As you might know, like Americans, Australians adore big engines and rear-wheel-drive platforms. Australia’s Ford and Holden, a GM brand, deliver such vehicles. But Australians introduced a few body styles Americans have long forgotten.
They include light pickups based on rear-wheel-drive sedans. If you remember the Chevrolet El Camino or Ford Ranchero, you will recognize the idea. In Australia, they call it the Ute. It is a popular vehicle for work and recreational purposes. However, the most interesting model Holden offers is the crazy SSV Ute. It comes with a GM 6.3-liter LS3 engine bringing 412 HP to the rear wheels. Think of it as an El Camino SS for the 21st century.
They never offered the gorgeous Isuzu 117 Coupe on the American market which is a shame. But even with its limited production, it became one of the early Japanese classics and an influential model. Back in the late ’60s, Isuzu offered passenger cars that were later abandoned in favor of trucks and pickups. The company needed a halo car to attract attention and present them in the best possible light.
So they used the existing passenger car rear-wheel-drive platform with 1.6 and later 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines. Then they went to Italy to find a fashionable suit. There, Isuzu contacted famous designer Giorgetto Giugiaro who provided them with an elegant, cool-looking coupe design.
This was the final piece of the puzzle. In 1968, the beautiful Isuzu 117 Coupe debuted. The car stayed in production until 1981 and they sold it in reasonably large numbers. Despite the fact it wasn’t particularly fast or agile, the 117 Coupe was a comfortable, fast GT perfect for relaxing cruising.
Most people know the Nissan Silvia for its widely popular S14 and S15 versions from the ’90s. They became the definitive drift cars, but the Silvia was one of Nissan’s most legendary sports cars dating back to the mid-60s. Debuting in 1964 at the Tokyo Motor Show, the Silvia CSP 311 was a big step forward for this still obscure manufacturer. The car had European looks and proportions. It was a luxurious sports coupe by the Japanese standards of the time with rear-wheel drive. It was powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 96 HP, giving it decent performance.
However, the first Silvia was an expensive car for the Japanese domestic market. They only sold 554, most of which stayed in Japan. Today, people regard it as one of the most influential early Japanese sports cars.
These were our 30 fantastic right-hand-only drive cars. They’re so impressive, in fact, that you may want to move to Australia, South Africa, Japan or even the UK just to drive one.