JDM cars made their mark in movies and on American roads, and they tended to be reliable, fast, inexpensive, easy to work with, and in some cases, stylish and durable.
While they have yet to reach asking prices for Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Alfa Romeo and Bugatti, vehicles for the Japanese domestic market are finally finding their place in the auction block. The Nissan GT-R, for example, is a relative boon in terms of raw performance-price factors, as it can smoke almost anything Ferrari or Lamborghini builds.
But Japanese automakers intended to build “people’s cars” during the 1960s and 1980s, and as such, they did not qualify for the collector’s holy grail: scarcity. But all of that is changing.
The 1973 Nissan Skyline 2000GT will always be considered one of Japan’s greatest automotive achievements, but since it did not bring it to the United States, it is now considerably more valuable and sought after by collectors around the world. It is believed that Nissan only sold 197 units of this classic, and the company built the cars simply to displace the remaining engines from the car’s predecessor, the 2-liter inline-six S20.
The 1970 Nissan Fairlady Z432 was produced in just 420 units and they were all sold in Japan. There, the Fairlady is worshiped and is auctioned off in rare cases. The Fairlady Z432R was the rare racing version of the car, and only 30-50 of them exist, making it the most sought-after Nissan Z car by collectors.
A special homologation of the car was auctioned off at Tokyo’s Top Heritage Auctions and sold for over $ 800,000.
Shelby American’s 1968 Toyota 2000GT SCCA was positive proof that the 2000GT could compete on the track with the world’s most dangerous racing cars, and it essentially paved the way for future Japanese automobiles in international markets. A 1968 right-hand drive version sold for a lot of money, and it was produced in a limited series of just 351 units.
The 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring package marked the final chapter in the history of a unique car, and it was the first and only Lexus supercar. Only 50 of these fabulous machines were made, and one sold for over $ 918,000 at the 2019 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction. It came with the 4.8-liter V10 that produced 562 hp, was able to reach 202 mph and cover the 0-62 mph sprint in under 3.7 seconds.
The 1992 AAR / Toyota Eagle MkIII GTP was one of the most dominant prototypes in American motorsport history, and it was ultimately sold at auction straight out of the garage of icon Juan Manuel Fangio II. The MKIIIs won 21 of the 27 races they completed, and Fangio won the IMSA GTP Championship in 1992 and 1993 behind the wheel. The car was built by Dan Gurney’s All American Racers and presented to Fangio by Toyota after the track days were over.
A 1967 Toyota 2000GT gained widespread fame as a competitor in the global sports car market and earned its fame in the James Bond film You only live twice. Many call it Japan’s first supercar, and as such, it demands huge prices at auction. Toyota only produced 351 2000GT in 1967 and 1968, and the price of one will continue to climb as it meets all the necessary criteria: rarity, elegance and historical significance to the Toyota brand. While it was possible to find a Toyota 2000GT for less than $ 500,000 in 2019, those days are gone, never to return.
The 2017 Acura NSX is the result of Acura putting all its know-how into a contemporary recovery of the first NSX. The automakers created this carbon-trimmed masterpiece with an electric upgrade and it featured and it ran on a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 that produces 573 horsepower. The top speed of 191 mph (307 km / h) made it Acura’s fastest car to date. At a Barrett-Jackson auction in 2016, the 2017 Acura NSX – the very first model made with VIN 001 – sold for $ 1.2 million, with funds going to charity.
The 1989 Mazda 767B drove through the block at Gooding & Company on Amelia Island in 2017 and sold for $ 1.75 million. That number made it the most expensive Japanese car ever sold that was not auctioned off for charity, and also the most expensive rotary engine racing car. The model sold at Amelia, chassis 003, was one of three built for the 1989 racing season, and it made Mazda the only Japanese manufacturer to win at Le Mans in 1990.
A 2021 Lexus LC 500 Cabriolet, with VIN # 100001, sold for $ 2 million. It was the first Lexus LC 500 convertible made for 2021, and it caught the eye of a demented – and overly wealthy – collector who bought the vehicle within three minutes of hitting the block. On the bright side, the proceeds from the sale went to the Boys & Girls Club of America and the Bob Woodruff Foundation.
Another surprise is this 2020 Toyota Supra, which got an early production version of the 2020 Toyota Supra GR which was autographed by Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda, which was auctioned off at Barrett Jackson Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2019 for the exasperating sum of $ 2.1 million. Again, the car was sold for a charitable cause and all proceeds went to the American Heart Association and the Bob Woodruff Foundation. Barrett-Jackson was the first to auction VIN # 001 cars for charity 15 years ago, and since then the charity’s profits have totaled over $ 100 million.