September 26, 2023
Nissan S14 - Best JDM drift car

Last Updated on August 17, 2022 by E. Lindgren

The popularity of JDM cars has grown significantly in the past two decades, and with the car market going electric a lot of people are drawn to these old-school JDM automobiles.

It comes as no surprise that Animé’s such as Initial D and movies like the Fast and Furious have had an impact on the popularity of JDM cars. And more recently, influencers such as YouTubers or streamers would also play a large part in the way certain cars are portrayed.

But in the end, the major underlying factor in how popular a car is would is its uniqueness. Every car on this list has something which makes it unique in one way or another. Whether it be amazing performance, reliability, or affordability.

Here are some of the most popular Japanese Domestic Market cars in 2022!

Subaru Impreza WRX STi

Subaru Impreza

The Subaru Impreza WRX STi has become immensely popular, especially among the older generations. Subaru saw major success with the WRX STi that they used to win the 1995 World Rally Championship, driven by no other than Colin McRae himself.

It’s safe to safe that without the major success Subaru saw rallying with the Impreza there is a high chance that the WRX STi would not be nearly as popular as it is today. But because it was one of the greatest rally cars to have ever existed people flocked to it. By driving a WRX STi you were more or less part of Subaru’s rally heritage.

And let’s not forget that the WRX STi was also a phenomenal driver’s car with its constant AWD system and high-performance boxer-four engine.

Honda Civic Type R

EK9 Civic Type R

The Honda Civic may not be everyone’s type of car, but no one can deny its manifestation within the JDM community.

The Civic Type R is just one of those cars that want to be trashed, the Point with the VTEC engine was exactly for that reason – It wanted you to trash it. You literally had to rev the living heck out of it if you wanted it to move, and the engine preferred it like that.

On top of being reliable, it was affordable as well which made it so that most people could actually afford one. And if you want to make some extensive modifications to it the aftermarket options for the Civic Type R are huge.

The Civic was also incredibly popular among Japanese tuners which also brought a lot of attention to it, such as Spoon Inc’s 11,000 RPM EK9 Type R.

Toyota AE86

Toyota Sprinter Trueno

In terms of legendary status and the amount of impact it has had on the JDM community, the AE86 probably takes the title home.

Although drifting already was quite popular in Japan during the 1970s, the AE86 helped popularize it worldwide. Not only was it the choice of car for the ‘Drift King’ himself, Keiichi Tsuchiya. It was also the choice for many Touge drifters during the 80s.

Thanks to countless drift montages of the AE86 and thanks to the release of the Animé Initial D the AE86 has undoubtedly had the most impact on any car when it comes to drifting.

Toyota Supra

Toyota Supra

“Look a Supra!” can be heard right before a dozen or so JDM fans come rushing through a crowd of people just to see this spectacle of a car.

The Toyota Supra received a lot of attention from the Fast and Furious franchise where Paul Walker drove a heavily modified version of the original Supra. It had bright colors, a powerful engine as well as an enormous spoiler – in other words, irresistible for any car-loving 90s kid.

But the Supra was more than just a movie phenomenon. It was incredibly well built with its durable 2JZ engine. Even a stock 2JZ engine can handle being tuned to 500 bhp without any hassle. So now you had a great-looking car, with a shockingly reliable engine that could handle a ton of power, what else could you really want?

Nissan Skyline GT-R

R32 Skyline GT-R

The Nissan Skyline has a long history, it was introduced in 1957 and received the GT-R in 1969 with the legendary ‘Hakosuka’ Skyline.

The Skyline GT-R has always been known for being notoriously good at racing. The Hakosuka itself won 49 consecutive races between 1969-1972. Similar results were seen with the R32 GT-R which completely demolished its competition and eventually earned the name ‘Godzilla’ by the Australian Motor Press. In fact, it was so good that the Australians banned it from racing due to its superior 4WD (ATTESA) system.

A reason for its success was the RB26DETT engine which was a twin-turbocharged 2.6L I6 that allegedly produced (320-340 hp) in stock form, although being advertised as 280hp. The RB26DETT also helped inspire Toyota to create the 2JZ engine.

Mazda RX-7

Mazda RX-7

I guess we all have some idea why the RX-7 was so popular. Let’s just say that if the RX-7 had come with a regular four-pot it may not have been on this list. But good for us, because the RX-7 came with the infamous 1.3L 13B-REW Rotary Wankel engine.

The Wankel engine is unique in the way that it doesn’t have any cylinders as in a regular engine. Instead, it has a triangular rotor that rotates in a continuous pattern to achieve combustion. The downside of this complex engineering was that it tended to be quite unreliable, expensive to fix, and not to talk about the ridiculous amount of fuel it consumed.

Although the RX-7’s engine was flawed, it still had its perks, such as the power output (280hp from a 1.3L!) and most importantly, the sound. There are great sounding JDM cars out there, we have the Supra, GT-R, Lexus LFA – but none sounds just the way a Wankel engine does. And for some reason, that small detail (and a few others, such as its stunning looks) have been a major part of its popularity.

Toyota Chaser

Toyota Chaser X100

On paper, the Chaser should have been nothing more than a mid-level luxury limousine, and at most, a grand tourer, but a few people did not agree with that.

Not only did the Chaser come available with a 5-speed manual transmission, it also came with a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) along with a fire-breathing turbocharged 1JZ engine which produced 280hp in stock form.

Add some minor upgrades such as an engine tune, and maybe an intercooler and you’ve got yourself a rubber-burning 500 hp Luxury limousine. And on top of that, it had an extraordinary long wheelbase which coincidently made it a great drift car.

And that’s kind of where the Chaser got its popularity from, at the time it was just ridiculous seeing a long, 4-door saloon being thrown around as if it were a Mazda Miata. Also, Flames.

Nissan S-Chassis

Nissan S15 Silvia

Besides the immensely popular Mazda Miata, Nissans S-Chassis is a great and affordable choice if you want a fun, and good-looking rear-wheel-drive sports car.

People were collectively drawn to the S-chassis due to its great tunability and vast abundance of aftermarket parts. They also tend to be great drift cars as most S-chassis is close to 50/50 weight distribution as well as having relatively cheap aftermarket parts.

In terms of design, the S-chassis offers a variety of different designs depending on what you prefer, the styling between the S13, S14, and S15 Silvia all differs quite significantly from each other and so almost anyone can find something they like.

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