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Japan is one of the greatest car makers of all time. With the use of leading technology and meticulous attention to engineering and design, Japanese companies such as Nissan, Honda, Toyota, Mazda and Subaru have been making iconic cars that inspire automakers around the world. Below is a list of the most notable iconic Japanese cars that have become instant international hits:
The Nissan Skyline was launched in 1969 and after a seemingly eternal hiatus, a new version was launched in 1973. The 1973 Skyline GTR is commonly dubbed as the best car in the world. It was a muscle car that equaled the Ford Mustang both in performance and design. The model, however, was discontinued in the late 1970s due to the fuel crisis. The 1973 Skyline featured a 2.0-liter engine and a 5-speed manual gearbox, features that were monstrous for the time.
The NSX by Honda was developed with late F1 world champion, Ayrton Senna. The model was produced from 1990 to 2005 and only 18,000 NSX were built during the production period. Although the all-new model made headlines when released in 2016, it was the first-generation model that wowed the industry with its all-aluminum monocoque body.
The Toyota Supra was developed as an upgraded version of the Toyota Celica. The Supra was built wider and longer than the Celica, and later, the Supra became a separate model from the Celica series, and was produced from 1978 till 2002. The four generations of Toyota Supra featured a six-cylinder inline engine and a code “A” chassis.
Mazda MX-5 Miata
The MX-5 Miata by Mazda was launched in 1989 and rivaled Italian roadsters like Alfa Romeo. The Miata became an instant classic and made a Guinness record as the highest-selling convertible in the world.
The WRX STI Impreza by Subaru was launched in 1992 and made an impactful impression because of its compact design and boxer engine. For rally enthusiasts and sports car fanatics alike, it’s hard to top the Subaru Impreza as an affordable all-rounder.
The 2000GT famous for its appearance in James Bond’s You Only Live Twice in 1967, was a limited production by Toyota and Yamaha—a rare collaboration between two Japanese giants. Though the 2000GT was originally a hardtop 2-seat grand tourer, the Bond models were modified to be one-off topless convertibles. Only 351 units were built during its limited production period of three years (1967 to 1970). The 2000GT was the predecessor of the Toyota Celica and Supra and stood out for its longitudinally mounted straight-six 2.0-liter engine and rear wheel drive layout.