No matter how eternal they may seem, not all car nameplates can last forever. Stopping cars can happen for a variety of reasons, such as declining sales, increasing model issues, or high production costs. If the models do not live up to the required profits, brands must call to remove them from the lineup to save the bottom line.
The same goes for these iconic JDM cars. Although some of these models were very popular in the domestic market due to their speed, comfort or aesthetic characteristics, they have all been discontinued since. However, their fame has led to a large number of them being perfectly preserved by their owners. But as recent return models like the Bronco or Defender prove, it’s never too late for a second chance, and we’re convinced these ten Japanese cars deserve it more than any other.
The S2000 is one of Honda’s best roadsters between 1999 and 2009. It was a two-seater convertible with a long hood to accentuate its sporty character. The powertrain also featured a naturally aspirated 2.0 four-cylinder that developed 240 horsepower. And considering its curb weight of 2,855 lbs, that horsepower has given it an unprecedented power-to-weight ratio in its segment.
Interestingly, the car had to be stationary for the roof to operate. Even though the previous versions did not have traction control, the ride was very exciting due to the well balanced and stiff chassis.
The Mazda RX-8 represented the automaker’s peak performance, as the naturally aspirated engine replaced the turbochargers in the RX-7. The 1.3-liter rotary engine delivers a decent 210 horsepower.
Its lack of forced induction has rub some buyers the wrong way as this resulted in less power and made the RX-8 a disappointment compared to its predecessor. If Mazda brought back the RX series, they would solve the problem notorious problems with the Wankel engine or abandon that powertrain altogether for the RX series. It is also expected to comply with more stringent emissions regulations.
The 240SX doesn’t need to be showcased, being the poster car for the drift when the JDM culture started to catch on. The second generation had a 140 horsepower 2.4-liter KA24DE I4. It wasn’t the fastest car, of course, but the handling was sublime, and its modification potential made it one of the favorites of the car enthusiast community.
The interior was pretty spartan, considering it had been scrapped before tech packages took center stage. A remake would likely look like what the Toyota did with the GT 86 and include better comfort, infotainment, and safety.
Honda Intégra Type-R
The second Honda on the list had a high-revving VTEC engine that involved a 2.0-liter DOHC four-cylinder producing 220 horsepower. It was a true front wheel sports box with a limited slip differential.
The car also had significant aesthetic appeal and stunning interior accents, which offer luxury potential should it ever need to be remade. A the return of the Integra is apparently already scheduled for 2022 in China as a twin model for the Civic sedan.
Mitsubishi’s epic rally offering captivated the world from the early 1990s until two decades later. It was designed as an aggressive response to the Subaru Impreza in the WRC, although several were made as production cars. They were not only fast, but had incredible handling.
It was also the only appropriate response to the WRX. A return of the turbocharged Evo would appeal to many car enthusiasts if the automaker decided to bring it back. Even until the last generation, the model showed an ability to evolve in terms of performance, technology and comfort.
The Eclipse was produced between 1989 and 2011 as a classic sedan sports car. Its success was due to the aesthetic style and performance. The Eclipse had the GS and GSX variants with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 16-valve 4G63 engine producing 195 horsepower.
It was the same as the Evo’s engine, which shows why the Eclipse was so fast. It was underrated at the time and would probably be fast, stylish and fuel efficient today.
Considering Toyota managed to revive the Supra, they might have the same by bringing back the mid-engined MR2. It was a sporty convertible that looked like typical European sports cars from Porsche, Ferrari and Fiat.
Its low weight was complemented by a 1.8-liter VVTI engine developing 138 horsepower. The fact that it is a mid-engined car made it a lot of fun to drive due to its handling. It was also very affordable, so it would be a hit with young sports car enthusiasts.
The SVX is a sporty two-door coupe that was introduced to the market when Japanese luxury cars began to challenge the European segment. The SVX is no longer produced due to recurring transmission problems, but it was a popular sports car.
The engine was a 3.3 liter variant of the EJ22, rated at 231 horsepower. If the automaker were to bring the model back, it would likely include a hybrid setup and fix the gearbox issues. The interior and technology can also be improved.
Also known as the Mitsubishi GTO, the 3000GT was a favorite performance car of the ’90s. The engine was a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 capable of producing 300 horsepower, which is more than what most cars from. Japanese sports were producing at the time.
Despite being technologically advanced, the 3000GT was economical, meaning it would be a fan favorite if restored. The new model would have significant aesthetic potential to build on because the discontinued series was very pretty.
The Celica was also a popular JDM car of the 90s and early 2000s. It inherited rally car performance pedigree it was a strong contender after the Group B days. It was renowned for being an excellent car to drive at any speed due to its intuitive handling.
The powertrain included a supercharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine producing 187 horsepower. It wasn’t the most powerful car, but the styling and handling would be highly appreciated if it returned to production.
These Japanese classics have defined a new landscape in terms of simplicity, reliability and performance. And today, the owners sell them for peanuts.
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