Japanese GTs

スポーツカー 'Supōtsukā' or "sportscar"

Entering in the automotive production in the 1920s, following the Meiji era, the archipelago developed an industry both aggressive and efficient able in the 1970-80s to compete with old Europe, opening factories and imposing products loved by the public, managing to capture more than half of the American auto industry after the 1970s petrol crisis. Giant brands inherited from old samurai or daimyo families like Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Subaru, Mazda, and their marketing extensions "sport-luxury" which are Lexus, Infinity, Eunos, Acura still largely dominated the market, through a large offer and a very dynamic tuning sphere. Apparently there is little room for artisans. The Nissan Skyline, heavy but promising, as well as the Subaru Impreza and its forever opponent, the Toyota Lancer, delights tuners that cultivates a very specific culture that inspired both the gran turismo game series and fast and furious movies.

These large industrial and diversified groups (steel industry, shipbuilding, electronics, engines)started producing sportcars in the 1960s for the local market and avoid importations. Some reached fame like the iconic "Z", the Mazda coupés with their rotary engines, the NSX, Supra, 300ZX, wolf in sheep skins like the Skyline, Lancer and Impreza...

In terms of luxury, a niche was occupied by brands within their range of venerable statutory vehicles, more to the taste of the Yakusas than the Californian Jet-Set. But to reinforce their offensive, these brands has created "Luxury" labels, able to seduce a new fringe of customers cold towards famous names not associated with sport-luxury. Toyota suffered from the popularity of its all-terrain pickups and Corolla sedan created Lexus. Infinity was created by Honda, Acura by Nissan, and Eunos by Mazda, all trying to penetrate a saturated US and European Market. Despite for some the same options and finish quality at a lower cost than Euro equivalent, sales remain lower than their counterparts bearing a more flattering and older image rooted in collective memory, like Mercedes or BMW.

In terms of innovation, let's cite all-wheel drive for Subaru, whose successes in Rally have taken it out of anonymity (as Audi) on the world sphere, VTEC engines for Honda, still a renowned motorcycle manufacturer, the "unbreakable" Toyota, popularized all over the world, or high-tech for Mitsubishi, and of course the unique rotary engine, Mazda's specialty.

In sporting terms, Japan does not possess a big specialist. Sportscars models are integrated in a range, like in USA. Each firm addresses specific segments, sportscars, coupés, spiders, roadsters, and reveals yearly yummy concept-cars. Let's cite the Mazda RX, Nissan Skyline, Honda NSX, Mitsubishi GTO, Subaru SVX, and Toyota Supra. But there are few loners in this game, depicted here. Read Also: http://uk.complex.com/sports/2011/01/the-50-greatest-japanese-sports-cars/
Datsun 240Z
Datsun 240Z. The famous "Z" was arguably the most iconic Japanese sportscar ever, to the point the letter is associated with sportcars in japan.
The Acura NSX is perhaps one of the best known modern Japanese sportscars

Japanese Sportcars


Honda/Acura Mazda Mitsubishi nissan/Infinity Subaru Toyota/Lexus



Honda History and sportscars

The firm founded by Soichiro Honda, a great motorcycle specialist, signed in 1962 the small S600 with very nervous behavior. More recently, this large generalist manufacturer admitted a certain number of coupes and vehicles with a more or less sporting tendency to its range, its most interesting current representatives being undoubtedly the NSX and the S2000.

Honda, of Hamamatsu, will only start producing 4-wheelers after establishing itself as the world leader in motorcycles. It is therefore on the basis of this industrial experience that the first cars badged with the famous H left the factory, in this case equipped with barely adapted motorcycle engines. In fact, officially, it is in 1962 that the S500, equipped with a twin-cylinder of 500cc, equipped with an overhead camshaft and rear transmission by chain, is presented at the Tokyo Motor Show. This pretty lively little car is exclusively intended for the Japanese market. The average size of the natives was also at the time much lower than European and American standards.

However, the idea of ​​exporting this type of vehicle gained ground and led to the design of the S600, more powerful but also light and technically unique. This time, we are dealing with a 4-cylinder 2 ACT. The roadster version will be a great success because of its liveliness and its reduced purchase price. The coupe version will become a little queen of rallies. The very high engine torque immediately characterizes these models. Quite logically, the S800 succeeded him in 1966, and with a very small displacement achieves genuinely sporting performance. This does not prevent it from putting on sale small city saloons, the 360 ​​and 600cm3 in 1966 and 1967. The 1300 single-cylinder sedan was a curiosity in 1969. Finally the year 1973 will see the appearance of the fetish sedan of the brand, the Civic. It was followed in 1975 by the Accord notchback sedan, also a future bestseller. Honda began to gain importance and completed its range with the Ballade in 1980.

From then on, the production of 4 wheels began to overshadow that of two-wheelers. With this original spirit resulting from initial choices and an approach of constant technological research with a new eye, Honda began to expand its automotive range while maintaining its domination of the motorcycle market, and approached motorsport with the prestige of the formula 1. It thus won two world championships during the 80s. In 1985, it launched its new small city car, "midget" category, the Today, and a new version of its City, range below the Civic. The latter will multiply the variations (notchback, minivan, coupe, convertible).

The new sports car of 1980, which will succeed the S800, will be the small CR-X. It will be available in a targa convertible a few years after its last version in 1987. As for the Honda Accord, which took its final size in 1985, it was accompanied by a hunting coupe version, the aerodeck. These cars were still very well profiled, taking advantage of the voluntary nature of its mechanics. But the brand's prestigious coupe arrived in 1987. It was the Prelude, which inaugurated four-wheel steering, a world exclusive for a production model.

In its attempt to consolidate its access to the European market and to break into the American market fond of large cars, Honda launched participations with BMC then Rover, developing in 1986 the prestige sedan Legend, a clone of the Rover 800, and above all setting up the Acura label, which would first distribute the Legend, then models even more in tune with continental demand, such as the exclusivity of the coupé accord, then the Legend coupé. Quickly, the other models of the range were added to this American branch, with a success that has never been denied until today.

The range tightened in the 90s with the Logo, the Civic, which gave birth to very interesting versions that will be the Type R and notchback coupe. For fans, the 1991 civic remains the most "sporty" in appearance, with a low and wide line, almost of a sports coupe in 3-door version. The type R of the 1996 generation will undoubtedly be the fastest. The Accord type R that will follow will also be stamped without a shadow of a doubt sporty sedan. The concerto, a clone of the Rover 200, however, will not stand out. But the best of the firm, its rolling display case, would see the light of day at the Chicago show in 1989, immediately available under the Acura label. This berlinetta, the NSX, had a fluid and clean line and a modest displacement engine in the rear central position, and sporting arguments propelling it to the rank of the best GTs on the planet.

It will remain the only authentic sports car of the mark until now, in 2002, date of its very light restyling. The Integra, Prelude, CRX coupes, and Civic and Accord type R sports sedans make up its sports offering and the Accord and Legend coupes its more American offering of bourgeois coupes. Until now, the character of its engines has never wavered and has found a consecration with the savage S2000 roadster, the brand's latest sports car and possible heir to the S800.

Models, done and to come:

Honda S800 (1966)

You could hardly be Western to get into this "Jockey" format car

2-seater coupe.
Front transverse engine - rear transmission.
4 cylinders in line, 8 valves 0.8 Liters, 2 ACT, 4 double barrel carburettors 70 hp DIN @ 8000RPM.
0-100 Km / h: sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 165 Km / h.
716 Kgs.
Length: mm; Width: mm; Height: mm; Wheelbase: 2000 mm

These sports seconds of the brand, after the S600, were always based entirely on motorcycle mechanics, which explains their chain transmission and their incredible engine speed. They did wonders in rallying.

Honda CRX (1992)

The CRX flatters the looks rather than the feel

Berlinette targa 2 places.
Front transversal engine - front transmission.
4 cylinders in line, 16 valves 1.6 Liters, 2 ACT, 160 hp DIN @ 7500RPM. and 153 N / M @ 7000 RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 8.8 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 211 Km / h.
1160 Kgs.
Length: 3980 mm Width: 1690 mm Height: 1260 mm Wheelbase: 2370 mm
In progress.
172 00 Frs.

This model cannot be easily stored. The seats are surmounted not by a real roof but by an arch which makes it a kind of convertible. For the rest, the sportiness of the CRX is a matter of taste. Although very progressive, the VTEC engine with high torque is relatively handicapped by the dimensions of the car. A relief would not have been useless.

Honda NSX (1989)

The only authentic sports car of the brand with the current S200, the slender NSX benefits from the very "motorcycle" character of its engines.

Berlinette 2 places.
Rear central transverse motor - rear transmission.
6 cylinders in V, 24 valves 3 Liters, 2 ACT, 280 hp DIN @ 7300RPM. and 284N / M @ 5400T / min.
0-100 Km / h: 5.9 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 270 Km / h.
1420 Kgs.
Length: 4410 mm; Width: 1810 mm; Height: 1180 mm; Wheelbase: 2530 mm
630,000 frs;

Sports par excellence of the brand, the NSX appeared as a concept car in Tokyo in 1988 as a showcase of the technologies used and the know-how of Honda engineers. It could have remained only an exercise in style, but to make profitable its weak sales, it was sold at a price which can only be compared to Porsches and Maserati. If it has never succeeded in truly breaking through in Europe, it is very popular in the USA under the Acura label, which has little regard for its pedigree, where it competes for first place with the Corvette, without however having the cavalry. The performance of Honda engines remains Proverbial. This NSX was slightly restyled in 2002, with, among other things, encapsulated, and no longer removable, xenon headlights. 15 years already.

Honda Accord coupé (1998)

This large and heavy coupe ultimately has relatively little elegance, even if its proportions are harmonious. 4-seater coupe.

Front longitudinal engine - front transmission.
6 cylinders in V, 24 valves 3 Liters, 2 ACT, 200 hp DIN @ 550T / min. and 265 N / M 4800T / min.
0-100 Km / h: 8.5 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 225 Km / h.
1465 Kgs.
Length: 4770 mm; Width: 1790 mm; Height: 1410 mm; Wheelbase: 2670 mm

With a plethora of standard equipment and a fairly wise engine, the heavy Accord coupe was designed for American highways, designed by an American studio.

Honda Prelude (1996)

This coupe, which was in its fourth generation, features half-stretched, half-supple lines that have aged well. His Cx was record.

2 + 2-seater coupe.
Front transverse engine - rear transmission.
4 cylinders in line, 16 valves 2.2 Liters, 1 ACT, 200 hp DIN @ 5300RPM. and 180N / M @ 5000T / min.
0-100 Km / h: 8.2 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 220 Km / h.
1267 Kgs.
Length: 4555 mm; Width: 1750 mm; Height: 1320 mm; Wheelbase: 2590 mm

Far from being a racing beast, the coupe presented in 1991 was reminiscent of the front end of the Civic. . If it had a little vindictive 2 liters of 134cv, it was entitled to a more exciting 2.2L of 200cv in Europe, Then relifted in 1996, its grille gaining square optics more trendy "Edge design", it was equipped with more voluntary engines, in particular the type S of 220hp initially available in Japan only.

Honda Integra Type R

The R-type integra was still sold in this white livery with a red interior.

2 + 2-seater coupe.
Front transversal engine - front transmission.
4 cylinders in line, 16 valves 1.8 Liters, 2 ACT, 190 hp DIN @ 7900RPM. and 178N / M @ 7300T / min.
0-100 Km / h: 6.7 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 233 Km / h.
1125 Kgs.
Length: 4400 mm; Width: 1700 mm; Height: 1320 mm; Wheelbase: 2570 mm
163,000 Frs.

They say that the Japanese are efficient: To put it mildly. For those looking for a relatively inexpensive, authentic sports car, the 3rd generation Integra was made for them. With an engine output of 105hp / liter, worthy of a Ferrari 360 Modena, this completely habitable coupe, equipped with small wheels (a recurring criticism for this model), was quickly declined for export as on the market. interior in "R" version. Marketed in Europe from 1996, the Integra R was available only in white, with Recaro seats, a Momo steering wheel, perforated aluminum pedals, and all treated in red leather, without a car radio, because it was said that the 'we would prefer the lyrical flights of its small 4-Cylinders very voluntary (and present in the cockpit) in the towers. Its sharp style and large spoiler were part of this resolutely sporty style, but with wheels of this size, the slender body took on heaviness. The first version counted on 162hp, which went from 1998 to 190. The Integra R disappeared from dealerships in 2000, the new Integra R, much meaner with 220hp, is unfortunately not imported. Many, including yours truly who knows the uniqueness of these unbridled Japanese people for having tried many, are sorry.

Honda Accord type R (1993)

Still a berlina, but with a punch

Sports sedan 4/5 seats.
Front transversal engine - front transmission.
4 cylinders in line, 16 valves 2.2 Liters, 2 ACT, 212 hp DIN @ 7200RPM. and 215N / M @ 6700T / min.
0-100 Km / h: 6.9 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 228 Km / h.
1460 Kgs.
Length: 4600 mm; Width: 1750 mm; Height: 1400 mm; Wheelbase: 2670 mm
€ 30,500

The wise and consensual Honda Accord is found here in turn in sporty execution, not yet at the level of the furious Germans, but in approach. Its performance is remarkable when it comes to the weight / power ratio, obtained with a simple 4-cylinder. For Honda, "Type R" rhymes with "high performance". This also combines with a certain "tuning" spirit, not to everyone's taste.

Honda S2000

This sober and sophisticated roadster has one of the most beautiful temperaments on the market

2-seater roadster.
Front transverse engine - rear transmission.
4 cylinders in line, 16 valves 2 Liters, 2 ACT, 240 hp DIN @ 8300RPM. and 208N / M @ 7500T / min.
0-100 Km / h: 6.2 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 240 Km / h.
1260 Kgs.
Length: 4140 mm; Width: 1750 mm; Height: 1290 mm; Wheelbase: 2400 mm
€ 38,500

Small wonder of VTEC technology dear to in-house engineers, the S2000, a beautiful toy for adults, has one of the most efficient 4-cylinders in the world, especially if we refer to its simply maddening engine speed. In fact, the revs make it a pure pleasure car.

Honda Civic Type R 2002

This new Civic can legitimately make you think of a very aggressive minivan.

4-seater sports saloon.
Front transverse engine - rear transmission.
4 cylinders in line, 16 valves 2 Liters, 2 ACT, 200 hp DIN @ 7400RPM. and 196 N / M @ 5900RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 6.8 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 235 Km / h.
1204 Kgs.
Length: 4140 mm; Width: 1710 mm; Height: 1440 mm; Wheelbase: 2570 mm
€ 24,000

The Civic is the brand's traditional bestseller, as opposed to the Toyota Corolla. Launched in 1972, it has gone through six generations, some of which will mark the public (especially young) by their very dynamic performances and their low height in the 3-door version as well as their excellent profiling, making them almost like coupes. Very popular used, they were declined in version R from the sixth generation. The seventh to date was released in 2002, with two major changes in order to seduce a European clientele still very fond of this model, and to the disappointment of many traditional Civic "Fans": The irruption of diesel engines in its range and a restyling giving pride of place to the generous habitability (1.50 meters high), to the detriment of the "coupé" spirit of the previous three-doors. Because the Civic was a basis for many variations, including the notchback sedan and the Targa CRX coupe. This new generation, although of dynamic and refined design, is therefore much "heavier" than the old one, trendy MPV. The 3-door is slightly lower, but above all will be available in three engines, the 90 and 110 hp petrol and the 1.7L CTDI of 100 hp. The R version, recognizable by its mention on the sill, the latter specifically profiled, with the lowered body, its generous front and rear shield and its spoiler, as well as its 18-inch rims, should not disappoint, with a 4- 2-liter cylinders pushed to 200 hp, always at very high engine speed (7400 rpm), giving it excellent sporting performance that does not usurp its title, especially for its very low price. It only remains to wish a replacement for the CRX on this basis

Mazda History and sportscars

Originally Toyo Cork Kogyo Co. of Hiroshima, "Mazda" was founded under this name in 1920 and did not start producing vehicles until the early 1930s, notably small light commercial vehicles, in fact motorcycles on a three chassis. -wheels grafted with a rear bucket ... It was only in 1960 that the first car stamped "Mazda" was presented. It was the R360 coupe, somewhat in the same vein as the tiny Honda S600, but presented in the form of a coupe with barely "sporty" tendency. It was a small car, and the word is weak. (2.98 m long by 1.29 m high and wide and ... 1.76 m wheelbase, all of course weighing only 380 Kgs and propelled by a V-twin developing 16hp at 5300 rpm. Its speed of peak peaked at 89 km / h ...)

From then on, the first series followed one another at a good pace. There will be the R600 in 1962, the R800 in 1964, the R1000 in 1965 and the R1500 in 1966. But all these fairly conventional cars will soon be eclipsed by what will make the originality, the reputation and the taking of Mazda risk: The Wankel rotary engine, for which it acquired the patent in 1961. Dr. Félix Wankel, born in Geisingen in 1902, developed his skills as a brilliant engineer in the 1930s and embarked on technological research . From idea to design, its first rotary engine saw the light of day in 1945. Although rejected by most of the major German brands of the time, the rotary engine saw the light of day operationally in series with the NSUs in 1954. The principle consists of a rotating structure with a soft triangular shape that controls the explosion by rotating, replacing the valves at the same time, and this in a single chamber. The simplicity of the system is its first quality.

The first Mazda equipped with this revolutionary engine, a technical solution considered too risky by many, but presenting many advantages, will be the Cosmo sports coupe, in 1964. Beautiful and light (930 Kgs.), It managed to develop thanks to its rotary engine. 108hp for honest performance. Apart from the Japanese firm, the East German NSU also marketed a spider in 1963 and a sedan (Ro80) in 1970 equipped with a rotary engine. At Mazda, the R100 in 1967 took over. A sports coupe will make its appearance equipped with conventional engines, the Mazda R1800, while the R100 coupe in sports version will assert itself in various competitions and rallies.

The second authentic Mazda sports car was released in 1970, replacing the Cosmo. This RX-2 will be the first in a line of 8 generations. The first three, derived from the R100 coupe, were more and more impressive: The R100 coupe, 100hp, bowed in front of the R130 coupe, or "Luce", more slender and elegant but also heavier, and equipped with an engine developing 126hp in 1969, derived from the twin-rotor developed for the 1968 RX87 prototype. The RX-7 coupe was much less desirable, with the updated dress of the R100. In 1971, the RX-3 coupe, still very livable with its five seats for adults, the GT version claiming 120hp thanks to the addition of carburettors. In 1974, the RX-4 coupe succeeded him, with 120hp in GT version, but still a significant weight. On the other hand, the 1975 RX-5 coupe, taking up Cosmo's famous name, was a true 2 + 2 coupe with character, despite its weight and the relative weakness of its engine (130hp).

In 1978, when the decorations were raining down for the brilliant engineer, a new engine was launched in production in 1977. This was the REAP system with thermal reactor and air injection. This will lead to the development of the brilliant RX-7, a gifted child of the range, the only sports car in the world with such an engine. First released in a wide, low and well-profiled 2 + 2 coupé in 1977, 135hp strong, it gave way to another version in 1985 (185hp), and finally to that of 1993 (255hp). The new RX-8 appears to be seeking personality while having cantilevered rear doors and much better roominess. But sportiness seems to lose.

The 70s will be a bad patch for Mazda as for many other manufacturers. It owes its survival only through mergers with Ford. Its range of the 80s presented itself with many models based on European Fords. The 121, succeeding the old Chantez (1977) was a successful city car, already marketed under other labels and produced on several sites, in Korea and Japan. The 323 / Familia (1985) derived from the escort, (1.6L 16 valves turbo 140hp in GTX version) also existing in Japan in the form of a coupé (L'etude ", equipped with a 110hp 4-cylinder), the 626 / Capella (1987), 148cv for the injection coupe version, and the 929 / Luce derived from the old Torino (1986), equipped with a vindictive V6 3 liters of 190cv (929 SS), When at the Cosmo of 1981, it was based on the Luce and existed as a turbo coupé and 165hp Wankel engine, a little tight for its 1200 Kgs ... not to mention the last version of the RX-7 / Savanna (1985) capable of reaching 220 km / h with its turbocharged 2.6-liter Wankel twin-rotor.

While in 1988, Mazda signed commercial agreements with Saab, it seemed out of the woods. Its notoriety is growing in Europe. At the start of the 90s, its catalog had grown, and technological research was rewarded with a victory at Le Mans in 1991. The range included the restyled small 121, the very offensive standard 323 in coupe version with GT-R derived all-wheel drive rally car, the 626 sedan, the MX-6 coupe, the entry-level MX-3 coupe and above all two eagerly awaited novelties, the RX-7 sports coupe (1993) and the MX-5 / Miata roadster ( 1989). The latter did a lot for the return of this species that was believed to be definitively buried with the remains of the sixties celebrations. In Japan alone or at a pinch in the USA, some models are also worth a look, such as the tiny sports coupe AZ-1 (1992, 3-cylinder turbo 63hp and butterfly doors, 3.30m long and 720 kgs.), Or l 'Opposite, the very exclusive new Cosmo Coupe (1989), also equipped with a Wankel twin-rotor developing 280 hp while being supercharged by two turbos.

Currently, thanks to an innovative and original image that endures, Mazda has made a name for itself in Europe. The MX-5 roadster now walks its familiar face in our streets and has the immense advantage of being very accessible, if not promising the great thrill. The 121 gave way since 1998 to a small minivan, the Demio, while the restyled 323 continues its career, the 626 has found its replacement since 2002, the beautiful and aggressive Mazda6. The Miata is still in the catalog, and seems inexhaustible as its very refined line remains timeless. There are no more sports cars in dealerships, the RX-8 is therefore expected with a firm footing, as is the big luxury Cosmo coupe, which was however in decline in the USA.

Models, done and to come:

Mazda RX-6 Savanna (1986)

This discoverable version of the most iconic Mazda sports coupe, was sorely lacking in image in Europe

2-seater convertible.
Front longitudinal engine - rear transmission.
Birotor, 2x654 cc, 2 ACT, 200 hp DIN @ 6500T / min. 270 MKg. @ 3500 RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 6 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 240 Km / h.
1380 Kgs.
Length: 4315 mm; Width: 1690 mm; Height: 1265 mm; Wheelbase: 2430 mm
283 200 Frs.

The Savanna is the name by which the 1985 Mazda RX-7 is best known in the USA. An emblematic model of the brand's originality and technological personality, the second-generation RX-7, unveiled in 1985, was crowned the best imported car of the year on this market in 1986. The convertible, significantly heavier and more expensive , marketed the following year was also more aesthetically successful. Its twin-rotor, initially developing 185 hp, went up to 200 hp in 1988. The American public was less disturbed by the greedy character of this Wankel engine, for obvious reasons, than old Europe, where this RX-7 went unnoticed for the low sales.

Mazda Cosmo (1989)

Ce grand vaisseau de luxe était la Mazda la plus prestigieuse... A comparer avec la notoriété d'une Mercedes.

Coupe 2P 2 + 2 places.
Front longitudinal engine - rear transmission.
Trirotor, 653cm3, 3.9L, 2 ACT, 2 turbos 280 hp DIN @ 6500T / min. 408 N / M @ 3000 RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 7.1 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 260 Km / h.
1600 Kgs.
Length: 4810mm Width: 1790mm Height: 1305mm Wheelbase: 2750mm
(at the time): 600,500 Frs.

Extraordinary, the Cosmo is little known to lovers of great tourism. Yet it is a real pearl that contains everything you can expect from a prestigious GT. Heir to a famous name, the coupe built in 1964 with the first rotary engine of the Wankel license that Mazda had just acquired and adapted. This magnificent car first appeared as a very bio-design concept car in 1987, then production was launched for Japan alone. Delivered with a twin-turbo twin-rotor (230hp) or twin-turbo trirotor (above) engine, the Cosmo, locally called Eunos Cosmo, is equipped with almost all the standard options, to make a Mercedes pale, and a leather and wood finish of the best invoice, as we fear to expect from such a machine. For the anecdote, the woodwork used came from Lyon, before receiving its finishes in Milan, and finally flying to the archipelago.

This big but powerful coupe, torquey, will be exported to the USA in 1992 to compete with Lexus. But it never surveyed the roads of the old continent and will be withdrawn from sales in 1998, its distribution becoming too confidential.

Mazda 323 GT-R (1992)

Derived from the rally car, the 323 is as demonstrative as it is efficient.

2P 5-seater sedan.
Front Transversal Engine - all-wheel drive.
4 cylinders in line, 16 valves 1.8 Liters, 2 ACT, 185 hp DIN @ 6000RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 7.2 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 218 Km / h.
1210 Kgs.
Length: 4080mm; Width: 1680mm; Height: 1390mm; Wheelbase: 2450 mm
138,000 Frs.

Exceptional, the 323 GTR appeared in 1991 was supposed to give dynamism to the standard sedan lineup of Mazda, alongside 4-door sedans with a different dynamic style, sharp styling, equipped with retractable bonnet headlights and a spoiler rear, as well as relatively alert engine. The GTR comes from a 3-door series, with a 2-volume bodywork, which does not share any common stampings with the three-volume. This all-wheel drive was also used to homologate the current series in group B. Its rally-style tricks and low price as well as its sporting capabilities made it an excellent budget choice, even more so on the second-hand market today.

Mazda MX-3 (1991)

This small bio-design coupe was chunky, which combined with small wheels, made it an aesthetically unsuccessful model.

coupe 2 + 2 places.
Front transversal engine - front transmission.
6 cylinders in V, 24 valves 1.8 Liters, 2 ACT, 133 hp DIN @ 6800RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 8.8 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 202 Km / h.
1115 Kgs.
Length: 4220 mm; Width: 1690 mm; Height: 1310 mm; Wheelbase: 2450 mm
148,000 Frs.

Based on the Mazda 323, the small MX-3 coupe was a response to the Nissan 100 NX. (later joined by the Honda CR-X). Unveiled in 1991, it did not offer a convertible roof part unlike the first, but had a good compromise between roominess and aerodynamics. Some will criticize it for its stocky side, not very aggressive, effect reinforced by the notorious softness of bio-design. Offered with a 1.6 L 4-cylinder developing 88 hp, then with a V6, the smallest in the world, giving 133 hp., It had at least the nobility of this engine. In 1997 it was offered with a new 4-cylinder 1.6 L 107 hp. It was no longer available in France with this engine. Losing at the same time the little sportiness it still possessed, this model was withdrawn from sales in 1998. It has never had a succession planned for the moment.

Mazda MX-5 Miata (1989)

A real breath of fresh air, the miata will have marked history as the first small post-modern roadster. Its line is a digest of simplicity from the 60s that bio-design has emphasized, but with timeless content.

2-seater roadster.
Front transverse engine - rear transmission.
4 cylinders in line, 16 valves 1.8 Liters, 2 ACT, 145 hp DIN @ 7000RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 8.5 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 205 Km / h.
1065 Kgs.
Length: 3980mm; Width: 1860mm; Height: 1230mm; Wheelbase: 2270mm
(at the time): € 23,000.

The MX-5 also called Miata in Japan and the USA was in 1990 a real turning point for the global automotive landscape. This little roadster was the first at this price point to be presented to the public and in dealerships. Do not look for anything other than the spirit of ballad hair in the wind, this is what this pleasure machine offers: Its engines have always been designed to keep the cost of purchase at an affordable level. Behind the Miata lie years of happiness and carelessness before the crisis, ahead of reason. We come to think back to the glory days of the MG C, Triumph Midget, Austin-Healey Sprite, Honda S800, and many others. A time when you could choose between a small sedan and this kind of selfish car a little more in contact with the road.

The MX-5 has evolved, presented in a new version in 1998, but, little in style, of excellent inspiration. The last version dates from 2000 and it does not seem to have taken any wrinkles. Served at the base by the same 1.6 liters as at its beginnings, developing 110hp, it is available at this attack price (18,400 €), or, for a little more convincing acceleration, the 1.8 liters. Some countries, including Japan are even entitled to a coupe version, and others to the 2-liter version of 200hp, much more efficient. We hope that its destiny will be very long still: The Miata has exceeded the bar of 600,000 copies, an absolute record in the category.

Mazda MX-6 (1990)

Based on the Mazda 626, this coupe benefits from a very elegant line.

4-seater coupe.
Front transversal engine - front transmission.
6 cylinders in V, 24 valves 2.5 Liters, 2 ACT, 165 hp DIN @ 5600RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 8.5 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 220 Km / h.
1195 Kgs.
Length: 4615 mm; Width: 1750 mm; Height: 1310 mm; Wheelbase: 2600 mm
185,000 Frs.

Without being a sportswoman, we can compare this MX-6 to Opel's coupe, the Calibra. Like it, it is based on a production mid-size sedan with the same front-wheel drive engines, decent roominess, efficient engines and optional all-wheel drive. Also available with a 110hp 2-liter 4-cylinder, it was finally withdrawn from production in 1996.

Mazda RX-7 (1992)

The RX-7 Coupe was the brand's only true sports car, capitalizing on the exceptional quality of its rotary engine.

2-seater coupe.
Front longitudinal engine - rear transmission.
Birotor, 2.6 Liters, 2 turbos, 250 hp DIN @ 6500T / min. 294 Mkg / 5000 T / Min.
0-100 Km / h: 5.8 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 250 Km / h.
1310 Kgs.
Length: 4290 mm; Width: 1750 mm; Height: 1230 mm; Wheelbase: 2420 mm
339,000 Frs.

The Mazda RX-7 represents the succession of this legendary coupe from Mazda, launched with the 1964 Cosmo, then maintained with the 1977 and 1985 models, themselves descending from the RX3, 4, 5 and 6. It will be the most powerful of all, requiring the turbo to make its birotor a unit really able to counter the competition (Honda NSX, Toyota Supra, Nissan 300 ZX.). Thus, it went from 185 to 250 hp. Entirely bodied in aluminum, equipped with all the modern technologies of Mazda, it was the showcase of its know-how, and was significantly less expensive than its European competitors, adding to this the attraction of the originality of its engine, quite greedy though. It is true that Mazda being, since the disappearance of NSU in the former GDR, the only firm in the world to offer this technological solution, it also suffers the repercussions, that of seeing itself only cover the costs of research and development.

The RX7 also existed in a lighter version, in the spirit of "racing", in Japan, the RZ. It did not meet with success in Europe, despite the very advantageous Originality / Cost / Performance ratio, served by its lack of image and prestige, despite its victory at Le Mans in 1991. The RX-7 will cease to exist. 'be produced in 2001. Its successor, the RX-8, announced at that time will not be revealed until 2002, marrying the originality of a much superior roominess with a less assertive style and sportiness.


This famous Japanese firm, probably one of the most sprawling in its activities, is a major heavyweight in the industry of the archipelago, based in Kobe. Its contribution to the automobile is considerable, because it is practically a pioneer in the archipelago. Heavyweight in the industry (heavy), with the corporate name "Mitsubishi Shipbuilding and Engineering Company", it launched in 1917 in the series production of a model very inspired by the FIAT Zero. Called Model A, it had a small four-cylinder 19 hp. and was sold in small series until 1921. Mitsubishi means "three diamonds", hence the logo.

After the model A, Mitsubishi will devote itself to the construction of buses and trucks. It was she who designed and marketed the first diesel engine in Japan in 1931, then the first bus. Its industrial weight is only increasing. Becoming the "Mitsubishi Heavy industries", it begins a race for gigantism. Until the war, when its activities made it one of the first producers of ships, tanks and planes in the empire. We owe him in particular the famous Zero, very agile fighter of 1940, probably the most famous and prolific Japanese plane of the Second World War.

Although she developed the first scooter reserved for the archipelago (1946), the Silver Pigeon, in order to meet the fuel shortage, it was only in 1952 that business resumed for the firm, heavily hit by the bombings. . but thanks to economic aid from the United States, a series production of the Jeep is launched locally by the enemy of yesterday, thanks to an agreement made with Willys. It is still going on. In 1959, a popular small car was presented, with a single 500cc twin-cylinder developing 20hp. The production of the "500" will exceed 3000 copies, before the range is widened in 1964, with the release of the Colt and the Minica, two small cars (25 and 17hp) in the standard of the time, and a larger sedan, the Debonair, which has a larger 2-liter 6-cylinder.

With 1968, the big maneuvers are announced: Mitsubishi makes an agreement with Isuzu, and with Chrysler the following year. The case is not trivial: For the first time, the firm takes a foothold on the American continent, then in Europe through the English intermediary of Chrysler-Europe. It was also the same year that the Colt galant was released, later independent of the brand's popular spearhead. the latter will be the first to have a sporty character, with a hardtop and a slender line, then the restyling of the Colt, available in a "Clipper" coupe version, with significantly increased engines. In 1967, the Minica was increased to 25hp and 38 in 1971 on the Clipper (still twin) and the Colt, declined in 1200 and 1500cm3, offered better times. The Colt Galant, later simply "Galant", will be available in sports versions, the GS (105hp), GTO (coupe body, sort of Japanese Mustang), GTO MI, MII and GTO MR. the latter, with 125hp for less than 800 Kgs. reached 200 km / h safely.

1970 signs for Mitsubishi its break between its branch "Mitsubishi Motors Corp.", created for the occasion and the parent company. In 1973 appears the Lancer, then the Celeste. The first was fitted with voluntary engines from the Colt, including the 1.2, 1.4 and above all the solid 1.6L of 100hp which was to constitute an excellent basis for further developments, and immediately in Rally, with a commitment from Mitsubishi in the young world championship of 1972. It will remain strongly involved in this field until 1976, with an uninterrupted series of victories. The gallant received an excellent 2-liter 115hp in 1973. In 1978, Mitsubishi launched the Mirage coupe, closely derived from the Colt. The range changed little until the 1980s.

In 1981, she designed a model for the international market that would make her famous, the Pajero 4x4. This model will benefit from considerable publicity through its media engagement at Paris-Dakar, and in several African events. In 1984, it will be its first minivan, the Space wagon. Finally, in 1988, it created a Joint Venture with Chrysler, under the name Diamond Star, and established itself definitively in the new world. It will do the same with Volvo in 1990 to strengthen its presence in Europe. The range of the 80s was established around the Colt / Mirage, the Lancer and the Galant. For the latter, only two versions stand out, the Colt 16 valves (125 hp) and the gallant turbo 2 liters (146 hp) whose accelerations (9.2 and 9 seconds from 0-100 km / h) remain modest. There is no real sports car or coupe in its European range. In Japan, the minica, which became one of the first urban minivans, was available in an infinite number of bodies and its engine had gained one cylinder. (Note that the crisp Dangan ZZ appeared in 1989, sporty version with ... 5 valves per cylinder, developing 64 hp.)

On the other side of the range, mainly focused on endless variations of the Galant, the Eterna, Sigma, Diamante, we find the very dusty Debonair sedan, arrived in its latest generation (the 5th), retaining its high-end title with starched style. On the other hand, the Starion coupe, much more interesting, had a strong character, even brutal, which will find application in the USA only under the label Dodge (the Daytona). The only sports car declared by Mitsubishi in 1982, it gave way to the very impressive 3000 GT, a time presented under the name of Starion GTO, then simply "GTO". this heavy coupe has all the characteristics of the sports-showcase of technology for the firm. The 280hp Twinturbo is a real GT. His fate will not be happier, and it is especially sales in the USA, under the name of Dodge Stealth, which will benefit him.

In the 90s, the range will still expand, and some sport models and variants will make their entry: Thus, The GTO coupe was available in Europe (but like many Japanese GTs, with poor success), and in Japan , 3-door versions of the Mirage, fitted with a V6 (1.6 liters!), the Lancer RS, road version of the rally champion of which it was the 3rd generation in 1996, who could boast of the deserved title of sporty saloon, with an ostentatious style, in the spirit of "Tuning" but with a vocation not usurped, because moreover served by breathtaking performances. The FTO coupe, another new machine, was born in 1996 and will try to take the market that remained open between the Mirage coupé and the formidable 3000GT, including an evolution in a convertible with a rigid hard-top (contemporary with the fashion launched by the small Mercedes coupe SLK).

Currently aware of its disappointing sales in Europe, Mitsubishi is trying to revive itself through design. Now 37% integrated into the Daimler-Chrysler group, it offers a range centered around the carisma sedan and the Space Star minivan, the Colt awaiting its replacement in 2004, after its distribution in Europe ceased. On the other hand, there is full participation of the three diamonds in the SUV fashion with the Outlander, Montero, L200 and its variations of its bestseller Pajero. In terms of sports, and only on the American market, there is the Eclipse coupe, and of course the formidable Lancer Evo sedan, which is currently entering its eighth generation.

Models, done and to come:

Mitsubishi Eclipse (1988)

This coupe was available and badged in two models in the United States.

coupe 2 + 2 places.
Transverse motor. front - rear transmission.
4 cylinders in line, 16 valves 2 liters, 2x2 ACT, 1 turbo, 210 hp DIN @ 6000 RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 6.2 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 225 Km / h.
1240 Kgs.
Length: 4380 mm; Width: 1810 mm; Height: 1280 mm; Wheelbase: 2400 mm

The Eclipse Coupe was built on the shortened Galant sedan base in the US at the brand new Diamond Star factory. Symbol of the Japanese automotive industry's stranglehold on the North American market, of which Mitsubishi had been the standard bearer since its partial takeover of Chrysler, was also declined in the form of the Eagle Talon. This Japanese-American shared its multi-distribution with the Mirage and the Daytona / Starion. First equipped with a 4-cylinder giving 140 hp., It added a turbo. Its restyling took place in 1996. It gave way to its descendant in 2000, after more than 10 years of production. It remains unknown in Europe, which is entitled to the Galant family sedan, the small Colt and the 3000 GT coupe.

Mazda 3000 GT/GTO (1990)

The Mitsubishi GT has since been eclipsed by the Lancer sedan. His style is balanced, but too wise.

2-seater coupe.
Transverse motor. front - all-wheel drive.
6 cylinders in V, 24 valves 3 liters, 2x2 ACT, 2 turbos, 285 hp DIN @ 6000 RPM. 415 NM @ 3000 RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 5.3 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 250 Km / h.
1740 Kgs.
Length: 4560 mm; Width: 1840 mm; Height: 1280 mm; Wheelbase: 2470 mm

Also called GTO and badged Dodge in the USA, under the name of Stealth, the Mitsubishi 3000 GT is the only real sports car of the mark before the appearance of the new versions of the Lancer, which remains a sedan. The eclipse for its part, was classified rather in the category of Toyota Celica. All-wheel drive and countless technological innovations have made this coupe heavier than the Toyota Supra, a record that neither Honda nor Mazda follows. Unveiled in 1989 as a Starion GTO concept car, it was to take over. Its production ended in 1997 for the Japanese and European market, but still continued under the Dodge label until 1998, and stopped especially facing the much less bland Viper.

Mitsubishi FTO (1994)

This little sportswoman remains confined to the archipelago. It will have, after disappointing sales, no descendants.

2-seater coupe.
Transverse motor. front - rear transmission.
6 cylinders in V, 24 valves 2 liters, 1 ACT, 197 hp DIN @ 6000 RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 6.4 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 220 Km / h.
1240 Kgs.
Length: 4210 mm; Width: 1810 mm; Height: 1315 mm; Wheelbase: 2400 mm

Built on the shortened base of the Galant, this small coupe possessed a classic but pleasant style. Its performance was efficient in the 2-liter version, much less in the 1800 version with an automatic "fuzzy logic" electronic gearbox. Its production, focused on the archipelago only, remains limited and ends in 1998.

Mitsubishi Galant VR6 (1998)

Sporting evolution of the beautiful gallant, the VR6 is resolutely aggressive, and only exists in this white livery.

Sports sedan 4/5 seats.
Transverse motor. front - rear transmission.
6 cylinders in V, 24 valves 3 liters, 2 ACT, 2 turbos, 280 hp DIN @ 6000 RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 6.8 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 230 Km / h.
1340 Kgs.
Length: 4620 mm; Width: 1760 mm; Height: 1380 mm; Wheelbase: 2630 mm

The galant, a name famous since the 1960s, has since been reserved for a sedan with sporting trends. The last version dates from 1992 and appeals to the public for its elegant grille and its classic but elegant line. In Europe, it is sold with a 4-cylinder or a V6. In Japan, among other luxurious executions, the Diamante and the Eterna, have a V6 engine pushed to 241 hp thanks to the addition of a turbo. The range was renewed in 1996 around two sedans of different finishes, the Aspire and the Galant, and two derived station wagons, Libero and Legnum. The VR6 version is a stronger version on the local market, equipped with a twin-turbo V6 with aerodynamic accessories, a lowered line, widened undercarriages, a revised suspension ... It was especially intended to boost sales of the Galant / Aspire, in constant decline unlike its wagon derivative, the Legnum, moreover provided with the same engines.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII (2001)

Sports sedan 4/5 seats.
Transverse motor. front - all-wheel drive.
4 cylinders in V, 16 valves 2 liters, 2 ACT, 1 turbo, 280 hp DIN @ 6000 RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 5.8 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 250 Km / h.
1360 Kgs.
Length: 4450 mm; Width: 1760 mm; Height: 1410 mm; Wheelbase: 2420 mm
€ 27,500.

The only serious national rival of the Subaru Impreza in rallying, the very powerful Lancer has been the benchmark sports sedan for Mitsubishi since its first GSR versions in the early 1990s. In 2000, a complete renewal of the range took place, which also affected the Lancer, now in its 7th evolution. It remains, unlike the Impreza which is one of the main sales of the brand in Europe, and to the chagrin of many, non-imported.

Mitsubishi Eclipse (2000)

This new Eclipse coupe, eagerly awaited in the USA, has a very modern line.

coupe 2 + 2 places.
Transverse motor. front - rear transmission.
6 cylinders in V, 24 valves 3 liters, 2x2 ACT, 203 hp DIN @ 6000 RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 6.2 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 230 Km / h.
1280 Kgs.
Length: 4400 mm; Width: 1830 mm; Height: 1300 mm; Wheelbase: 2400 mm

The new Eclipse coupe, produced like its ancestor in the USA, in Illinois more precisely, was presented in 1999, exactly ten years after the old one. With a resolutely Edge Design style, with balanced proportions, it has carved out a success comparable to the old version. In terms of sportiness, the end of the nightmare of power restraints has made it possible to get rid of the old 4-cylinder turbo and move to a more noble atmospheric V6. However, a 4-cylinder block is still offered and delivers 149 hp. A convertible version followed in 2001.

Nissan History and sportscars

Nissan, better known in the past as Datsun, arose out of the work of engineer Masujiro Hashimoto, who in 1911 was in the United States studying what was going on there. Back home, in Yokohama, he produced three cars for his friends and clients who left him the initials of their name: DAT in Latin characters, while financing the "Kwaishinsha Motor cars Works". A few copies followed on the eve of the Great War, then small series production began in 1915, in Tokyo, under the name DAT.31, the first best-selling model. The road network in Japan at the time, barely out of the Meiji era, has a fragmented road network and does not allow a large production to be sold. However, the following model DAT 41, 20hp, will ensure the finances of the firm for a long time.

In 1925, under the corporate name of DAT Automobile Manufacturing Co., moved to Osaka. In 1931, due to the change of group, which became the property of Tabato Imono, the desire was taken to launch mass production, and the small Astin Seven was approached to be built under license. DAT's "little one" should have been called "Son" in English, but the negative sounding in Japanese turns it into "Sun." The Datsun 10 from 1932 will be sold in large quantities until the end of the 1930s, in many variants, such as convertibles, or Datsun 14 interior pipes in 1935. In 1937, the Imono group merged with the Nihon sangyo Cie., Which will become "Nissan", one of the two labels of the same firm. Officially, we are talking about the "Nissan Motors". Around 1936-37, larger models appeared, based on the American Graham-Paige, and sold under the name Nissan 70, with an 85hp 6-cylinder. She is the ancestor of the luxurious post-war "President". On the eve of the world conflict, in fact, Datsun quickly found itself obliged to provide the trucks intended for the troops, which it will carry out throughout the war.

The noise of boots passed, the Empire of the Rising Sun is under American occupation. Literally in ruins, the reconstruction that will follow will be the dawn of immense prosperity in which the automobile industry, formed in US methods, quickly gives birth to unprecedented industrial empires. Nissan Motors is one of those pillars of the new Japan. Converted to mass production, Datsun will go a long way to put Japan on wheels. The first new Datsuns came out in 1947-48, based on the old models from the Austin Seven. Then the Limousine 110 was presented in 1954. Shortly before, the only "sport" of the range, the DC3 of 1952, was inherited from the DAT 15 cabriolet, offering only 20hp. It will quickly be eclipsed by the excellent Datsun S-211 convertible four-seater with polyester body, and American style, could not yet do wonders with its small engine of 988cm3 and 34hp. (1959). Much more convincing is the S-212 of 1.2L and 48hp.

The 310 sedan was released in 1959, it was produced as an SP 311 convertible in 1961. The sedan, in Japan, would give rise to the popular Bluebird series, and the three-seater convertible would be immortalized under the name Fairlady. This Fairlady evolved into the true sports car of Nissan, and was completely restyled in 1962 by Count Albrecht Goertz, who also signed the BMW 507. In this last form or it is best known, it was produced until 1970. In 1964, the Nissan stand is proud at the Tokyo Motor Show to present its new large prestige limousine, the President. The latter wants to be the competitor of the high-end Mercedes. Equipped with 3-liter V6, they will end in the 70s with a 4-liter V8. A merger with Prince Motors allowed Datsun to develop new engines, such as the 1967 Bluebird 510 sedans, the large Laurels the following year, and especially the excellent 240Z in 1969.

The latter was legitimately presented as the heir to the fairlady. But it is under the letter "Z" that it has remained in history. This slender sportswoman, as successful in terms of style as brilliant in sporting terms, will forge an enviable track record, especially in rallying by dominating the East African Safari for several years, but also participated in all the great classics of this discipline, with various fortunes. Although appreciated in Europe, where its performance and style seem to contradict its modest selling price, it is in the United States that it will sell best and is worth Nissan a strong local presence, which will reach its peak at the end of the 80s. The 240Z will be available in many variants and generations 240, 260, 280Z, until the 90s, when its direct heir, the 300 ZX, was gentrified while remaining a formidable GT.

The range of the 70s including, in addition to the very widespread Bluebird, the Sunny, Violet and Cherry, will give the day to more "dynamic" variants, in particular the Cherry coupe. But the standard sports car remains the excellent Z. The first Skyline of 1971 was on the other hand known in the Prince range before becoming the GT-R, "heavy", expensive and loaded with technology. The second generation Skyline GT-R, far more efficient than the standard sedans and coupes of the same name, quickly forged a well-established reputation in the Japanese GT championship.

In 1981, the final official name of the whole range was "Nissan". The firm had become the second automobile industry, behind Toyota which was ahead of it thanks to its indestructible 4x4s. During the 1980s, the catalog grew, including the first Pao and March city carts (Micra for export), which resulted in a surprising March R turbo rally version (limited series for homologation), and a derivative of super turbo series 6 months later (110hp for 770 Kgs ...); the new spearhead of the low-end Sunny, which will give birth to a rally beast in hatchback version, the terrible Sunny GTI-R developing 220hp, with all-wheel drive required, in 1990; the Laurels, more luxurious versions of the firsts, the Pulsar, succeeding the Cherry in 1986, and their opulent Langley variants; the very curious sports station wagons based on this, the Exa convertible coupes; the Silvia coupes, with honest services; the Stanza and Auster, local versions of the Bluebird, of which a coupe, using this name, was presented at the 1988 Tokyo Motor Show, equipped with a 195hp 4-cylinder turbo in its most efficient version; the skylines, sedans and sports coupes, the Laurels, more luxurious than the first; the luxury Leopard coupes, which will take the Infinity label, but also the Cedric sedans, 6-cylinder evolution of the first generation of 1960 and Gloria, inherited from the Prince range, and become a luxurious execution of the first; the Cima luxury sedans, and finally the indestructible, intangible and very statutory President limousines, carrying their 2 tons empty with the same 4.4-liter 200hp V8 inherited from the restyled version of 1973. (Not to mention the van, minivan , station wagons and all-terrain vehicles of the brand).

The 90s saw a rationalization of production, a halt to the proliferation of models. passing quickly, the sports models deserving that we stop there are the Sunny GTI-R already mentioned and released in 1992 for homologation in group A, the very European Primera GT, capable of reaching 220 km / h with its 147hp 4-cylinder turbo, the small targa coupé on a Sunny base, 100 NX, charming but barely efficient with its 143hp for 1200 Kgs., the Silvia coupe, which became 200 SX for export, wide, low, and more convincing with its 171hp 4-cylinder turbo; and especially the excellent 300 ZX strong of 280hp. Only known from the archipelago, the Skyline coupe and its 280hp twin-turbo version, the local (and American) Silvia coupe distributed with a 2-liter, 2.4-liter and 204hp 4-cylinder, and under the rival Lexus label, Infinity, the luxury Leopard coupe, with a 255hp V6. It is also under a different label (Autech), that was presented at the Geneva Motor Show 1989, a strange limited series "Stelvio" made by Zagato on the basis of the 300 ZX.

At the dawn of the new millennium, the Nissan range, now in the fold of Renault, seems to have returned to profit, thanks to the radical and effective overhaul carried out by Carlos Ghosn, and incidentally due to the fact that the style offices diamonds have undoubtedly made it possible to design the most imaginative cars expected. With the prospects in return for Renault to benefit from the know-how of the brand in terms of V6 and V8, the heavyweight of Japan, still second behind Toyota, currently offers non-imported cars in sports, namely the beautiful Silvia coupe. (Ex-200 SX restyled by Italdesign, formidable in R aero version), the traditional Skyline coupe, a "basic" coupé version, developing 260hp in a 3-liter V6 version and restyled for 2004, the Cima, almost a sporty sedan with its V8 32 valves 4.4 liters 280hp, the Stagea hunting station wagon, hypothetical competitor of the Audi S4 before, with a turbo V6 of 260hp, and finally the eagerly awaited Fairlady Z coupe, replacing the 300 ZX for 2003, and new sports car "pure" reference for the brand. So many engines for Renault? -Even.

Datsun and Nissan models

Nissan 240 Z (1969)

The "Z" will long be the most eminent representative of Japanese GTs.

2-seater coupe.
Front longitudinal engine - rear transmission.
6 cylinders in V, 12 valves 2.4 Liters, 2 ACT, 150 hp DIN @ 6000RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 7 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 205 Km / h.
1100 Kgs.
Length: mm; Width: mm; Height: mm; Wheelbase: 2450 mm

Succeeding the "S" series, the Fairlady convertibles, the Nissan "Z" will make themselves famous. With ambitions clearly displayed as global and a well-mastered style, using recipes in vogue at the time, the Datsun Z "hits" with primarily European customers who find it certain qualities, including its very affordable price. , then by the Americans who make it a triumph, the "Z" makes this letter synonymous with sportiness at Nissan. It will prove the merits of its design by winning a number of competitions, including the difficult Montecarlo rally. Its descendants will be a little larger (also existing in the form of coupe 2+2 lengthened by 30 cm;) but equipped with more and more vindictive engines: the 260Z of 1973 being equipped with a 2.6 liters of 180hp and the 280Z more again. The series continued in the more recent form of the 300ZX Coupe.

Nissan 200SX (1993)

Also called Silvia in Japan, this modest coupe had a very understated, well-balanced line.

2 + 2-seater coupe. Front longitudinal engine - rear transmission.
4 cylinders in line, 16 valves 2 Liters, 2 ACT, 200 hp DIN @ 6400RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 6.9 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 235 Km / h.
1260 Kgs.
Length: 4520 mm; Width: 1730 mm; Height: 1280 mm; Wheelbase: 2400 mm
195,000 frs.

The new 200 SX coupe, Silvia in Japan, succeeded its predecessor in 1993. Introduced and sold in Europe in 1994, it was only available with the honest and efficient 200 hp 4-cylinder turbo, but in Japan Aero versions with 250 hp appeared in 1996-97. Very affordable sporty, its simple and sober line has aged very well. It is still a very good deal on occasion for those who want to afford a nervous and racy coupe without breaking the bank. The 200 SX however struggled to find its audience and disappeared from the catalog in 1999. Its replacement, very well designed by Italdesign, will only be exported to the USA under the name Silvia.

Nissan 300 ZX (1993)

The ultimate descendant of the Nissan "Z", the 300 ZX was stylistically successful but heavy.

2-seater coupe.
Front longitudinal engine - rear transmission.
6 cylinders in V, 24 valves 3 Liters, 2 ACT, 2 turbos, 280 hp DIN @ 6400RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 5.6 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 250 Km / h.
1585 Kgs.
Length: 4520 mm; Width: 1810 mm; Height: 1250 mm; Wheelbase: 2570 mm
436,000 Frs.

The last evolution of the legendary sports car Nissan, the Z, the 300 ZX appeared in 1989, succeeding the 280 Z in its last evolution. In its very name, the fact that it now had a 3-liter 6-cylinder was proven. but the latter saw the addition of two turbos for good measure. Because since the 240 Z in 1970, the fairlady had swelled and had become gentrified. Now almost high-end coupe (and sold at the price of a Porsche), the 300 ZX received a very simple, very sober line, with an aggressive front, and which did not plunge into bio-design, at least in appearance. When you look at his aggressive, complex, plunging shark muzzle, his style looks dated. On the other hand, by aiming at the design of its rear quarter window, in an arc, we feel the beginnings of Edge Design. So that it has aged well. This 300 ZX, despite a substantial weight, was also offered as a 2 + 2 coupé with automatic gearbox, lengthened by 25 cm. it is also in this version that it was offered in Europe. In the USA as in Japan, the lightened short chassis version fell below the 1450 kg mark, which promised good performance. This fairlady disappeared in 1998. Its replacement, designed in the Renault-Nissan era, has been sufficiently publicized as constituting a real return to the roots of the original "Z".

Nissan R390 (1995)

This berlinetta developed for the 24 Hours of Le Mans came from the small road series for homologation. A powerful and light machine, but without concessions.

Berlinette 2 places.
Rear transverse motor - rear transmission.
6 cylinders in V, 12 valves 3.9 Liters, 2 ACT, 400 hp DIN @ 6800T / min.
0-100 Km / h: 3.8 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 380 Km / h.
1000 Kgs.
Length: mm; Width: mm; Height: mm; Wheelbase: 2580 mm

Little information is available on this berlinetta developed specifically to race at the 1994 24 Hours of Le Mans in the GT category. As a result, Nissan was obliged to market a sober road version. Its V6 is a development of the Failady block. Entirely in carbon, aluminum and composite, the racing version develops almost 200 hp more for less than 1000 Kgs. Its comfort was not even discussed, it just benefits from air conditioning.

Nissan Skyline GTS-R (1993)

Monstrous and traditional sporty Nissan, it is the queen of GT Nippon circuits

4-seater coupe.
Front longitudinal engine - permanent all-wheel drive.
4 cylinders in line, 16 valves 2.6 Liters, 2 ACT, 2 turbos, 280 hp DIN @ 6000RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 6 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 250 Km / h.
1520 Kgs.
Length: mm; Width: mm; Height: mm; Wheelbase: 2550 mm

The Skyline sedan, and its two-door derivative, has always been used in the development of a very efficient sports car, successfully involved in the archipelago's GT championship, and this since the 1970s. The most ultimate road version was that derived from the racing version, the GTS-R. In 1993, this latest development was presented. This heavy sports car (all-wheel drive, solid construction and imposing measurements), has strangely always done without engines worthy of its size. Indeed, with a 4-cylinder, even twin-turbo, it competes with many better equipped sports cars, and a persistent rumor has always circulated about the real capacities of this 4-cylinder, which was said to exceed 300 hp ... Its handling and spaciousness make it a real star in Japan, and tuners and small stables are literally tearing it apart. However, she did not know the celebrity neither in Europe nor in the USA. Now it is, largely thanks to video games, like the Subaru Impreza, whose fame was on the other hand well initiated by the rally.

Nissan Silvia R Aero (1999)

2-seater coupe.
Front longitudinal engine - rear transmission.
4 cylinders in line, 16 valves 2 Liters, 1 turbo, 2 ACT, 250 hp DIN @ 6000RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 6.2 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 210 Km / h.
1240 Kgs.
Length: 4450 mm; Width: 1700 mm; Height: 1290 mm; Wheelbase: 2550 mm

This seventh generation of the most traditional Nissan coupe alongside the sportier Z, known as the 200 SX in Europe in its previous generation, is now distributed only in Japan under the name Silvia, with the new 4-cylinder 250 hp turbo. for the normal version and 280 for the dreaded Spec. R Aero. With its Italian style in the false air of Ferrari, it managed to maintain good sales. but the Renault-Nissan alliance means that it seems to have been abandoned in order to promote more rational management of the range. This coupe heir to the 200 SX and available only on the archipelago, was the most biting version. It was signed Pininfarina, which explains its few similarities in lines with the Peugeot 406 coupe. The version presented here is the type R aero, recognizable by its aerodynamic accessories.

Nissan 350 Z (2002)

Presented in 2002, this coupe marks the stylistic revival of Nissan under the leadership of Carlos Ghosn.

2 + 2-seater coupe.
Front longitudinal engine - rear transmission.
6 cylinders in V, 24 valves 3.5 Liters, 2 ACT, 280 hp DIN @ 6200T / min.
0-100 Km / h: 5.9 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 250 Km / h.
1300 Kgs.
Length: 4310 mm; Width: 1820 mm; Height: 1320 mm; Wheelbase: 2650 mm
In progress.
€ 36,900.

We were eagerly awaiting the one which, designed under the Renault era, announced the successor to the legendary Z, born in 1969. The least we can say is that it marks a definite turn with the 300ZX, which by the way had a happy style, more than the last, some would say. Anyway, the in-house designers, very inspired by the refreshing creative wave Hexagonale, seized on their subject in order to make neo-retro partly inspired by the American wave, because its first draft was that of the studio. Californian dating from 2000. Its front face considered too retro was redesigned and presented once again in 2001. Since then, it has been marketed in a form very faithful to the concept car in 2002. It was, through a modern design without compromise, launch a strong evocation to the founding 240Z. A return to the source that enhances the brand's image. Its style is purified, and rable, but spacious, adapted to the current morphology, since it is a strict 2-seater. In terms of engines, it no longer uses a couple of turbochargers but a new 3.5L V6 developed by Nissan and common to several Japanese and French luxury cars, since it is found under the hood of the Vel Satis. On the Z, however, the latter is pushed to 280hp.

The new Z has been declined, thinking of the American market, in a convertible, which should arrive in European dealerships in 2004. Faced with this well-thought-out audacity on the part of Nissan, we come to hope that Renault will come to meet less fresh the ditch left gaping after the disappearance of the Alpine. But do you ever know.

Subaru sportscars

Subaru is now best known for its lively all-wheel drive sedans and station wagons. It is true that they are an integral part of its history and have largely contributed to its fame outside the archipelago or the USA. Subaru is not limited to the Forester, Legacy and especially Impreza, the legendary Rally champion:

Indeed, at the origin of Subaru, there is Chikuhei Nakajima, born in 1884 and died in 1949, of modest origin, he became a naval officer, and admiring the Wright brothers, he founded the Nakajima Aircraft (1931), in Gunma, 70 km from Tokyo. It was initially an aircraft experiments firm which would quickly become the pioneer of the archipelago and the pillar of Japanese aviation, until 1945. At that date, its factories were devastated by the bombings, but this which had survived will be used to build an industry converted into the popular automobile. Under the name Fuji Sangyo, the firm began by producing scooters and bus cases. The "Rabbit" scooter was the first vehicle of its kind in Japan. Its originality came from its use of aircraft rear castor stocks. In 1950, Fuji Sangyo split into 12 companies. 5 of these companies will found in 1953 the Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI), which will supply the only modern Japanese planes. At the same time, they founded the Subaru, the official name of the FHI for its distribution of popular automobiles.

The first model was presented in 1955. Following several prototypes, including the P-1, the 1500 was the first Japanese car with a self-supporting body. Featuring many innovations, including double action oil pressure shock absorbers, ensuring high level road holding. Too expensive to produce compared to the needs of the time, it was abandoned, but built a flattering image of the group. His lessons will prove to be of great use for the first real production models:

In 1958, popular micro-cars seemed to be the only possible route for mass production. Subaru brought its engineering know-how to it, unlike Messerschmitt or Dornier in Germany, ex-aircraft manufacturers, who had given up, Subaru unveiled and produced its 360. True two-seater "chip" of just 2.90 meters long by 1.34 high 1.30 wide, weighing 385 Kgs. and powered by a 16 hp 2-stroke twin-cylinder, this model adapted to the Japanese size of the time as well as to the purchasing power of the popular classes proved to be a great commercial success. In 1961, this success led the brand to offer the public a van version of its 360, the Sambar. It becomes the most produced because of the practical side of its small footprint, and is undoubtedly the benchmark ancestor of all current "cubes". In addition, the low performance of their engines condemned them to urban use (maximum speed of 90 km / h). Subaru had therefore made it a specialty.

In 1965, Subaru launched the "1000" (for 1000 cm3 -977 in reality). This small sedan (3.93 mothers long for 695 Kgs.) Is powered this time by a water-cooled 4-cylinder developing 55 hp. able to tackle all types of journeys, including the motorway, it in turn became a very popular model, following the evolution of living standards in the archipelago. This first real "big" car inaugurates the brand's first Boxer engine (flat cylinders), and also becomes the first front-wheel drive in the archipelago. to consolidate its sales, Subaru opened an export branch to the USA in 1968. The replacement for this fetish model arrived the following year, the Subaru 1100, faster and more powerful. The same year the big novelty is also the replacement of the 360, in the form of the R2. This small three-door was not longer but offered more space, and a twin-cylinder increased to 36 hp. We even got a sporty SS version of 39 hp. Able to face the highways, it allowed Subaru to remain the most popular manufacturer.

In 1971, Subaru offered its first sports car and its first coupe. This is the Leone coupe, a variation of the FF1 of 1970, itself derived from the Subaru 1000. The following year, Subaru is the first to offer all-wheel drive on the derivative of this Leone, a three-wheeler. doors christened Leone Station Wagon 4WD. Barely heavier than the coupe with 855 Kgs., For 72 hp, it offered the pleasure of its all-wheel drive and its nervous temperament. The same year 1972, the little Rex succeeded the R2. Its line is reminiscent (on a completely different scale!) That of contemporary American "muscle cars" ... Its 356 cm3 twin-cylinder then develops 37 hp, and the whole car weighs only the V8 block of n Any big American coupe of the time ... In 1975, the crisis forced the Leones to switch to the catalyst, losing a few horses.

Its establishment in the USA led it to produce from 1977 a surprising pick-up on the basis of its Leone station Wagon, the Brat. The Subaru Brat became very popular among young Americans in small rural towns thanks to its very reasonable price and its all-terrain capabilities. In 1983, the company unveiled its first MPV in the form of the Domingo, based on the all-wheel drive Leone. Offering seven seats for 3.40 long and 880 Kgs., This model confirms the enthusiasm of urbanites for this type of vehicle. The Subaru Pleo, a new model parallel to the 1981 Rex, was given an option at the start of a completely new ECVT transmission system, a continuously automatic gearbox, standard equipment on the little Justy which succeeded it in 1984. But it was only available in 1987, and will be available later in an electronic version. The Justy this time had a 3-cylinder 63 hp. The Rex will also be fitted with this ECVT transmission as an option.

In 1985, Subaru unveiled the successor to the short-lived Leone Coupe from 1971, in the form of the all-wheel-drive XT Coupe, known as Alcyone in Japan. Angular and very finely drawn, it displays a world record for the rate of penetration into the air (the famous "cx" here of 0.29). Its 135 hp make good use of its 1130 Kgs. This coupe became one of the brand's most iconic models in the USA. Its 1.8-liter 4-cylinder also benefited from the addition of a turbo. In 1989, Subaru had little established until then in Europe, being distributed almost in drops by national representatives. However, it unveiled one of its most famous models, the Legacy. This sedan had to compensate for the absence of a top-of-the-range model on the American market. It supported the losing 1984 Leone sedan. From the outset, the Legacy won a world record for closed circuit speed over 100,000 km, demonstrating its reliability, with an average of 223 km / h. For a 2-liter 4-cylinder and its all-wheel drive. The RS version is then the most nervous.

The 90s marked Subaru's appetite for sportiness, and the Legacy was naturally designated to take part in the World Rally Championship. In 1990, it started with a brilliant participation in Africa in the Safari Rallye. the movement continued in Sweden in 1991, in Great Britain in 1992, then again in 1993, where it dominated the rally of 1000 lakes in Finland, a benchmark. But already its replacement is emerging: It is the very media Impreza, lighter and designed to be declined in coupe. It is the ultimate weapon which will allow Colin Mc Rae to dominate the Rally of Great Britain for years. The consecration came in 1995, 96 and 97, Subaru becoming with its Impreza three-time constructors' world champion. In the meantime in 1991, the replacement for the XT coupe arrives. Much heavier and with impressive technological content, it immediately becomes the brand's other flagship. Taking advantage of its state-of-the-art all-wheel drive, it offers the character of its 3.3-liter flat 6-cylinder engine giving 240 hp. Called Subaru SVX and Alcyone in Japan, it tends to compete with the Mazda RX7, Mitsubishi 3000 GTO, Nissan 300 ZX and Honda NSX. but the solutions chosen as its ultramodern style give it a certain originality. Less sporty than the others because it is heavier while being more livable, it participates in the establishment of Subaru in Europe.

The brand owes a lot to video games, relaying its success in Rallying to make itself known on the old continent. In 1992, his two other cars intended for this establishment were called Vivio (the only small city car to benefit from all-wheel drive), and of course the anti-Mitsubishi Lancer, the Impreza, particularly aggressive in the GT version then the WRX. In 1993, the Break version of the Legacy won another long-distance average speed record. It is under this version that it will truly break through in Europe. In 1996, the raised legacy all-road outback was to be the main spearhead of the brand in Europe. This SUV will also largely participate in this fashion launched in the USA. The 4x4 Forester, presented the same year, obtained the same average record as the others on the circuit for a 4x4 "adventurer" at over 180 km / h on average. Competition was subsequently fierce, its superiority quickly undermined.

In 1998, when the legacy was granted in its new turbo version 2 liters of 240 hp. a speed record approved for a station wagon of this category, at 270 km / h. The small city car Vivio gave way to the Pleo. The following year, an industrial milestone was reached with the alliance concluded with GM and Suzuki. The famous Boxer engine of the SVX, whose sales had stopped, will be carried over to a version of the Legacy Outback. Finally in 2002 the most formidable version of the Subaru Impreza was put on sale. It was the WRX STi, the ultimate version derived directly from the world champion rally car, and was very successful because of its cost-effectiveness. Currently; Subaru, whose Japanese meaning is "unite and unify", and whose logo features the 5 companies of Fuji Industries, enjoys a very flattering brand image that is serious (all-wheel drive), modern and sporty (with the impreza). These city cars, on the other hand, have not had the same success as in Japan. its alliance with Detroit also deprives it of diesel engines, a key to the old continent market.

Sportscars Models from Subaru

Subaru SVX (1991)

Showcase of the company's technological know-how, the SVX was also called Alcyone in Japan.

4-seater sedan.
Transverse motor. front - all-wheel drive.
6 cylinders flat, 24 valves 3.3 liters, 2 ACT, 1 turbo, 250 hp DIN @ 6400 RPM. 300 MKg @ 4800 RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 6.2 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 240 Km / h.
1550 Kgs.
Length: 4655 mm Width: 1845 mm Height: 1305 mm Wheelbase: 2610 mm

The new "Alcyone" coupe, replaced the 1985 model, was of a different caliber. While at the time, the XT shone by its aerodynamic qualities but also suffered from being underpowered. In 1987 he received a 150 hp 6-cylinder boxer which corrected the situation somewhat. Relatively light (1300 Kgs.), It took advantage of a good top speed, but it was not a real GT. With the SVX from 1991, the ambition is to present a much more sophisticated model while keeping a fine and efficient line, which was successful at the time, and a very modern presentation. Much more livable, approaching a real 4-seater and no longer a 2 + 2, it took 15 cm in length, 18 in width but lost three in height, on a wheelbase lengthened by 15 cm. With 150 Kgs. in addition, it compensated for being overweight with its new 6-cylinder flat engine pushed to 208 hp and supported by a large turbocharger. The power gain translated into much better performance. Approaching a GT, the Alcyone however never managed to match the Mitsubishi 3000 GT, Mazda RX7, Honda NSX and other Toyota Supra and Nissan 300 ZX. It has never been very successful in Europe, and hardly more in the USA. As a result, it will be withdrawn from sales in 1998. No replacement has appeared since, the brand preferring to capitalize on the Impreza and its success in rallying.

Subaru Impreza WRX (2002)

Whether you like the "tuning" style of this sedan or not, its rallying prowess has made it legendary.
4-seater sedan.
Transverse motor. front - all-wheel drive.
4 cylinders in line, 16 valves 2 liters, 2 ACT, 1 turbo, 265 hp DIN @ 6000 RPM. 343 NM @ 4000 RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 5.5 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 244 Km / h.
1450 Kgs.
Length: 4420 mm; Width: 1700 mm; Height: 1470 mm; Wheelbase: 2530 mm

The previous Impreza, definitively leaving the Japanese brand of anonymity in Europe thanks to its innumerable rally successes, was obviously available in a WRX "road" version. What about the "normal" sedan? : With a 4-cylinder 2 liters of 125cv, it is true that it goes unnoticed. but the WRX turbo versions of 225hp and especially the very voluntary WRX STi of 265hp available in a single color, the famous Subaru King blue, the optional golden rims, are much cheaper than the German competition, the latter aiming for more discretion. , it is true.

Toyota history and sportscars

The Toyota house, was founded by Kiichiro Toyoda in 1935, investing part of the capital of his father Sakichi, who had assigned his patents for the manufacture of machines for the textile industry, in a first engine, a 6-cylinder. The first car marketed in 1935 will be the A-1, a copy of the Chrysler Airflow. The sales remain symbolic, but two years later, under the name of Toyota motors (with a T), and the models AA, to AE follow one another until the war or the mark benefits from contract of production of trucks for the army (nearly 20,000 until 1942.).

Production of series cars resumed after the war, but it was not until 1965 that Toyota offered a real sports car in the form of the tiny 800 Sports coupe. In the vein of the Honda S800, these machines at the edge of the motorcycle had a lively twin cylinder and a targa roof. It was about a local version of the cut targa Corona intended for the market U.S .. In 1966 will follow the magnificent and elitist 2000GT designed by the talented Albrecht Goertz, author of the BM507 among others. She will have her share of global stardom by being the steed of James Bond in You Only Live Twice. These 60s will seal the entry of Toyota in the court of the great manufacturers: Alongside the Corona which exceeded one million copies in 1969, the smaller Corolla of 1966 was to become its absolute bestseller. The larger Crown sedan continued to gain weight. The 1967 century sedan was inserted between this large model dating from 1957 and the last Corona.

In 1970, the Carina made its debut. It is a nervous little sedan, available in a coupe under a name that was to endure and become the great classic of the brand, the Celica, available in ST, LT versions and especially the fast GT, even more desirable in version " Liftback "(low profile), which claimed to be a" Mustang "of the rising sun. This popular sportswoman changed her skin seven times, until her last decidedly Edge-design dress in 1999. Without being a formidable GT, she is a popular and affordable sportswoman. Toyota then continued to penetrate the American market by addressing the still little visited off-road segment. With a few extremely robust and economical Pick-up models, it conquered this segment and settled there for a long time at the head of sales. It did the same with the Corolla sedan, sales champion in all categories in its category after. the VW Beetle and the Ford T. This is what allowed it to become the first Japanese manufacturer and the 3rd world group.

The 80s saw a succession of new models, the ball being opened by the arrival of the city car Starlet. Archetype of the "youth car" of the 1970s in Japan, it was a small two-volume of less than 700 Kgs. empty. In 1978, its turbo S version was satisfied with 71cv to leave more than one in place. That of 1984 was equipped with a bypass 2.3 liters of its 4-cylinder increased to 105cv, it was quickly nicknamed "Lightning". Its latest evolution claims 135 hp for just over 800 Kgs ... The Tercel of 1978, the brand's first front-wheel drive, was of the same barrel, although it did not know any sporting derivation.

As for the Corolla, it gave birth to a pseudo-sporty execution in 3-door body and two volumes in the form of the GTI 16s. Relatively heavy (over 980Kgs.) And equipped with a 125hp 4-cylinder, it was hardly better than the Corolla Levin and Sprinter Trueno coupes developed on the same basis with barely more than 130hp under the hood. The last Trueno releases are nicer. Switched to front-wheel drive, but with a more harmonious and successful dress and a 4-cylinder giving 165hp for just over a ton empty, it has become the ideal platform for Japanese Tuners thanks to its unbeatable price / performance comparison.

The slightly bigger Corona had 140hp at best. Alongside it appeared the Camry in 1980, the high-end segment still being occupied by the Mk.II also known as Chaser or Cressida. Finally, at the top were the indefatigable Century and the ancient Crown. The sporty segment, which was already small, was not favored by the oil crisis, however the good old Celica coupé which became a "boulevard coupé" was equipped with a more substantial mechanical assembly in the Supra version in 1982. Its 6-cylinder of 2 , 8 liters went from 150 to 168hp, allowing it to go from 0 to 100Km / h in 8.1 seconds. But this Supra version became a sport apart, while the Celica continued on its own path. The 1985 Celica was an excellent rally car in the 4x4 version, the marketed version being "content" with 185hp.

To satisfy a clientele that Celica's services left hungry for, the Supra was radicalized, but its reign was brief (from 1986 to 1997). This big, rather heavy coupe saw its power gradually increase, going from 230hp in the biturbo version to 320hp in its latest version. It remains the brand's benchmark GT. Pragmatic, now the third largest group in the world ahead of Ford and GM, Toyota offered a sports car with a rear central engine, the berlinetta MR-2, in 1983, quickly declined in Targa version, then continued in 2000 with the current roadster, light and good. market in the vein of Opel Speedsters and other Lotus Elise, or roadsters Mazda Miata and MG-F.

Alongside appeared a luxury coupe, the Soarer, which will push Toyota to invest the American market accustomed to its robust 4x4 with a prestigious label, Lexus, designed to compete in particular with Mercedes. Under this label, luxurious, modern and dynamic models have appeared, contrasting sharply with the antiques they produced on its high-end floor. Thus, the Lexus GS300 and 400 were born, potential rivals of the Mercedes E class, with engines ranging from 220 to 300hp giving them real sporting benefits, but also the larger GS 500. The Soarer coupe became the Lexus SC400 coupe at the export, true luxury and sporty coupe with its torquey 4-liter V8. On the European market, it quickly presented a small "sport" sedan, with a very sharp design and intended to compete with the BMW 3 series. Equipped with a 150hp V6 on this market, it benefits from much more alluring mechanics in Japan. under the local name of Altezza, going up to 270hp. Finally, the last step was taken in 2001 with the release of the SC430 coupé-cabriolet, also luxurious and sporty; but strict two-seater.

All these models are very successful in the USA, which prefers them to the more expensive Europeans in this segment. We can see this enthusiasm for this showcase brand, through the publicity it received with Steven Spielberg's latest film, "Minority report". Currently she is deliberately moving towards the after-sales service, always on the lookout for trends in her favorite market. An international survey in 2003 also highlighted the fact that this manufacturer, which passed first in the world ahead of GM, was credited with the greatest image of reliability, even ahead of Mercedes in this niche.

Toyota Sportscar Models

  • Sports 800 coupé
  • 2000 GT
  • Celica ST
  • Celica GT Liftback 1973
  • Celica supra
  • Starlet turbo S 1985
  • Celica 4x4 1985
  • Supra 1986
  • Soarer 1985
  • Celica 4x4 1989
  • MR2 1989
  • Supra 1993
  • Celica 2000 GT 1995
  • Lexus SC400
  • Lexus GS400
  • Lexus IS300
  • Celica ST 2001
  • Lexus SC430

Toyota sports 800 (1965)

This tiny "toy" was Toyota's response to the Honda S 600 and 800.

2-seater Targa coupe.
Rear transverse motor - rear transmission.
2 cylinders in line, 4 valves 790 cm3, 1 AC, 50 hp DIN @ 5400 RPM. and 72 N / M @ 3800T / min.
0-100 Km / h: 12 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 156 Km / h.
581 Kgs.
Length: 3580 mm; Width: 1466 mm; Height: 1176 mm; Wheelbase: 2000 mm

This adult toy was born at the time when Toyota, like other firms in the archipelago, surfaced with the first cars of very modest displacement. based on the existing groupset, the sports 800, inaugurating the removable roof system, with the production model differing from the prototype, which had a 700cm3 twin-cylinder and no doors, access on board being done by sliding the roof to the rear.

Toyota 2000 GT (1966)

This 2000 GT had the same pedigree as the BMW 507. Its design is remarkable for simplicity and modernism, even today. 2-seater coupe.

Front longitudinal engine - rear transmission.
6 cylinders in line, 12 valves 2 Liters, 2 ACT, 3 carburettors, 150 hp DIN @ 6600 RPM. and 175 N / M @ 5000T / min.
0-100 Km / h: 8.4 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 220 Km / h.
1125 Kgs.
Length: 4176 mm; Width: 1600 mm; Height: 1166 mm; Wheelbase: 2329 mm

A formidable publicity stunt for Toyota, the 2000 GT was intended to compete with the European GTs, with weighty arguments, a reliable engine that is much more convincing than that of the sports 800, and a design signed by Count Albrecht Goertz, already author of the very beautiful BMW 507. It becomes a limited series, and competition versions will be equipped with carburettors raising the power to 200hp. She disappeared from the catalog in 1970, after appearing with James Bond at the helm in You Only Live Twice.

Toyota Celica GT (1973)

First celica, it was the "Japanese Mustang" of the moment.

coupe 2 + 2 places.
Front longitudinal engine - front transmission.
4 cylinders in line, 8 valves 2 Liters, 2 ACT, 2 carbs, 118 hp DIN @ 5800 RPM. and 152 N / M @ 5200RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 9 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 185 Km / h.
1140 Kgs.
Length: 4242 mm; Width: 1620 mm; Height: 1295 mm; Wheelbase: 2600 mm

The Toyota 2000 GT being a meteor in the career of the manufacturers Nippon, the only "sports car" of the brand was called Corona. With its 160 hp, this spacious coupe could reach 200 km / h in 1968 with its 4-cylinder. But the only real popular sports car had to be lighter and more compact. It is therefore on the basis of Carina that it is produced, under the name of Carina Celica. It quickly enjoyed such success that it broke away completely from the range and became the full-fledged model we know. Its engines remain very modest at the beginning, since it has to be satisfied with small four-cylinders of 86, 100 and 115hp, the LT, ST and GT. The 1600 ST had difficulty reaching 170 km / h, and shot 0-100 in 11 seconds. On the other hand, the GT defended itself better, under the name of GT Liftback, more aerodynamic, it returned in 1976 with a 4-cylinder increased to 2 liters and 118 hp for 1116 Kgs. Still modest but escaping the drastic cuts of the oil crisis, it established this range within Toyota, relying heavily on its sales in the USA. His succession will come in 1985 with a controversial angular coupe.

Toyota Celica Supra (1983)

The Celica Supra, the first to bear this name, was also more ambitious, like the luxurious Soarer.

Coupe 2 + 2 places.
Front longitudinal engine - rear transmission.
6 cylinders in line, 18 valves 2.8 Liters, 2 ACT, 170 hp DIN @ 5600 RPM. and 230 N / M @ 4600 RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 8.8 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 210 Km / h.
1265 Kgs.
Length: 4623 mm; Width: 1376 mm; Height: 1320 mm; Wheelbase: 2610 mm

The legendary Supra was first derived from the Celica coupe in the early 80s. The idea was to re-engine a Celica with a V6 in propulsion and no longer in traction. This first rather heavy version arrived at poor performance. It is in 1986 that it will be really up to it, with a new restyled version.

Toyota Starlet tubo S (1985)

This tiny "toy" was Toyota's response to the Honda S 600 and 800.

4-seater sedan
Front transverse motor - rear transmission.
4 cylinders in line, 16 valves 1.3 Liters, 2 ACT, 1 turbo, 103 hp DIN @ 6600 RPM. and 152 MKg @ 3600T / min.
0-100 Km / h: 7.1 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 210 Km / h.
790 Kgs.
Length: 3770 mm; Width: 1600 mm; Height: 1380 mm; Wheelbase: 2350 mm
not imported

This city-dweller, unknown in the West, deserves to be. At the time, it was as swift as a Golf GTI or a 205 GTI, or even an R5 Turbo, however much more expensive. By being satisfied with a not very powerful but brilliant mechanism, it offered the most convincing performances for the time.

Toyota Celica Turbo (1985)

The 1983 Celica will be applauded for its sharp, angular style, as well as for its high performance in its 4x4 version.

coupe 2 + 2 places.
Front longitudinal engine - all-wheel drive.
4 cylinders in line, 8 valves 2 Liters, 2 ACT, 1 turbo, 186 hp DIN @ 5800 RPM. and - N / M @ -T / min.
0-100 Km / h: 6 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 220 Km / h.
1350 Kgs.
Length: 4364 mm; Width: 1710 mm; Height: 1295 mm; Wheelbase: 2525 mm

The new 1983 Toyota Celica, very angular and from which the Supra will be derived, had to be content with a 147hp 4-cylinder, giving it decent performance (0-100 in 8.3 sec., 210 km / h). In 1985, by engaging in rallying, Toyota invested in an all-wheel drive model, whose 2-liter engine was boosted by a turbo. Although heavier, it displays remarkable performance and will be the first Celica coupe to claim to be truly sporty.

Toyota Supra (1987)

The second-generation Supra was finally a real sports car.

coupe 2 + 2 places.
Front longitudinal engine - rear transmission.
6 cylinders in line, 24 valves 3 Liters, 2 ACT, 201 hp DIN @ 6000 RPM. and 254 N / M @ 4800 RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 7.3 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 220 Km / h.
1550 Kgs.
Length: 4620 mm; Width: 1745 mm; Height: 1310 mm; Wheelbase: 2596 mm

Only three years after the release of the Celica Supra, whose exuberant style was criticized, as well as its poor performance, will quickly be eclipsed by the second-generation model. With a style still tense but already bio-design, a hatchback, and the ardor of its V6 associated with its rear transmission, this heavy Supra had completely detached itself from the wiser Celica. It rose to the rank of only GT of the mark. It existed in fact in several engines, including two liters of 105 and 140 hp, as well as its turbo version of 185 hp. The three-liter, heavier, was also less swift. However in 1988 came the 3 liter turbo version with and without all-wheel drive, of 267 and 232 hp. , the latter compensating for its lack of motor skills by its relative lightness.

Toyota Celica Turbo (1989)

Fifth generation, and the first in the bio-design era, this Celica, very present in rallying, was the sportiest in the 4x4 version.

coupe 2 + 2 places.
Front transverse engine - all-wheel drive.
4 cylinders in line, 16 valves 2 Liters, 2 ACT, injection, 1 turbo, 204 hp DIN @ 6000 RPM. and 280 N / M @ 3200T / min.
0-100 Km / h: 6.8 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 230 Km / h.
1450 Kgs.
Length: 4430 mm; Width: 1745 mm; Height: 1300 mm; Wheelbase: 2600 mm
218,000 Frs.

The 1990 Celica was of course in the bio-design movement that was exploding in Japan at that time. It was widely involved in rallying, equipped with permanent all-wheel drive and a turbo engine. Relatively heavy and not very habitable in the rear seats. The 160hp single traction version, 200 kg lighter. also offered quite convincing benefits. It was above all much more affordable (150,000 Frs. In 1992).

Toyota MR (1989)

Restyled in 1989, the new Targa berlinetta had Ferrari airs that contributed to its success.

2-seater Targa coupe.
Rear transverse motor - rear transmission.
4 cylinders in line, 16 valves 2 Liters, 2 ACT, injection, 160 hp DIN @ 6600 RPM. and 195 N / M @ 4800RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 7.2 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 220 Km / h.
1235 Kgs.
Length: 4180 mm; Width: 1700 mm; Height: 1240 mm; Wheelbase: 2400 mm
165,000 Frs.

The MR berlinetta, launched in 1984, had very rigid lines, fairly balanced but passed out of fashion in 1989. The new MR, larger and more powerful, was equipped with a line similar to that of the rear mid-engine Ferrari berlinettes, although their performances had little to do with it. Their obviously more affordable price made them popular models but a little unknown. It disappeared to make way in 2000 to a spider bearing the same name, but less sporty.

Toyota Supra (1996)

The second-generation Supra was finally a real sports car.

coupe 2 + 2 places.
Front longitudinal engine - rear transmission.
6 cylinders in line, 24 valves 3 Liters, 2 ACT, 201 hp DIN @ 6000 RPM. and 254 N / M @ 4800 RPM.
0-100 Km / h: 7.3 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 220 Km / h.
1550 Kgs.
Length: 4620 mm; Width: 1745 mm; Height: 1310 mm; Wheelbase: 2596 mm

Only three years after the release of the Celica Supra, whose exuberant style was criticized, as well as its poor performance, will quickly be eclipsed by the second-generation model. With a style still tense but already bio-design, a hatchback, and the ardor of its V6 associated with its rear transmission, this heavy Supra had completely detached itself from the wiser Celica. It rose to the rank of only GT of the mark. It existed in fact in several engines, including two liters of 105 and 140 hp, as well as its turbo version of 185 hp. The three-liter, heavier, was also less swift. However in 1988 came the 3 liter turbo version with and without all-wheel drive, of 267 and 232 hp. , the latter compensating for its lack of motor skills by its relative lightness.

Toyota Celica GT (1993)

Second Bio-design version of the Celica, it was undoubtedly more successful than its predecessor.

coupe 2 + 2 places.
Front transverse engine - front transmission.
4 cylinders in line, 16 valves 2 Liters, 2 ACT, injection, 175 hp DIN @ 7000 RPM. and 190 N / M @ 4800T / min.
0-100 Km / h: 8.2 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 220 Km / h.
1255 Kgs.
Length: 4420 mm; Width: 1750 mm; Height: 1300 mm; Wheelbase: 2540 mm

The 1995 Celica stood out in terms of style from that of 1990 by a lower and wider line, lighter too, and round headlights of the most beautiful effect. It was the last before that of the new millennium, Edge Design. Always good value for money, but moderately efficient, you have to refer to the 2000 version (2 liters) rather than the 1800 (1.8L) to find its account in sensations.

Lexus SC 400 (1991)

2+2 seater coupe.
Long motor. front - rear transmission.
8 cylinders in line, 32 valves 4 Liters, 2 ACT, injection, 290 hp DIN @ 5600 RPM. and 430 N / M @ 3500T / min.
0-100 Km / h: 6.6 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 240 Km / h.
1640 Kgs.
Length: 4890 mm; Width: 1800 mm; Height: 1350 mm; Wheelbase: 2690 mm

This coupe, at its launch, was to be a concentrate of luxury and technology made in Toyota. With a sober and elegant organic design line, it has established itself as the benchmark of luxury, with a finish at the level of the best German, a plethora of standard electronic equipment and a voluntary engine, the 6-cylinder 225hp and above all the 8-cylinder GS sedan, when Lexus was created, it came to the fore and evolved from Toyota Soarer to Lexus SC300 / 400. production ended in 2002, with its replacement by the SC430 coupé-cabriolet, otherwise known as Soarer in Japan.

Lexus Is 300 (2001)

Second Bio-design version of the Celica, it was undoubtedly more successful than its predecessor.

4-seater sedan.
Front transverse motor - rear transmission.
6 cylinders in line, 24 valves 3 Liters, 2 ACT, injection, 213 hp DIN @ 5800 RPM. and 288 N / M @ 3800T / min.
0-100 Km / h: 8.2 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 230 Km / h.
1500 Kgs.
Length: 4400 mm; Width: 1730 mm; Height: 1420 mm; Wheelbase: 2670 mm

The Lexus IS 200 arrived on the European market in 1999. Very inspired by the BMW 3 series by its general philosophy, it had an assertive sporty side. However, their performances remained behind especially compared to the new series 3 of the Bavarian firm, released in the meantime. The 3-liter version therefore appeared in 2001, able to give it a faster character. however the latter only exists in sequential automatic gearbox with paddles on the steering wheel, for the "F1" side.

Toyota Celica GT (2000)

The latest evolution of this traditional bestseller, the new Celica Edge design is a typical example of this style.

coupe 2 + 2 places.
Front transverse engine - front transmission.
4 cylinders in line, 16s 1.8 Liters, 2 ACT, injection, 192 hp DIN @ 7800 RPM. and 180 N / M @ 6800T / min.
0-100 Km / h: 7.2 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 225 Km / h.
1140 Kgs.
Length: 4350 mm; Width: 1740 mm; Height: 1320 mm; Wheelbase: 2600 mm
€ 29,000

The first Celica of the Edge Design era, and seventh generation, the brand's popular new sports car is a bit smaller than its 1995 predecessor, which is more dynamic, lighter while being a bit more livable. Two versions exist, the 145 and the 190, with the same displacement, the first being more comparable to a touring coupe than to a GT. The Celica has been criticized for its too progressive engine to the detriment of sportiness. It is to be hoped that future generations will correct this defect.

Lexus SC 430 (2001)

The coupé-cabriolet system is emulated, as evidenced by this heavy lexus.

2 + 2-seater coupe-convertible.
Front transverse motor - rear transmission.
8 cylinders in line, 32 valves 4.3 Liters, 2 ACT, injection, 286 hp DIN @ 5600 RPM. and 420 N / M @ 3500T / min.
0-100 Km / h: 6.4 sec. ; 1000 D.A .: sec. ; Max speed: 250 Km / h.
1740 Kgs.
Length: 4520 mm; Width: 1830 mm; Height: 1370 mm; Wheelbase: 2620 mm

The only GT in the catalog since the brand's creation, the big luxurious Soarer coupe having released this Toyota label, the coupe-convertible fills a gap in the range which currently includes three sedans and two 4x4s. By taking the solution of the retractable roof decidedly very fashionable, he manages to add the approval of a convertible. Effectively luxurious and therefore heavy, almost an eight ton on the scale, the SC430 fortunately has the torque of its 8 in line to catapult it onto the road.