Toyota Land Cruiser: JDM Buyers Guide

April 4, 2020

The Toyota Land Cruiser first hit the market in 1951 and holds the distinction of being the longest-running Toyota vehicle. Ten years prior to its release, the Imperial Japanese Army occupying the Philippines had found an abandoned American Willys MB army reconnaissance jeep and sent it home to Toyota. The military tasked the auto manufacturer to produce something similar, but to alter a few things, mainly the appearance. However, the goal was to reverse-engineer a utility vehicle with similar capabilities as the Willys. In 1954, after some modifications, the new car was named the ‘Land Cruiser,’ as a dignified competitor to the English-made Land Rover. At the time, the SUV shared the […]

Toyota Chaser: JDM Buyers Guide

March 28, 2020

The Toyota Chaser was in production for nearly a quarter century. Production went from 1977, all the way to 2001; and it underwent a total of six generational changes. It was Toyota’s answer to the mid-size four-door sedan, and it stood the test of time for many years. Based on the Mark II platform, this car was only offered in Japan alongside its brothers, the Cresta and the Cressida. In the very begging there was a coupe version, but that was discontinued after the first generation. The Chaser was considered to be just below the Crown, both in size and luxury. The smaller size also made it more desirable to Japanese customers […]

Nissan Silvia: JDM Buyers Guide

March 28, 2020

The Silvia has become every drifter’s wet dream. Nissan really hit the nail on the head with this two-door sport coupe. This is highlighted in the long production run the Silvia had. It was in production form 1964-1968 under the Datsun name, when it abruptly stopped for a few years. It then resurfaced in 1974 as a Nissan and continued until 2002. The famed Japanese automaker must have been doing something right to have a car in production for 32 years. Like most successful sports cars, the Silvia had the front-engine, RWD formula perfected down to a tee. The beauty of this car was that Nissan used the same platform for other […]

Toyota Supra: JDM Buyers Guide

March 24, 2020

The one. The legend. The Supra. Arguably the most famous Toyota, the Supra is up there with the most iconic Japanese cars ever made. Even if you’re not a car enthusiast, you’ve surely heard of the Supra. It was in production from 1978 to 2002 and spanned across four generations. In the last few years, the famed automaker teased fans with talk of a new Supra and in May 2019, the die-hard fans were finally able to get their hands on the new, fifth generation Supra known as the J29. The J29 was and still is a highly controversial car as the purists do not feel that it is a genuine Toyota, […]

Nissan Pulsar GTI-R: JDM Buyers Guide

March 23, 2020

When thinking of hot hatches, most people don’t even include Nissan’s version. The mighty Pulsar GTI-R was only produced for four years from 1990-1994. The sole purpose of the GTI-R was to meet homologation needs so that Nissan could enter the FIA Group A rally. This little compact car had all the markings of a rally car. It was a lightweight, compact, AWD, 3-door hatchback with a turbo four-cylinder engine accompanied by a five-speed manual transmission. Cosmetic touches such as a functioning hood scoop and rear spoiler told onlookers that this car was a little more special than just a regular Pulsar. The SR20DET engine produced an astonishing 227 hp and 210 […]

Toyota Aristo: JDM Buyers Guide

March 22, 2020

With so many iconic cars to come from Toyota in the 90’s, it would be a sin if we didn’t mention the Aristo. It was the automaker’s response to the luxury four-door sedan market, and in recent years it has become a favorite amongst the VIP tuning community. Although being produced for only 14 years, it left a lasting impression on everyone. Who doesn’t want a luxurious sedan that can be had with the iconic 2JZ engine straight from the factory? With the Aristo, you get both room and performance. Sadly, Toyota never offered the Aristo in North America, but we got the next best thing, the Lexus GS. Under all the […]

Toyota Soarer: JDM Buyers Guide

March 22, 2020

We all know by now that Toyota has made several iconic cars over the years, and the Soarer is definitely one of them. It was in production for nearly a quarter century, from 1981-2005. While Toyota sold the Soarer exclusively in Japan, North America got the Lexus SC300/400 which were merely rebadged Toyota Soarer’s. Its lifespan was spread out over twenty-four years and was often called the “halo car” by the Toyota themselves. It was appropriately given this nickname because the automaker had a knack for introducing new technologies on the Soarer first before they were put into other models. As these cars are becoming available for import to the US, especially […]

Honda Beat: JDM Buyers Guide

March 22, 2020

It wouldn’t be worth mentioning kei cars without talking about the Honda Beat. The Beat was Honda’s answer to Japans love for small cars. So, what are kei cars? Well, from a far, kei cars look like a scaled down version of a regular vehicle. They come in all different body types, but by far the rear-engine, RWD, two-seater ones just like the Honda Beat are the most fun. Although not many of them have been seen in North America, Japan at one point had around 40% of the cars on the road being kei cars. The Honda Beat was produced for only a short period of time (1991-1996) and was one […]

Suzuki Cappuccino: JDM Buyers Guide

March 22, 2020

The Suzuki Cappuccino meets all the quintessential requirements of a sports car, just on a smaller scale. It is a mid-engine, RWD, two-seater sports car that has a 50/50 weight distribution. Being a kei car however, the Cappuccino had to abide by some strict rules the Japanese government had set out. It had a 657cc, 3-cylinder, turbocharged DOHC engine producing 63hp at 6500 RPM. It weighed just 725kg (1598 lbs.) thanks to the use of aluminum panels used by Suzuki. Pros and Cons Pros: Very nimble Turbocharged engine Fun to drive Can be turned into a convertible easily and quickly Can be easily tuned Cons Storage space is almost non-existent Small interior […]

Subaru Impreza: JDM Buyers Guide

March 20, 2020

The Subaru Impreza is a compact car that has been manufactured by Subaru since 1992 and is now in its fifth generation. Since its launch, the automobile has been available in both four-door sedan and five-door hatchback style Pros and Cons Pros: All-wheel-drive traction combined with high HP (STi version) Legendary rally car heritage Practical. Available as a 4 door Sedan or Wagon. Good value Parts availability due to North American version Cons Lower quality interior materials Be careful when tuning to over 400hp Common Issues The Subaru Impreza WRX and STi are some of the most reliable JDM cars you can import. Average Prices Subaru Impreza prices vary widely between the base […]

Nissan Skyline: JDM Buyers Guide

March 14, 2020

Even if you’re not a car enthusiast, you probably still recognize the Skyline name. First introduced by Prince Motor Company in 1957, the Skyline was somewhat of a prestigious model which featured a powerful engine, an elegant design, and above average performance. If you are a real car fan however, the Skyline is iconic as it gets. It represents one of Nissan’s most valuable models, and the true pinnacle of JDM engineering. It’s an iconic Japanese performance car and a true track-warrior that could rival Europe’s best sports cars of that time. Its unique design made Skyline’s one of the most sought-after cars that Japan has ever produced. For over six decades, […]

Mazda Autozam AZ-1: JDM Buyers Guide

March 14, 2020

Some of the best Japanese cars from the 90’s are passing the 25-year mark and becoming available for import into the US. One of those examples is the Autozam AZ-1 kei car. This little car is a scaled down version of a mid-engine Italian supercar. Kei cars have been a popular type of vehicle in the Japanese market for years now, and there is good reason for that. For starters, Japan is a fairly crowded country thanks to its geographical size, therefore some things are smaller, like their roads and streets for example. There are also other advantages of having a small car. One of the main ones being that kei cars […]

Mitsubishi Delica: JDM Buyers Guide

March 8, 2020

Ever since 1968, the Delica has been Mitsubishi’s answer to the van and pickup truck. Its huge success has seen models being exported all over the world. The name Delica came from the English phrase “Delivery car”. In other markets however, the Delica was offered under different names. For example, in Europe, Jamaica, and New Zeeland it was known as the “L300” (later renamed the L400), while in Australia they called it the “Express” and “Starwagon”. They kept it simple for the American market and named it the “Mitsubishi Van”. This utilitarian vehicle did come in a passenger var version as well, and that was known as the “Delica Space Gear”, which […]

Honda NSX: JDM Buyers Guide

March 8, 2020

The Honda NSX (New Sports “X as in solve for the unknown variable X”) can trace its roots back to the 1980’s Italian studios, which was tasked with designing a sports concept car. The concept car, dubbed the Honda Pininfarina Experimental (HP-X) never made it to the assembly line. Rather, it formed the basis by which the NSX was built – packing a 3.0L VTEC V6 engine, a formidable competitor to the V8-engined Ferrari, while offering the Honda reliability and a sensibly lower price-point for a supercar. The V8 engine is positioned at the rear – a fact that leaves most (new) enthusiasts looking for it in the wrong end of the […]

Toyota Mark II: JDM Buyers Guide

March 7, 2020

The Toyota Mark II, also known as the Toyota Cressida, is compact car that later became a mid-size sedan. It had nine generations with a production life spanning from 1968 to 2004. They were offered with a variety of engines, both gasoline and diesel, starting from a 1.5L and going all the way up to a 3.0L. Between 1976 and 1992, the Mark II was known as the Toyota Cressida, which spanned four generations. Up until October of 1993, all Mark II’s were produced at the Motomachi plant in Aichi, Japan. After that, Toyota moved the manufacturing of the Mark II to their Myata plant in Miyawaka, Fukoka, Japan, however, between 1992 […]

Toyota Hilux Surf: JDM Buyers Guide

February 26, 2020

Toyota Motor Corporation launched the Hilux Surf in March 1984 and discontinued in August 2009. The name Hilux is simply the two words “high” and luxury” combined. It is also known as the Toyota 4Runner, a version of the Hilux Surf sold within North America and Australia and at one point in the UK. The Hilux Surf was manufactured and sold only within Japan. The Surf and the 4Runner have some distinct differences. For example: The Surf is a right-hand drive, whereas the 4Runner is left; diesel/gasoline engines are available on the Surf, and the 4Runner only has gasoline engines; the 4Runner is still in production. Common Issues Models between 1988-1996 are […]

Subaru Sambar: JDM Buyers Guide

February 22, 2020

Does size really matter?  Yes it does!  The proof is the Subaru Sambar. Smaller really IS better with this petite “kei car” vehicle.  Available in two versions, a van and a pick-up truck, this little Subaru that could – and does – provides ample space for most needs.  Virtual Tour Models and Variations If you choose the van layout,  you will realize that despite its’ diminutive size, it can do just about anything that other minivans and SUV’s  do, plus things that minivans can’t – like go off-road.  Plus it seats more people then a Hummer H1.  If efficiency is what you seek, look no further. This mighty mite sips fuel at […]