10 Inexpensive JDM Cars Every Gearbox Wants To Own


When Japan entered the automotive scene, the entire American and world scene was shaken. And that didn’t just happen in the auto industry. In the 1960s, when Harley was the king of the bicycle industry, Japanese companies such as Honda entered the scene and turned the market upside down.

Today, the impact of these brands is still being felt. Petrolheads buy Japanese cars by the millions, per year, with enthusiasts eagerly awaiting new releases such as the much anticipated 2022 Toyota Supra which is a living legend.

What makes these cars even more special is their price. Japan has taken the cheap yet fast world by providing some of the most affordable vehicles in the world. And these 10 are some of the most famous but inexpensive JDM cars on the market.

ten Eunos (Mazda) Cosmo



Eunos (Mazda) Cosmo
Via- Wikimedia Commons

The name Cosmo is very much associated with the rotary engine which for some time was a wonder in the automotive world. The Eunos Cosmo was Mazda’s halo car and the brand that would introduce the Japanese team to the world of rotary engines.

RELATED: Mazda Eunos Cosmo: Costs, Facts & Figures



Eunos (Mazda) Cosmo
Via-Wikimedia-Commons

The first Cosmo was a respectable machine. He managed to finish fourth in the Road Marathon, a grueling endurance race in Germany. The brand went ahead to prepare the ground for the first and only Japanese car, with a rotary engine, to win the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race.

9 1992 Nissan Cedric



1992 Nissan Cedric
Via-RB Motorization

The 1992 Nissan Cedric is a special Nissan creation. This brand has a close relationship with the Nissan Skyline, a car it shares a lot with. In a nutshell, Nissan took the Skyline and split it into two brands, one that was more polished and quieter and one that was an aggressive beast. The latter is what became the Nissan Cédric.



1992 Nissan Cedric
Via-RB Motorization

Under the hood, the Cédric is packed with performance. This 1992 Nissan sports sedan hid a 255 hp six-cylinder engine. So, while the Nissan Skyline became the first Japanese sports car, the Cédric became its cousin sports sedan.

8 Autozam AZ-1



Autozam AZ-1
Via Doug DeMuro YouTube

Suzuki was going crazy and experimental in his quest to make a Kei sports car. And in its list of crazy experiments, the company decided to go for a mid-engined tubular frame design. The company’s work was quickly taken over by Mazda before the gullwing microcar followed. Soon the Kei car would have a cult following in the United States after 25 years of hard work.



Autozam AZ-1
Via-Throttle House YouTube

Fans of the Autozam AZ-1 and a host of other Kei cars that followed included the legendary Jay Leno, as reported by Road & Track magazine. This car is so famous that one of it was auctioned for $ 19,000 recently.

7 Mazda Miata NB



Mazda Miata NB
Via-Mecum auctions

The Mazda Miata NB was introduced to the public in 1998. When it first hit the market, the car already boasted impressive handling and functionality that quickly made it a fan favorite. Plus, the Miata was a cheap car to maintain. This favored him a lot among buyers.



Mazda Miata NB
Via-Wikimedia Commons

But all was not happy with the NB. For several reviewers, the styling of the car was not that good. The retractable headlights had been removed for pedestrian safety and the car was a bit heavier. But that didn’t deter people from buying it.


6 Nissan silvia s15



Nissan silvia s15
Via-Mecum-Auctions

This Nissan Silvia is one of Japan’s most iconic nameplates. Its history dates back to the 1960s. The S15 was the mark that sealed the parchment of the history of this legendary brand, being produced as a last generation model. As such, it was the most powerful Nissan Silvia to date.

RELATED: Here’s What Makes the Nissan Silvia S15 a Drift Legend



Nissan silvia s15
Via-Wikimedia Commons

This brand was full of character thanks to its wild RWD system and tons of power produced by the engine up front. Plus, the styling was impeccable, with the Nissan Silvia S15 looking quite intimidating on the streets. This greatly increased its appeal.


5 Toyota MR2 Spyder



Toyota MR2 Spyder
Via Doug DeMuro YouTube

At one point, Toyota was tired of Porsche’s dominance in the mid-engined sports car market. The Toyota MR2 was their way of bringing competition to the door of the German company. The MR2 was therefore supposed not only to perform well but also to be competitive and sell for less.



Toyota MR2 Spyder
Via-Mecum-Auctions

So the MR2 was decent but it was the MR2 Spyder that stole the show. It brought more performance while being as efficient as the MR2. It was also lighter, which, together with the increased performance, made it faster than the previous model, the MR2.

4 1991 Toyota Will



1991 Toyota Will
Via-Edmunds

The Toyota Sera is a lightly overgrown Kei car with an interesting set of doors. The 1991 Toyota Sera is one of the most interesting brands the Japanese company has ever built. He is heavier than his seagull cousin. In addition, he shares shares with the unloved Paseo. Despite the eerie similarities, the Sera had gullwing doors that set it apart.



1991 Toyota Will
Via-JDM CAR YouTube

The gullwing doors were a sufficient indication of what Toyota wanted the Sera to be, and it’s a great alternative to the MR2. The Sera has ended up having an impressive history which makes it a cool collector car today.

3 Subaru Impreza WRX



Subaru Impreza WRX STI
Via Classic

It is arguably one of the best cars you can get from Japan. This sporty brand is a mad race with quick acceleration and ridiculous grip on the road. Most gasoline enthusiasts who have driven it love it for its character and crazy speed. The brand has performed so well that Subaru has retained the Impreza and WRX badges to this day.



2007-subaru-impreza-wrx-sti-back
Via- Wikimedia Commons

The downside to all of this is the cost of running this vehicle. Plus, he’s not a daily driver, which is what the average car buyer looks for. This is why the Subaru Impreza WRX is only reserved for gasoline enthusiasts who love pleasure and speed.


2 Toyota AE86



Front 3/4 view of the AE86 in red
Via – Mecum auctions

The Toyota Corolla AE86 isn’t particularly the kind of car that would immediately grab your attention. That’s unless you’re a reducer, a huge Initial D fan, or both. It is one of the best cars Toyota has ever produced and is highly regarded by JDM fans and, more massively, drift-loving gearboxes.

RELATED: 9 Things Everyone Forgot About the Toyota Corolla AE86



Toyota Corolla AE86
Via-Wikimedia Commons

Under the hood, this Japanese machine was fitted with a 1.6L 122bhp engine that ran at full throttle. He represented the culture and the JDM community as a whole. Today, it is a highly coveted collector’s car whose value is increasing day by day.


1 Nissan 240SX



Nissan 240SX
Via-Mecum auctions

This Nissan 240SX is another Japanese brand known for its drifting capabilities. In almost every other internet forum, this brand is talked about in terms of adrift prowess. And that’s because the guys at Nissan built this brand to do just that.



Nissan 240SX
Via-Mecum auctions

But the Nissan 240SX isn’t just about drifting. Its chassis also proved to be very pleasant for the track. Nissan was able to achieve this magical crossover of a drifter and a track weapon by borrowing some elements from the legendary 200SX and updating them for the 240SX.


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