Japan didn’t build cars in significant numbers until the 1960s, and the rest of the world generally didn’t get a chance to buy them until the 1970s. As such, most developed countries were decades ahead, but that hasn’t stopped Japan’s car manufacturers from producing some incredible machines over the years, then going on to show rivals how it’s done. There were so many more models we could have included, including multiple generations of some iconic cars. Use the comments section below to tell us what you’d like to add.
トヨタ ランドクルーザー (1951)
First seen in 1951, Toyota’s super-tough off-roader is still going strong. Usually seen in the most inhospitable of conditions, the Land Cruiser has proved to be far more reliable than any of its rivals.
トヨタ セリカ (1970)
From 1985, the Celica would be front or four-wheel drive, but early editions had power going to the rear wheels only. Stylish but extremely rust-prone, these early Celicas are very collectible, and superb to drive.
マツダ RX-7 (1978)
Mazda's previous rotary cars were unsuccessful, but the RX-7 became the world's best-selling sports car. There were three generations of RX-7, including a seriously fast twin-turbo edition.
日産 スカイライン GT-R BNR32 (1989)
The R32 was a watershed in the Skyline's evolution, with its four-wheel steering, four-wheel drive and electronic gadgets galore. The 276bhp twin-turbo straight-six provided a genuine 155 mph.
スバル インプレッサ ターボ (1994)
With its distinctive boxer beat and astonishing pace, the Impreza became an icon for good reason. It didn't just move the goalposts, it ditched them altogether. No wonder it achieved so much in the World Rally Championship.
日産 GT-R NISMO (2015)
The original GT-R of 2008 was a phenomenal machine, with its 478bhp 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6. But, when the Nismo (Nissan Motorsport) version arrived in 2015, it pushed the boundaries even further, with a 591bhp engine – enough to take the car to 196 mph.
三菱 ランサーエボリューション (1992)
When the Evo first appeared in 1992, nobody could have guessed what a phenomenon it would become. Even early Evos had four-wheel drive and a turbocharged 2-liter engine, but WRC victory wouldn't arrive until 1995. 画像は、ランエボ・ファイナルエディション
ホンダ NSX (1990)
The world's first ever all-aluminum production car, the NSX was developed with the help of Ayrton Senna. An all-new, more high-tech NSX is just hitting the road, just as the original is becoming extremely collectible.
フェアレディZ S30 - 240Z (1969)
The car that launched the Z legend, and what a car it was, with its 2.4-liter straight-six, rear-wheel drive and superb balance. Even now there’s a Z-car in the Nissan range, in the form of the 370Z.