8 Rarest JDM Cars Ever Built

| |

Japan is a land of innovation. Japanese automobile manufacturing companies have a long and vibrant history of bringing in new technologies and innovative designs.

A misconception is there among car enthusiasts that any car made by a Japanese company is called a JDM car. However, that is not what the word means. JDM cars are built by Japanese automobile companies exclusively for the Japanese Domestic Market, hence the name.

Technological innovation has always been the first priority for Japanese car owners. Durability is not something they usually look for while buying a car. JDM cars are designed to keep up with this aspiration.

JDM cars may differ from other cars made for overseas markets in terms of style, design, and technology. They often have a more futuristic look and are faster than the other cars. They also can be more compact as Japanese car owners prefer smaller cars.

Here we have gathered a list of the 8 rarest JDM cars that were released in small numbers.

8. Subaru Impreza 22B STI

Numbers of units built: 424
Engine: 2.2 liters F4
Power: 345 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
0 to 60 mph: 4.7 seconds
Subaru Impreza 22B STI
photo source: static1.hotcarsimages.com

Subaru Impreza 22B STI was launched in 1998. The car was produced for only 5 months, and 400 units were primarily built. Subaru released the car to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the company.

It was a 2-door and 5-seat coupe fitted with a 2.2-liter F4 engine. Instead of using a regular EJ20 Engine, the car used the EJ22 engine. So, essentially the displacement was raised from 1994 cc to 2212 cc.

Within 48 hours of its launch, 399 cars were sold out, which is quite a record at a time when the internet and social media were not as pervasive. Later, Subaru built additional 24 units of this car. 16 were exported to the UK, 5 were sent to Australia, and 3 were built as prototypes.

Did you know?

The Subaru Impreza 22B STI that was supposed to be #13 did not receive any plaque. The car was later exported to the US and used as a press car.

7. Nissan Fairlady Z432R

Numbers of units built: 420 (estimated)
Engine: 2.0 L inline six-cylinder “S20”
Power: NA
0 to 60 mph: NA
Nissan Fairlady Z432R
photo source: japanesenostalgiccar.com

Fairlady Z432R was a Japan-only model released in the 1970s. The car was made for homologation purposes and weighed around 1885 lbs. Z432 refers to the engine configuration: 4 valves per cylinder, 3 Mikuni carburetors, and 2 camshafts.

The Japan-only model was fitted with a twin cam 2.0 L inline six-cylinder “S20” engine. Only around 420 units of this car were ever produced; all were painted orange.

Did you know?

Nissan Fairlady Z432R is one of the most expensive cars ever sold in an auction. In 2020, one example of Fairlady Z432R was sold for ¥88.55 million (around $804,600).  

6. Honda Civic FD2 Type R Mugen RR

Numbers of units built: 300
Engine: 2.0-litre K20A
Power: 237 horsepower @ 8000 rpm
0 to 60 mph: 5.5 seconds
Honda Civic FD2 Type R Mugen RR
photo source: www.topgear.com

Japan-exclusive Civic Type R (FD2) was launched in 2007. Previously, all JDM Civic Type R cars were designed as three-door hatchbacks. However, this one was four door Sedan.

In addition, 300 units of Honda Civic Mugen RR cars were also produced for Japan’s domestic market. It was faster and lighter than the FN2 version, made for the overseas market.

This limited-edition car was only available in Milano Red. The car’s weight was reduced by using carbon fiber bumpers and an aluminum hood. The other cool features included Recaro SP-C racing bucket seats, 18-inch Mugen seven-spoke wheels, and interior and exterior accents.

The car was available in the market from September 13, 2007.

Did you know?

The founder of Mugen Motorsports, the engine tuner and parts manufacturing company, was Hirotoshi Honda, the son of the Honda Motor Company founder. However, despite this family connection, Mugen Motorsports has never been owned by Honda Motors.

5. Mitsubishi FTO GPX

Numbers of units built: 207
Engine: 2.0-liter V6
Power: 197 horsepower @ 7300 rpm
0 to 60 mph: 7.5 seconds
Mitsubishi FTO GPX
photo source: assets.shannons.com.au

Mitsubishi Force Touring Orgincation (FTO) was launched exclusively in Japan’s domestic market in 1994. The car was awarded the Car of the Year Japan award for its sleek design and out-of-the-world performance. 

Commemorating this win, Mitshubishi launched a limited-edition GPX model of this car in April 1995. Only 207 units of this model were produced. Among them, only 20 were manual and 187 automatic.

The car was based on the FTO model, but some changes were made to make this model unique. For example, all the 207 cars were painted in unique dandelion yellow. Besides, a “94-95 Japan Car of the Year” emblem was attached to the car’s C Pillar.

The GPX model also had a rear screen wiper and a limited-slip differential.

Did you know?

Although Mitshubishi FTO was only made for Japan’s domestic market, soon after its release, the car became popular in the gray market in several countries. To deal with the situation, Mitshubishi finally decided to release the car in limited numbers in the countries such as the UK, Australia, Newzealand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and others.

4. Mazda Miata MX-5 Coupes

Numbers of units built: 179
Engine: Depends on the trim
Power: Depends on the trim
0 to 60 mph: Depends on the trim
Mazda Miata MX-5 Coupes
photo source: www.motortrend.com

Mazda’s Engineering and Technology team began to conceptualize a coupe version of their first-generation roadster in the late 90s. The car was made with a double-bubble roof and a rear window similar to the third-generation Mazda RX-7. However, the car remained a one-off concept car and never went into production.

In 2003, the company introduced the second-gen MX-5 coupe with a practical and futuristic design. Instead of having a steel roof, the car was only 22 pounds heavier than a standard roadster. 

This car was offered in four different trim levels, and only 179 units of this car were ever made.

Did you know?

In 2000, Mazda MX-5 made it to the Guinness Book of World Records for being the best-selling two-seat sports car in history, with a total sale of 531,890 units.

3. Nissan Skyline GTR (R33) 400R

Numbers of units built: 44
Engine: 2.8-liter RBX-GT2
Power: 400 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
0 to 60 mph: 4 seconds
Nissan Skyline GTR (R33) 400R
photo source: www.supercars.net

Nissan Skyline GTR (R33) NISMO 400R is one of the most sought-after JDM cars ever made. Nissan made the car in 1997 to commemorate the Japanese marque’s Le Mans racing car. It was the last year of the R33 generation.

The car was developed by Nissan Motorsports (NISMO), and the engine was supplied by REIMAX. Several modifications were made both to the engine and the chassis. It is reported that the 2.8-liter engine can produce 400 horsepower at 6,800 rpm.

The car weighs around 3,417 lbs and offers a top speed of 186 mph.

In January 2022, one example of this rare JDM car was listed for $2.2 million. This particular example was the #40 of the 44 cars ever made.

Did you know?

Initially, Nissan decided to build 100 units of Nissan Skyline GTR (R33) 400R. However, the production ended in 1998 after only 44 were made. Nissan included many expensive enhancements in the model. It is believed that probably because of this reason, they could not make the expected profit from this car and suspended production even before they reached half the target number.  

2. TRD3000GT Supra

Numbers of units built: 35
Engine: 3L Inline 6
Power: 320 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
0 to 60 mph: 4.1 seconds
TRD3000GT Supra
photo source: mag.toyota.co.uk

Toyota’s TRD3000GT is one of the rarest JDM cars ever made. Only 35 examples of this car were produced by Toyota’s performance arm Toyota Racing Development (TRD). The car was first displayed at the annual Tokyo Auto Salon aftermarket tuning show.

A few months after the launch of this car, TRD would release its BLITZ Racing Team Supra GT500 race car, the company’s official entry in the inaugural Japanese Grand Touring Championship (JGTC). TRD3000GT Supra was a road-legal version of the race car and shared many common features.

Each of the 35 cars released carried specially numbered VIN plates, and the model was reclassified as TRD 3000GT instead of Supra. The developers aimed to improve the performance by optimizing its dynamic ability rather than pushing up the power.

Did you know?

In 2019, Toyota released a resurrected version of the TRD 3000GT. The car was first exhibited at SEMA in Las Vegas that year.

1. Nissan Skyline GTR (R34) Z-Tune

Numbers of units built: 19
Engine: Water-cooling in-line cylinder DOHC
Power: 493 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
0 to 60 mph: 4 seconds
Nissan Skyline GTR (R33) 400R
photo source: mag.toyota.co.uk

Nissan Skyline GTR (R34) Z-Tune is the rarest JDM car on this list, with only 19 examples ever produced. The car was conceptualized in 2002, during the time when Nissan decided to suspend their R34 Skyline production.

The car was finally built in 2003 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of NISMO. NISMO acquired 20 used 2002 Skyline GT-R V·Spec II and upgraded them to Skyline GTR (R34) Z-Tune.

The cars were completely stripped off and rebuilt from scratch. Initially, the plan was to build 20 examples of Z-tune, but finally, only 19 were made, including two prototypes.

Did you know?

Nismo introduced an exclusive color called Z-tune Silver for this special limited-edition car. All the used purchased cars were resprayed with this color except for one, which was left in its original color of Midnight Purple III.   


Head of Content at Rarest.org


8 Rarest Bear Species in the World

8 Rarest Leopard Gecko Morphs Found in the World


Leave a Comment