The Best and Cheapest JDM Cars to Modify!
Last Updated on May 27, 2022 by E. Lindgren
Finding a non-modified car can be hard, and sometimes pricey. But don’t worry! We’ve compiled some of the cheapest and best JDM cars to modify!
The art of modifying your car is not just to make it better, but to make it unique. Modifying your car allows you to sculpt it how you want it, allowing you to rub off a little bit of your personality into your car. This is something that is especially true in the JDM community as almost every car is modified. The following cars are relatively cheap, and have a large pool of different aftermarket parts available.
The Mazda MX-5 is beloved by many generations. Often referred to as the greatest sports cars of all time. The thing with the MX-5 is that it proved you could have fun without spending your life savings. At a very reasonable price, the MX-5 combined lightweight and amazing handling with a naturally aspirated RWD roadster. Sweet.
There is an abundance of aftermarket parts for the MX-5. You can basically change out the entire car, and choose from five different brands while doing it. It is a great entry-level car if you are looking to modify it. And while prices have gone up in the last few years, it is still definitely worth the price the market offers – at first glance the MX-5 might not look like much, but drive one and you’ll quickly reconsider.
Hugely popular both in the States and Europe, the 350Z is an excellent specimen for modifications. The 350Z produces an almost unforgettable noise from its naturally aspirated 3.5L VQ35DE V6 engine. The engine produces over 300hp and is available with a manual transmission.
The popularity of the 350Z comes as no surprise. Here you have an incredibly good-looking RWD Coupé or Roadster, producing over 300hp as well as creating some beautiful V6 noises – all for really cheap money. The equivalent of BMW and you’ll have to pay twice as much, with twice as many problems.
The supply of aftermarket parts for the 350Z is also very large. There is a variety of parts, and whether you’re looking to modify your 350Z for street, drifting, racing, or the drag strip you’ll find what you’re looking for.
Perhaps most known for its racing history, the Subaru Impreza is some impressive engineering. While not the most reliable, the Impreza still provides great value for money. For a few grand you can have a 4-door sedan or hatchback powered by a variety of different boxer engines. And of course, Subaru’s famous all-wheel-drive system.
On paper, the Impreza might not look like anything else than a slightly tuned-up family car. And while it can be used as a family car, most aren’t. What truly transforms this vehicle is the fact that there are a ton of aftermarket parts available. The Impreza was not winning WRC championships with a stock car, it was quite modified. And if you want to transform your Impreza, so do you.
The Subaru Impreza is for the person looking for a usable daily but that still packs some punch. A large number of aftermarket parts available will allow you to customize them to your own liking. The Impreza is still reasonably priced, so get it while you can.
The 200SX (Europe) or 240SX (U.S.) is your entry-level Nissan S-Chassis. Completely stock the 200/240SX provides nothing impressive really. The SX was available with either a 1.8L CA18DET turbocharged engine producing 166hp or the later version 2.0L SR20DE/DET. Unfortunately, the U.S. markets only received a detuned KA24E engine producing slightly over 130hp. But let’s get to the good things!
The Nissan SX is a great canvas. It might look bland and boring in the beginning, but with a little bit of love and hard work, it can truly transform the car entirely. The 200/240SX is an undeniable beautiful car and has grown to become an icon to many. What really grips people is the customization that is available. If you truly want to, you can make your SX look like nothing else. Aftermarket wheels, fenders, spoilers, or a roof rack for all I know. And if you can get your hand on an SR20 model, you got yourself a riot of a car.
The only mid-engine car on this list, the Toyota MR2 has made a name for itself, not only are they known for their great handling, they are also known for their not-so-great handling AKA snap-oversteer.
Once you get to know the car and its boundaries…then the MR2 becomes a great all-around sportscar, even as standard from the factory. Generally, the Generation Two MR2 (SW20) is often considered the better generation, and if you can get a hold of one of the turbo-versions (3S-GTE I4) you’re basically set.
The MR2 is available with a bunch of sweet aftermarket parts, whether you go for the first, second, or third generation. There is especially an abundance of racing parts as the MR2 is really popular for circuit racing (despise its bad reputation of snap-oversteer). Overall, a great candidate for modifications.
The Honda Civic is likely the most modified car on earth. They are the champion of champions when it comes to modification. Wide-bodied 90HP beater with a 5 feet spoiler? Done. Full-on race build? Done. 1000HP Sleeper? Done. You get the point, if you want to modify a car just for the point of modifying it, then the Honda Civic is your only answer. Not only can it be done extremely cheap, but you can do the most outrageous things to it, and still people will go: “well yea, I suppose it’s fine, it’s a Civic after all”.
Jokes aside, the Civic is as solid as it comes. If you’re into performance, both the Si and Type R are excellent cars. I’ve owned two EP3 Type R’s myself and I categorize them in my Top 3 best cars ever driven.