If I were to write a book about the history of automobiles, a single chapter would not be enough to discuss the impact of the Japanese automobile industry on that history. To truly summarize what Japan’s car history means to the greater history of the automotive globe, I’d need a few chapters. Japan’s automotive industry has provided so much to the world of automobiles, from humble beginnings to global dominance. This lists some of the most well-known Japan Old Cars models ever produced.

These ten models are true classics in every sense of the word. More importantly, these ten models have earned the right to be dubbed classics, whether via sheer popularity or a long-term impact in the industry.

Most Important Classic Japanese Cars

Toyota Corolla GT AE86

The list of achievements for the Corolla GT AE86 is extensive. The car’s nimble handling, responsive steering, and 1.6-liter twin-cam engine are to thank for this. All of this combined to make the AE86 one of the best-driving cars on the market, as well as a favorite among racers and drifters. When it comes to drifters, none other than Keiichi Tsuchiya, aka the Drift King, drove the AE86 to become one of the finest drifters of all time.

The AE86’s greatest claim to fame, as accomplished as it is, is its starring role in Initial D, one of the most popular Manga comic series of the time. the Toyota used car from Japan,  Toyota GT AE86 is still a high ticket item among fans and collectors today. If you’re looking for a good condition AE86 today, good luck. Prepare to pay at least $30,000 for it if you do.

Toyota Land Cruiser J40

Toyota produced the J40 from 1960 to 2001, demonstrating its status as one of the best SUVs of all time. That’s more than 40 years of the same model appearing on the market without a break.

The popularity of the Land Cruiser J40 led to additional revisions, notably the FJ40 and the 2FJ40. The Land Cruiser J40 has not only endured the test of time but has also become one of the most sought-after classic SUVs on the planet.

Mazda Cosmo

When you say “Cosmo” to a group of automobile fans, many of them will immediately think of one of the most important Japanese sports cars in history.

The Cosmo’s true claim to fame is that it was one of the first automobiles to use a two-rotor ankle rotary engine in production. When the single-piston engine was first launched, it caught the industry by storm. The rotary engine was not only smaller and lighter than conventional engines of the time, but it also produced more power and had a higher-revving capacity. The Cosmo’s history will always be linked to Mazda’s Wankel rotary engine, making it one of the most important vehicles not only of its day but of all time.

Honda Civic

After achieving success in the motorbike category, Honda wanted a cheap, robust, and affordable automobile to round out its automotive offering. That’s when the Civic appeared on the scene. It wasn’t the quickest car in the world, nor was it the most luxurious ride money could buy. However, it met a number of Honda’s needs for a cost-effective vehicle.

It’s no coincidence that Honda vehicles for sale first commercially successful automobile was the Civic. Since then, it’s become one of the most recognizable automobiles in the world. It’s progressed from a low-cost subcompact to a sophisticated small vehicle featuring a slew of Honda’s newest features. That’s how far Honda and the Civic have progressed in the last 40 years.

Datsun 240Z

It emerged in 1970, at a period when domestic performance cars were virtually in flux due to safety requirements. The 240Z appeared like manna from the clouds as consumers began to look elsewhere for vehicle prowess, carrying a 2.0-liter straight-six SOHC engine that produced a hefty 130 horsepower.

It also helped that the 240Z stood out from the pack with a sultry style that evoked exotic European vehicles of the day. The 240Z was a cheap performance car that appeared considerably more upscale than it actually was, thanks to its Porsche headlamps, Jaguar body, and Aston Martin profile. The 240Z drew American vehicle purchasers like moths to a flame, and the “Fairlady” remains a big ticket item among collectors and enthusiasts to this day.


As more models become available in the United States, several old Japanese automobiles have become increasingly expensive in recent years. As demand for these masterpieces continues to rise, expect many of them to gain respect in the coming years. They get more expensive and valuable as they become more prestigious.