 1.8-liter B18C engine – it is quite the steal. A stronger chassis with thickened rear shocks, lighter weight due to stripped sound insulation panels and a 10% lighter windscreen can make this car fly in races, rallies and open roads.
4Nissan 200SX 270R: JDM Model 1994
The Nissan 200SX was a cool enough car, dubbed the Nissan Silvia in Japan. It has the distinction of being one of the best drift cars in the world and was built for six generations – from 1975 to 2009. While this was a good enough car, there was a limited edition 270R so made in 1994 for the JDM. Only 50 of these were made and came in black paint with a Nismo 270R badging on the rear side panels. Along with a vented hood that had an intercooler, it came with a heavy-duty clutch and a two-way limited-slip differential. The 270 was not the displacement, but the horsepower this beauty produced. And it's legal as a JDM in the US now.
3Mazda RX-7 3rd Gen: JDM Models 1993-95
The Mazda RX-7 was a classic car so produced from 1978 to 2002, though the one we are talking about here is the third generation of the same that lasted from 1993 to 2002. The 1.3-liter twin-rotor turbocharged engine with 276 horses is a dream to drive and handle. The 1:1 front and rear weight ratio is utter perfection, probably why this car is in so much demand at all times.
The low center of gravity makes it go faster than the wind, and yet Japanese owners had to pay an annual tax because of bigger than class dimensions. The RX-7 is by far one of the best JDM cars ever, no surprise then people are making a beeline for it in the US.
2Toyota Supra A80: JDM Model 1993-95
The Toyota Supra has been in existence since 1978 and was in production till 2002. It rested till 2019 and then restarted with a brand new much-awaited model. But there’s something about the 90s Supra that’s almost unstoppable. The A80 model could go 0-60mph in as little as 4.6 seconds and had a beautiful curvy body with a bold rear wing. A 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged engine jetted more than 270 horses and made the Supra one of the best things on the JDM scene. A superb car that can be tuned to amazing limits, getting an A80 JDM is a dream for many.
1Nissan Skyline GT-R: JDM Model 1995
Like the Supra, the Nissan Skyline GT-R remains another remnant from the Fast and the Furious franchise and a Paul Walker favorite as well. Produced from 1969 to 1973, the Skyline nameplate was retired for a while. It re-emerged in 1989 and stayed till 2002, post which it was upgraded to simply the Nissan GT-R in 2007. The fourth generation, R33 was launched in 1995 and stayed on till 1998. It came with two engine options, a 2.6-liter, and a 2.8-liter inline-six. Horsepower went an easy 270 plus, and like with all JDMs, the GT-R33 could be finely tuned to jet out a lot more.