Senin, 28 Maret 2011

Japan's Top 11 Cars?

0 komentar

March has been the worst month in generations up north. Most of the happenings fall outside the scope of a motoring publication but we can at least pay gentle homage to the country and people who have brought us so many wonderful wheels.

But which are the most wonderful-est? What are the top, say, 11, mainstream Japanese cars of all?

Mazda RX-7: Mazda said it would give up on the Wankel engine over its dead body and it was a close-run thing. The original 1979 RX-7 coupe was probably the best, with styling unlike anything else and high-spinning rotary performance to boot. Datsun 2000: Once they'd flung the Fairlady name (at least in export markets) and added a lively two-litre engine, Datsun had the best low-cost roadster in the world until the MX-5. It wasn't an MGB rip-off, either, despite what the Anglophiles say. The Fairlady 1500 prototype made its debut in 1961, six months before the "B" hit showrooms. Mazda MX-5: The classic English roadster - not as it really was but as we always wished it had been. Superb. Datsun 240Z: For a company that wound up destitute and homeless in the late 1990s - and had to be taken in by Renault - Nissan has produced a surprisingly high number of the great Japanese cars. In 1970 many claimed the 240Z was an E-Type rip-off; to today's eyes, the Zed looks thoroughly original and a decade more modern. Later Zs porked up but the years do not condemn the lithe original.

Datsun 1600: This was an attempt to build a BMW 2002 rival. To reduce the risk, they built an actual BMW 2002 (well, very nearly). Furthermore, they did it at a Datsun price. The 1600, or 510 series, was first seen in 1968, is still sought after and is still used in motor sport. Toyota Celica 4G: The first front-drive Celica, the fourth-gen of 1985, had sublime handling at a time when front-wheel-drive was considered as unsporting as a three-speed auto (a Saab or Subaru of the time told you why). The refreshingly styled newcomer also had an a jewel of a two-litre engine that thought the new, unpopular, low-octane unleaded was actually rocket fuel. Honda NSX: A Japanese Ferrari competitor, albeit from a company that missed the point about why people bought Ferraris. Most weren't going to buy a Honda, no matter how good. That was a reflection on them, not on Honda's accomplished, mid-engined, Ayrton Senna-tweaked NSX. Nissan Skyline GT-R: Love or hate Godzilla, you can't deny the power of the reptilian beast.

Toyota Corolla: The benchmark for affordable quality and consistency in every language. Obama reputedly said of the US's Big Three: "Why can't they make a Corolla?" Quite.

Subaru Impreza WRX: Largely responsible for convincing young Australians that V8 engines were, you know, like, so yesterday. The Lancer Evo is almost as impressive. Toyota 2000GT: Mainstream? Well, it was the best-known Japanese car in the world in 1967, courtesy of a star turn in the Bond film You Only Live Twice (the convertible version was produced just for the film).

The 2000GT was really a Japanese industry group effort that ended up wearing Toyota badges. A beautiful and capable one at that. Imagine China today suddenly coming up with a credible 911 competitor. The 2000GT was that much of a shock.

See! If you count the Evo, slipped in here with the WRX, Japan has produced such an abundance that even its Top 11 has 12 cars in it.

That's without mentioning all the ones you've been shouting out, like those great versions of the Honda Civic or perhaps the first Lexus. Or any of the many ultra-quirky fun machines. Get well soon, Japan.

Source :

Leave a Reply