The Holy Grail of JDM: The Rarest Japanese Cars You’ve Never Heard Of

Japan’s rich automotive history has always fascinated enthusiasts with its array of iconic models and groundbreaking engineering. Yet, beneath the known legends lie hidden treasures, often overshadowed but equally significant. We dive deep into the world of Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) to uncover the true rarities—vehicles so unique and scarce that they remain virtually unknown to the mainstream.

Toyota 2000GT

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The Toyota 2000GT, produced from 1967 to 1970, was Japan’s first supercar and a clear challenge to European sports cars of the era. With only 351 units built, its rarity is undeniable. It boasted a 2.0-liter inline-six engine, producing around 150 hp. Its sleek design and performance gained international acclaim, especially after its appearance in the James Bond film “You Only Live Twice.”

Mazda Cosmo 110S

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The Mazda Cosmo, introduced in 1967, was the first car to house Mazda’s revolutionary rotary engine. Only 1,176 of the Series I and Series II combined were produced. With its futuristic design and the distinctive hum of its Wankel rotary, it’s a highly sought-after classic today.

Nissan Skyline GT-R (R32) V-Spec II

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While the R32 Skyline might not be rare in its base forms, the V-Spec II is. Produced in limited numbers, this variant featured improved brakes, ATTESA E-TS Pro system, and the iconic RB26DETT engine. It cemented the GT-R’s reputation as a “giant killer” in the motorsport world.

Honda S800 Racing

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The Honda S800, while known as a compact sports car, had a “Racing” version produced in 1967. Only 140 were ever made. With a 791cc engine producing around 70 hp and weighing less than 1,600 pounds, it was an agile competitor on the racing circuit.

Toyota MR2 Super Edition

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The MR2 Super Edition was a limited run of the AW11 MR2, with only 270 units made. It featured a distinctive black and gold color scheme, a naturally aspirated 4A-GE engine, and unique interior touches. (Note that the standard AW11 MR2 is pictured above).

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI Tommi Mäkinen Edition

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This edition, named after the legendary rally driver, was a tribute to Mäkinen’s four WRC championship wins with Mitsubishi. It had a unique red paint, white wheels, and special Recaro seats. Only a limited number were produced, making it a collector’s item.

Subaru Impreza 22B STi

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The 22B, produced in 1998, was Subaru’s way of celebrating its 40th anniversary and its third consecutive WRC title. Limited to just 424 units, it boasted wider fenders, a unique hood, and an upgraded 2.2-liter turbocharged engine.

Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205 WRC

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This Celica variant, limited to around 2,500 units, was produced for homologation purposes for the World Rally Championship. It had distinctive rally-inspired features like a water injection system and a unique hood with cooling ducts.

Datsun Fairlady 2000 Roadster Racing

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This variant of the Fairlady was a factory-prepared racing version, making it exceptionally rare. With its high-winding 2.0-liter U20 engine, it was a formidable opponent on the racing circuit in its time. (Note that the standard version of the Datsun Fairlady 2000 Roadster is pictured).

This article originally appeared on MyCarMakesNoise.

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Author: Dave Johnston

Dave Junior is a hands-on automotive technician with experience in performing service, diagnostics, and repairs on domestic and imported vehicles. He enjoys writing and sharing his knowledge far and wide.

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