The Japanese brands almost fully dominated the market of affordable performance models in the early â80s. And the Honda CRX is the perfect example of one of the most memorable cars from that era. They offered it from 1983 to 1991, basing the CRX on the Civic. But, Honda gave it a lower, sportier body and with only two seats.
Since it was light and nimble with had precise steering, the CRX was a true sports car, but with front-wheel drive and delivering up to 140 HP. The biggest selling points were the extremely light body, as the whole car weighed 1,800 pounds combined with a high revving four-cylinder engine. Honda never repeated the success of the CRX, but many fans remember the CRX as a blast to drive.
The Datsun 510 is an interesting car. Today, it is popular among JDM enthusiasts in America. However, this wasn’t a proper sports car since standard 510s were just regular, affordable, compact sedans or wagons. Also, they were popular choices for cash-strapped buyers in the late â60s and early â70s.
But, the small, lightweight body paired with a lively engine, independent rear suspension, and rear-wheel drive soon transformed this economy compact into a performance car similar to the BMW 2002 or Alfa Giulia Ti. The base engine was a 1.6-liter four cylinder with 96 HP.
However, with the 1.8-liter unit with twin barrel carburetors, this little car had some power and convincing performance. It was also available as a two-door coupe, which became a popular base for modifications. The 510 was one of the first successful racing cars in America as well as an SCCA champion in the capable hands of John Morton from the Brock Racing Enterprises team.
These are the top 20 everlasting Japanese sports cars every enthusiast should know about. Which one appealed the most to you? While some of these cars are still easy to find, others are quite rare or must be imported. So hopefully, you’ll be able to find the one you want at a reasonable price.