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Asian Car Brands5 Reasons Why We Love The Hakosuka Skyline (5...

5 Reasons Why We Love The Hakosuka Skyline (5 Reasons Why We’d Rather Have The AE86 Corolla)

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Japanese cars received a cold welcome when they first arrived in America. While the domestic car scene was fascinated by big-block V8s, JDM carmakers positioned themselves in the market with smaller and more economical cars. The public would not pay attention to Japanese cars until the economic crisis triggered by OPEC’s oil embargo would wreak havoc.

RELATED: 10 Underrated Japanese Sports Cars You Should Buy Before It’s Too Late

Being present on American roads for over half a century, Japanese vehicles have normally developed their fan base thousands of miles away from home. As classic cars are increasing in demand and value, several old import cars are now worth as much as a brand-new Audi RS6. Both the Hakosuka and the AE86 are the type of Japanese classic cars gearheads would remortgage the house for.

10 Hakosuka: Classic

When it comes to classic cars, gearheads are spoiled for choice. The domestic car industry mushroomed during the post-war era, which explains why the number of classic cars is so important. On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, Japanese carmakers were actively rebuilding their industry. In the process, companies like Datsun realized that the American market was the most profitable in the world.

Introduced to American motorists in 1958, Datsun cars have been around for decades. However, Datsun’s crown jewel, the Skyline GT-R, was never sold outside of Japan despite its gorgeous looks and outstanding performance. First produced in 1969, the Hakosuka was one of the sportiest and best-sounding Japanese sports cars of its era.

9 AE86: Sprinter

The ’80s were quite decisive for Japanese automakers. American companies seemed to have lost their mojo, as the best car of that decade was the 1987 Buick GNX with its turbocharged V6 engine. European car companies were turning the sports car scene upside down, but the vast majority of the cars released by companies from the old continent were simply not affordable.

RELATED: JDM Icon: A Detailed Look At The Toyota AE86

First launched in 1984, the Hachiroku set the tone by placing itself on the market as a light, modular, and affordable sports car. Following its huge success in Japan, Toyota brought back the aura of the AE86 with the Toyota 86 released in 2021. The AE86 is a highly-respected vehicle among JDM fans. Its physique and mechanical features make it a great project car.

8 Hakosuka: The Core

When it comes to engines, it is always wrongly assumed that Japanese carmakers mostly use disappointing powerplants. Though it is true that a large number of Japanese cars sold in North America have been far from stellar, Japanese car manufacturers did have some engines that would have pleased most skeptics. Today, these engines are worth their weight in gold.

The engine found on the 1971 Nissan Skyline GT-R is far more impressive than units found on some mid-range modern cars. As the GT-R was always meant to be sporty, Nissan moved ahead with a 2.0-liter S20 DOHC inline-six powerplant that cranks out 160 hp at 7,000 rpm and 130 lb-ft of torque at 5,600 rpm. It may not seem like much, but the Hakosuka weighs only 2,425 lbs.

7 AE86: Starter Engine

Toyota’s lineup was quite impressive back in the 1980s. From the Supra, to the MR2, to the AE86 Trueno, it was clear that Toyota was doing everything possible to offer sports cars that would not break the bank and still trigger an adrenaline rush. These cars were all powered by tremendous engines. The AE86 Thunder’s engine remains one of the most impressive Toyota units.

The Toyota 4A-GE is one of the greatest Japanese engines ever produced. It is often wrongly believed that Japanese engines are essentially extracted from lawnmowers, and the 4A-GE silences all the naysayers. The high-revving 1.6-liter inline-four engine produces 128 hp at 6,600 rpm and 110 lb-ft of torque at 5,200 rpm. The same 4A-GE unit was found in the MR2 and the Celica 1600 GT.

6 Hakosuka: Track Star

With its S20 inline-six engine, the Hakosuka was one of the most admired Japanese sports cars during its era. The Skyline GT-R was never meant to be just a daily driver, this machine can burn some serious rubber every now and then. The Hakosuka quickly became a legend among Japanese car fans, as the mean sport coupe annihilated other cars both on and off the track.

Since the Skyline GT-R was engineered with sportiness in mind, the car logically took part in professional racing. After shedding some serious weight and gaining more power, the Hakosuka started dominating Japanese professional racing. Between its professional racing debut and 1972, the Hakosuka collected 50 victories.

5 AE86: Drift Legend

The JDM scene can be divided into two segments. One will find the noobs on one side. The noobs swear that outside of the Supra, R34 Skyline, Impreza STi, and the Lancer Evo, nothing else truly matters. On the other side of the spectrum, hardcore JDM fans know that underrated cars such as the Mistubishi Galant VR4 or the Toyota AE86 are worth far more than an average Subie.

RELATED: 23 Surprising Facts About Japanese Street Racing

The Hachiroku, thanks to its customizable engine, five-speed manual transmission, and front-engine with rear-drive configuration, made it a prime vehicle for racing. With that said, the AE86 became far more popular among drift fans. It is important to remember that the AE86 was nowhere as expensive as a Mazda RX-7 or a Nissan Skyline of the same era, thus making it a great car to beef up and send sideways.

4 Hakosuka: Genesis

Movies such as Fast And Furious and videogames like Need For Speed or Gran Turismo have made a younger generation of gearheads worldwide fall in love with contemporary Japanese sports cars. However, true JDM fans know that Japanese cars such as the Datsun 240Z and the Nissan 300ZX have paved the way for a plethora of outstanding sports cars.

The Hakosuka is the Skyline father of all Skylines. Even if Skylines such as the R34 GT-R are simply breathtaking, the Hakosuka remains the very first high-end Nissan sports car to reach the status of legend. Now valued between $ 130,000 and $ 200,000, the Skylines that followed the Hakosuka are likely to increase in value during the upcoming decades.

3 AE86: Superstar

Several cars have achieved superstar status in the United States. From Steve McQueen’s Mustang Bullitt to Shia LaBeouf’s Bumblebee Camaro, a large number of vehicles became household names thanks to their appearances in movies and TV shows. This phenomenon is not exclusive to domestic cars. In Japan, some sports cars have made it to one of the most popular mediums.

RELATED: Here’s How ‘Initial D’ Made The Toyota AE86 A Global Drifting Legend

It is well-known that the AE86 greatly inspired the modern 86. Unfortunately, the Toyota 86 is very unlikely to ever become an icon. The AE86 reached the status of street legend decades ago. Its popularity reached such high-levels that an anime titled Initial D featured the AE86 as the main character’s car. The anime itself ended up catching the attention of gearheads worldwide, and was on air from 1995 to 2013.

2 Hakosuka: Perfection

Some cars have reached the status of ultimate classics. With some of them worth as much as a 16-bedroom Malibu mansion, it is quite understandable why their owners want to keep them in their original condition. Even if these cars could use more modern elements, they are perfect as they are. These legendary classics have aged just like fine wine.

The Hakosuka is one of the best Japanese sports cars of the ’70s. Even if the 1971 Nissan KPGC10 by Rocky Auto shows that the potential of the Hakosuka is limitless, a bone-stock Hakosuka is something to cherish. The car is perfect as is, and will most likely remain a pleasure to drive and stare at for years to come. Needless to say, its value will keep on rising.

1 AE86: Tuner’s Special

Toyota has produced a large number of cars since its creation back in the late ’30s. When it comes to the Japanese automakers’ sports cars, they have left a strong imprint in the minds of modified JDM cars. In fact, most Toyota sports cars seem to be made to be turned into a mean machine. When looking at the Toyota Supra and the AE86, it is fair to say that they have great potential.

The AE86 has shown numerous times that it was made to be customized. While most classic Japanese sports cars can cost the same price as a brand-new Bentley, the AE86 is valued at a little over $ 10,000 in decent condition. Its low-price combined with its outstanding features makes it the perfect car to shoehorn a twin-turbocharged LS V8 in.


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