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Plenty of fast cars made it off the shores of Japan, but here are some that many enthusiasts never knew existed.
The Land of the Rising Sun has always stood apart when it comes to auto-making trends. Japan’s unique culture has resulted in the birth of some incredible driver-focused sports cars, while the country's work ethic resulted in some of the world's most reliable brands.
Leading the world’s electronic and automotive industries, Japan sure had a lot of money to invest in the research and development of iconic JDMcars like the Acura NSX and Nissan GT-R. However, at the same time, some pretty wonderful and out-of-the-box cars came around too, be it through homologation rules of the FIA or just companies trying to hop aboard the supercar bandwagon. In that vein, here are some of the fastest Japanese cars that probably slipped under your radar.
Yamaha unveiled this road-going beauty in the early 90s, which is when the Japanese brand chose to hop aboard the supercar trend train. At the time, Yamaha was involved in Formula One and decided to bring customers the closest thing to the Formula One experience on the streets. Thus, the OX99 car was born.
Yamaha released three prototypes for the OX99, outfitted with F1- derived engines boasting 3.5-liter capacity. With 400 horsepower being sent to the wheels, the OX99 remained capable of topping out at 200 mph. The V10 sitting under the hood of the OX99 redlined at 10,000 RPM. Sadly, the car never went into production for the market, but Yamaha loves to show off their three prototypes whenever they get the chance.
The Nissan R390 was essentially the same car as the Le Mans model, with a monstrous 3.5-liter V8 that was turbocharged, too. However, Nissan did 'de-tune' the engine to 550 horsepower, but it still remained capable of shooting down the tarmac at 200 mph. Moreover, there's no doubt that the R390's rear wing would easily have been flagged as illegal on the road. Nevertheless, it's one of the fastest cars to ever be born in Japan.
The Toyota 2000 GT is often regarded as Japan's first supercar. One of the most excellent cars to ever come out of Japan, the 2000 GT was the Japs' answer to the Jaguar E-Type, which is why it was also labeled the 'Japanese E-Type,' a comparison which is certainly unfair. The car ran on a 2.0-liter engine and topped out at 136 mph all the way back in 1967!
Just 337 units of the 2000GT were ever built, but it was enough to set the several speed records, bag a Bond movie appearance (ironic, we know), and announce Japan as a legitimate sports carmaker. To this day, the 2000GT remains the most expensive classic car in Japan, with auction sales crossing a million dollars.
One of the most iconic mid-engined sports cars ever, the first-generation NSX was not an Acura but instead came with a Honda label. It features a 3.0-liter VTEC V6 engine, and it was capable of reaching 170 mph, provided you knew exactly where and in what departments to shed weight.
The NSX churned out 270 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque, and while its 0-60 speed wasn't the fastest out there, it did manage to close out the gap in 5.7 seconds. Nevertheless, the NSX-R's design is also what contributed to making it a great Japanese classic, and with its top speed, it remains one of the fastest Japanese cars to date.
If you're trying to remember where you've seen the Tommykaira ZZ, it's probably from the popular Gran Turismo or Forza video games. Tommykaira, a Japanese tuning and manufacturing company, released its first independent production car in 1990 and titled it the ZZ. A 190-horsepower 2.0-liter Nissan four-cylinder engine powered the Tommykaira ZZ.
While that might sound like an underpowered engine with humble numbers, the ZZ managed to hit 60 mph in a mere 4.0 seconds. This, it had to credit its ludicrously low weight too. After all, this Japanese marvel only weighed 1500 lbs! Over the course of a decade, this car only sold around 200 models, before it returned with an all-new generation in 2014, this time donning an electric avatar.
Mitsuoka is primarily a Japanese coach-building company. However, they do have a knack for designing and crafting unique and unconventional cars. While they usually use Nissan and Mazda models to base their own cars off of, for the Orochi, Mitsuoka went the way of the first-generation Honda NSX platform.
The brand itself described the Orochi as a 'Fashion Super Car'. Runs for this special car were limited. Of course, the aesthetics of the car are polarizing, to say the least, but it was more than capable of reaching 155 mph on the speedometer with a 0-60 time of 6.0 seconds.
When it comes to rallying, there are legends all across the Groups. What many don't know is that a prototype Group S was going to replace the Group B, which would have dropped the homologation requirements from 200 road-going versions of the race car to merely 20 units. Not only would that have led to more insane cars, but it would also have lightened the burden on engineers' shoulders, which would again have led to said insanity.
Nevertheless, the Toyota 222D took birth with the sole objective of entering (and dominating) the prototype Group S. Based on the Toyota MR2, the rally car had an AWD powertrain, powered by a four-cylinder 2.2-liter engine, along with a ridiculous turbo strapped on. Sadly, Group B died and Group S never happened, so Toyota only built eleven prototypes of the 222, out of which only two are said to still exist.
Here's one of the most recognizable sports cars in the world that ever came out from Japan. Sure, Mitsubishi isn't the most exciting automaker out there today, but in the 2000s, the company came out with two amazing cars, the Evolution VIII FQ-400, and the Evolution VIII X FQ-400. These were both two of the fastest Japanese cars ever at the time, having received some sizable upgrades over the standard Lancer Evo VIII.
For these siblings, it wasn't just Mitsubishi up in Japan that put in the work, but Mitsubishi UK as well, signing on several automotive expert brands for power and design upgrades. They only made 100 models at launch, and the FQ-400 became the fastest car on UK roads Mitsubishi had come out with. Half a decade later, they came out with the Evo X variant of the car, which was even faster, and a lot more aggressive than its sibling, churning out 405 horsepower, hitting 175 mph on the speedometer, and hitting the 0-60 mark in just 3.4 seconds!
If it has wheels and an engine, Samarveer Singh is going to be obsessed with it. He is a budding Indian motorcycle racer, competing at the national level in his country in his very first year, chasing his dream around every corner of the racetrack. A touring enthusiast, Samarveer is forever stuck between the urge to constantly redline his bike, or save its clutch plates for longer.
8 Crazy-Fast Japanese Cars You've Never Heard Of – HotCars
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