JDM manufacturers habitually discontinue some of the most iconic sports cars for various reasons. But with a stroke of luck, some forgotten gems see a rebirth and enjoy the latest auto sports technology. Some classic JDM sports cars were perfect at the time, but there’s always room for improvement.
The new Toyota Supra is one example of how good an iconic car may become even better with a modern replacement. The new Supra got a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six and a six-speed manual to be a true successor to the original. Similarly, the once-discontinued Nissan Skyline GT-R made a comeback, and enthusiasts went crazy about the new one. Here are ten other forgotten classic JDM sports cars that every gearhead would love to see a comeback from.
10/10 1981 – 1993 Isuzu Impulse RS
There’s no denying that the Isuzu Impulse was a pretty sweet ride back in the day. It was a sleek, stylish coupe that was fun to drive and had plenty of power under the hood. Unfortunately, Isuzu discontinued the Impulse in 1993, only to remain in oblivion.
Isuzu concerns itself with the big stuff, such as pick-up trucks, commercial vehicles, and even buses. But if they were to put their expertise into remaking the smaller Impulse, motorheads would love to see it.
9/10 1995 – 1999 Nissan 240 SX
The Nissan 240SX is a legend in the world of Japanese sports cars. It was one of the first truly great affordable performance cars and quickly gained a cult following. There are a few reasons why the 240SX should make a comeback.
First, the current crop of sports cars is increasingly expensive. The 240SX was always a great value that could appeal to buyers again. Second, the current generation of sports cars is bulkier and heavy. The 240SX was always a light and nimble car, which motorheads need.
8/10 1991 – 1999 Mitsubishi 3000GT/GTO
The 3000GT was Mitsubishi’s flagship vehicle during the ’90s and was one of its most technologically advanced cars. It was one of the first cars to feature all-wheel drive and active aerodynamics.
Despite its high-tech features and impressive performance, the 3000GT was not a commercial success. Of course, there are no guarantees that the 3000GT will come back. But it’s certainly possible, and it would be great to see this classic car back on the road.
7/10 1997 – 2001 Acura Integra Type R
There is no question that the Acura Integra Type R is a classic Japanese sports car with epic adoration. It was ahead of its time when it was first released and still has a lot to offer.
There is a growing movement of enthusiasts who believe that the 3000GT deserves to make a comeback. They point to the car’s impressive performance, advanced features, and unique styling as reasons it deserves a revival.
6/10 1999 – 2009 Honda S2000
The fantastic S2000 never got a replacement and is guaranteed to go down as a classic. This roadster will surely put a smile on anyone’s face thanks to its front-engined and rear-wheel drive configuration.
On board is an F20C 2.0-liter four-pot engine that makes 240 hp at 8300 rpm. Earlier versions had no traction control, but that’s where the fun began for this little Honda. Nonetheless, it had a well-balanced and stiff chassis that rewarded the driver with a brilliant drive.
5/10 1991 – 1995 Toyota MR2
The Toyota MR2 is a classic sports car with sleek lines and a compact body that defined the ’80s and ’90s JDM look. Under the hood came a rev-happy engine that loves nothing more than a driver who can push it to the limits.
Toyota discontinued the MR2 after the third-generation MR2-Spyder (W30) wasn’t a huge success. Perhaps, taking a different approach from its predecessors wasn’t a very good move, and Toyota should consider bringing the old-school MR2 back.
4/10 1995 – 1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse
The two most recent generations of the Mitsubishi Eclipse deserve to go into the “utterly disappointing JDM sports cars” category, but the Eclipse from the mid-90s wa in its prime. It got a 210 hp 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine sending power to all four wheels.
The second generation is the one to get, and Mitsubishi would do many fanatics a favor by reviving it. Since things were a bit more disappointing by the last generation, Mitsubishi should appease us by redeeming this car.
3/10 1986 – 1999 Toyota Celica GT-4
Another JDM car that finished on a disappointing note is the Celica. The Celica GT-four earned Toyota its rallying prowess. It was one the most successful rally cars in the ’90s, taking on the likes of the Ford Escort and fellow Japanese race stars, the Subaru Impreza and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.
It could use a revival and feature a powerful turbocharged 2.0 inline-four engine to be a proper Gran Turismo car.
2/10 1983 – 1989 Mitsubishi Starion
Before its demise, this underrated JDM sports car was Mitsubishi’s contender in the sports coupe segment in the ’80s. It’s one of the earliest modern turbocharged JDM cars with electronic fuel injection.
The 197 hp turbocharged 2.6-liter engine is capable of serious power and tuning on these lightweight three-door sport-backs. With an incredible power-to-weight ratio, the car could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds. If Mitsubishi were to bring it back, there is no doubt that it would be a hit among enthusiasts.
1/10 1978 – 1995 Mazda RX-7
To top off our list is a true icon of an era. The RX-7 made its US market debut in 1993 in the form of its third generation. The RX-7 became one of the best-handling cars of all time thanks to clever suspension and weight balancing.
This car was the world’s first to use a sequentially twin-turbo-charged engine. The first snail would punch more air into the engine at 1,800 rpm before the second smoothly took over at 4,000 rpm. These meticulously developed classic cars would give modern sports cars a serious run for their money.