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These are the 7 most iconic sports cars from Japan

Since the late 1960s, Japanese car brands have treated us to crazy, intelligent, exciting, unsightly, technically superior, often relatively affordable and usually very reliable sports cars. An ode to Japanese craftsmanship with these seven striking models.

Datsun 240Z (1969)

In the sixties, Japanese cars were mainly seen as shrunken imitations of American battleships. In 1969, the Datsun 240Z rigorously breaks with this image. It costs only $3500 in the US, making it much cheaper than the competition. Many Americans mainly fall for the appearance, but the performance is not wrong either. Thanks to the 150 hp six-cylinder in-line engine, the 240Z goes well over the magical 200 km/h limit. Nor should he be ashamed of his driving behaviour. The European version is less powerful with 130 hp.

Lexus LFA (2010)

Only 500 of the Lexus LFA were built, one every day. The last one left the factory on December 12, 2012. The LFA is the most exclusive and arguably the very best Japanese sports car ever built to date. This is reflected in its high price of 375,000 euros. The naturally aspirated V10 with 560 hp was specially developed for the LFA, at the factory in Motomachi where the LC now rolls off the production line. Typically Japanese: only the best engineers were allowed to work on the engine and the signature of the engineer on duty is on the engine block.


Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 (1999)

The nickname for the Nissan GT-R (Gran Turismo-Racing) says a lot about its reputation: Godzilla; a dinosaur who is awakened by nuclear experiments and mutates into a huge monster. Datsun already produced a GT-R from 1969 to 1973, but its real fame came when it, like Godzilla, came back to life in 1989. The R34 is one of the most famous editions and became even more famous thanks to its role in 2 Fast 2 Furious , with Paul Walker. After 2002 there were another five Godzilla-less years, but in 2007 the GT-R went back into production.


Honda NSX (1990)

What made the Honda NSX loose at Porsche and Ferrari. The two-person super sports car was technically and mechanically thought out. During development, Ayrton helped Senna perfect the tuning of the ingenious chassis. The Honda NSX’s V6 is famous for its great rev range. The power only peaks at 7300 rpm, with the engine delivering 274 hp. The maximum torque is also only reached at a very high speed: 284 Nm at 5400 rpm.


Toyota Supra (1978)

The Supra may have a heavy German accent today, but its predecessors are as Japanese as Mount Fuji. At its debut in 1978, this Toyota was still called Celica Supra. Its six-cylinder inline engine with 110 hp was derived from the famous 2000GT, perhaps the first Japanese supercar. Six years later, the Celica and Supra became separate models. The curtain fell in 2002, until a Supra appeared again in 2019 under the wings of BMW. Another special fact: in 1981 the Supra was the first car with a built-in navigation system.


Mazda RX-7 (1978)

The public must have been surprised when Mazda introduced the RX-7. It looked radically different from all other Mazdas and, according to critics, had a suspicious resemblance to the Porsche 924. The pointed, aerodynamic appearance of the sports car was written by Matasaburo Maeda, the father of current Mazda design boss Ikuo Maeda. The RX-7 was famous for its flip-up headlights and its Wankel engine, which had been greatly improved by the Japanese. The RX-7 sold well in the US, Japan and Europe.


Honda S2000 (1999)

With its long nose, the seats just in front of the rear axle, the rear-wheel drive and the cloth roof, the S2000 is a roadster according to a classic recipe. The Honda S2000 came on the market in 1999. Its piece de resistance is the engine. The naturally aspirated 2.0-liter block did not actually give up to 6000 rpm, but switched to a sharper camshaft profile (VTEC) above that. The result was an output of 240 hp at 8300 rpm. The crankshaft kept spinning faster and faster, until the rev limiter kicked in at 9000 rpm.

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