It’s hard to believe there are still cars available to by that are JDM or Japanese Domestic Market, for relatively affordable prices, but I’m going to tell you there are a few. Now before we get to into it, I get it, JDM is not for everyone as everyone has their own style. But I can tell you that JDM vehicles are car culture, and their values are on the rise. If you appreciate the automotive world, and have an opportunity to buy any of these vehicles you should for to reason: to own automotive history, and as a potential investment. Let’s get to the list!
First generation Lexus SC
In 1992 Lexus launched the SC 400 which in turn won the Motor Trend Import Car of the Year and made the Car and Driver magazines 10 best list from 1992 to 1998. But it is still available for decent prices, although good condition ones are starting to fade away. In the first generation SC 400 you are getting one of the best powertrains producing 250 horsepower and 260 pound feet of torque. There is a ton of potential with these due to the engineering and amount of space available.
Second generation Mitsubishi Montero Sport
It’s almost laughable how much these vehicles can do in comparison for the peanuts one can buy them for these days. Mitsubishi launched the second generation Montero, aka Mountain Hunter, in 1991 and ran the production until 1999. It was launched with great powertrain options featuring a V6 engine or a turbo diesel, although the V6 engine being the more favored. But the best part of these is the Super Select 4WD (SS4) which combines part-time and full-time four-wheel drive with four different options: 2H, 4H, 4HLc and 4LLc. These are very rugged vehicles that are well built and reliable. If you want 4×4, get one of these.
Nissan Silvia S13
Don’t get me wrong, the Nissan S13 platform is very popular and expensive in North America under the Nissan 240sx name. However, one can import a Nissan Silvia S13, the same car, for relatively cheap. This is basically the vehicle that started the drift scene, so the following is absolutely insane. There are a lot of options available should you decide to go down the modification route with these with an incredible aftermarket community.
If you’ve followed the Datsun craze at all you’ve seen the rise of the 240Z and 300ZX, but the 280ZX has not gained the same traction, luckily for you. With the 280ZX you are getting the old school feel, with great performance, manual transmission and true rear-wheel drive. The best part? Easily locatable in great condition for under $5,000.
90s Mazda Miata
There is a running joke that when someone asks what sports car to buy for X budget, the answer is always “Miata”. There is good reason for that, as these vehicles pack a lot of performance for very little cost. You get a vehicle weighing in at approximately 2200lbs, great handling and they are convertibles. If you want to keep costs down, shop for a 90s Mazda Miata as they are being sold on the cheap. As this was a mass produced vehicle, you can locate them on the cheap.