I've Never understood the hype for Japanese sports cars
Someone please explain why they're so popular
It's easy to understand why people love iPhones so much; they probably started out with a 5S before progressively moving up towards whatever X or Plus variant there is now. Apples have a rather nice sense aura of simplicity and always appear to capture the same buyers over and over.
I have an android myself after going through a couple of iPhones, simply because it felt more practical to me. But I'm not the one to slag off Apple users and create a little mini tech war. Because I completely understand why people will consistently go for the latest and greatest from what is - essentially - the same thing.
What I never really understood though, was the sheer enormity of love and passion that petrolheads have towards Japanese sports cars. Or to narrow it down a bit, those from around the 90s and early 00s period which appear to be synonymous with the Fast & Furious franchise.
Perhaps one or two of the main reasons is simply because I didn't even start watching the films until fairly recently in my mid-teenage years. Far before that, I was indulged in films and TV series' which had either European or American cars in them as stars.
This included Bullitt, Vanishing Point, The Italian Job, all the Bonds, The Avengers, The Persuaders and so on. All of which never really recognised Japanese cars as hero material.
Then there's video games; I've never had a Need For Speed game and only indulged very little in Granturismo. But even there, I was always more interested in the quirky Japanese classics from the 60s and 70s rather than the later stuff.
It's a blend of factors that just didn't lead me to understanding the incredible levels of hype for these 'JDM' cars (misused term in most cases, by the way). So, it's never been an area in the car world that I've been interested in.
There have been one or two major talking points in the car community lately that have further reinforced my misunderstanding.
First of which involves money: now, I actually wrote an article before in which I explain why some older Japanese cars are fetching collector-levels of cash - which you can read here: drivetribe.com/p/making-sense-of-why-90s-japanese-YkdFeJQMRvSaBni-Lt7i2Q?iid=U2JZfQ0PSf6gDy8HMTF7Aw.
To be honest though, I didn't demonstrate any real knowledge in that piece simply because I don't have much of it.
But anyway, it's understandable how collectors are after Skyline GT-Rs, Supras etc. because a lot of that purely stems from nostalgia - and anyone understands that! But what I don't understand is that certain Japanese sports cars are still dirt cheap which were as good, if not better than the famous F&F stars.
Take the Nissan 300ZX for example: you can look on the internet right now and find a decent twin-turbo one for around £5,000 (in the UK at least), yet a Toyota Supra twin-turbo from the same era is worth at least £30,000. I know the latter was famous for being in a film, but surely, that gap is far too unjustified? Both cars were rated pretty similarly by magazines at the time they came out.
Or am I wrong? Is there something apart from the whole F&F thing that people see in the Supra over a 300ZX...? Let me know, because I've found that example, among many others, quite puzzling.
Image credit: Favcars.com
Also, I don't know if it's just me; but the going prices for mint examples of famous Japanese cars is plain silly. In relation to Integra Type-Rs on Bring-a-Trailer going for $60,000+, I would honestly ask what the buyers were thinking.
Yes, I get that it's a very analogue little hot hatch with buckets of nostalgia, but 60k? Come on. Surely, you'd think about something more interesting for that kind of money. I'd personally be shopping around for old muscle cars; you can easily pick up a tri-power GTO or an average Chevelle SS for well-under 60k in the U.S.
Image credit: Favcars.com
Another thing I've never understood is that people keep saying these types of cars are popular because of their 'tuning capabilities'.
I get that these cars have a tonne of aftermarket support - and I'm guessing that's valuable to a lot of people - but plenty of cars outside of Japan are very tuner-friendly.
You can modify bits to MGBs, Fords, Saabs, Mercs etc. All sorts from outside of Japan, yet I haven't even covered the acres of things you can do with American cars.
My point is, when people say they like a 'tuner' car, what exactly do they mean? Because plenty, if not most cars, can take modifications without breaking sweat. Most of Jaguar's engines, for instance, are arguably more versatile than the majority of those made by the Japanese. You only have to ask Lister and Tom Walkinshaw Racing, regarding the insane things they did with the V12...
Thanks for reading
To sum up then, I just don't understand why people crave these things like they do. I don't get the whole tuner thing. I don't get why so many people dream about these cars over others. I don't get why the price gaps are so colossal between some (like the Supra and 300ZX).
But to be plainly honest though, I just don't think they're my kind of thing. But I could really do with some clearing up.
If you'd like to explain why these cars are so popular, then please leave a comment. This is an open article where I'm inviting you to convince me otherwise :)
Nevertheless, I hope you enjoyed reading.