There is without a doubt no shortage of sports cars overseas in Japan, and in-fact this market is where the sports car was born. The lineage of Mazda all the way to the unique Honda models that cannot be purchased in the U.S. market, there is an undeniable selection of sports cars that are revolutionary and fun to drive.
For whatever reason, many of these models cannot be imported into the U.S. market, and this has created much frustration for enthusiasts who want to experience what these unique cars have to offer. Notable models such as the Honda Beat and the Suzuki Cappuccino come to mind just to name a few.
Now, that's not to say that many of these cars cannot be imported at all, but it would generally take a lot of money which is sometimes more than what the car is worth. Many of these little sports cars are fun to drive and rare to the U.S. market, but overseas they are common and affordable cars which have run their course.
Still, one cannot deny the fun of driving an ultra-compact sports car that hails from another country, many of which have never been seen on U.S. roads. There is no doubt that the sports car market will continually innovate itself as more powerful and lightweight cars are introduced to the market. Japan's car market will continue to be a cornerstone of these lightweight and awesome vehicles that have created generations of fun for enthusiasts.
30 1989 Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34)
When it comes to driving automotive royalty, there is perhaps not a more converted or as well known model as the 1989 Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34). This is truly the pick of the litter when it comes to a unique sports car, and for the most part, these models are extremely hard to come by, much less import across the ocean without a serious amount of cash.
This has to lead the 1989 Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34) to be a winning combination of pure speed and one of a kind sports car that was designed specifically for the driver to indulge in. Go ahead, immerse yourself in the Skyline, we dare you!
29 1998 Subaru Impreza 22B
Wow, when we take a look at the 1998 Subaru Impreza 22B we are amazed that this car was never allowed to drive onto U.S. soil. The 1998 Subaru Impreza 22B is perhaps one of the best sports cars that you have never been able to drive, and the car is still not allowed to be imported but is one of the most powerful Impreza models to have ever roamed the earth.
From the beautiful unique blue paint job to the extreme rally inspired ground effects, everything about this car is unique and pretty darn cool.
28 1992 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
And so it was born, the 1992 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution marked the birth of one of the most well-known sports sedans to ever roam the streets. Long before the sedan was made popular in the Fast And The Furious movies, the first generation model was a popular choice for turners overseas who wanted something that was incredibly fun and fast to drive.
There is no doubt that the 1992 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution lacks any kind of excitement, and this happens to be one of the rarest models that you can get.
27 1993 Toyota Supra (Mk IV)
There is no denying what this car is, or what makes it downright awesome. The 1993 Toyota Supra (Mk IV) was the birth of a legend in many aspects, and the car just continually gets better with age.
One cannot deny that the overseas automakers have a knack for creating a one of a kind sports car that is lightweight and fun to drive, and then you go and throw a turbo on that bad boy and you have something even cooler. The 1993 Toyota Supra (Mk IV) is currently one of the highest priced sports cars from Japan on the market and it will continue to rise in price.
26 1991 Honda Beat
Okay, so you probably thought that the Honda S2000 was the company's first real attempt at a sports car, but you’d be dead wrong if you assumed this. The Honda Beat was a notable exception to most rules that make a sports car, in fact, it is one of the tiniest cars to ever be sold in Japan.
The Kei Car as its called, is one fast little roadster, and one of the few cars that you’ll have trouble trying to import into the U.S. Honda did a lot right with the Beat, and it shows in the quality of the car.
25 1984 Toyota Corolla (AE86)
Right here we have one of the best pure sports cars on the road today, and it is a Corolla? Yes, indeed the Toyota Corolla (AE86) is perhaps one of the best sports cars that have ever been designed and this is thanks in part to a lightweight design and one of the few rear wheel drive designs to have ever been utilized on a Toyota.
Yes, that's right, a rear wheel drive setup on a Corolla! The Toyota Corolla (AE86) or Sprinter as its called in most circles has an extremely loyal following and you can expect to pay a pretty penny to get your hands on one.
24 Acura NSX (the New One)
There is no doubt that the nineties were a magical time for automakers, where every company was trying to accomplish something new and innovative.
For the Acura brand, it was designing a supercar that would set them apart from the other automakers and they did just that. The original NSX was a thing of beauty that garnered quite the loyal following, and Acura surprised the automotive world when they introduced the second generation NSX to the market.
23 Acura NSX
Over across the ocean, the NSX is actually known as a Honda, and like most of the product line over there, the car features a one of a kind design and some powerful driving characteristics that have made the car legendary among enthusiasts.
The Japan-spec Acura NSX was designed for speed, and with the Type-R package you have one of the fastest supercars in the world, and if you care there is the benefit of Honda reliability as well. Nevertheless, the Japan-made spec Acura NSX is a jaw-dropping piece of ingenuity.
22 1993 Mazda RX-7 (FD)
Going down in history as one of the most legendary sports cars on the market is not an easy task, and the RX-7 managed to accomplish this by utilizing the very rare rotary engine which Mazda has perfected and designed.
The Japan-made spec Mazda RX-7 is like the crowning jewel of the brand and features most of the innovative design that has made the car sheer bliss to drive. If you are a driving enthusiast, the RX-7 will thoroughly impress with its one of a kind handling and beautiful exterior.
21 1989 Mazda MX-5 Miata
There is just something that is too sweet about a spec roadster made in Japan, and the 1989 Mazda MX-5 Miata was the quintessential roadster that you could take pretty much everywhere.
The spec model is highly sought after because it lacks all of the emissions control mumbo-jumbos that the U.S. model had. This means that the MX-5 for our friends overseas was a purebred sports car with nothing more in mind than to hit the twisty roads with ease. It should be noted that the Mazda MX-5 Miata won Automobile Magazines 1990 Car Of The Year.
20 1967 Toyota 2000GT
Long before the Supra was the talk of the town, there was another notable Toyota sports car that was on the market for being a hard runner, and that was the Toyota 2000GT.
This one of a kind sports car looks more like a muscle car than anything, and will forever go down in history as one of the most collectible cars to have ever been produced, topping a whopping $1.2 million at a recent auction according to Jalopnik! That is nearly twice as much as a modern day Ferrari will fetch, and this is just an old Toyota!
19 2010 Lexus LFA
When it comes to one of the rarest and most pure supercars on the road, the LFA is pretty much it, and everything about this beautiful car was hand-built and developed specifically for this model.
From the handcrafted V10 engine to the one of a kind styling that had never been seen on a Lexus product before, the LFA is the car that most of us dream of, but we'll probably never see or be able to purchase it. Nevertheless, one can definitely dream and there has been plenty of well-written reviews about the LFA in the automotive press.
18 1999 Honda S2000
Not too long after the Beat was released, Honda decided to try their hand at a pure sports car again and thus the S2000 was born. Although the distinct coupe was kept in production until the 2009 model year, 1999 is the rarest as this is the original car in all of its glory.
The S2000 was something special as it relied on pure driving characteristics to immerse the driver, rather than having to rely on a turbo or an ultra powerful engine. The 1999 Honda S2000 will go down in history as one of the last pure sports cars, and in the Japan-made spec, this thing is even more special.
17 Toyota Sports 800
Identified as the first Toyota sports car ever released, the Toyota Sports 800 is perhaps the rarest of the sports coupes on the planet.
If you are able to get your hands on one of these gems, you will be quite pleased with the classic driving characteristics that still make the car a breeze to drive to this day. The Toyota Sports 800 is affectionately called the “Yota-Hachi" and the car only weighs a minuscule 1,268 lbs according to a recent Jalopnik article.
16 1996 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 Spyder
We don’t think that the Mitsubishi 3000GT gets enough credit for being a turbo powered sports coupe that was in direct competition with the Toyota Supra Turbo and the Nissan 300ZX Turbo. But, even rarer than the usually 3000GT model is the Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 Spyder.
This beautiful car was produced in very small quantities and featured a retractable hardtop, which was still a new concept at the time. This is probably one of the best pure sports cars that were ever released on the market, and the price is about half of what you would pay for a reasonable Supra.
15 Acura Integra Type R
The Acura brand, in general, is known for its one of a kind demeanor and attempts to separate itself from the Honda brand. This is a little harder to do over in Japan where most Acura models are still known as Honda models, and the Honda Integra is still one of the best performance cars on the market.
Not only is the Type-R name synonymous with performance, but it also holds one of the highest values of any Acura model sans the NSX. Everything about the Type-R is cool, from the smoking yellow paint job to the high revving engine.
14 1969 Datsun 240Z
Nissan probably wouldn’t be the company that it is today if it were not for one car, and that is the 1969 Datsun 240Z. This is a sports car that basically redefined what a sports car should be, by taking a lightweight design and added a powerful V6 engine into the mix.
The 1969 Datsun 240Z Japan-made spec is one of the rarest cars around, and if you can somehow import this beauty across the ocean you will be in for an uninhibited treat and a taste of what a pure sports car should be like in every aspect.
13 1992 Autozam AZ-1
Well, this is a one of a kind model that you’ll probably never see on the road, and if you do, the ride is so tiny that you would easily miss it. Built in a joint venture between Suzuki and Mazda, the Autozam AZ-1 is a gullwing inspired sports car that takes a mid-engine design and a tiny curb weight, making it fun to drive.
This is truly a one of a kind and unique car that you’ll probably never see anywhere else in the world, and hey, if you have the pleasure of driving one, you are in for a treat.
12 1991 Suzuki Cappuccino
Another vehicle that is known around the automotive industry as a “Kei Car” is the Suzuki Cappuccino, a bite-sized roadster that was a blast to drive. You might wonder how a three-cylinder engine can do much of anything, but the Suzuki Cappuccino is so light that the ride is basically a motorcycle on three wheels. Ouch!
Try getting into this tiny roadster and you might be in for a surprise. But, the one of a kind driving characteristics make the car incredibly fun to drive and also a rewarding experience.
11 1984 Toyota MR2
Although the “Kei Cars” that roam the Japan roads are a fun to drive experience, the 1984 Toyota MR2 is still the original mid-engine sports car that really sparked the trend. With a radical design and a simplistic interior, the original MR2 is nothing to laugh at.
This lightweight sports car was designed to do something and do it well, and that is hitting the open road for a one of a kind experience like no other. The original MR2 models have held their value, and if you can find one from Japan you will be in luck.
10 2017 Honda S660
Can’t get your hands on a Honda Beat? Well, don’t fret because the company managed to create a modern fun to drive Kei Car known as the Honda S660, which features a turbocharged engine.
This lightweight hatchback is above all else a Honda, and that means that the model is both economical and fun to drive. A win-win situation huh! The Honda S660 is known for its extreme styling choice, as well as the modern safety features that mimic the much larger Honda Civic SI.
9 1961 Alpine A110
Perhaps known for its pure design and one of a kind driving characteristics, the Alpine A110 will forever go down in history as one of the best pure sports cars on the road. There was nothing over powerful or fancy about this little sports car, but it managed to create pure bliss between the road and the driver.
This is a hard thing to do these days, and many cars are lacking this level of personalization between the driver and the road. The Alpine A110 was a well-designed marvel that definitely deserves more credit than it receives, and hey, the ride is retro and cool!
8 2011 Holden Ute SS
When the Pontiac brand bit the dust, there is no doubt that the automotive community was sad, to say the least. After all, they were one of the most iconic nameplates in history that brought us cars like the GTO and the Firebird.
But, the G8 lives on overseas as the Holden Ute SS, which is one heck of an El Camino inspired truck that features a powerful Corvette infused engine. Although it is extremely difficult to import this vehicle, you simply cannot go wrong and this is one vehicle that is missing from the U.S. GM lineup right now.
7 2002 Audi RS6 Avant
Audi is a brand that never fails to disappoint, and the 2002 Audi RS6 Avant is perhaps one of the best pure sports sedans to ever touch the market. Overseas, this car is highly coveted and with good reason. Where else can you find the pinnacle of Germany-made engineering slapped into an incredibly luxurious package?
The 2002 Audi RS6 Avant is a winning combination all the way around and if you can import the car, you will be very pleased with the one of a kind driving characteristics.
6 2005 TVR Sagaris
Where do we even begin to describe this beautiful and one of a kind sports car that was only produced for one year, in fact, the TVR Sagaris is so rare that the few examples that are on the open market are selling for a pretty penny.
This is not your average drive it to the grocery store car, instead, this is a pure sports car that was designed with racing in mind. If you are looking to rip up the track up like never before, the TVR Sagaris is a car that will do it with such precision that it is amazing to witness.
5 2015 Aston Martin Lagonda Taraf
Wow, what quality we have here. Got a million bucks to throw around? Because if you do, the Aston Martin Lagonda Taraf might find a spot in your garage. This beautiful sports sedan was a very limited production car, and with a powerful V12, this is more than just a spur of the moment purchase.
The Aston Martin Lagonda Taraf is a work of automotive beauty and excellence, and there are very few cars on the road today that can match the beauty and substance of this one of a kind sedan.
4 2011 Lotus Elise
When you think of a pure sports car that looks like nothing else that is on the market, you think of the 2011 Lotus Elise - this one of a kind sports car was the definition of a pure driving machine in every aspect. T
There were very few of this one of a kind model made, and the majority of them have very low mileage on the clock which makes for a stellar piece of automotive history. The Lotus brand is a lot more exclusive than say a Ferrari, and this is because the car is renowned for its driving characteristics.
3 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Perhaps one of the newest and most highly sought after sports sedans on the market, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is a blend of pure luxury and a one of a kind design that makes the sedan stand out from just about every sports sedan on the market.
This is an entirely new car and if you have the privilege of driving one, you will be instantly taken aback by the beautifully appointed interior, and the one of a kind handling that makes this sedan literally grip the road like it was on track.
2 2003 BMW M3 CSL
Wow, talk about a piece of automotive history. The BMW M3 CSL is one of the most purpose-built vehicles to come out of a BMW factory, and what makes this car so special is the work that went into creating one of the best M3 models to date.
No expense has been spared on this ultra-rare coupe, and when you fire the car up for the first time, you will be taken back by the one of a kind driving characteristics that have made this car one of the most special models on the market to date.
1 1993 Holden Commodore VR
Another rare and unique car that you cannot find in the U.S. is the Holden Commodore VR, a performance sedan that lives up to its name in every aspect. This turbocharged V6 model was one of the last authentic Australia built vehicles on the road. The performance is legendary and has created one of a kind buying opportunity for this rare sedan.
While it indeed looks quite modest, you cannot go wrong with the kind of performance that the Holden Commodore VR is putting out, coupled with the comfortable interior as well.
Sources: Jalopnik, Car And Driver, Automobile Magazine & BMW Blog