Classic Japanese cars are also known as Japanese nostalgic vehicles. Although they are not as powerful as those cars in America, these cars are iconic and it appeared on numerous movies and TV shows. Some of them are also rare and its price was almost the same as European rare classic cars.

Here are some of the classic vehicles from Japan: 

Toyota 2000 GT

1967 Toyota 200GT

This car is the first Japanese collector car. The Toyota 2000 GT helped Japan to rise in automotive industry and many critics considered this car as the Japan’s first “Super car”. Before this car’s release in 1967, all of the cars in Japan were treated as garbage because it was tiny and outdated. The Toyota 2000 GT was really a game changer since it was designed and built with high quality components. A twin cam 2.0L straight six that was developed by Yamaha was also featured in this car and it can run all the best engines of that time.

Toyota 2000 GT interior

Toyota 2000 GT engine

Unfortunately, although Toyota can capitalize on the success of their car, only 337 units of Toyota 2000 GT were produced during its 3-year production.

Mazda Cosmo 110S

Mazda Cosmo 110S

Here is another rare car that emerged in late 1960s and early 70s. This car was not as relevant as the Toyota 2000 GT but its design and built makes it valuable. During its development, Mazda was going through a transformation and they were aiming to make a car that has futuristic design and technologies. Mazda came up with the idea of mounting the Rotary Engine to their concept vehicle because back in those days, some analysts predicted that the Rotary engine was the engine of the future.

Cosmo 110S engine

The Mazda Cosmo 110S was already coming to life and its exterior designs were inspired by a 1960s turbine concept car with long hood and covered lights. Its interior was highlighted with wood rimmed steering wheel and black-and-white cloth inserts on the seats. Its well-designed dash was also admired.

Cosmo 110S interior

Similar to the Toyota 2000 GT, this Mazda Cosmo 110S was also a rare classic Japanese car. This car was only an experimental image car of Mazda, it was built in small numbers and most of them were exported to advertise Mazda outside Japan. 

Datsun 510

Datsun 510

This car was famous during its release because it was considered as a poor man’s BMW. This BMW beater was inspired by European sedans such as BMW 1600 and 2002 series. Its engine was almost a replica of Mercedes engines, their specifications was almost the same. Its transmission was available in a 4-speed manual and 3-speed automatic. The suspension was independent all the way from its struts at the front and semi-trailing arms on the rear. Amazingly, this kind of technology was often seen on European cars while Datsun is using it on their economic vehicles.

green Datsun 510

Datsun 510 was a huge success and it was sold in huge numbers during its production from 1968 to 1973.

All of those technologies from European cars were mounted on a sheet metal from Germany and England that is why this Datsun economic car is indeed a poor man’s BMW. 

Datsun 240Z

Datsun 240Z

This car is considered as one of the most successful sport coupes. The same formula from Datsun 510 was used on their 240Z and it resulted with more success. The Datsun 240z was using a six cylinder L-series engine which was paired with twin side draught Hitachi carburettors. It has 5-speed manual transmission and this configuration accelerates the 2,300lbs coupe from 0 to 100kph in just 8.8 seconds. Its handling was acceptable, it has independent suspension in all four corners, anti-roll bars but this car was using a rack and pinion steering system.

Datsun 240z engine

Datsun 240Z Interior

This car did not only win the hearts of many car enthusiasts, it also helped Datsun to ascend in automotive market. The Datsun 240Z proved to the world that Japan is also capable of producing world class vehicle and although its quality was the same with Jaguar and Porsche, its price was less-expensive compared to its European counterparts.

Toyota Celica

Toyota Celica

This car is considered as the Japanese version of Ford Mustang and it was released in 1970. While Datsun was releasing cars with European influences, Toyota decided to base their next vehicle on one of the most famous American muscle car, Ford Mustang. Since Mustang gives Ford a major boost on its sales, Toyota tried their luck with the release of their scaled down version of Mustang. Toyota Celica was available in coupe and lift back body styles. The 1970 release of Toyota Celica was only available in coupe version and the lift back body only appeared in 1973. The design of its body was heavily based to the Ford Mustang but some of its elements were scaled down and that’s what gives the Toyota Celica its own character.

But unlike Ford Mustang, the Toyota Celica was not that powerful. This car was only powered with a large 2.0L 18R overhead valve 4 cylinder engine but it could be reliable for long hours of driving. In 1975, Toyota Celica received upgrades for its power and handling.

Toyota Celica exterior

Although the standard Toyota Celica was not meant for street racing, several performance parts are available and it can be ordered in Japan. This stylish and reliable release by Toyota was affordable even if it was based on a high performance Ford Mustang.

Reference and photo credits

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