Five Monster Japanese Cars of the 90’s!

Nissan R34 GT-R

The Nissan GTR dynasty stretches all the way back to the late 60’s, encompassing some of the best cars to come out of Japan. The R34 GTR was a late comer to the nineties, launching in 1999 and finishing production in 2002. As one of the most iconic Japanese cars of all time, the R34 certainly has a lot to live up to, and it delivers that in spades.

With a Twin-turbocharged 2.6 L I6 engine and a 6-speed transmission, the R34 was bound to be fast. Due to Japanese car industry norms at the time, the R34 was advertised as having 276 hp but in reality it had well over 330 hp. Not only was it a power car from the factory, when tuners got their hands on these they produced some real screamers, with some reaching 1000 hp.

The R34 GT-R has become somewhat of a legend and some models are now fetching supercar territory prices. A famous example of this was a Z-Tune GT-R up for sale in Hong Kong for an eye watering $510,000.

Subaru WRX STI

While rallying might not have been so exciting in the nineties as it was in the eighties, it did give birth to some of the greatest cars ever built. One of those is the Subaru Impreza WRX STI which burst onto the scene in 1992. With technology from rallying, all-wheel drive, uprated suspension and the much loved turbocharged boxer engine, the WRX has some serious real world speed.

The Subaru Tecnica International (STI) models are the most famous and were introduced in 1994. Improvements over the standard WRX included more powerful engines, improved transmission and suspension, and that STI badge. Nineties WRX STI’s are still seen bashing around rally stages today and the magic hasn’t worn off at all.

As a testament to Subaru and the WRX namesake, the WRX STI is still being produced today and has remained a top contender in its field. Driven by greats such as Petter Solberg, Colin McRae abd Richard Burns, the Impreza badge won three manufacturers’ and three driver’s titles in rallying. Subaru eventually pulled out of the rally scene in 2008 due to the financial crisis, however you will still find plenty of them bashing around rally stages all over the world.

Toyota Supra MkIV

How could you have a best Japanese car list without the Toyota Supra. It’s one of the most iconic Japanese sports cars of all time, and for good reason. While the Supra started life in 1976, it really wasn’t until the 1990’s when Toyota perfected the recipe. Essentially a elongated Celica with a bit more width and an inline six, the Supra quickly gained a large following in the motoring world.

The Supra could unleash 320 hp and 315 lb-ft of torque from its monstrous 3.0-litre twin turbocharged inline-six engine. With that much power and a relatively low curb weight compared to its competition, the Supra was one of the fastest cars to come out of Japan in a straight line. Not only was it fast on the straights, but due to well dialed suspension, quality weight distribution and grippy tyres, the Supra could make mincemeat of most corners.

While car enthusiasts eagerly await the next iteration of the Supra badge, we can’t help but think that the Mk4 Supra will never be surpassed by another Toyota.

Mazda RX-7

Who could not love the RX-7. Whether it’s the sound as it passes by or the sound of the petrol pump, the RX-7 is probably the coolest Japanese car of the 90’s. The RX-7 had been around for a number of years, but it wasn’t until the 90’s when the Hiroshima prefecture based car company turned there flagship into a masterpiece. It showed the world that there really was a replacement for displacement, even if it still used just as much fuel.

With 276 hp coming from its 1.3-litre turbocharged rotary engine, a low weight compared to its rivals (around 1,250kg) and a supreme chassis with balanced weight distribution, the RX-7 was a world better and an all time classic. Mazda’s successor to the RX-7, the RX-8 never captured the imagination of car enthusiasts like the RX-7 did. Maybe it was its family orientated feel, as opposed to the RX-7’s supreme looks and sporty credentials.

With talk of a RX-9 at the Tokyo motor show at the end of this year, could Mazda return to the glory days of the RX-7? We’ve heard that the RX-9 could feature 400hp in a car that weighs around 1,300kg. That could make for an exciting prospect indeed.

Honda NSX

Our favourite at Garage Dreams and one of the all time greatest cars ever built. The Honda NSX (New Sportscar eXperimental) showed the world that exotic sportscars didn’t have to be just for a weekend back-country blast, but could also be everyday drivers as well. Honda created a car that shocked the world and showed us that supercars could be for the everyday man as well.

Honda’s intention with the NXS was to provide a car that could meet or exceed the performance of a V8 engined Ferrari, while offering reliability and a lower price point. This was done by fitting a 3.0L V6 VTEC engine in the middle of the car that drove the rear wheels. In doing so, Honda produced a 270 hp masterpiece that had input from the late Formula One World Champion, Aryton Senna and styling ques from a F-16 fighter jet.

Honda recently launched a new, hybrid NSX that takes over the mantle from the previous one. While it was generally well received, many were disappointed by the lofty price and its slower performance than many of its competitors. The original NSX however; trampled on many of its competitors while coming in at a reasonable price. Still, there are rumors Honda may be launching a more simplified NSX in the future, which would certainly gives us all the right vibes.

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