When it comes to ridiculously-priced auction cars that get sold for millions of dollars (how about 28 million US bucks for a Ferrari, folks?) the European brands run the show. Except for the Ford GT and maybe a few other American models, The Old World has monopolized the market of the most expensive collector’s cars. You’ve got the Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Maseratis from Italy, the Bentleys, Aston Martins and Jaguars from the United Kingdom, and, of course, the Porsches, BMWs and Mercedes-Benzs from Germany. That’s just how it is, my friends – has been for as long as I can remember (and I’ve got a ridiculously good memory, let me just say that upfront :)). However, I can’t help but notice that the auction blocks are never crowded with the Asian models. Well, “crowded” is a strong word – there are practically NO Asian cars at the auctions, simply because nobody is ready to pay a top dollar for them. It’s as simple as that. Back in the ’60s and ’70, the Golden Era of super cars and sports cars the Japanese and South-Korean manufacturers were fully focused on creating routine, day-to-day vehicles for the middle-class and spent a lot of resources and manpower to make their factories and plants to work as efficient as the European ones. So, why did I name the article legendary Japanese cars that get pricier with age, exactly?
Japanese Cars – The New Auction Leaders
Didn’t I just say that they are not really popular among collectors? Well, they never used to be, but time is a wonderful thing and it can make magic happen. The thing is, we’ve got so many drop-dead gorgeous European cars that nobody even had the time to check out what was going on in the other part of the world. But now it’s all changing: the Japanese sports cars are hugely popular today – more so than ever before – and it is safe to say that it’s their prime time now. The truth is, folks were too busy with the Italian, British and German brands to see the hidden treasures on the Asian market. So, with that said, I’ve compiled a list of 5 legendary Japanese cars that get pricier with age for you to enjoy. If you, by chance, have your dad’s old Toyota 2000GT collecting dust in the garage, I would recommend spending some bucks on it and bringing it back to life, because it could make you rich in the nearest future – like million-dollar rich. Don’t believe me? Well, read the article first, my friend, and see that you’ve had a golden pony at your side this whole time…
#1 – The Mazda Cosmo
Alright, I could start the list with something a bit more exciting, like a Toyota MR2, a Honda S2000 or something else, but this one is quite the money-maker. True, it does look a bit odd and out of the picture, but this rotary-powered beast was a rare bird in the Unites States and that’s why the collectors are ready to cash in for it. So, how much do you think a 4 decades-old Mazda Cosmo could cost today? Here’s your answer: As recent as in January 2016 a 1970 model was sold for 110K, while a ’67 Cosmo 110 Sport was sold for 264K at the Pebble Beach auction 2014! It’s a gold-digger, I told you! The original model was good for 110HP (pretty mighty for the ’60s) and Mazda even picked it as the official racing car to prove that the Wankel rotary is as reliable as the other systems out there. So, 2 Cosmo cars were participating in an 84 hour-long Marathon de la Route at the Nürburgring and one of them even made it into the top 4! At the end of the day, I wouldn’t call the Cosmo a very practical or even good-looking model, but as far as legendary Japanese cars that get pricier with age go, this one proved the old rule: the longer it stays, the better it gets.
#2 – The Honda S2000
I’ve talked about this legendary sports car more than once in my posts, but it will be my pleasure to mention it here once again. It might not be the fastest, the quickest or the most powerful Japanese car out there, but when it comes to the exterior design Honda held that #1 spot with the S2000 like no other brand could. It had a unique sense of style and folks were drawn to it like candy. Production officially stopped in 2008 but the fans are still waiting on a proper comeback. The S2000 was Honda’s mighty competitor against Mazda’s Miata and put driving dynamics, perfect weight distribution and that fun factor above all. Much like any other iconic Japanese sports car, this baby hasn’t aged a bit since the debut 15 years ago (or is it 16 already?) and you can’t really call it outdated. Outrun, maybe, but never outdated. Besides, performance was only getting stronger with time. So, today it’s one of the most desired Japanese princesses on the aftermarket, especially the factory editions (as opposed to those that have been tweaked and customized). I gotta also mention the Acura NSX that used to be huge back in the day and is currently worth 70-80K, but it’s officially confirmed to make a comeback, while all the other cars in the list are not. It’s been around for 2 decades and can still get your heart pumping like crazy.
Legendary Japanese Cars That Get Pricier With Age – #3, The Toyota MR2
I know that we (the journalists, the bloggers, the auto enthusiasts) use the words legendary and iconic a lot, but there isn’t really any other way to describe something as beautiful, influential and simply awesome as the Toyota MR2. The company had only one goal with this one: create the most fun and enjoyable 2-seater on the market, with RWD (rear-wheel drive), a strong engine and those now-famous looks. The MR2 never disappoints, and it only got better with the new generations, and that’s why the price-tag on this bad-boy is only going up, never down. The very first gen was nimble, great in those corners/turns, lightweight and – again – fun on the road, which is like the Japanese protocol to creating the best sports cars the world has ever seen. The following models got bigger, stronger and more powerful but lost a bit of that agility instead. The modern-day Scion FR-S is considered to be the direct successor of the good-old MR2, the first gen; unfortunately, people still don’t show much love for it and are waiting for the real MR2 to make a comeback, which makes it one of the hottest legendary Japanese cars that get pricier with age.
#4 – The Toyota Supra Turbo
You can’t get enough of Toyota when it comes to ground-breaking sports cars from the 90s and 00s, and the Supra is probably the most iconic one to date. And get this: it was super-popular among the gearheads even before the first Fast & Furious movie hit the theaters – imagine how bigger it became after the big-screen debut! Late Paul Walker sure did look great behind the wheel of this Asian beauty, but I have to say that anybody would look cool driving a car like that. The Supra was fast, easily-customized and super gorgeous on the race-track. And even today, 10+ years later, it’s still one of the most wanted sports cars on Earth and its value has only gone up over the years. Now, the original model was pretty dope as well, but as far as the collector’s market goes, the turbocharged editions come with a higher price-tag, so, if you’re looking for a good investment, I strongly recommend going with the Toyota Supra Turbo. There aren’t many Japanese cars out there that can compete with the Supra in terms of that iconic status, and the aftermarket prices only confirm that. However, there is one more stud that’s even better…
Legendary Japanese Cars That Get Pricier With Age – #5, The Toyota 2000GT
…Yep, that’s right, the 2000GT is by far the strongest release on the Asian market when it comes to historical sports cars. And it’s only fair, because it starred in the You Only Live Once movie with James Bond himself and got international attention and love for its gorgeous looks, strong performance and that Asian charisma. The Italian champs of that time were challenged by the first truly awesome Japanese car that was equally good-looking and strong. So, with all that said, I’m not really sure why Toyota built only about 400 units – perhaps to make it super-expensive on the collector’s market? For example, back in 2013 a Toyota 2000GT was sold for 1.2 million dollars, which automatically made it the most expensive car from a Japanese manufacturer ever sold. I guess being a Bond car has it perks! Ok, that’s about it for the list of legendary Japanese cars that get pricier with age. Let’s just hope that we’ll stay as good-looking and full of life as these babies, OK?
See this video: 1998 Toyota Supra Turbo 6-spd Start Up, Exhaust, and In Depth Review