Six Japanese performance car oddities

By topgear, 23 August 2021

Want something unmistakably JDM that's a little less obvious or less common a sight? Step this way...

1987 Daihatsu Charade GTti

1) 1987 Daihatsu Charade GTti

Dull-looking hen’s-teeth supermini has blown 3cyl of 105bhp, way before we got the Ecoboost. Little car, big fun.

1990 Nissan Sunny GTi-R

2) 1990 Nissan Sunny GTi-R

Looked puny, but had 227bhp and Skyline-type electronic 4WD. Homologation-special, great to drive, like an Integrale.

 1989 Toyota Celica GT-Four

3) 1989 Toyota Celica GT-Four

Three gens of 4WD Celica contested the WRC, with road versions to match. Stopped improving after the 1995 ban.

1990 Mitsubishi 3000GT

4) 1990 Mitsubishi 3000GT

Had it all: active aero and damping, 4WD, 4WS. Faster than rival GT-R and A80 Supra. Yet it felt oddly numb to drive.

1992 Mitsu Minica Dangan

5) 1992 Mitsu Minica Dangan

Kei-microcar madness, this had a 660cc turbo triple, five valves per cyl and 4WD. Driving? As manic as it sounds.

2000 Mitsubishi FTO

6) 2000 Mitsubishi FTO

Back when little coupes were common, even this was a rarity: had a 2.0 V6 nat-asp engine. Most were grey imports.