America and Europe have had their share of top sports cars. Chevrolet Corvettes, Mustang GT 500s and Dodge Vipers are a few on the American side; and Ferraris, Porsches and BMWs are a few on the European side. However, there also have been some excellent Japanese sports cars.
What are the top five sports cars of all time out of Japan? Squidoo.com stated that Japanese cars have changed the tuning and car manufacturing business forever. The list below includes modern and well as past cars. Additionally, what you get for the "money" seems to be a big factor. See if you agree with these picks.
Let's run them down beginning with number five (a guest appearance will also be added)!
Number Five is the turbo Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. The Evo has a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine belting out 291 hp delivered through an all-wheel drive system. Not only is this Mitsubishi quick with a 0-60 mph time of just over 5 seconds, but it has excellent handling. The car has been especially successful in rally racing.
Number Four is the Honda NSX. The NSX has a sleek body and its V6 mid-engine provides 291 hp. The engine is described as an engineering marvel. The car's handling is excellent and it is highly reliable (as are just about all Japanese vehicles). The NSX is able to run with sports cars costing several tens of thousands more. There is a rumor that a new NSX is on the way. Time will tell!
Number Three is the twin-turbo Toyota Supra. This Supra has a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine. It is reported that the car's mill has a baseline output of 350 hp. However, turning up the turbo boost makes the number 500 hp. It is reported that some private owners have achieved over 1500 hp from the engine. Could the Supra's powerplant possibly be the best engine ever out of Japan?
Number Two is the twin-turbo Nissan Skyline GT-R. The Skyline GT-R has a 3.8-liter V6 engine providing 530 hp. The car's all-wheel drive system is a technological marvel. In fact, the Nissan Skyline GT-R is one of, if not possibly the best handling car to date.
Number One is the Datsun 240Z. The S30/Datsun 240Z was known in Japan as the Fairlady Z and it eventually become the Datsun 260 and 280Z. The car came on the automotive seen in the U.S. in 1969 and it was an immediate big hit. It has a 2.4-liter inline six-cylinder 150 hp engine (it was based on the Datsun 510's engine with two cylinders added). See my recent article: 68-73 Datsun 510. The engine is fed by dual carburetors and it is extremely smooth.
The 240 Z has independent suspension and front disc brakes. The transmission started out as a four-speed but in time became a five-speed.
The exterior of the Datsun 240Z is a mix between a Jaguar E-Type and a Porsche 911. Datsun reportedly purchased an E-Type and 911 to copy the best aspects of both cars. Thus, the Datsun 240Z is a good looking sports car.
During the 70s, the 240Z was highly successful in racing. John Morton had much success driving the number 46 Datsun 240Z for the BRE race team.
The 240Z represents a lot of sports car for the money. It is another car that put Datsun/Nissan on the map in the United States!
And now for the guest appearance!
I contend that the Lexus LFA (Lexus is the upper division of Toyota) is another car that should be on this list of the top five Japanese sports cars. The LFA has a 4.8-liter V10 engine that Toyota co-developed with Yamaha. The mill puts out 560 hp at 8700 rpm (the Nurburgring Track Edition delivers 570 hp). The transmission is a six-speed rear-mounted automated manual with Formula One type shifting behind the steering wheel. The brakes consist of 15.4-inch six-piston monoblock calipers at the front and 14.2-inch four-piston calipers at the rear. The FLA's 0-60 time is reported to be in 3.7 seconds and the top speed is reported to be 210 mph.
The Lexus LFA Nurburgring Edition is reported to have the fastest lap time (7:14) at the famous Nurburgring track in Germany. The Porsche 911 GT2 RS did it in 7:18. The Corvette ZR1 did it in 7.19.63 and the Dodge Viper ARC did it in 7.22.1.
So there you have it! Now to only get your hands on one!
See these top 5 (plus the guest appearance) Japanese sports cars in the slideshow!
Kyle Busch is the author of "Drive the Best for the Price: How to Buy a Used Automobile, Sport-Utility Vehicle, or Minivan and Save Money." He welcomes your comments or car questions at his auto web site: www.cartown1.com. Follow Kyle on Facebook and Twitter.